Prairie Chickens and Other Strange Birds – Adventure Travels!

It’s 3:30 in the morning, dark, no sign of a sunrise. We slog through soggy marshland. April is not always kind. It’s cold, damp. What the hell are we doing here near Plover, Wisconsin in the middle of a freezing night? Finally, we arrive at a low building, a blind. If you stand to your full height, even mine!… you bang you head on the roof boards. We sit on low benches, peer through slits in the structure. Like a bunker on a battlefield! And then, daylight pops up like a mylar helium balloon let fly by a child with greasy fingers. I’d missed it, sunrise; maybe I nodded off… I look through the narrow window; there they are! Dozens of them. Prairie chickens! Dancing wildly, horny, moaning madly, revealing the full majesty of their gorgeous feathery sex apparatus!

What a terrific, comic performance! They puff out brilliant orange sacs beneath their throats, drum their little feet, dance furiously to attract a mate. Territorial males leap into the air to warn off other males, interlopers. Then attraction happens!… A successful male bows to a female. She shakes her ruffled feathers. It’s done. They’re married, or mated in non-anthropological speak! A field breakfast follows, including thick hash brown potatoes served from an enormous, deep-sided baking pan. And meaty things!

This was one of a several remarkable trips conjured by and taken with precious friends, Rob and Susie. All of them unusually different, and all memorable and filled with strange delights in the unique manner of each. Near Lansing, Iowa, we floated along the Mississippi witnessing great bird migrations. The were swans and masses of coots, goat prairies, bald eagles, even a mink foraging for food along a wing dam. Prior to this voyage, I’d never before witnessed swans in full flight. Never seen so many coots gathered together on a single slice of river… (“Coots” meaning birds. Not geezers playing checkers in coffee cafes and saloons!)

That Mississippi River journey may have given us the idea for another. We four rented a houseboat out of Alma, Wisconsin. Spent one evening in an inlet. Built a fire, sang “Old Man River.” Wonderful time. On the second night, after a day of prowling the Great River, passing magnificent-looking barge tugs, we beached ourselves between a pair of wing dams. In the middle of the night, we were roused twice, once by a thump, once by a passing barge urged slowly along by a brilliantly-lit tug, so beautiful in the darkness of the still river. The thump was, we thought, a tree branch that had lodged itself under our houseboat. Couldn’t budge the “branch” no matter how the four of us tried! Turned out to be an entire tree! Had to summon Captain Jack of the rental service and his powerful motorboat. He, too, couldn’t believe the size of the tree that anchored us to the shoreline. Spotted an eagle’s nest so large the four of us could have moved in with kitchen appliances and lounge chairs… maybe too a Murphy Bed!

In Mexico, we discovered a spider monkey preserve near Akumal. The four of us spent more than an hour interacting with the monkeys in a large, cage-like enclosure. We fed them snacks, and they, in turn, picked “artifacts” from our hair and skin (or whatever it was they found and ate!). Such wonderful groomers! Inquisitive but almost always gentle (save for a few little nips, occasionally)! The seafood restaurant was superior. The palapas-sheltered “Turtle Beach” was gorgeous to behold! The ferryboat trip to and from Cozumel was perilous, with huge swells on an angry Caribbean. We all thought we’d capsize and drown in the roiling azure soup! But (maybe you read about it in the Playa del Carmen Porque-Pescado!), we survived to sail another day… (Petitions of thanksgiving to Saint Elmo… ).

Most recently, we traveled to Starved Rock State Park in north central Illinois. A place of magnificent rock formations, waterfalls, streams and wildlife, including funny-looking tourists. Great hiking trails. Prior to our arrival, not far from the park, we stopped in Lasalle, near Lock 16, to ride an authentic canal boat powered by a single mule named “Mo.” By the by, we highly recommend Lock 16 Cafe in that charming community. Wonderful food, great people! Starved Rock (named for a Native-American battle site on which the vanquished were starved out of their stronghold!) is located on the shores of the Illinois River. The lodge and cabins are beautiful, welcoming and comfortable. What’s that? Oh sure, we’d go back there!

