Maximizing ROI: Prepping Your Home as a Vacation Rental

Erin Reynolds

The global vacation rental market is expected to grow to $193.89 billion by 2021. Whether you own a home currently that you want to rent out, or you are looking to purchase a property to use as a vacation rental, you need to do what you can to attract the most visitors and get the best return on your investment (ROI).

Upgrading Your Existing Home

By upgrading your home before you try to rent it out, you can charge higher rates, attract more guests, and garner more positive reviews, thus attracting even more renters. Some home improvements and upgrades make more of an impact on your bottom line than others.

Pay attention to the kitchen

Some tourists rent a vacation home rather than a hotel room because they want to cook and eat homemade meals rather than eating out at restaurants. A beautiful kitchen looks great in listing photos and really draws in customers. Consider refacing cabinets or replacing countertops with upscale materials. Also, a large stainless steel refrigerator is always attractive to renters as well.

Revamp the bathroom

The bathroom is another place where you should invest some money. Visitors want to feel like they are on a relaxing getaway, so turn your bathroom into a spa-like oasis. A large jetted bath tub or a steam sauna are wonderful additions your guests will appreciate.

Don’t forget about the Wi-Fi

One thing that travelers often complain about in vacation rental homes is the Wi-Fi speed. A slow internet connection can easily be remedied by upgrading your service. Do it without hesitation because you don’t want to rack up poor reviews about the slow speed and turn off future renters.

Buying Something New

If you are buying a new property, to maximize your income from the rental, you want it to be in an area that will attract a lot of visitors. Think about the type of properties you would rent when you are going on vacation. Many people prefer a waterfront (or at least waterview) property. For example, research from Tripping.com found that 83 percent of tourists want a vacation home by the ocean or a lake.

Look for a home with low upkeep

You don’t want to spend a big portion of your monthly profits on upkeep and cleaning. Therefore, you should look for a home that is built with low-maintenance materials to save money and hassle in the long run. Metal roofs, which can resemble slate, can withstand inclement weather, are fire resistant, and often come with very long warranties. Inside the house, low-maintenance flooring such vinyl planks and tiles, which are soft underfoot and easy to clean, are wonderful options. Quartz countertops are awesome choices in the kitchen and bathrooms. They are as attractive as granite but resist stains, scratches, and high heat.

Make a good deal

Enlist the services of a reputable real estate agent who knows your area well and try to get the best deal possible on the home. Come in with a solid offer and don’t overpay for what you are getting. If the seller isn’t willing to come down to your price point, be willing to walk away and move on to another property.

Listing Your Property

Before listing the home on Airbnb, Vrbo, or other vacation rental sites, check out your competition. Look at the listings in your area and compare not just the rental prices but all the features and amenities in the homes. Get professional pictures taken of your home, if possible, to increase the occupancy rate. According to Build Up Bookings, travelers will only spend about 59 seconds navigating your website and clicking through your photo. So, you have to make those seconds count with a great impression.

If you want to delve into the vacation rental market, you need to choose a property and a location that will attract visitors. It’s also imperative to keep the home clean, maintained, and updated. And of course, to maximize your occupancy rate and profit, you have to market it well. However with the effort and research, your vacation rental property can bring in a nice stream of income for years to come.

Photo via Pixabay


Catalonia is a bird watcher’s paradise


Catalonia is a wonderful place for bird watching – and we mean of the feathered variety! The incredible, picturesque delta plains and nature reserves of Terres de l’Ebre have over 350 species of birdlife for you to discover. If your Spain vacation rental is in this region and you are a keen ornithologist, then don’t forget your binoculars as this area will be right up your street!

The Els Ports mountain range flanks the River Ebre as it meanders down to the delta and the sea. Keen observers can view rice fields, salt marches and hundreds of pink flamingos – almost unheard of in the western Mediterranean. The birdlife is unrivalled with rare species waiting to be discovered among the flora and fauna.

Andouin’s Gull is one of the rare nesting birds which can be found along the delta, a greater number you are unlikely to see anywhere else in the Mediterranean. The Black Wheatear, Squacco Heron and Boneli’s Eagle also inhabit this area of Spain. Other rare and exotic birds you can expect to see around the Terres de L’Ebre delta include: the red-rumped swallow, collared pratincole and the slender billed gull which first bred in this area. They can easily be discovered at the channel mouth, on the saltpans and along the bays.

In addition to birds if you head up to the Els Ports mountains where you will have the opportunity to explore caves, peaks and gorges which are home to wild boar, otter, roe deer and some Spanish Ibex. You definitely don’t want to visit here without binoculars or your camera.

