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Villa Life: Finding Your Way
By Hideaways Staff

Deciphering the directions to your villa

Of all the aspects of villa vacationing, we probably get the most complaints about finding the house! Deciphering the owner/manager's directions can sometimes be the biggest "adventure" of your getaway.

Avoid getting off on the wrong foot (who wants to start a vacation by getting lost?) by doing a bit of homework before you get behind the wheel of your rental car.

  • Bring the owner/manager's name and phone number, including exact dialing instructions (e.g., use the "0" in European city/town codes when calling from within the country).
  • Give yourself a break. If you arrive after a long plane ride and after the sun goes down, consider spending the first night in a hotel. You'll be much fresher in the morning.
  • Before leaving home, get your hands on the most detailed map of the region available—like the four-miles-to-the-inch maps distributed by Britain's RAC—and compare the written directions with roads on the map. The internet is another source of detailed maps for some regions.
  • Study the map so you're familiar with the names of nearby villages/towns, landmarks, and the general layout of the major roads.
  • Review the common road signs.
  • Practice a few phrases in the local language ("I am looking for the village of . . .").
  • Appoint a "navigator"—the person in your group with the best map skills and sense of direction.
  • Add an hour to the time you think it will take you to arrive. Remember, this is a vacation!
  • Keep your sense of humor. Getting there can be half the fun, even if it's by a circuitous route! Think of it as your first day of exploring.

Spring 1999

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