We’ve often thought about a possible Geezers’ Guide to Great Travel Adventures and Good Restaurants That Cater to a More “Seasoned” and Thus Discerning Traveler (Working title!). As a sampling, and to whet your appetite (you’ll please forgive the obvious attempt… ), you should try Greenfire in Rockford, Illinois. It’s on our “Big / Lots of Stars” listing of fine commercial cuisine. Here’s another… Cafe McGregor in McGregor, Iowa, just across the Big River from Prairie du Chien, WI. I think we liked The Blue Heron in Winona, MN where we stopped to dine during our auto excursion along the Great River Road. And, they have an Eagle Museum and (a kind of) sanctuary in Winona. Lots of information about the Mississippi River Eagle population, their comeback from near extinction. The place has a pet or mascot eagle that was wounded and now lives in quiet harmony with staff and visitors, and you can have your photo taken with the eagle. She likes people!

Adventure travel need not be confined to the young. Those who are fit and willing can experience great adventures. The trick is to explore the possibilities. The prairie chicken mating ritual, for example, is a marvelous experience. Ours was enjoyed on a chilly April morning from a blind near Plover, Wisconsin. The Mississippi River is a magnificent natural American resource, and a vantage point from which to see a great variety of wildlife, including swans, coots, bald eagles, even mink. House boating on the Mississippi is an unforgettable experience. The sight of great river tug boats plowing through the current, pushing their great barges loaded with commercial cargo is magnificent to behold. Compare that to noisy semi-trailer trucks spewing exhaust fumes on the nations’ interstate highways, and only one remembered vision will remain. We are a nation of outstanding national parks, it’s true, but many state parks are more than worth the time. A prime example is Starved Rock State Park in north central Illinois. Waterfalls, remarkable rock formations, hiking trails and rich with history, not to mention its location on the shores of the Illinois River. The point is, adventure travel is a treasure, and one that can be mined by anyone, at any age.

28 Jun 2016

How to Connect With Locals While Traveling: Eat More Local

I love to sample new foods and I love to try things that are very local. Hojaldres, for instance, are Panama’s equivalent to fried dough and when served with breakfast make you feel like you are getting eggs at the fair.

There is a tendency for travelers to eat at places that look clean and have a nice ambiance. Occasionally those places are fun to visit because they offer high-end foods that appeal to the tourist’s tongue. But they are usually expensive and, in all honesty, don’t always offer the best food.

Little local joints typically don’t look the cleanest from the outside and in some cases look down right terrifying. I am fearless when it comes to trying new places to eat, but occasionally I have paid a very dear price for my bravery.

Once I stopped at a little restaurant in Mexican Rivera Maya, just south of Cancun. It consisted of two plastic tables sitting outside a tiny cement home. Two people were sitting there, but they had the appearance of being family. I figured it would be a great way to meet people and try something local at the same time so I took a seat at the red plastic table and ordered a bowl of seafood soup.

Big mistake.

The soup looked so interesting. It had fish and squid and shrimp and clams along with yucca and carrots and potatoes and right in the middle of the bowl was an oyster still in the shell. Often soups in Central America have bits of things in them that require a little work to get at. An ear of corn that needs to be picked up and nibbled or a piece of pork that is still on the bone. So I happily attacked the large sea shell and ingested its contents.

To this day I do not know if it was the oyster inside the shell or the fact that a possibly unwashed shell was in my soup that had me running to the bathroom for the next 2 weeks. Either way, the results were less than desirable.

So how do you find good local food in a manner that you can be pretty sure won’t give you similar results?

Look for the crowd.

The locals don’t want to get sick any more than you do.

Places that don’t have a big turn over of customers have food lying around in less than ideal conditions and that makes for less than ideal conditions in your stomach. Local people know where to find the best deal with the best food for sure. But they also know where to find food that won’t make them sick.

