Staying in a vacation rental is the next best thing to being at home when you’re on the road, and I mean that in the best way possible. There is something so comforting about coming back after a long day of exploration and having your own personal space. It’s more intimate then staying in a hotel and more immersive. Homebodies like me can have their cake and eat it too.
There is a caveat though: not all apartment rentals come fully outfitted though. It’s common to find yourself reaching for some small, can’t live without it, gadget only to realize it’s not there. Kitchens in particular can be lacking in basic tools.
After staying in dozens of apartment rentals across the world, here are my recommendations for a few small things you can bring along that will greatly enhance your apartment rental experience.
Home chefs will know that nothing is more annoying than trying to fix dinner with a blunt knife. Almost every apartment rental I’ve stayed in has provided knives that were duller than George Bush. This makes it near impossible to cut up ingredients for a meal.
You could bring along your own travel kitchen knife, but if you’re averse to rummaging for sharp points in your suitcase, consider this tiny portable knife sharpener. It’s sure to save you a headache plus the next apartment guests will appreciate your work.
Nothing is better than kicking back on the balcony of your apartment with a bottle of the local wine. Unless your apartment rental has no bottle opener, which is an unpleasant yet common surprise even in wine heavy regions like Italy. Don’t accidentally stab yourself trying to break into the bottle with the sharp knife from up above, just bring along your own corkscrew and relax.
Some apartment rentals provide Netflix now which is great, but in many places you are stuck with whatever is on local tv, which can be fun sometimes, but annoying when you just want to relax and all the movies are dubbed in Portuguese. With a Chromecast though, you can stream whatever you want on the tv via your laptop and some wifi.
Have you ever come across an apartment that’s severely lacking in outlets? Or maybe the only useful outlet is in the bathroom or something? This has happened to me a few times, particularly in older apartments so I’ve recently started traveling with my own small power strip. I like this one because it is small and portable, plus it has USB plugs in addition to traditional ones. This way Mike and I can both plug in our phones without a fight.
Most rental kitchens are equipped with salt and pepper at most. This means if you want to cook something special, you have to scramble around to buy your own spices, and then carry them with you.
A nice alternative my friend Kim suggested is this really neat Spice Missile. It’s designed for camping but would work perfectly for travel: you fill it with you favorite spices and take it wherever you go. Best of all, it’s durable and waterproof so it won’t explode in your bag, plus it can be expanded to add even more spice options.
Coffee or Tea
While some apartment rentals are kind of enough to provide complimentary coffee or tea, this isn’t a given, and it may not be up to your usual standards. I like to start my morning off right so I’ve taken to carrying my own teabags with me, so that I can have my Twining’s English Breakfast tea each morning without issue.
This may not be the most convenient thing to bring on a plane, but if you are traveling to your apartment rental via car, consider tossing some cozy blankets in the back seat. Most rentals don’t provide throw blankets for cuddling up on the couch, which is really the only thing I want to do after a long day of extroverting in a new place. It’s kind of weird to drag the comforter off the bed, so if you can, why not bring your own? I bought my mom this blanket for Christmas and she’s obsessed with it.
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