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Planning Your Holiday Through The Internet ? We can help !

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When you begin planning a vacation, one of the most important steps is to book a hotel room for your stay. After you have made your arrangements to take off work and get to your destination, you will have to figure out an affordable place to stay. There are many ways to approach hotel booking, the most tried and true being purchasing a vacation package through a travel agent. However, travel agents are becoming more expensive and less practical as Internet travel booking becomes the norm.


Jimmy Buffett Slept Here Why Caribbean Villas Are So Darn Popular by: Bob Bouknight

Youre ready to book that trip to the Caribbean that youve been talking about for so long. You go online to get your airline tickets. Easy.

But heres the hard part where to stay? So many choices. You could book a hotel, a condo complex, or a vacation villa. How do you decide which one is right for you and your family or group?

Well, the best place to start is by asking what amenities and services youre looking for. What are the most important options to consider before laying down your hard-earned cash on a deposit?

Space? Convenience? Privacy? Cost? Lets look at all four features.


Generally, hotel rooms and condos dont afford you a lot of space unless youve booked the penthouse suite. Many people justify this by saying they wont be spending much time in their rooms anyway. But unexpected bad weather can change that forecast quickly. And perhaps one of the reasons theyre not spending much time in the room is because theres no room for the whole group to gather! Many people choose a villa vacation because of that reason alone. Typically theres a living area or family room where everyone congregates for drinks and conversation if theyre not outside on the pool deck. And sometimes the size of one villa bedroom can be as large as an entire hotel room. (Tip: If space is important to you, always check out the square footage of your accommodations before you book!)


Lets face it, theres a lot to be said about the convenience of staying at a hotel and typically having a store, activities, concierge, and restaurants right on the premises. However, unless its an all-inclusive (which many find is the way to go, especially with kids), youre paying for all those meals and it adds up after a while. Because condos and villas have kitchen facilities, they give you the option of buying food at the local grocery store and preparing meals back at your placewhether light snacks or full blown dinners. Many villas also have the advantage of providing or arranging for island chefs to be brought in so you dont have to worry about the cooking chores. Most villas also have gas barbeque grills for the outdoor chef in your family or group.


If fighting the crowds is not your idea of a vacation, then a villa rental may be the way to go. Unless you travel in the off-season, you may spend more time trying to find a lounge chair by the pool than actually relaxing in the sun. Some people dont mind sharing their vacation with strangers, but others see this as a time to spend exclusively with family or friends. Add to that the fact that many villas are located on or next to secluded beaches, and vacation houses win at privacy hands down. One trade off may be that generally villas dont put out lounge chairs on the sand for their guests; however many provide beach chairs to borrow.


This is a hard one to calculate because there are such wide ranges of prices and services from island to island. At first blush, anyone looking at a villa rental may shy away because of the prices. But usually, once you break it down, you can rent a four bedroom villa for about the same price as two standard rooms at a hotel or condo, everything being equal. Compare apples to apples and see how the cost works out for the places you are considering chances are youll actually be paying the same price but getting a lot more space and privacy by renting a villa! (Tip: Be sure and check what is included in the quoted rate. In many Caribbean countries the hotels, condos, and villas must collect a government accommodations tax. Some hotels and condos also add a service fee, which altogether could tack another 20% onto your bill. Ouch!)

So villa, condo, or hotel? You can see that where you stay in the Caribbean requires a little bit of planning. The first step is to decide what features are most important when youre looking for your slice of paradise. For an increasing number of groups, couples, and families, a Caribbean villa rental provides the comfort, privacy and space they desire.

Bob Bouknight is a vacation rental owner on Providenciales, Turks and Caicos. To find out more about the island and his oceanfront Caribbean house rental, go to

Copyright 2005 Omega Properties Ltd.



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