If your travelling party includes keen photographers and bird-watchers, then this is the ideal place for all of you.  Research the wildlife areas and reserve your villa in the Costa Dorada, you will have all of the rare species, natural beauty and wildlife right on your doorstep. Make up a picnic, fill up your backpack and get ready for the natural adventure of a lifetime.


Unique tourist attractions in the heart of Barcelona

An Olympic Legacy

A unique tourist attraction in the heart of Barcelona, perched on the side of a mountain, is the Olympic Park. The legacy that was left behind after the 1992 games took place there.

The site can be reached easily no matter where you decide to rent a villa in Barcelona thanks to the ease of the city’s public transport system, or if you don’t fancy getting on the train, the climb to the site is not too strenuous.

The Stadium

Montjuic Mountain proved to be the perfect settings for one of the most successful games in history, and transformed that area of the city almost overnight. One of the most important facilities on the site has to be the Olympic Stadium itself. The structure was actually built back in 1929 for the International Exposition, and underwent extreme renovation in just a few years before the games took place.

Montjuic Municipal Pool

All Olympic venues around the world are impressive in their own way, but there is definitely something special about Barcelona site. The pool for example, features stunning views out over the whole city and the mountains in the background.

Palua Sant Jordi and Telecommunications Tower

The Palau Sant Jordi was home to events such as gymnastics, volleyball and handball, and is now one of the most popular venues in the city for musical performances. The tower, a unique feature on the Barcelona skyline, was designed by Spanish architect Calatrava, and has helped to shape a new symbol for the city.

Uses Today

Unfortunately, much of the park remains devoid of use, except of course to pique the interest of the constant flow of visitors stopping to see the venues on their way up or down the mountain. The stadium itself has been the venue of choice for many world-famous music acts such as David Bowie, the Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, Coldplay and many more. It also hosts many sporting events through the year. These are great events to incorporate into your Barcelona holiday.  

If you have a Barcelona holiday rental, then there is no excuse not to pay this historic site a visit. You can also incorporate the mountains many other attractions during your visit.


Catalonia’s Volcanoes

Catalonia’s Volcanoes

When you think about Catalonia, what comes to mind? Sightseeing vacations in Barcelona, enjoying the hustle and bustle of the city? Luxury villas with private pool on the Costa Brava? How about… volcanoes? While we often think of Catalonia as being a very coastal and seaside-y place, it’s important not to forget about the region’s other side; the side that’s a bit wild, a bit unkempt, and very, very unpredictable!

Volcanoes in Catalonia

It is understood that there were once around 30 volcanoes in and around the Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park, but today there are just 4 which remain visually identifiable as volcanoes, with the rest having been absorbed into the local woodland. Book a Catalonia vacation rental in the small town of Olot for a chance to see the volcanoes — Montolivet, Montsacopa, Garrinada, and Bisaroques — in person.

A Symbol of Catalonia

Of these 4 volcanoes, Montsacopa tends to be the most popular amongst visitors on holiday in Spain. That’s because this volcano is one of the best preserved in the region, with the classic cone and crater structure. There are numerous hiking and biking trails all across the volcano — and the other local volcanoes — but don’t worry; there hasn’t been any volcanic activity here for around 12,000 years!

Volcanic Weather

Due to the many volcanoes and mountains in the Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park area, the weather here isn’t quite stereotypical for Spain. It tends to be very hot, very wet, and incredibly humid, which can make it a little uncomfortable for some people. If you want to learn more about Catalonia’s volcanoes without hiking them in the heat, why not visit the Museum of the Volcanoes in Olot? This is a great place to understand more about volcanic activity, and how it has affected the flora and fauna of the region.


Cycling in Catalonia

If your idea of the perfect holiday involves more than lounging around your rented villa with pool in the Costa Brava, then you will be pleased to know there are some exceptional cycle routes in the area too. From the city of Girona to rural villages and coastal cycle paths, there are perfect tours for cyclists and mountain bikers, and beginners to seasoned riders. 

There are kilometres of old railway tracks and greenways awaiting, allowing you to participate in a healthy and exciting family activity. Take a backpack with a picnic or enjoy a tapas lunch in one of the charming villages en-route, you will see more of the picturesque Catalan countryside than you could ever imagine – especially if you are usually the designated driver. In addition to an abundance of fresh, clean air you can enjoy kilometres of lush, green countryside, natural parks, rugged coastline and medieval hilltop villages.

Plan your route accordingly, if you are an experienced cyclist but your travelling party only indulge once or twice a year, choose a route which is suitable for everyone. The terrain needs to be taken into account as well, flat cycle paths are great if you are touring with children, with plenty of stop off points for a beverage and a bite to eat on the way.

