What You Need to Know about Vacation Rentals before You Go

That time of the year is finally here. You know what I'm talking about, the one or two weeks you get every year to escape from "real life" and just be you. Relax, eat and drink well, enjoy your family, catch up on some much needed sleep. But, before you pack up and head out, rethink the all-too-normal hotel stay. Believe it or not, you have options, one of which is the vacation rental.

Would not it be nice to leave your own home, arrive in your destination city and settle into a "home away from home" for your next vacation? That's what vacation rentals are all about. These are homes waiting to be rented out by people on vacation. Each vacation rental owner will have different criteria in what type of renter they are looking for, each vacation rental house will vary in amenities, and each price will be dependent on the time of year and the length of stay. So, it sounds like a great idea, but how do you figure out how to make it all happen? Not a problem. Below you will find answers to frequently asked questions regarding vacation rentals. Read on, my friend, your next "home away from home" vacation rental is right around the corner.

Frequently Asked Questions on Vacation Rentals

What are the advantages of a vacation rental?

Do you ever wish your hotel room had just a little more personality? Yeah, I thought so. Well, renting someone else's home for your vacation might just be the thing you're looking for. Usually offering larger living spaces than hotel rooms, these vacation rentals are all about living like you were in your own home. They offer greater privacy than hotel rooms and most rentals have a kitchen area for cooking, which in the end will save you money if you prepare some of your own meals.

You'll enjoy several rooms, and maybe even different levels, instead of one big room where the whole family sleeps. Many owners will leave information on things to do and see in the local area. Vacation rental homes are clean, friendly, comfortable and inviting. This is because many of them are not just rental homes, but also function as the owner's own residence for part of the year.

A majority of vacation rentals tend to be cheaper on a per night basis than their hotel. By renting directly from the owner you will avoid taxes, tips and other external charges. However, there is a wide variation among others based on a number of factors (see How Much Should I Expect to Pay below)

What are the drawbacks of a vacation rental?

Of course, there's always the other side of the coin. As vacation rentals are not usually monitored by a central managing company, you'll only know what you're getting yourself into when you actually arrive to your rental. Many owners require pre-payment, or at least a large deposit fee, before arriving. Therefore, if things are not the way you anticipated after arriving, or if you find your dwelling unacceptable and decide to head to a local hotel, you may lose any money you prepaid. This is also true for last minute cancellations. There is not usually a refund. You always run the risk of getting less than you expected, but, it's rare.

Most times, vacation rentals tend to be cheaper than an average hotel room per night. But, not always, so make sure you are comfortable with the price you will be asked to pay.

Another disadvantage to vacation rentals is the lack of a managing member on site to deal with any problems that you may encounter with the home or during your stay in general. Most owners get around this by having a list of emergency numbers, utility companies and other such items available to the renter should they need anything.

What amenities are included in a vacation rental?

Since every rental is owned by a different owner, each will include different amenities. Some come with swimming pools, hot tubs, others with golf packages, and horse stable privileges. In cities with tourist attractions, some owners include tickets to local attractions.

Most vacation rentals come with the essentials: TV, equipped kitchen, towels, linen, and everyday appliances, but it never hurts to ask these questions when searching for the perfect place. Be sure to understand exactly what you are paying for before sending in the payment.

What types of rentals are available?

Pretty much any type of dwelling that you would want to live in during your vacation is available somewhere. From studios in downtown Manhattan to a villa in the south of Spain, you'll be able to find what you're looking for. The range of available options is mind boggling. Additionally, each week, month and year there are new possibilities as owners put their homes up for only certain weeks or months of the year, the choices are constantly changing.

Are vacation rentals only available in the US?

Vacation rentals are available worldwide. They can be found in every state of the US and almost every country in the world. Do not be fooled by their different names, though. Vacation rentals are also known as holiday cottages, tourist rentals and holiday rentals. If you are looking for one in Europe, the Italians call them agriturismi, while the French say gites. If you are in Germany you will be looking for ferienwohnungen (yep, try to say that three times fast with a bratwurst in your mouth!)

Regardless of what you call it, though, a vacation rental is a great option for those getting ready to take a few weeks off from reality and enjoy the good life a bit.

How do I find a property?

