• What I Learned After Spending 30 Days Living in My Vacation Rental

    And 5 Back-Up Items Your Rental Should Have In Stock

    Have you stayed in your vacation rental lately? And not just to “check in” but really visit, spending a few nights there as your own guest?

    If not, I highly recommend it! Not just for the pleasant reminder of why you got started down this road, but also to experience your place as your guests do.

    Even now, every time we visit our second-home-turned vacation rental in Princeville, Kauai, my jaw drops at the beauty of this Hawaiian island. I’m reminded right away why we embarked on this journey as vacation rental owners!

     

     

    This summer, I got to spend a lovely 30 days in Kauai with my family (if you’ve been wondering where I’ve been!). On top of drinking milkshakes in Hanalei after long days at the beach, I also took away some important lessons.

     

     

      

    What Awaited Me in Kauai

    When I arrived in Kauai, I was met with some rather annoying surprises.

    The smoke detector in the master bedroom was dysfunctional. The master toilet seat was broken in two places. The air filter was completely full and looked like it hadn’t been replaced in 2 years. And the batteries in the thermostat were corroding…

    Needless to say, I had my work cut out for me on my “vacation.” And all of this is stuff I would not have known had I not visited! Scary.

    While living in my vacation rental, I also realized our housekeeping and maintenance situation was in need of a serious shape-up. Specifically, there were purchases I’d been putting off. Mostly back-up items, which are easy to procrastinate! 

    But spending time in our rental—waking up here, cooking here, getting ready for the beach here, cleaning here—really kicked my butt into gear. I realized those investments were actually quite important.

    Planning to stop by your rental soon, too?

    I brainstormed this list of back-up items you need to have in your rental based on what I learned from my time in Kauai. They all involve spending a little money up front for backup items, but take it from me: the long-run hassle it eliminates is well worth the investment!

     

     

    5 Back-Up Items Your Rental Needs to Have in Stock 

    1. Three Sets of Linens - While in Kauai, I replaced my current linens with three brand-new sets for each bed. One to use, one that can be laundered off-site, and one for insurance, in case something goes missing. It's best to buy identical sets, so each piece can be easily interchanged.  Your guests (and your cleaning crew) will appreciate it.
    1. Extra Towels – Same scenario in the bathroom. I replaced all of my existing towels with 3 fluffy new sets in every bathroom. That included bath, hand, wash and cabana towels. Make your life easier by making them match!
    1. Backup Small Appliances - A property manager once told me that the 3 most-replaced small appliances are coffee makers, toasters, and blenders. so I went out and purchased back-ups of each of these to keep in our owner’s supply closet. Now, if one of these breaks, it’s not a last-minute emergency; it’s as easy as bringing out the replacement. Guests will thank you for the easy resolution….and that they don’t have to go through caffeine withdrawal while you or someone else heads to the store.    
    1. Supplies – While you’re visiting, load up on laundry pods, dishwasher pods, small bottles of dish soap, trash bags and sponges from Costco or similar bulk-buying store. Each vacation rental guest should get a new sponge and a bottle of dish soap (leave the old, half-used one under the sink as a bonus!). I also leave a full roll of garbage bags and a minimum of 3 rolls of toilet paper for each bathroom (one in the dispenser and the other 2 under the sink).
    1. Dishes and Glassware - Purchase enough dishes and glasses for your max occupancy (or max occupancy +4, just in case) and then another large box of each to hide in your storage closet as a back-up. This is another insurance policy. If one breaks, you, the cleaner and/or your manager can simply dip into the box for a replacement, ensuring a full set at all times.

     

     

    All in all, we spent about $300 on these back-up supplies. And they'll quickly pay for themselves, as there's no need to pay our manager or cleaner’s hourly rate to do our shopping when something breaks or goes missing. All they have to do it go into our locked closet and viola! A new replacement at no charge.

    On top of that is the convenience of a problem quickly solved, which is practically priceless.

    Here's hoping you get to visit your vacation rental soon!