A Home Away from Home:
Self-Catering in Europe
Continued from Page 4
private walled courtyard with garden and outdoor furniture.
Pay attention to the details
It's important to know what you're getting and what you're
obligated to provide or pay for when renting a home abroad.
Linens. In some countries, such as Switzerland, these
are typically included. In others, such as Denmark, you may be required to
provide sheets, pillowcases, and towels. (We solved this problem in Denmark
by bringing a suitcase of old linens. We left the linens behind for the
owner to use as rags, keeping the suitcase for books and other purchases.)
Utilities. Your rent may include gas, electricity,
and telephone, or you may be required to pay for some or all of the
utilities. (You'll probably pay extra for the telephone even when other
utilities are included, since your landlord is billed by the minute for
Deposits. International rental agencies
may accept credit cards, but local agencies may not and landlords almost
never do. If you deal directly with a European agency or property owner, you
may have to wire a reservation deposit in foreign currency from your bank or
purchase a draft in the local currency and send it by airmail. You may also
be asked to provide a damage and/or cleaning deposit when you arrive.
Tips on paying in foreign currency. For deposits, electronic bank drafts are quicker and safer than
mailing printed drafts, and they're well worth the extra cost. I usually buy another draft in
local currency to pay for my rental when I arrive. If a damage deposit is
required, I leave blank
countersigned travelers' checks in U.S. dollars. At
the end of the trip, I simply deposit the traveler's checks in my bank account
at home. (
This obviously works best when your bank offers free traveler's checks.)
Cleaning. Cleaning may be included or billed separately.
In one of our Danish rentals, we were required to clean the house thoroughly on
the day we left. This took several hours, and it might have been a hardship if our ferry's departure had
been in the morning rather than the afternoon. Moral: If you do the cleaning,
allow plenty of time!
Web links: Rental Agencies
Continued on page 6
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