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.


3 Must-See Monuments and Statues in Barcelona

So, you rented a beautiful villa in Barcelona. Now what? Well, you’re going to want to explore this amazing city! And here are 3 monuments and statues that you won’t want to miss.

Casa Batllo

The exterior of Casa Batllo reminds one of candy castles and Dr. Seuss. It is an exceptional work of Modernism art and will draw your attention all on its own. But the interior holds even more surprises. Expect to find beautiful architectural details from Antoni Gaudí and go on a tour you will never forget. From the attic and chimneys to the noble floor that was the residence of the Batllo family, each room is a piece of art and history mixed with a touch of magic.

La Pedrera

This amazing stone quarry is not what you would expect. La Pedrera was so-named because its façade resembles an open quarry. It was built by Antoni Gaudí and is now the headquarters of Catalunya La Pedrera Foundation.

During the day, when you visit this beautiful site, you’ll learn more about Antoni Gaudí and will go through the entire museum, discovering amazing and beautiful works of art that just can’t be seen anywhere else in the world. You even get to see what life was like in the early 20th century.

But don’t miss out on the spectacular night-time experience either, called “Gaudí’s Pedrera: The Origins.” The museum’s beautiful architecture comes to life in a way that is almost magical through a magnificent audiovisual show that you won’t want to miss.

Park de la Ciutadella

The Park de la Ciutadella is one of the largest and most beautiful parks to be found in Barcelona. As you move around the park you can see so many amazing sites that a walk through and around the park is essential to any stay in Barcelona. You’ll glimpse Old Town, Vila Olimpia, Marcat del Born, and the two gates of Passes de Picasso and you’ll want to check out the stunning Arc de Triomf. You’ll see the Museo de Ciensies Naturals de Barcelona, the Hivernacle conservatories, and the gorgeous fountain Cascada.

There is much more to see, but you’ll have to discover it all for yourself as you wander through the lush foliage.

When you are done exploring, return to your gorgeous holiday rental in Spain for a nice, long siesta.


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.


Bonavista Market: The Biggest Outdoor Market in Spain

Are you looking for some unique souvenirs to bring back for your friends and family from your holiday in Spain? Then look no further than the Bonavista Market, which is one of the biggest outdoor markets in Spain! Held every Sunday, the Bonavista Market takes place roughly halfway between Tarragona and Vila-Seca; roughly 6 miles from Salou (so you’ll have easy access if you rent a villa on the Costa Dorada!).

What to Buy

Imagine a local Sunday morning car boot… but bigger! At The Bonavista Market, you’ll find a sprawling array of stalls selling everything from clothing and handbags to souvenirs and toiletries. You can even pick up some locally-sourced fruit and vegetables to cook up in the kitchen at your villa in Spain. This is also a fantastic place to practice your haggling skills and see what sorts of top bargains you can pick up.

Getting There

If you’re planning on buying a lot, then a hire car is probably your best, bet, which makes it easy for you to transport all your bargains back to your Spain villa. However, you may also wish to get a taxi (which can be quite expensive), or take the local bus from Salou which is very cost effective and takes just 20 minutes. The Bonavista Market is so large that many tour operators also operate half day excursions!

More Shopping Opportunities

If you’re staying in a Costa Dorada holiday rental and are looking for more great markets, then be sure to check out the similar yet smaller market that’s held right in the heart of Salou every Monday. While not quite as large, there’s still a great selection here, and it’s really easy to access even without a hire car. Catalonia may be famous for its coastline and beaches, but it’s also a top shopping destination!


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.


4 Awesome Places in Barcelona for Tapas

Tapas are one of the staples of Spain. They aren’t a specific food, but rather a small portion of many different kinds of foods – almost like samplers. But many people, tourists and locals alike, enjoy tapa hops, which is like bar hopping (and often does include alcohol), where you head to different bars and restaurants to try a variety of tapas. Some of these may even be near your holiday rental. To help you on your tapa journey, here are four awesome places where you can find delicious tapas in Barcelona!

1. Guru Bcn Food & Cocktails

This Asian-style restaurant and bar may be dimly lit, but it is still warm and welcoming and makes a perfect stop for your tapa hop. You’ll find Guru Bcn Food & Cocktails in the Gothic Quarter of Old Barcelona. Expect Mediterranean flavors from these tapas, and make sure you grab a delicious cocktail or two as well! Whatever you order, it is certain to be delicious and an amazing gastronomic experience.

2. Palosanto

The tapas at Palosanto are from a variety of European cuisines, so expect a unique experience each time you go. This adorable rustic and French-country-style café makes another excellent stop on your tapa tour. The staff is friendly, the sangria delicious, and every dish a tasty work of art. It is a small place so you may want to make a reservation, but it is well worth the wait!

3. 9 Nine

If you want great, meaty tapas look no further than 9 Nine, which is a steakhouse and also includes Mediterranean and International cuisines. Every dish is served with flair and pizzazz. The interior is elegant and modern with a wall of wine. Make sure you get a glass of wine or two to go with your delicious tapas! You may also want a lemon sorbet to clear your palate before moving on to your next tapa stop.

4. Sensi Bistro Barcelona

A rustic yet bright and fun Spanish café awaits at Sensi Bistro Barcelona. Spanish, Mediterranean, and European cuisine make up the menu and the restaurant can be found in the Gothic Quarter of Old Barcelona. The best tapas are the truffle ravioli, so don’t miss out! Their dessert and wine are excellent as well.

We hope you enjoy your tapa hop! Get a taste for Spain and a feel for the culture as you try all new experiences, like your rental villa or apartment that makes you feel right at home!


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.


Blanes Botanical Gardens!

Blanes is Home to arguably one of the best botanical gardens in Europe. If you have a Spain holiday rental around the Blanes area then this is definitely something that can’t be missed.
Marimurtra Botanical Garden

The garden itself is perched on a mountain top, therefore offers spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea. It was first created in 1920 by the German businessman Carl Faust, and since then has expanded greatly. Overall the gardens cover around 15 hectares with over 4000 different plant species for you to enjoy. Faust decided to dedicate much of the plant life to Mediterranean and sub-tropical flora, as well as a range of cacti, plants endemic to Catalonia, and beautiful plants from regions of central and southern America.

If you rent a villa in Costa Brava in the town itself, it is possible to walk to the attraction, with the gardens located just 1.5km from the city centre. It is open every day and charges just a small entrance fee. Once you are there you should be prepared to do a little bit of climbing, as due to its location there is a lot of steep slopes and long flight of steps that lead up to the Linnaeus temple.

Many people choose to combine their visit to the gardens with exploring the coves below, before retiring back to their vacation villa in Spain ready for a nice long siesta!

Pinya De Rosa

Pinya De Rosa is the second botanical garden in Blanes, and has officially been declared a de interes nacional. Covering around 50 acres, it contains over 7000 tropical species of plants such as cactuses, palm trees and aloe vera plants. These gardens are perfect if you are visiting off season due to their staggered flowering throughout there year, so there will always be something to see.

Again these gardens are open all day every day for just a small fee, plus if you are driving from your catalonia holiday rental, there is free parking available.

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