Central America is a wonderfully free place with less regulations and rules to stop people from opening their own little businesses. And that is great because it allows for a small family to open up a eatery with a minimum of fuss. That does however mean that the kitchen may be a little less than sanitary or the food may be less than fresh.

So follow the locals. Go where you see the crowds. You can even stop at someone’s table and ask what they recommend on the menu. They will be excited you asked and feel honored to give their opinion.

When I lived in Mexico we used to go to a little seafood place in La Colonia (the poor part of a famous and dear-to-my-heart fishing village). It was packed most of the time. Again, there were red plastic tables. But this time there were people coming and going and talking and laughing and slurping soup everywhere.

The first time we sat down I leaned over and asked a handsome Mexican man wearing a nice button up shirt what was the best thing on the menu. He recommended the seafood soup. I’d already had some experience with sea food soup as I mentioned earlier.

But I was unafraid (well mostly unafraid) so I ordered a bowl. Again, I found a bowl with shrimp and fish and squid and clams and I think this one had octopus too. This time it was served over a huge mound of rice and topped with fresh slices of avocado and lime. I added a little hot sauce (it kills bacteria. I bet you thought the Mexicans just like their food hot) and dug in.


That little restaurant became my favorite La Colonia joint for the next year and a half and I got to know the owner, his brother, and many of the people who lived in the town just by stopping by to slurp down a bowl of soup.

28 Jun 2016

Discovering the Beautiful and Historic Country of Indonesia

When speaking of magnificent tourist destinations in the world, the beautiful exotic nation of Indonesia is certainly one of the most worth considering ones. It is a breathtaking country that is particularly located in the Southeast part of Asia. It is very popular for having great numbers of volcanic islands. Indonesia is even very famous in the entire world because of the numerous tribes that are living all over the country, especially to the remote places here. The city of Jakarta is the capital of the country, and its current President is Joko Widodo.

The Rich History of Indonesia

A million years ago, the entire Indonesian archipelago was inhabited by the so-called “Java Man” or the “Homo Erectus”. Homo Sapiens were said to arrive in this archipelago 45,000 years in the past. All of these facts can be confirmed by the fossils and foils found by historians and archaeologists in the different regions of the country. Austronesian people who came from Taiwan arrived here way back in 2000 BCE, and these people were said to be the ancestors of Melanesian people who are currently living in the far eastern regions of Indonesia.

Around 13th century, the Islamic era came into existence in the northern part of Sumatra. This was the beginning of the Islam religion in the entire archipelago, until it became the religion of the majority of Indonesian people. Europeans began arriving in Indonesia way back in the year 1512 in order to monopolize some Indonesian products such as cubeb pepper, cloves, and nutmeg. These Europeans were Portuguese, British, and Dutch people.

Indonesia was once colonized by the Japanese colonizers. During their colonizations, forced labor was implemented to the Indonesian people, causing the unreasonable deaths of 4 million people. However, the founder father of Indonesia, whom was Surkarno, did his best to achieve the independence of the country. Because of this, he was chosen to be the very first President of the country.

Tourism in Indonesia

For sure, it is not new to you that Indonesia has been visited by thousands of foreign tourists every single day. This is the main reason why Indonesia is included in the top list of most amazing tourist destinations in the entire world. Its rich culture and its abundant nature are two of the main things that stir the interests of numerous tourists from all over the world to come here. The tropical climate here is loved by the Western people.

Indonesia is also home for gorgeous historic temples such as the Borobudur and the Prambanan Temples. The well-preserved natural ecosystem in Indonesia is also being adored by millions of tourists like the rainforests in Kalimantan and Sumatra regions. When it comes to beaches, Indonesia is also a world-class one like the white sand beaches in Bali.

Truly, Indonesia is an amazing country to visit when you are considering a vacation in Asia.

