Whether you’re looking for a conventional gite or a posh pad with a pool, here are a few things you should keep in mind.
1. Book early
Holiday villas and farmhouses are hot property in Gozo and they will go, go, go very quickly. Avoid disappointment – especially if you have your heart set on a particular one – and confirm the dates as soon as you can. It might not be cheaper, but you won’t have to fret about lack of availability.
2. Location, location, location
While Gozo is small (making you think that anywhere would do), there are some places which are more likely to give you the Mediterranean village feel. Smaller is of course better. Think Gharb, Xaghra, Kercem and Xewkija. Try to avoid the busy areas of Xlendi or Victoria: while your chosen rental might be on the outskirts, you might still have to push your way through the congested centres to get to it.
3. Compare prices
There are so many holiday homes on the market that you can really take full advantage by comparing prices and engaging in some haggling. While the Gozitans are known for their savvy business sense, you might get lucky and find a cheaper deal, especially if its low season.
4. Double check the payment terms
Do you need to leave a deposit or do they want the full payment up front? What happens if you break something? Try to avoid paying for everything before you arrive, since you will not have leverage if something goes wrong. At any rate, always dot the i’s and cross the t’s when booking by checking all the terms and conditions. Watch out for the eco-tax, which is usually over and above your quote, and make sure there are no hidden expenses which might surprise you at check-out.
5. Avoid peak dates
The Maltese love to spend a weekend lounging by a pool in Gozo, so be aware of any public holidays or celebratory dates which might cause an influx of visitors from across the shore. Some key dates to avoid are 15th August (a public holiday celebrating the feast of Santa Marija) and the Carnival weekend in February, when thousands of costumed ghouls and gals tread the streets of Nadur.
6. Know your check-in and check-out times
This is a bit of an obvious one. When booking your group getaway or romantic retreat, know the time you can settle into your rental and when you need to leave. Different tenants have different rules, so don’t assume that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. If the booking information does not contain these details, make it a point to ask.
7. Pack spare linen and consumables
Most holiday rentals provide towels, bedsheets and basics like toilet paper. But, the quality varies (funnily enough, in proportion to the price of the rental). Leave nothing to chance and take a spare change. Worst case, you’ll bring them home unused.