Having a holiday villa all to yourself with your own swimming pool, outdoor barbecue and spectacular views might be idyllic, but can be quite costly.
That's why holiday rentals specialist Owners Direct has revealed a few ways to reduce the costs without compromising on quality or fun on your next holiday.
The website asked its travellers and home owners to give their insider money-saving tips to help others save those all-important pounds or euros.
"Take the mother-in-law on holiday with you to save on expensive childcare costs and babysitters," advises one traveller.
Gillian Chappell, who owns a holiday home in Spain, said: "Shopping for fruit and veg in local markets is fun and cheap too. A good holiday home owner will provide a list of local market days in the property. It's also a good opportunity to practice your Spanish and sometimes you can get even better bargains just by speaking the lingo!"
Another holiday home owner, Caroline Ward, who has a villa in Portugal said: "Always buy toiletries and sun lotions before you go as these things are double the price in most EU countries."
More top tips from travellers and holiday owners include:
- "Plan ahead as far as you can when booking car parking, car hire, flights/ferry transfer and of course accommodation as you can save hundreds, I do." (Dave, traveller)
- "Don't skimp on accommodation but then eat at home and drink local wine to save money." (Karen Pugh, holiday home owner Portugal)
- "Don't waste money on expensive guide books, instead use websites, local tourist offices and tap into the local knowledge of holiday home owners" (Kate, traveller)
- "Live like a local and shop where they shop and also don't use taxis, take the bus and train instead." (Tanya, traveller)
- "I always book flights when they are at their cheapest even though I don't yet have accommodation. Then nearer the time I book the villa or apartment as sometimes there are great special offers. (Diane, traveller)
Angela Southall, Marketing Manager of Owners Direct said: "Booking accommodation direct with the owner on a site means you are likely to have made a saving compared with the cost of a hotel.
"To make your budget stretch further try renting a property that isn't on the beach as these come at a premium price, don't travel in school holidays unless you have to, go away with family and friends and split the bills and keep an eye on last minute offers from our owners. These might seem obvious but they do mean big savings and more cash for holiday treats such as ice creams and cocktails."
Gorgeous villas with views
Revealed! How to save money on a holiday villa rental
This dreamy villa overlooking the sea from an olive-cloaked hillside in Corfu, oozes style and character while boasting the most stunning sea views from its tranquil location, just a short drive from Avlaki beach. Perfect for families, Villa Oneiro is uniquely styled in pastel colours and each of the three bedrooms open on to a terrace or balcony - bliss! From £1,867 per week for six people.
For stunning views of the Budva Riviera, look no further than rustic stone house Villa Vita Prima in Montenegro. This villa comes complete with a pool, gym and tennis court. It's set in an elevated position on the hillside above the gorgeous coast and the most amazing views can be found from the wonderful infinity-edged pool. Inside, the large open-plan living and dining room connect with the main terrace in front of the villa, providing unrivalled views over the Budva Riviera. Seven nights from £369 for up to six people.
Swanky beach house Little Polgarron in Cornwall is just a ten-minute drive from Padstow and has five stylish en-suite bedrooms, complete with private balconies for you to enjoy the marvellous sea views. Reflecting a Hamptons feel, Little Polgarron oozes a coastal hip vibe and is simple yet luxurious, with designer furnishings and locally and organically sourced art and sculptures. From £6,900 per week for up to 10 people.
This beautiful stone house in Lucici, Montenegro, boasts a swimming pool, wellness centre, café and, most importantly, lovely views of the sea and mountains. On the middle floor, the glass doors open out onto a private terrace with spectacular sea views, making it perfect for al-fresco dining. The village of Lucici is located four kilometres from the sea and set in the gently sloping foothills of Mount Orien. The village offers a view like no other and the hills tumble down into the entrance of the Bay of Kotor. Seven nights at Magnolia House costs from £298 for up to eight people.
