The biggest surprise for most first-time European villa vacationers is how
delightfully different a stay in a private home can be. The second biggest
surprise can be the size of the utility bills, if they are not included.
No matter how much we pay at home for electricity, heating, water,
telephone, and television (and gas for the car!), it's a good bet that all will
cost more in Europe. In some cases, it's simply that utilities are more
expensive to produce; in other cases, it's because space heaters and other
make-shift solutions in ancient but atmospheric (and often uninsulated) villas
are costly to operate.
The allure of villa photos and descriptions—and the fantasy of living
like the natives—can obscure the reality of heat, electricity and phone
charges, no matter how prominently they're detailed or explained by your travel
Our advice: Be prepared!
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