Staying in a Hotel vs. Renting a Flat When Visiting Europe

Map of Europe

If you are planning a ski trip to Europe this winter or just want to visit the Old Continent at some point, you should know your lodging options. Even though a hotel might be your first choice, you should think about renting an apartment, for example. Rentals have become very popular during vacations in Europe, and tourists seem satisfied with this type of accommodation. However, both a rental and a hotel might have advantages and disadvantages. As a result, this article is here to help you decide which one is the best between staying in a hotel vs. renting a flat when visiting Europe.

Booking

If you are used to staying at a hotel during vacations, you already know how things work. You do some research, find the hotel that meets your needs, make a call, and you have a room reserved. Or, if you already know the hotel you want to stay at, you can make a reservation online. When it comes to renting a flat, though, the research might take a little longer. Many rentals are not verified, even on booking sites, and some of them might not have reviews. That can make it a bit harder for you to determine whether or not that flat is good for you. However, if you are lucky, you might be able to find a suitable rental pretty quickly. Simply look for those with the most reviews and a detailed description. Examine the photos, the location, and the amenities, and then compare them to the reviews. If they check out, you have a winner.

Payment

When renting an apartment in Europe, you should know that booking websites charge a booking fee. The fee is part of the price, and it will be handed over to the owner, but only after you check in. Even if it might seem strange, this procedure is there to protect the owner from fraud. Furthermore, some websites will need identification to make the owner and their guests feel more secure.

On the other hand, when it comes to hotels and payment, you have more options. For instance, you don’t need to pay in advance if you don’t want to. Most of the time, hotels will charge you either at check-in or check-out. Some hotels might encourage you to pay in advance, offering discounts for prepaid rooms. However, you can still choose to pay for the room at check-in or out.

Person holding money.
If you plan to rent a flat in Europe, make sure you have Euros or money in the local currency with you.

Prices

The price makes a big difference when deciding between staying in a hotel vs. renting a flat when visiting Europe. If you pay between $100 and $150 per night for a hotel room, a rental will cost around $40. But, of course, it can depend on the destination you choose. However, unlike with hotel rooms, you might be asked to pay a safety deposit for the rental. This deposit can vary based on the apartment, so make sure to check before you book it. Also, you will have to pay the deposit upon arrival in cash. Most rental owners don’t accept credit cards, so you will need to have some money with you when you check in, ideally in local currency.

Check-ins

When it comes to check-ins, hotels might have a plus. They have a reception, so someone will be there to check you in 24/7. You will receive the key to your room, and then you are free to come and go as you wish. In a rental, on the other hand, you need to set an exact time when you will be checking in. As a result, when you agree on the hour with your host, make sure that you will be able to arrive on time. Research the exact location of the flat and how to get there. It is the same as a hotel room once you have checked in. You can come and go as you please because you will have the key to the flat. However, if you share the apartment with someone else, you may have to share the key.

The advantage of hotels vs. rented flats is the reception that is open 24/7.

Safety

If you are concerned about the safety of your valuables while traveling in Europe, both a hotel and a rental can be considered safe. Most hotels have CCTV coverage, making it difficult for your items to be unsafe while in the room. Furthermore, hotel security knows who entered the hotel, when they did so, and where they went. It’s pretty hard to get past them without being noticed. In rental flats, you can also have cameras at the entrance, and you and the owner are the only ones who have the key. But, if you are skeptical and need to find a way not to worry about your possessions while traveling, you can leave them in safe hands in a rented storage space back home. Your precious belongings will be safe during your travel, and you can enjoy your vacation stress-free.

Amenities

When it comes to staying in a hotel vs. renting a flat when visiting Europe, a hotel room will win if you prefer comfort. Hotels can offer breakfasts, housekeeping, laundry services, or room service. In addition, the employees will help you with anything you need. For example, you can ask about the location of the nearest pharmacy or where to buy the most original souvenirs. At the same time, internet services may be poor, or you may be required to pay for them. Then again, in a rental, even if you have to make your breakfast and do the laundry, you might have a much better internet connection. In addition, you can look for a flat that has all the things that will make you feel at home. Air conditioning, a balcony, a separate bathroom, a TV, or a parking space are just some examples.

If you rent a flat while visiting Europe, you will have all the comfort and amenities that you need.

Final words

Choosing the best accommodation for your trip to Europe is totally up to you. If you are willing to pay more but have an easy check-in, no deposits, comfort, and more security, you should choose to stay at a hotel. But if you want to pay less, live like a local, have all the amenities you want, and all the space you need, you should go with a rental. Your preferences will dictate whether you will go with staying in a hotel vs. renting a flat when visiting Europe.

Mistakes to Avoid when Planning a Move

Pet dog in a moving box
Image Courtesy of Unsplash

It is said that moving home is one of the most stressful events of one’s life. So it’s no surprise that over 40% of recent movers state they never want to do it again. You don’t want the added nightmare of damaged or stolen goods of all the planning and things that can go wrong. So here are some things to avoid when planning a move to secure yourself.

Doing it Yourself

Moving items of any shape and size can be cumbersome, tiring, and tedious. There aren’t many people who enjoy doing it. But there are trained and experienced professionals. Companies like Allied Van Lines cover the logistics of moving expensive items and the loading, preparation, and transit. Additionally, a moving company typically takes care of any liability. This means they are responsible for safely transporting items from one location to another. Therefore, your goods are insured while they are in transit.

Not Extending Insurance

Further to insurance, you should check or update your policy if you intend to move some items yourself. Standard home contents insurance doesn’t cover goods in transit. Most policies cover things at the address stated on the policy, which is void if the goods are removed from the property. Your new address may also not be protected by your policy. However, you can easily update an insurance policy. All you need to do is contact your insurance provider, inquire about transit insurance, and ask them to amend your policy. This may cost more, though.

