Saturday, April 18, 2009
Apartment rentals overseas can be super easy on the wallet in 2009, especially in Europe now that the dollar is much stronger in value than this time last year. As an example, we researched apartment lodging for a family of five vacationing in Switzerland, a country often depicted as an "ultra expensive" destination for North Americans.
For starters, cut the cost of accommodations in much of Europe by staying in a centrally-located town on the main train line to the big city. Do some preliminary online lodging research and then consult your travel agent. We started with the site www.interhome.com, and were pleased with the variety of apartment rental specials we found.
For affordable apartment stays in European cities, we recommend www.eurocheapo.com. To book your own apartment getaway in either Europe or other international destinations, check out the rentals available through www.vrbo.com. South America, Central America, or Caribbean-bound? Then have a look at www.unusualvillarentals.com and www.stayinmexico.com.
But now it's back to one of the super September values we located in our favorite "homebase" alpine village in the Swiss Bernese Alps. Kandersteg, a cosy UNESCO World Heritage town of 1,180 tucked away in a valley at the foot of the mountains, is an excellent transportation hub for train trips down into Italy as well as glorious day excursions to the best Swiss cities and hideaways such as Bern, Muerren, Fribourg, Gruyeres, Lauterbrunnen, and Sion. For a mere 647 Euro per week (about $870 a week or 1,000 Swiss Francs = under $125 a night total!), a family of five can enjoy a relaxing stay in Kandersteg's comfortable "just for nonsmokers" chalet "Marietta."
With a lovely view of the mountains and valley, the "Marietta" is a two-level house with three bedrooms, a large living/dining room, open fireplace, satellite-TV and radio, balcony, two bathrooms/showers, kitchen, dishwasher, microwave, and washing machine. Nearby are the grocery store, restaurant, train station, etc., and winter vacationers will be happy that a chair lift, cross-country ski trail, and ice skating rink are a stone's throw away. Why stay in a hotel when you can have scenery to die for, the tranquility of the countryside, and a fully-furnished place to stay at a steal of a price?
Come to think of it, house or apartment rentals in Croatia, Slovenia, and other European countries typically less touristed by North American travelers can be even more impressive buys. Who says Europe has to cost an arm and a leg? Even in the higher-profile places like London, Rome, and Paris, great rental bargains abound.
For London apartment lodging, we like www.chslondon.com and www.Rentalo.com. Is Paris on your travel wish list this year? Then take a peek at options offered on www.parisianapartmenttours.com and www.parisattitude.com. Viva Italia! Don't miss "The Eternal City." Grab a Rome apartment deal at one of a number of helpful rental sites, including www.romerenting.com, www.thesmartcactus, and www.sleepingItaly.com. Just bear in mind oftentimes week-long stays are required, and the longer the stay, the better the price.
That's it. No more procrastination! Go snag your apartment rental deal right now, while you're dreaming about your next escape. It's time to vacation. Happy travels!
Ann Lombardi & Wendy Swartzell
The Trip Chicks