Florida Guide > Accommodation
Booking A Villa in Florida For The First Time
People who have never stayed in a Florida villa are often apprehensive about making the first steps in booking a villa. I know we were when we first booked a villa two years ago. We asked ourselves hundreds of questions including:
- is it going to be very expensive?
- can we afford it?
- how safe is our money when we are dealing with a private owner?
- what is involved?
We are pleased to say that the answer to these questions was very much what we wanted to hear! This article attempts to walk you though the whole process, from start to end.
Finding A Villa
Most villas in Orlando are within 20 minutes drive of Disney World and virtually all have their own private pools that can be optionally heated if required. The standard of accommodation in each villa is very similar, although villas do vary in what they offer so it pays to have a good look around before settling on the one you'd like to book.
We settled on a 3 bed, 2 bath villa in Indian Point that was owned by a fellow Private Pilot. The pictures looked beautiful and the location was just perfect as it was close to everything we needed.
Contact The Owners
Most villas are privately owned and are let out to guests by the owners to cover their running costs (they do not usually make a profit out of rentals). You will find that renting a villa direct from the owners is by far the most economical way of doing things - if you've ever looked in travel agents brochures you will see villas there for something near double what the private owner will charge you for rental.
Contact the owner either by email or telephone and tell them the dates you will be travelling so they can check availability. It also helps to say something complimentary about the villa at this stage as owners just love to hear this kind of thing (most villas are the owners pride and joy). If you can be flexible in your dates, tell the owner the earliest date you can go and the latest date you can return. The owner will then advise availability of their villa and the rates for rental.
How Much Does It Cost?
Rental of a villa is normally quoted as a price per week and is usually quoted in £'s and US $'s. The rate is for the villa and not per person. Usually the owner will also quote you a price for pool heating should you require it. This is usually payable on top of the normal rental rate.
The rental rates are also usually seasonal with Easter and Christmas being the most expensive periods.
Have a look at some of the villas on our website and you will soon get a feel for the kind of price you can expect to pay.
Making a Booking
To make a booking, the owner will usually require a completed Booking Form (which they will provide) and a deposit to secure the booking. We paid £200 / $320 deposit for our 2 weeks in Indian Point, but this rate may vary with the size of the villa you are interested in.
Upon receipt of this, the owner will send you a formal booking confirmation letter which forms the agreement between you and the owner.
One of our concerns was how safe our money was when we were sending it to someone we had never met. Rest assured, villa owners are very trustworthy people who are very approachable. What clinched it for us was when the owner said that the trust here was a two-way thing as they were letting someone they had never met stay in their dream Florida home!
Payment Of The Balance
The balance of the payment for the rental is usually payable 8-10 weeks before departure. At this time the owner will normally ask for a security deposit of the order of £100-£150 / $160-$240 to cover them for any breakages / damage made during your stay. This will normally be returned to you within 21 days of you returning from your vacation.
Upon receipt of the balance, the owner will send you full details of how to find the villa, how to obtain the keys and any other important information they think you will require.
Enjoy Your Vacation!
That's it really. The next step is to go on your vacation and really enjoy the freedom staying in a privately owned villa affords you. Once you've stayed in one, you will be hooked and never want to return to a cramped hotel room again!
If you have any questions or concerns that are not covered here, email us at info@orlandovillas. com and we'll be pleased to try and help you.
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