28 Jun 2016

10 Must Visit Places Around the World

Need a break from that hectic routine? What can be better than travelling to a completely new place? Nothing can be more refreshing than a vacay in one of the following destinations, because each one of them is filled with amazing fun. A few of the must consider places to visit are mentioned below:

Krabi in Thailand

Sun-kissed beaches, pellucid blue water well buckled with a perfect climate is an ideal quick-fix when you want a small break from the everyday normal life.

Srinagar in kashmir

Srinagar, a true heaven on earth, beautifully curled up amid the adored Himalayan range. Experience and enjoy some time near the Dal Lake or in the houseboat floating on the waters, here you can do some woolgathering about a fairy tale lifestyle.

Colombo in Sri Lanka

Enjoy the best of the town life and lavish beaches in the capital city of Sri Lanka. Spend your complete day lounging on the beachside and end it with club-hopping in the city.

Tokyo in japan

Tokyo is a whole new world in Japan that will make you question everything you have ever believed about life. Just imagine person with a tattoo cannot enter into a swimming pool here. One can just feel calm at the charming cherry blossom trees well segmented here.

Pattaya in Thailand

Pattaya has it all from glossy beaches, sparkling waters and an amazing seaside mall. What else do you want to relax your mind and body?

Amalfi Coast in Italy

One will never forget the time spent in the beautiful town of Italy – Amalfi Coast. The graceful mountains liquefy into the astonishing sea, making Amalfi an opulent city to visit. You can enjoy great cuisines, good wine and amazing people here. It is a perfect place to untangle and will take you away from the mundane life.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands

An exotic destination to enjoy some adventurous activities like scuba-diving in the crystal clear waters of Andaman. You can explore the colourful treasure under the sea here. Plan a family beach vacation and spend some gala time with your dear ones.

Istanbul in Turkey

An ancient city, Istanbul in Turkey is an exemplary source of architecture. It is worth visiting at least once. If you love to see the aesthetics, then the city has beautiful domes that justifies the rule of various dynasties and has left its hints behind.

Morocco in North Africa

It is rightly accepted that Morocco is the most divergent country place in Northern Africa. One will find that this place has the fabulous desert well infusing into the grandiose Atlas Mountain range that has tons of attractions to offer to its visitors.

Bali in Indonesia

Bali in Indonesia is just like achingly beautiful scenery. Head out to this gorgeous island destination for some much-needed soul-searching session. Practice some yoga, get rejuvenating massages and calmly meditate on the beach or just have a perfect sunbathe for an easygoing holiday.

28 Jun 2016

Renting a Condo Proves to Be a Great Vacation Decision

Finding a condo for rent seems to be a popular decision as of late for travel parties of any size. The lifestyle itself is enjoyable for most vacationers as they are very convenient to popular attractions and areas. However, it’s important to realize a condo for rent is much different than renting an apartment or home. Anyone interested in securing a condo for vacation should consider some things before they put down a deposit.

Tips for Renting from a Condo Owner

Most of the available condos for rent are offered by the real owner, as many facilities have a certain amount of rentals that the owner is allowed to have and it often helps them pay the rent themselves, especially if it’s in a very popular place. Then again, some are offered by agencies.

When a vacationers rents a condo from the owner, they should know that they are actually signing a lease with them for the condo unit. If they have any issues with the condo for rent, such as repairs that need to be performed, they’ll need to talk with the unit’s owner. Most times, the HOA or homeowner association can’t help. They only thing they handle is areas outside the unit, or common areas. Anything in side may need to be handled by the owner or whomever is currently renting. This should all be in the contract, so It’s important to read it thoroughly.

Reading the Lease

The condo for rent’s owner should give those renting a complete lease that outlines all the terms. Whether they are staying for a few days, a week or a month it should be quite thorough. This is not something that a renter should just scan over and sign blindly. Items included should cover maintenance, responsibilities, any HOA fees, and other specifics on the rental to include any necessary deposits and how they can have that fee returned at the end of the stay.

If not included with the lease, renters should ask the condo owner about the rules and regulations of the condo for rent so there are no complications that could lead to issues for either party.