Built for the Machiavelli family from designs by Michelangelo in the 15th century, Villa Mangiacane is set in 600 acres of vineyards and olive groves in the Tuscan countryside, just seven miles from Florence. It has 28 uniquely designed rooms and suites across two buildings, which can be booked separately or hired out as full house rentals. Besides grand salons, wine cellars, terraces and a swimming pool, Villa Mangiacane offers spectacular Renaissance views from every window. From €163 per room per night, including buffet breakfast.
At Villa Kalithea in Greece, the effortless style of the contemporary villa is complemented by its exquisite natural surroundings. The views from the villa are pretty sublime, taking in the sea and the outlying island of Skorpios, plus the other islands rising from the water like a group of turtles basking in the sun and the mainland clearly visible behind. From the side of the villa, the view is over the tops of the cypress trees over the water with the lively sailing centre of Nidri visible in the distance. To ensure you're making the most of the views, there is a telescope too. From £2,637 per week for up to 10 people.
Villa Mirsini is set in a fabulous location above the resort of Skala in Kefalonia and offers superb views of the shimmering Ionian Sea in the distance. The panoramic views can be taken in from all angles of the delightful villa, with olive trees, forest and the mountainside. Villa Mirsini was built in an L-shape and is an imposing holiday home among the natural beauty of the island. This Greek villa sleeps up to eight people and costs from €1,139 for one week.
This stylish Italian summer house affords breathtaking views of the southernmost tip of Puglia and offers fantastic outdoor spaces - a terrace, infinity pool - all with mesmerising sea views. It has five en-suite bedrooms and if the marvellous setting wasn't enough, Villa Blanca has glorious sandy beaches, excellent fish restaurants and exclusive seaside resort Santa Maria di Leuca nearby. From €5,210 per week for up to 10 people.
If you're a lover of superb views, Ses Caletes in Ibiza is the villa for you. Perched 50 metres above the Mediterranean Sea, the villa in the north of the island offers unsurpassed views of the sea from its secluded mountain-side location. It has a 10-metre pool, a panoramic terrace and access to a private cove, which is ideal for swimming and snorkelling. If you decide to venture out, Ses Caletes is close to the classiest restaurants in Ibiza. From £1,321 per week for up to eight people.
Just a 15-minute drive from the famous seaside resort of Porec in Istria, with its shops, bars, restaurants, beaches and the UNESCO-listed Basilica of Euphrasius, lies Villa Georgia in the tiny village of Vizinada, Croatia. The villa is set above a deep valley with one of the best views of the hilltop village of Motovun. Stylish and modern, it has some traditional touches too. Within a few kilometres, you'll find a number of agritourism restaurants serving local food produced by sustainable methods. From £1,070 per week for up to eight people.
From views over patchwork fields splashed with red poppies in spring to the golden wheat fields in summer with the Apennine mountains visible in the distance, Borgo San Biagio, in Italy, is a delight whatever the season. Views from all points are spectacular, but you might want to enjoy them from the battlemented roof terrace of Renato’s Tower where there is a private hot tub. Don't miss the views at dusk when you can watch the changing light over the Umbrian landscape. From £3,931 for up to 20 people.
Less than two hours' drive from central London and set in one of Europe's most significant nature reserves, Lower Mill Estate has a private, gated development of holiday homes in the Cotswolds. Ideal for a long weekend in the country, you can rent a Luxury Lakeside Apartment and enjoy views across one of the eight lakes and two rivers among 550 acres of prime British countryside. A three-night stay in a two-bedroom property sleeping four costs from £454.
This set of eight villas in Crete lies in the bay of Kissamos in the village of Kastelli. While the villas don't fit the rustic image of Crete, they come with a contemporary and environmental edge. Each enjoys hillside positions commanding stunning views of the Gramvousa peninsular and the emphasis at You-Phoria Villas is on outdoor entertaining and dining. All villas have a private swimming pool with views and nearby you'll find unspoilt beaches, charming shops and quaint tavernas. From €2,450 per week for a one-bedroom villa sleeping three guests.