There are several ways to go about finding the perfect vacation rental for your next trip. Check with your local travel agent to find someone in your area that specializes in finding owners and renters and getting them together. Another option is the yellow pages. Finally, there is a wealth of information on the Internet. Type in a search for "vacation rentals" and over 13,300,000 websites can be found just on http://www.google.com alone. Some websites only list vacation rentals in the United States while others specialize in vacation rentals worldwide. There are some sites that will allow the potential renter to look for a residence by specific search criteria such as a particular destination, certain number of bedrooms and types of amenities that are included in the property.

Most of the vacation rental services on the internet are only the "go-between" or the "classified" section of the newspaper. They take no responsibility for the truth or correctness of the ads that are listed on their sites. So, do your homework by making phone calls, speaking with the owner and asking specific questions. Make sure you feel comfortable with the answers, if not, move on to the next rental, there are plenty.

If you're not comfortable with the whole renter / owner thing, there is another way to rent a vacation home. Some companies exist that strictly buy and rent out homes to vacationers. They offer a bit more security so that you feel you are really getting what you bargained for (although nothing is ever 100% fool proof). Additionally, sometimes these agencies will give you cancellation insurance. In other words, if you cancel before arriving, they may be able to refund a portion of your deposit or payment instead of keeping it as most owners do if a cancellation occurs. With some agencies you'll find that you pay a higher price than going directly to an owner. This is how the agencies make their profits. There are always pros and cons to each scenario. Ensure you know which one works best for you.

How much should I expect to pay?

This is a tough question to answer. The amount you pay will depend on what country or state you are visiting, number of days you are staying, and type of house you are renting. Some owners offer package deals including tickets or sightseeing events along with the rental, others include bonus days if you stay for a certain length of time. There are other owners who may offer free or add-on house cleaning service with your stay while some go to great efforts to ensure you have everything you need, even additional items such as a crib, highchair or wheelchair. Each vacation rental will be entirely different from the next. Your best bet after deciding on your destination is to review multiple rentals to determine which is better suited to your needs and overall budget.

Are there any hidden fees?

Hidden fees usually only emerge after you have arrived. These may include extra for phone calls, house cleaning service, extra person fees, excess heat and air-conditioning bills, pet deposit, computer access … etc. Again, be extremely thorough when interviewing the owner of your prospect vacation rental. Ask about any "extra" fees, or if the house is "all-inclusive". Do you have free access to all the pantry and food items? How about the laundry supplies? All utilities? It never hurts to ask!

Vacation Rentals

In summary, cover all bases by asking lots of questions. Getting your agreement in writing is also a very smart idea. After these basics are out of the way you will be ready to take off for your home-away-from-home vacation rental. Try one this year and see for yourself that vacation rentals can be a fantastic means to really getting the full enjoyment out of your next vacation.

Be True To Your Finances

Money will never be enough. Whether you earn $100 or more there will always be room for more and more needs and wants in your life. Currently I earn twice as much as I used to earn two Years ago but my expenses are also twice as much. If you do not watch out on the trend you take with your needs and your income, you will get frustrated and think the problem is with money yet you are the one causing the problem.

I prayed for wisdom on how to spend wisely to avoid pitfalls and I got help. I have not reached the peak but so far I am very happy with the way I manage my finances. At this point in time I will give you tips on how to manage your needs and wants in regards to money and avoid going overboard. The secret is to live within your means and this is how

1. Write down your daily needs and wants that you spend on and divide the needs and wants into three categories; Daily, Weekly and Monthly

2. Beside each category write down the needs and wants and how much you spend on them. Be honest with yourself do not underestimate or overestimate, you have to be on point. If you over/under estimate you will not make it. Prices do not change within a short period of time so you will have to go to a grocery shop or supermarket to get the exact price of the commodity you buy daily, weekly or monthly.

3. Find totals for each category, for example, your daily category must be multiplied by thirty for you to know how much you spend in a month and the weekly budget by four. Add up your totals and see how much you spend.

4. If your budget exceeds what you earn, then you have to review your needs and wants and be disciplined enough to reduce your wants at this moment and check whether your needs may also be overboard. If you find that your needs are expensive, then you should find a place where the same needs can be bought less expensive, for example; instead of buying tomatoes or other raw vegetables and fruits from a supermarket try getting them from a local vendor. If the house you are staying in is eating up your money move to a descent less expensive apartment.

5. Stick to this budget and consult it regularly, go back and check whether you are on track or off track. Try this for just a month and you will see a very big positive difference and you will even manage to save money.