Rules Can Be Extensive

Condos for rent carry HOA rules and regulations, they usually cover everything from where to park to any noise regulations and allowable amount of visitors to name a few. There can be fees related to breaking these rules so it is crucial to know them ahead of time. Repeated fines can result in the owner being evicted or having legal actions against them as well. Be sure when securing condos for rent that everything is clear to avoid any issues.

If any of the policies within the rental documents, make the potential renter uncomfortable they should look elsewhere. Typically, they are quite fair although they are extensive.

The Benefits

While some of this information may seem daunting, condos for rent are typically in great shape due to the HOA standards, and offer vacationers a great property to enjoy at an affordable rate, even for lengthy stays. Condos can be small, for just a couple people or feature several bedrooms. Condos for rent are usually in prime areas across the country, so when renting one can expect to be near the action.

In addition, they usually have great amenities like swimming pools, gyms, saunas and jacuzzi as well as areas to grill out. The ability to have a kitchen also helps travel parties save money because they can get groceries rather than eat out their entire stay. These are just some of the benefits that come with condos for rent, and part of what makes them so highly sought after amongst vacationers. Just be sure to check all the fine print and the stay will go on without a hitch.

Manuel Antonio Rental Properties. It is a company that operates out of Costa Rica, and offers up many options for vacation rentals. The perfect property comes along with hospitality and warmth that truly makes a vacation special. Luxury rental homes, villas and condos are available all with ocean views or beach front excitement. The company also takes care of property management. With a reputation for high quality rentals combined with their knowledge of the area. They can recommend eateries, activities, and more to keep everyone in your party happy. Once quoted, most can’t afford to not consider using their services.

28 Jun 2016

3 Good Reasons to Choose a Beachfront Villa for Your Holiday

There are many fantastic holiday destinations around the globe offering luxury villa rentals, whether high in the hills with stunning views over mountain ranges and jungle, or right by the beach providing easy access to sun, sea and sand. Whether you are traveling in Asia, Africa or the Caribbean, you will find many stunning hot spots with excellent accommodation options.

Renting a luxury villa is often a popular choice with many as it allows freedom from the constrictions of hotels, and it also can provide greater value for money if booking as a family or a group. Furthermore, this often provides a greater sense of privacy that many people covet.

Villas come in all shapes and sizes, and in a variety of locations, including on the beachfront. Here are several reasons why luxury villa rentals in these particular beach front locations could be a particularly great idea for you and your traveling party.

First of all, a beachfront villa is great for the simple fact that this offers unparalleled access to the sand and the sea, and many villas actually have access to private beaches. For those who enjoy lounging on the soft white sands working on their tan, there really is no better location to book your accommodation.

Furthermore, renting a villa on the beach rather than a hotel on the beach will give you far more private access to the area immediately in front of your property. Hotels can be full of hundreds of guests all looking to get a spot on the beach, whereas you can stake your place early in the morning before any other holidaymakers arrive.

In addition to the easy and privileged access to the beach, luxury villa rentals located in this particular area are also great as they provide the most fantastic views to enjoy on your break. Not everyone has the luxury of living by the sea normally, and renting villa with a view of the sand and the waves can be an incredible treat.

Even if you do not spend that much time on the beach, many villas right in front of the sea will have decking areas or patios where you can enjoy a barbeque whilst looking out to sea at sunset, or enjoy breakfast whilst the sun is rising over the ocean in the morning. All of this will help you feel incredibly relaxed and pampered on your trip away.

It should also be mentioned that being by the sea at night can be incredibly relaxing as you listen to the sound of the waves. Compared to being in the jungle, which can be loud, or in the town center where there is traffic, many beachfront spots are incredibly calm and soothing to stay at.

Thirdly and finally, another great reason why luxury villa rentals on the beach are so fantastic is that they are often excellent value for money. This may seem surprising considering that this is such a prime location, but there are actually many financial benefits to this particular type of accommodation.

