If you are thinking of going on a villa holiday in 2024, now is a great time to start planning it. There are so many travel companies and destinations inspiring you with their reels and photos on social, it can be overwhelming. There is too much choice and I’m guessing that you don’t have enough time to do the research.

So instead of switching off and leaving it until the last minute, I have a few tips to get you started now so that you will enjoy planning your villa holiday and have it booked in advance.

Bear in mind that my niche is villas in Italy and France, but my advice applies to other destinations too…

Ask yourself these questions:

Who are you going on holiday with?

Just two of you, family or friends? Start sounding out your ideas with them, just to make sure that they are all on board with your idea before you do the research, even if it doesn’t pan out as expected.

When are you going?

Are you sure that everyone is available when you want to go? This can be a stumbling block but it can also help you all to focus on a particular week or weeks when you can all be together. If there are children in the group, then bear in mind that school holiday dates can vary.

Where are you going?

You may have a fixed idea about this or you could be open to inspiration. Ask well-travelled friends and colleagues to give you some tips. Follow villa companies, specialists and influencers on social for inspiration.

How are you going to get there?

You may prefer to drive, go by train or take a direct flight. If you are hiring cars or booking transport, check prices and availability to give you an idea of the cost. How long will it take? Work out how comfortable everyone is with getting there. Before you commit, use a comparison site to check flights and prices on Skyscanner and cars on Rentalcars.

What is your budget?

Have a look at the kind of villas where you’d love to stay which will give you a feel for prices. Is your budget realistic? Can you split the cost and go for something even better? Villas located a short drive from sought-after destinations can be considerably cheaper and more spacious than villas in the heart of the action. I can help you to compare the prices and destinations so please get in touch if you need help at this stage of your research.

Most villa owners (but not all) have now set their rental prices and availability for 2024 so it is an excellent time to start browsing for your ideal villa. As a general rule, the best villas book up early and you have a better range to choose from if you book now. If you leave it too late, you have less choice.

What are your requirements?

Classic villa holiday requirements are these (for France and Italy, the destinations I know best):

  1. A well-furnished and equipped villa
  2. Comfortable and clean 
  3. Privacy
  4. An outdoor pool
  5. A terrace with outdoor seating and a dining table
  6. Barbecue
  7. Proximity to the beach and/or a village.

Be honest though, a few welcome extras can make all the difference.

Personally, if I stay in a villa in July or August in Italy or France, I prefer to have some kind of air cooling system at the villa, preferably an effective environmentally friendly version of air conditioning.

Pool heating is a requirement for many with young children. A gated or fenced pool is also a must for those with active toddlers. Other preferences include sea views, king-size beds and ensuite bathrooms.

Entertainment such as kids toys, games and sports equipment can make a holiday more enjoyable. From private tennis courts, football pitches, spas and home gyms to table tennis, playgrounds, video games and home cinemas, luxury villas offer a range of superb extras nowadays.

Last year, a group who booked a Tuscan villa through me also booked a private chef and bartender. They are the kind of additional services available now through some of my favourite villa companies. These ‘experiences’ or services make the difference, from chaffeurs to guides, boats and wine tours. 

Contemporary style is not always a priority. Rustic/old-fashioned interiors can be lovely and authentic but then again, everyone prefers kitchens, bathrooms, lighting and electricity to work well for their holiday, however rustic the style. I think that’s the point.

Guaranteed sunshine and the elimination of all biting/stinging insects is unfortunately not possible…although I have been asked.

Remember that children’s preferences change

Preferences change over time. My kids want more than a bucket, spade and ice cream now that they are teenagers. Taking a friend with us on holiday is the preferred option so we’re going to need a bigger villa…

Who is booking a 2024 villa holiday now?

A few of my previous clients are planning their 2024 villa holidays to make sure that they can book their favourite villas again. I am also hearing from new clients who are mostly families looking for a large villa for reunions and special events, birthdays or anniversaries. They need to plan well in advance to get all the family or friends on board for a particular week or weeks. Two recent enquires stand out to give you a flavour:

1 – A Villa for Swifties

Having landed highly sought-after tickets to see Taylor Swift in concert in Milan in July 24, I was asked by a group of two/three families from the States to help them find their ideal villa with a pool overlooking Lake Como the week before the concert. They are considering the options at the moment but I’ve found some stunning villas for them to choose from.

2 – Three Generation villa in Sicily

A well-travelled, Scottish grandmother who loves Sicily, has just booked a magnificent villa in western Sicily for three weeks in July 24. She and her husband have invited their children and grandchildren to join them at different times during their stay. It took a while for me to help her find the one, but she has chosen the best. It’s spacious, well-equipped and beautiful, set in its own lush garden, within walking distance of a pizzeria and a short drive from the coast. They’ll have a fabulous time.

What is your favourite location for a 2024 villa holiday?

The holy grail is to be in a peaceful, rural location within walking distance (along a safe pathway) to a sandy beach. Proximity to good, local shops and restaurants is high on the list. Just about everyone booking a villa in France loves the idea of sending the kids to a local boulangerie to buy fresh croissants in the morning! Some places tick all the boxes of course but we usually have to compromise a bit. Coastal villas on sought-after stretches can be less spacious and more expensive than a converted farmhouse a short drive away.

Which regions of France are the best for 2024?

Provence is a timeless favourite. There is a great choice of well-designed and beautifully furnished family villas there. You’re more likely to enjoy hot sunny weather in Provence than further north of course which is a big draw for those coming from the UK. Provence is picturesque, the countryside is stunning and you’re not far from gorgeous beaches, from the white sands and nature reserves of the Camargue to chic Cote D’Azur. The food and wine is amazing and there is plenty to see and do there.

Southwest France is also popular with family-friendly villas on offer and the bonus of more reasonable rental prices compared to Provence.

What about Italy for a 2024 villa holiday?

Like Provence, Tuscany is still the sought-after, classic, Italian destination because it ticks so many boxes. From the picturesque hill towns and wineries of Chianti to the incredible art and architecture of places like Florence and Siena, you cannot fail to love it there. An array of gorgeous family villas with pools in Tuscany gives you plenty of choice.

Puglia is now firmly established as a favourite Italian region to visit too, thanks to its fabulous weather, white beaches, excellent food and laid-back style. Over the last 20 years, characterful trulli houses and masserias have been renovated and constructed in unspoiled rural settings. The result is lots of good quality, contemporary holiday homes to choose from.

Sicily is also more popular than ever, thanks to its incredible landscapes, picturesque, historic towns and delicious cuisine. The popularity of The White Lotus has also boosted its popularity, as per this news report about it. From beautiful historic homes to cutting-edge designer villas, there is a good range of holiday homes to choose from in Sicily.

Sounds good? How do you start?

Just ask me of course! Tap into my excellent network of reliable villa owners, managers and companies to find your ideal villa. Do this by way of my bespoke villa-finding service. I’ll save you time and I’ll help to guide you. Email me and we’ll set up an initial call to discuss the best villas for you: rachel@rachelsvillaholidays.com. Alternatively, click through to my enquiry form on my website. For an idea of how I manage each search, read more in my blog post about how I source villas in France and Italy.

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