Six Bridesmaid Gift Basket Ideas to Make Yourself

Creating individual bridesmaid gift baskets is a surefire way to make sure each bridesmaid receives a very personalized gift. Each basket can be different depending on their interests, but stay within the same budget for each one. The art of making a great gift basket is to include items that stay within a theme.

Here are six bridesmaid gift basket themes that you can easily put together
yourself:

  • Ahh the Spa Bridesmaid Gift Basket – For the pampered friend, include spotted soaps, lotions, candles, facial masks, foot scrub, massage oil and maybe even slippers or a bathrobe.
  • Food & Wine Bridesmaid Gift Basket – For the gourmand friend, choose red or white wines, imported cheeses, crackers, cheese knife, wine charms and a wine bottle opener.
  • Dinner & Movie Bridesmaid Gift Basket – For the home friend friend, include a DVD (comedy, drama, etc., you know what she'd like), microwave popcorn, a bottle of soda and an assortment of candy.
  • Sweet Snacks Bridesmaid Gift Basket – For the sweet tooth, include hard candy, a box of chocolates, gum, mints, homemade cookies and a silly mug with hot cocoa mix.
  • Party Girl Bridesmaid Gift Basket – For the wild child, include bottles of hard liquor, plumping lip gloss, thong underwear, aspirin (for the next day hangover) and some condoms.
  • The Hobbyist Bridesmaid Gift Basket – This one is perfect if your bridesmaid has a hobby, just work within the theme of her hobby. For the gardener, include seeds, garden tools and a decorative ceramic pot. For the artist, include a sketchbook, colored pencils or pastels and an art book for inspiration. For the chef, include a cookbook, a spatula and some assorted spices.

To assemble the baskets, you simply place the items in baskets with some colorful
tissue paper or shredded paper and add a gift tag or card. The entire basket can be
wrapped up in cellophane or left plain with a few ribbons tied to the handle.

You do not need to use the same exact basket container for each bridesmaid. If you
They are on a tight budget, look for baskets at thrift stores and mix and match. If you
time it just right, baskets can be purchased on clearance after Easter. Other
containers such as colorful gift bags, small bathroom garbage cans, decorative
boxes, tins and tote bags will all work nicely to hold your gift items.

Have fun coming up with bridesmaid gift basket themes!

Visit http://www.do-it-yourself-weddings.com/bridesmaid-gifts.html for more
unique, do it yourself bridesmaid gift ideas.

Transportation Management Key to Competitiveness in Global Wireless Marketplace

Wireless communication and the widespread use of smartphones and tablets have launched an online marketplace where people can shop at all times. The Internet provides a way to inexpensively market goods around the world and reach the palm of a customer's hand. At the same time, public offices depend on local sales tax revenue from area merchants. Healthy communities and quality public schools rely on local merchants to have what they want, when they want it, and at a price they are willing to pay.

There are many forces at work in delivering goods to wholesalers and consumers. Ports, rail, air, and interstate highways each play a role in bringing products from country of origin to final destination. Choosing the appropriate combination of intermodal transport involves balancing speed, cost, and frequency. In most businesses, effective transportation management makes a significant difference on the bottom line. Competitiveness depends on being able to find the fastest and cheapest way to move products.

As connectivity spreads to more parts of the world, current logistic patterns and transportation systems will adapt to new markets as they are created. During times like these, access to these new markets depends directly on expertise in transportation. For most businesses, this means partnering with a company that specializes in moving certain kinds of products and working in specific markets. Companies who undertake international trade without the appropriate level of expertise typically suffer lost revenues and productivity as they are presented with unanticipated challenges and additional costs.

Transportation management and logistic coordination are integral to success, and each mode of transport may be considered its own subfield with unique strengths and associated experts. Produce needs to move fast, but online retailers can offer a variety of shipping options at different profit margins. Aside from profits, transportation management can also contribute to competitiveness, both socially and environmentally. Socially conscious businesses want to demonstrate to customers that their processes are minimally impactful. Businesses concerned with long-term sustainability might view robust transport management as an integral part of their responsible action model.

Each business must carefully research transportation systems in its current and target markets to determine which modes of transport will be appropriate, as well as what policies are in place. A competent of universities have high quality transportation research centers that seek to explore policy, commercial transport, and comprehensive land use planning. These centers may have outreach programs to assist in local economic development by advising small businesses with endeavors that lack in-house logistical capacity. Ultimately, establishing the best transportation management system for any organization requires developing a relationship with the partner and outstanding clear goals and plans.