Overlooking the hills around Palermo, Il Poggio manages to deliver a rural, city and beach experience all in one. The Italian villa overlooks the Conca d’Oro, a series of rolling hills swathed in citrus groves, and despite its rural setting, Palermo city centre, Mondello beach and the airport are all within an hour's drive. Horse lovers can enjoy early morning rides straight from the gates of Il Poggio, while those wanting to relax can take in the amazing views from the pool. One week at Il Poggio starts at £1,949 for eight people.
Situated right on the Drasnice beachfront, Villa S is a fabulous place to enjoy the best of Dalmatia and is just a short walk from the small town centre. The spacious villa has five bedrooms and six bathrooms, and spreads across three floors with tiered balconies overlooking the beach and Adriatic Sea. Outside, you can take in the beautiful views of Croatia from the private swimming pool or rooftop terrace. From £404 per night for up to 10 people.
For a blissful break in Spain, book a stay at La Font, a modern and contemporary villa situated in an elevated position on the hills behind Pollenca in Mallorca. The villa, which sleeps six, boasts impressive views of the countryside and the bays of Pollenca, and the style and layout of the villa is open-plan, light and airy. Enjoy the wonderful views across the sparkling bay while relaxing in and around the pool. From £1,400 per person per week based on full occupancy on a full-board basis.
With 360-degree views of Mount Etna, the sea and surrounding olive and lemon groves, Rocca delle Tre Contrade offers some of the most quintessential Sicilian views around. Its prime location close to Catania airport, beaches and the popular town of Taormina mean you're never travelling too far for a day out and when you are in the villa, you can enjoy splendid, contemporary spaces - a professionally-equipped kitchen, airy reception rooms and 11 supremely panoramic bedrooms that have bathtubs with views. The villa costs from £14,134 per week for 24 people.
Like a sparkling jewel, this villa is set majestically in a unique position on the outskirts of Pomos, in the Akamas Peninsula of West Cyprus. Unusual and modern in style, the three-bedroom villa was designed with luxury and comfort in mind and captures the light and spectacular sea. From the parking area, steps lead down to the magnificent balcony which encircles the entire villa, providing captivating views of the cool blue Mediterranean Sea. Inside, you'll find a spacious open-plan living area, an indoor Jacuzzi and sauna. Villa Aquamarine costs from £1,680 per week for up to six people.
Not only does this pretty Italian villa boast an unrivalled seafront location with private sea access, La Riva, located between Amalfi and Ravello, has the most breathtaking views to match. Here you can wake up each morning in a room with a view of the glamorous Amalfi Coast without spending a fortune. La Riva has a large shaded terrace with incredible sea views and steps leading directly from the property to a private bathing platform that is shared with three other properties. A week starts from £790 for two people.
Set on a quiet road which skirts the bay in Cala'n Porter, Menorca, Villa Casa Franz boasts truly jaw-dropping sea views from its terraces. It is difficult not to be enchanted by the huge expanse of sparkling water seen from the property. The real focal point of this Spanish villa is the nine-metre pool, which is perfectly located at the front and surrounded by well-furnished terraces so you catch the sun and be treated to fabulous views all day. From £657 for one week for up to six people.
Set in landscaped grounds that provide seclusion and privacy, Villa Charno is a five-bedroom home on the outskirts of pretty coastal village Ayia Marina in the Akamas Peninsula of West Cyprus. The villa boasts magnificent views of Chrysochou Bay and the natural hillside inland. Outside, there is a double infinity edge pool with an adjoining Jacuzzi and paved areas providing ample opportunities for sunbathing or sitting under the shaded pergola. The grounds have a citrus orchard and there is a barbecue area so you can enjoy dining outdoors. Sleeping up to 10, Villa Charno costs from £1,795 per week.