If mountain biking is more your thing, leave your Costa Brava vacation rental and head for the Girona Pyrenees area, there are spectacular natural parks, quaint mountain towns, you can also indulge in some downhill biking. Follow the B roads which link the towns of Girona and head off on your merry journey.

If you didn’t arrive at your family villa in Spain by car there are plenty of areas locally where you can cycle along the coastline, and there are places where you can hire bicycles for all the family. Check before you arrive so that you can plan your routes and discover the best that Catalonia has to offer cyclists.


Have you heard of Tossa del Mar?

Although it may not be the largest town on the Costa Brava coastline, Tossa del Mar is arguably one of the most majestic and impressive. Not only is it home to three beautiful beaches, but it also has a dominating castle, quaint old town and an altogether relaxed vibe.

The town centre is bustling and vibrant, with friendly bars and plenty of shops selling souvenirs. The restaurants cater for all ages and tastes, and there is always room to sunbathe on one of the beaches. If you are looking to get out of your villa with a private pool on the Costa Brava for a bit, look no further than these activities.

Explore the old town

The old town is known as Vila Vella, and is the only fully surviving Medieval fortified town in along the coast of Costa Brava. Plus, it boasts stunning views of the sea below. Stepping through the walls you will find yourself in a maze of cobbled alleys, with many bars and restaurants to enjoy.

Castillo de Tossa del mar

The castle that stands perched on the hill is the town’s most impressive feature. You will need to climb a winding path to reach the summit, but when you do you will be rewarded with some beautiful views of the beaches and town. If you don’t fancy the climb, you can always hop on the little land train to take you to the top.

Dog walking

Located just a short walk outside of the town lies the Tossa del Mar animal shelter, and you will certainly hear when you are getting close thanks to the chorus of barking! The shelter is always looked for people to help walk their pooches, and the surrounding area is a great place to go for a stroll with a rescued dog by your side.

Water sports

Although Tossa del Mar is a sleepy little town most of the time, it certainly has its fair share of water sports. Adrenaline seekers can hop on the back of a banana boat, while those that fancy something a little more relaxing can hire a kayak or take to the water on a glass bottom boat.


Outdoor Adventure Travel Guide to Barcelona

Whether you’re a foodie looking for new recipes, an architect looking for inspiration, a photographer looking for a new subject, or a thrill-seeker in search of a new adventure, there’s something for everyone in Barcelona. The capital city of Catalonia, which is also Spain’s second largest city, is quite incomparable because of its stunning architecture and historic sites like the Sagrada Familia, Casa Batllo, and Casa Mila. But apart from these must-see heritage destinations, Barcelona also has adrenaline-inducing outdoor activities. Here are some of our favourites we want to tell you about:

Rowing at Parc de la Ciutadella

To get you warmed up for your outdoor adventure in Barcelona, start by renting a rowboat at Parc de la Ciutadella. The park is a green oasis in the heart of the city and it’s well-known for its inviting and relaxing atmosphere. A small rowboat can be rented for half an hour at a time and will allow you to go around the green lake. You can also feed the ducks at the lake in between rowing. And since the site is vast, Conde Nast Traveler also recommends that you stop by Barcelona’s city zoo and regional parliament—all within the park grounds.

Cycle through the Montjuïc Route

The Montjuïc is home to attractive landmarks like the Joan Miró Foundation, the Olympic Stadium, and the Montjuïc Castle. The biking route begins at Plaça d’Espanya and heads down Av. Reina Maria Cristina. It turns right towards Av. de l’Estadi, which takes you up a gentle climb. If you want a more challenging hike, you can turn left to C/Leida and the Passeig de Santa Madron. You can also go around the Olympic Stadium and then head to Montjüic Castle through Passeig del Migdia. There’s also a hidden outdoor bar at the back of the castle in case you need some refreshments.

Windsurfing the Catalonian Coast

There’s nothing like the windy coves on the northern coast of Barcelona, especially when the conditions are right, with the closest beaches 15 minutes away from Las Ramblas. The seaside neighbourhood of La Barceloneta is one of the local beaches that is popular with thrill seekers, and Barcelona N’ Do says it’s one of the most famous beaches in the city. In the south of Barcelona, you can go to the small bay of Garraf, which is considered one of the most picturesque surf spots in the city. If you like small waves, Garraf is a perfect choice.