The reason for this is that beach villas are some of the most common types of villa available due to their popularity. This means that off season and during quieter times of the year the owners of these properties face a great deal of competition to fill their properties with holiday makers. Considering this, there may be opportunity to get a real price deal here.

Also – as mentioned above – there is also the advantage that you can spread the cost if you are traveling with a group, or enjoy a price reduction when compared to booking a hotel for a family. These savings in addition to the advantages of staying in a beachfront villa can actually make it very financially worth your while and great value for money.

At Rent A Barbados Villa we have been providing Barbados vacation rentals for holidaymakers for 13 years. All the Barbados holiday homes on our website are privately owned and have local house managers in place to ensure your villa holiday experience is as special and memorable as possible. We aim to deliver first class customer service throughout the booking process, from sending same day quotes to organizing car hire or airport transfers for you. We can even see that groceries are delivered to your holiday rental for your arrival. Our objective is to provide quality Barbados holiday rentals, with something to suit everyone. These include luxury villas on the beach in Barbados, exclusive Royal West moreland villa rentals, Sandy Lane holiday villas and holiday homes in the popular St. Lawrence Gap region of Barbados plus many more. To find out more

28 Jun 2016

Why You Should Consider a Villa for Your Next Vacation

When we look to book a holiday to an exotic location, one of the first things that we think about is the type of accommodation that we are going to stay in. There are plenty of options now available in top destinations around the world, including luxury villas on the beach, boutique hotels, glamping or camping, hostel stays and much more.

One of the best decisions you could make when going on holiday is staying in a villa. Although many people might assume that this is out of their budget, here are some compelling reasons that you should definitely consider it – you may well be surprised and find that this kind of accommodation is perfectly suited to the type of vacation that you had in mind.

One of the major advantages of staying in a villa is the fact that you have complete privacy compared to virtually any other type of accommodation, as you will often find yourself renting an entirely independent property with all of its own facilities and amenities. This means that, as a group or a family, you can really relax and enjoy yourselves together.

This can differ significantly from staying in a hotel or hostel, or staying on a campsite. In these locations you can often find that you will end up sharing space with a large number of different people, which means that you have to be extra conscious of your behavior, the time that you use communal facilities and much more.

Conversely, renting villas on the beach or in the hills means that you can really have home from home. You can dine when you want, use the property as you please and generally spend your time in the accommodation exactly as you like.

Another advantage of staying in a villa is that it is great for children, and this ties in closely with the point made above. Indeed, one of the main issues of traveling abroad with children is that they require constant supervision, especially in hotels, campsites or in other communal areas.

A villa effectively removes this concern, as long as children are aware of the boundaries of the property and what they are allowed and not allowed to do on it. Not only do you to have to worry about them getting lost or finding themselves in danger, but they can also have the freedom to play as they want, which is next to impossible in a hotel.

It should also be mentioned that renting a villa often gives you a great deal more choice of location where you stay, and you can choose villas on the beach, a villa in the hills or a property in the town center, as you see fit. Finding a great hotel in a location that you like can be a lot harder.

If you do decide to rent villas on the beach, you can also potentially benefit from private beach access, which can make for some incredible memories from your vacation. On other properties you may also benefit from a large garden, a private swimming pool and many other private areas that just you and your traveling party can enjoy.

Finally, you may find that villas actually offer excellent value for money, which is not necessarily the case with other options that are available to you. This is because you can often spread out the cost of villa rental between the friends that you are traveling with, or you could find that renting a villa is actually cheaper than booking separate rooms in a hotel for your family.

Of course, this all depends on the country that you are traveling to and the property that you rent, but there are many affordable, fantastic villa rental options out there that are well worth your consideration when going abroad.

