Renting a house or apartment for your upcoming vacation has its advantages: you likely get more space for less money than you would in a typical hotel room, and you can cut down on your dining out expenses by preparing some of your own meals. If you’re traveling with multiple family members or friends, a home or apartment is appealing because there’s usually a common space where everyone can gather and socialize.
I’ve rented homes on several vacations in the last few years, and while I’ve enjoyed their benefits, the main issue I’ve had is that they’ve never felt like my home. I’ve often wondered what I could do to make my stays more personal, and to find out, I turned to two experts for help.
These are some their tips that I plan to use on my upcoming getaways where I rent a residence.
Choose a Space with a Full Kitchen: David Holyoke, the global head of Airbnb for Work, is on the road half the year for both work and pleasure and almost always stays in an Airbnb. “Whether the trip is for a night or for two weeks, I want a sense of home,” he said. A rental with a full kitchen is a priority for him because it gives him the ability to eat the way he does when he’s at home in Marin County, Ca., which he describes as “comforting.” He hits a local grocery store as soon as he arrives at his destination and buys a few of the foods he regularly eats such as pre-washed greens, a piece of fish that he can roast and a pint of chocolate and peanut butter ice-cream. Many rentals have kitchens stocked with basics such as olive oil and seasonings (this is usually indicated in the amenities section when you’re perusing rentals), and Mr. Holyoke chooses accommodations that come with these essentials so that he has fewer groceries to buy.
Pack a Few Key Items: Kevin Clark, an interior director with the home decorating company Homepolish, rents an apartment on all of his vacations and says that packing a few staples goes a long way in creating a homey feeling. All homes have a scent associated with them, he said, and bringing your home’s scent to your rental is a way to make it feel more like it’s yours. It could be a travel size of your everyday room spray, fragrance or hand soap. Mr. Clark also likes to bring an item that he uses frequently such as the scented candle he lights almost every day and the blanket he has on his couch. “It’s a nice touch to add a little of your own personality to your rental,” he said. He also recommended packing your at-home go-to outfit, whether that’s a pair of old sweatpants, cozy pajamas or other comfortable clothing.
Mr. Holyoke added that while many rentals have bathrooms stocked with toiletries, he brings the ones he uses at home. “They’re familiar and work for me,” he said.
Unpack and Hide Your Bags: The first thing Mr. Clark does when he arrives at his rental, even if he’s staying for just a night, is to unpack his suitcase and stow it away. It only takes five to ten minutes to pack again, but having items in drawers and closets makes your stay feel more residential and less about traveling out of a suitcase- you can even organize things how you would in your own home.
Look for a Rental with a Great Common Area: On trips with family or friends, Mr. Holyoke seeks out accommodations with spacious common areas. “My family and I spend 90 percent of our time at home in our living room because it’s a comfortable place for us to unwind together in,” he said. “Being able to have that same level of connectivity when we’re away evokes a feeling of being at home.”
Watch Out for Interiors: Aesthetic preferences are personal. Some people prefer spaces with bright colors while others, including Mr. Clark, lean towards a neutral palette because it’s more calming. Make sure that your rental reflects your tastes. Otherwise, its décor can be distracting and take away from you enjoying your stay. You can do this by reviewing plenty of pictures of a potential rental before making a commitment. If a rental you’re considering doesn’t come with enough pictures, you’re better off looking at other options- there are plenty of them out there.
This article was originally sourced from here.