Try out Bossaball at Swimming Club Barcelona

The Bossaball court looks more like a water park ride than an actual sporting venue, but it’s a very serious sport despite it being one of the world’s weirdest games. The best way to play it is at the beach with live music – it is as exhilarating as it is challenging. It originated in Spain in 2005 and is played on an inflatable court featuring a trampoline on each side of the net. The trampoline allows the players to jump high, spike the ball over the net and earn points. It’s quite competitive and literally breathtaking as it’s very acrobatic and physically demanding. In Barcelona, you can try it at Club Natació Barcelona, which is just a few kilometres away from some of the best Barcelona vacation rentals/

Hike to the Bunkers del Carmel

From your vacation rental in Barcelona, walk up Parc del Guinardo until you reach the top. It may be a little tiring, but once you get to the bunkers at the top, it will definitely be worth it. Bunkers del Carmel is said to be one of Barcelona’s best-kept secrets, but today it has become well-known for the jaw-dropping panoramic views it affords of the city. You can also access the bunkers via the Carrer de La Gran Vista and follow it around until you come by Carrer del Panorama where you’ll find the famous arbre del l’amour.

Next time you visit Barcelona, we encourage you to go on a food trip so you can get a taste of the local bestsellers and traditional recipes. You should also visit the Font Magica located just below the Palau Nacional, to watch its impressive show of water, music, and light. No matter where you are and what your interest is, there’s something for you in Barcelona. Finding places to stay wouldn’t be a problem, too, as there are a lot of Barcelona villas with pools waiting for travellers like you.

Piece specially submitted to catalunyacasas.com

Submitted by: JBroadbent


Hiking along the Costa Brava

If you love nature, the great outdoors, and keeping active, then rent a villa on the Costa Brava, where you’ll have easy access to one of Spain’s most spectacular hiking trails: Camino de Ronda. Considered to be Costa Brava’s ‘hiking gem’, the path travels all 136 miles between Blanes in Catalonia to Collioure in France, and is a great alternative to the much longer 450-mile Camino de Santiago Frances Trail.

Camino de Ronda — Day Hike

For many visitors to Catalonia, hiking the entire 136-mile trail may be a bit too much. However, the good news is that it’s possible to just walk a small section of the path in one day, which can give you a great taste of the coastal path. Start in Calella de Palafrugell and walk up to the lighthouse in Llafranc before walking back again. In some places, the trail goes right along the beach for amazing views.

Camino de Ronda — Through Hike

Travelling all the way between Blanes and Collioure is a big journey, but it can be done! If you find it difficult to pack lightly, consider arranging for luggage transfer through a company in Spain. These companies drive your bags from one villa in Spain to another, so you can enjoy a lightweight walk in the day but still have all your little luxuries waiting for you at your destination.

Why Walk the Costa Brava Trail?

There are many wonderful things to see in Catalonia, but it’s impossible to see them all from your Spain holiday rental. By taking a walk away from the main tourist destinations, you’ll stumble across hidden beaches and secret coves, tiny fishing villages and inland beauty spots; all places that you wouldn’t have found if you’d stayed in the more well-known places.

Camino de Ronda Accommodations

The great news is that the Camino de Ronda trail runs right through a number of popular resort destinations, including Lloret de Mar, Tossa del Mar, and Cap de Creus, which means that there’s a wide range of Spain holiday rentals available along the track. This allows you to really take your time, walk at a pace that’s comfortable for you, and really make the most of the incredible sights along the way.

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The best hiking trails in Catalonia

Leaving your deluxe Catalonia villa rental might not be high on your list of things to do on holiday (especially if you’ve opted for a luxurious villa with private pool in Spain!), but it really is worth taking some time to get out and enjoy the country’s stunning natural beauty. While many people choose to rent a car, there are much better ways to enjoy the sights and sounds of the region; taking a bike ride in Catalonia, for example, or perhaps even donning the walking boots and heading off on the hiking trails.

Here are some of the best walking routes in Catalonia.

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  • Sant Jeroni Trail, Montserrat

Taking just over one hour in total, this is an excellent hiking route for people of all ability levels. There’s a sharp ascent up to the summit, but it’s worth the effort for the breathtaking views over the Llobregat valley. If you’re staying in a Barcelona accommodation, it’s easy to get to the start of the trail; take a train to Montserrat-Aeri, and then the St. Joan funicular.

  • GR92, Blanes – Lloret

The GR92 long-distance walking route covers a whopping 362 miles between Portbou and Vilanova, but there’s a very manageable and stunning coastal section for leisure hikers between Blanes and Lloret. At just over three miles one way, it’s even good for kids, and it’s a handy and convenient option for those with a holiday rental in Costa Brava. The beach at Lloret is stunning, so spend some time there if you can!

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  • Footpath 1, Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park

If you fancy heading a little bit inland, there’s nowhere better than the Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park. There are more than 20 different trails in the park, but footpath 1 is arguably one of the best. A loop trail covering just over six miles, this path takes you to the Santa Margarida crater, which is much more lush and green than you may think. It’s a tiring walk, but it will be a highlight of your vacation in Spain.

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