Not Protecting Valuables

Moving can be as simple as shifting some stuff around the corner to a bigger house or traveling hundreds or thousands of miles. Yet no matter how far your property needs to go, there’s always the chance of damage. Therefore you should protect your goods from scrapes, bumps, and scratches. Pre-sorting into appropriate boxes is a significant first step. But you can further safeguard expensive items with bubble wrap and adequate padding. Heavy-duty cloth may help against leakages and collisions while moving blankets will help prevent scrapes and scratches.

Leaving Your Old Home Unsecured

Leaving your old home behind, you might become lax about security. But until conveyancing or Transneft of tenancy is completed, you are responsible for the property. Additionally, expensive items might be left at the old residence for pick-up later. Therefore, you should secure the old address as if you still live there. You could be gone for a while as you move your stuff. Still, you can invest in some relatively inexpensive products for extra safety. Smart video CCTV systems connect to your phone. Intelligent locks let you know if someone is tampering with them.

Blabbing About It

It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t use one social media platform or another. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are great places to share details of your life. Some are joyous occasions such as births and weddings. But there are some details you should never share. Some such as moving are not the best idea until you are entirely finished. Individuals of the criminal element could take advantage of knowing you are currently away to take the opportunity to unlawfully enter your residence. On the other hand, you might still have things there. And whether monetarily or sentimentally rich, some items cannot be replaced when they are gone.

How to Protect Your Home While Traveling?

A door handle

So, you’re slowly packing your bags for your next big trip. If you plan to go somewhere sunny to escape a cold Christmas, you are probably focused on figuring out what you might need to do to protect yourself from the sun and the heat that awaits you. Or, you might be excited about your field trip to Florida with your kids. Whatever your destination may be, it is essential to consider the safety of your home and your possessions while you are away. That is why we will discuss how to protect your home while traveling so that you do not leave anything to chance.

Why you need to protect your home while traveling

You might feel like nothing could surprise you when you prepare thoroughly for the journey. And you are not alone. Interestingly, most people tend to worry about the safety of the belongings they bring with them on the trip. This is because people usually associate the very feeling of safety with being at home. As a result, their caution is usually focused on avoiding pickpockets and frauds in a foreign country or state. 

However, eagerness to finally sit on the plane or the bus taking you to your vacation may distort your judgment. Just take note of the fact that most break-ins and burglaries happen during the holiday season. And of course, we are not saying it is not important to determine what you should not travel without. But, it is equally important to think about safety precautions you ought to make to ensure your home and your belongings are safe and secure. In that sense, a few things can help you deter criminals while you are traveling. 

Create an illusion that someone is at home

Certainly, the last thing you would want to happen to you during your holiday is a burglary. All of the lovely memories you make on your trip could be outright tainted by such an awful experience. So, instead of becoming a crime statistic, you should do everything in your power to outsmart burglars

The first step toward fortifying your home is to make it seem like someone is there all the time. You can set up an automatic timer on radios, TVs, and even lights to give away a false impression you are at home. Just make sure you set the timer to turn off the lights during the day. It will be incredibly suspicious if your porch light is turned on in broad daylight. When it comes to curtains and blinds, the best strategy is to position them to look like everything is normal, but don’t allow the possibility for someone to examine what is inside. 

A house with turned on lights and a wet driveway
Turned on lights can create the illusion you are at home

Ask a friend, neighbor, or relative to check up on your home

If you have a backyard, you should tidy it up and mow it before leaving your home. This way, the grass will take longer to grow out and show that no one is actually there. Also, if you are traveling in your car, ask a friend or a neighbor to park theirs in your driveway. 

In addition, you can ask someone you trust to check the house from time to time and collect mail, packages, and newspapers. A single stray furniture catalog on your doorstep or a promotional flyer on your doorknob could be a sign that the property is vacant. If you are going away for more than a week, you should consider canceling your subscriptions for the time being. 

Lock all doors and windows

This might sound like unnecessary advice. But you would be surprised how many break-ins happen due to this kind of oversight. Be sure to double-check if all possible entrances are safely locked. The same goes for pet doors and mail slots. Burglars can make use of these kinds of openings to insert tools that can help them break into your house. Also, be sure to disconnect any doors that can be opened automatically. For example, you should turn off the electronic opener in your garage and place a padlock on the doors instead. 

A black US mail mailbox
A full mailbox can be an indicator that you are on vacation.

Remove all valuables from your home

If you have money, artwork, or jewelry that you cannot afford to lose, do not keep them inside your home. You should consider taking your valuables to a safe storage unit while you are traveling. This way, you will ensure the safety of the most important items as well as your peace of mind. Moreover, it is not only the promise of luxury items that might instigate a burglary. Even newer appliances might provoke someone to try to break into your home. So, if you have state-of-the-art technology such as TVs or sound systems, it might be a good idea to lock them up while you are away.

Be careful about your social media posts

During the holiday season, many homes are targeted by criminal organizations for weeks. So much so that they might even follow you on social media to see if you are traveling. In that sense, as much as it might be tempting to share photos and live videos of your holiday, it is better if you restrain yourself. 

Two people hugging each other while posting on social media
It is safer if you and your family members post vacation photos after the vacation ends.

Of course, we are not saying you must not indulge in sharing your experiences with your followers. But it is wiser if you postpone posting on your social media until you return from your vacation. You can also lock your profiles or switch to ‘Private’ for the time being if you cannot resist the urge to post. Also, if you decide to share a photo, make sure you remove the geotags. Just think about it. Abstinence from posting on social media is another way to protect your home while traveling. And – it is free and effortless. So, if you observe it from that perspective, you might be able to acknowledge how important it is.