Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Renting House Can Make Trip to Europe Affordable

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Renting House Can Make Trip to Europe Affordable

Article excerpt

LIKE MANY adventures, this one starts with a dream.

Making the dream a reality can be a little daunting, especially if your fantasy takes place in a country where you don't speak the language or know the geography.

So here is a step-by-step plan for renting a house overseas, which can make a European trip affordable for families that might otherwise have to get several expensive hotel rooms. For example, livable hotels in London start at about $250 a night, but you can rent a one-bedroom apartment that sleeps four with an efficiency kitchen for about $180 a night. Depending on location, the season and amenities, renting a two- to three-bedroom house in the country abroad can cost $700 to $1,200 a week, significantly less expensive than even moderately priced hotel rooms (say, $125 a night per couple) for four to six people for a week. And you also can save money by eating some meals at home. This guide won't take all the mystery (or risk) out of the process, but it can help get you from here to there. Step One: Pick up the phone. Call house- and apartment-rental agencies and request catalogs and brochures. In some ways it's like booking a hotel overseas. Hints: Call for brochures about six months in advance, especially if you want to rent during a peak tourist season. If the catalogs cost money, consider it a good investment. Have an idea of how much you want to spend a week. Make sure you get prices in U.S. dollars, not the currency of the country you will visit. Know approximately how large a house you want to rent. Options range from studio apartments to staffed mansions that can accommodate 20 people or more, although agencies usually have the most - offerings in two-, three- and four-bedroom houses. Step Two: Read the catalog and brochures carefully. This is where the real fun starts. Put on a pot of coffee or open a bottle of wine, spread out a map and immerse yourself in color photographs and descriptions of country cottages, chic city flats, villas by the sea. (Mark the places you like.) While you're reading, let some questions float through your mind. Can I live without room service or an attentive staff? …

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