At Rent A Barbados Villa we have been providing Barbados vacation rentals for holidaymakers for 13 years. All the Barbados holiday homes on our website are privately owned and have local house managers in place to ensure your villa holiday experience is as special and memorable as possible. We aim to deliver first class customer service throughout the booking process, from sending same day quotes to organising car hire or airport transfers for you. We can even see that groceries are delivered to your holiday rental for your arrival. Our objective is to provide quality Barbados holiday rentals, with something to suit everyone. These include luxury villas on the beach in Barbados, exclusive Royal Westmoreland villa rentals, Sandy Lane holiday villas and holiday homes in the popular St. Lawrence Gap region of Barbados plus many more.

28 Jun 2016

Vacation Rental Management Companies: The Inside Secrets

Large Vacation Rental Companies Inside Scoop

You have a vacation rental and you have decided that you want to earn some income to offset the expense so you are thinking about hiring a vacation rental company to help you. How do you decide which one is best for you? What should you look for and what should you look out for?

I have seen this from both sides of the street as an owner who hired a different management companies and as a management company owner. In most high traffic tourist and vacation rental areas there will be a few very large vacation rental management companies and many smaller companies. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.

We want to take a look at the larger vacation rental companies exploring the advantages and disadvantages. Many owners make the assumption that “if they are bigger they must be better”. These companies receive a lot of traffic on their websites and usually pay to do Internet marketing to get greater exposure on Internet searches by potential guests. They often do a good amount of additional advertising such as billboards in the community. The larger companies have fulltime staff to handle emergencies as they come up. Many will offer professional photography and copywriting at no charge to gain your listing if you contract for a year of representation. We believe that high quality photographs and copy are essential to your success so this is a huge bonus. Often larger vacation rental companies have staff handymen and women as well as property managers to oversee listings.

Now, let’s take a look at some of the negatives of the larger vacation rental companies. Using the analogy of a pie, when you are listed with a very large company you are a very small slice of a very large pie. If the vacation rental company has 200 listings then you are one two hundredth of the pie. To earn a profit larger companies often add undisclosed fees like lawn care and trash removal. They also often collect guest service fees and additional guest fees to offset expenses incurred due to staff, insurance, and advertising expenses. This increases your actual per night rental rate.

Logically there is not a great deal of concern for each individual owner rather a concern for profits and margins. It can also be difficult to reach your contact person because after all they have 200 owners to communicate with and that is not easy for the one or two main sales people. One of the largest problems we have come across, in the North Georgia Mountain area, is hiring honest, reliable, drug and crime free staff. Cleaners are particularly hard to find. The question is what percent of the cleaners hired by a large vacation rental company don’t have a problem with crime or drugs. Since the large company requires a huge number of cleaners and cleaners work outside the office it is difficult to insure that there are not many bad apples in the bunch until after something bad happens. Larger companies are highly concerned with the bottom line so they tend to pay cleaners and non-income producing staff lower wages. The combination of low wages and poorly screened staff contribute to problems such as theft.

If you choose to hire a large vacation rental company make sure to look for any hidden fees you may be charged. Ask about the staff and how they are screened along with how access to your unit is controlled. We also suggest that you rent a unit from the company you are looking at before you contact them to represent you. As a guest, you will experience everything your guests experience and you can decide if that is how you want to be represented.

28 Jun 2016

5 Things To Look For That A Vacation Rental Cabin Is Clean

It is easy to dust, vacuum and mop a vacation rental and make it appear to be clean when in fact some important aspects have been overlooked. We want to share 5 details you can look for to make sure you are staying in a truly clean vacation rental.

Clean and sanitary are two entirely different things. No vacation rental will be completely sanitary but many steps can be taken to ensure that guests are as protected as possible.

Vacation rentals such as cabins are often located in areas that are surrounded by woods where bugs and pests are hard to avoid. Gravel roads create a lot of dust that can get into the cabin via air or tracked in on shoes. Some of this dust is unavoidable but there should be very little. The same it true of sand in beach locations. Small amounts of dust or sand are to be expected.

There are several things that should be standard sanitary practice for a vacation rental. Our standards are very high and our cleaners have a checklist that must be completed and is checked by a property manager. Many vacation rental owners and managers overlook critical sanitary practices.

• Mattresses should have waterproof mattress cover and those covers should be clean. Waterproof mattress covers can be plastic or cloth and will be marked as waterproof.

• Pillows should be covered with plastic or cloth pillow protectors. A pillow protector is placed over the pillow and then the pillowcase is placed on top of the pillow protector.

• The hot tub water should be clear with no residue or scum visible along the edges. The hot tub should be warm (85-100). You should be provided enough shock to put in the spa after each use or at least one per day. There should be a bromine floater in the hot tub. A bromine floater will usually be a grey floating device easily spotted in the tub.

• The refrigerator should be empty and spotless. The ice in the icemaker should not have any odor and the icemaker should be turned on. Just to be safe it never hurts to empty the ice and let the icemaker make fresh ice. There should be no odor in the refrigerator.

• Glasses, dishware, silverware, pots, and pans should all be clean and neatly put away. All dishes, pots, pan, silverware, bake ware should be in good shape. Glassware should not have any chips.

Along with the 5 suggestions listed above. Make sure ceiling fans, baseboards, and the corners of the floor are clean. You will never find perfection in a vacation rental but you can find very high standards. If you come across some issues notify the rental agent or the owner and allow them time to correct the problem to your satisfaction. Remember many vacation rentals are rented by the owner so they do not have a staff that can address everything in a matter of minutes. That said, a good vacation rental owner or manager should address your issues as promptly as possible.

Log Cabin Rentals Blue Ridge offers superior service to both owners and guests.

28 Jun 2016

The Heavenly Island on the Earth: Paxos for Greek Island Villa Holiday!

If you love to explore the rare beauty of nature, then Paxos is the best destination to fulfill your dreams. It’s unseen beauty is just adorable with its tranquility and Greek lifestyle. Little rugged and little soft, this is the perfect emblem of nature with olive groves, white cliffs, calm sea water, and Sea caves. This is the Island paradise with lots of amazing landscapes and beaches. However, this is the smallest one on the Ionian Sea with just 19 km square, but has about 30 beaches to explore. All the beaches have stones and pebbles to make your walk wonderful.

If you want to spend some time in peace, then Paxos is made to offer the seclusion at best. It is visited by a very selective crowd of people, who want to take a break from their busy life. There is no airport, which makes this Island unspoilt and far from the reach of most of the people. Visitors can come to this Island through ferries only. There is no other way to reach here, and this is the reason this place is out from the hustle bustle.

Its three harbor villages – Lakka, Loggos, and Giaos are good for day-tripping and yachting. You can enjoy the restful life here by relaxing at beach side in the sunny Mediterranean climate. You can do snorkeling, water skiing, swimming, and diving in the calm sea water. You can experience the Greek style of food also in the traditional tavernas, which are situated around harbors to offer a variety of delicious food.

Its simplicity and elegance enchant honeymooners and families most. If a romantic and peaceful family stay is possible somewhere in the Greece, then Island of Paxos is the only destination. The amazing terrain with olive grove surroundings can make your walk to the pathways incredible.

If you have plans to spend the vacation peacefully on this beautiful island, then you don’t need to worry about your stay. A little preparation is enough to offer you the comfort and leisure under the arms of nature. You can find several villas here to make your stay luxurious at affordable rates. Each villa is designed to cater you the privacy and serenity.

These villa apartments are enough to make your trip to this Island memorable with lots of amenities. All these rentals are situated near beaches, but are separated from each other to offer the seclusion at best. They are privately owned villas, which are designed according to Greek culture. You can experience the Greek culture very closely, making your stay in such rentals.

If you are planning for Greek Island villa holidays, then choose Paxos and start making prior bookings for the villa apartments to avoid unavailability. However, this is not a crowded place, but early bookings can remove your tension for the stay. You can comfortably enjoy your journey and can get a place for a restful stay, without any hassle. So, pack your backpack with all your essentials, and start your journey for this beautiful Island.

28 Jun 2016