So, you've decided to stay at a privately owned vacation rental home. The travel dates are set, the reservation is made and now you wait, excitedly for your vacation to begin.
But wait, we have always stayed at hotels, so how's this work exactly? Will there be toilet paper provided? What about hand soap, and laundry soap?
It's good that you're asking these questions now, because staying at a privately owned rental rental home is significantly different than staying at a hotel. What you give up in convenience, you gain in amenities and freedom.
Most vacation rental home owners, make sure the basics are there for your arrival, but remember, this is the next best thing to staying in your own home, and who provides the supplies there? You do, of course!
No owner wants their guests to arrive needing to use the restroom, only to find there are no restroom supplies available. But, they're not going to provide supplies for your entire stay, either.
So, you should plan on that, and budget for that. One of the first things you will want to do, upon your arrival, is to look around to see what is there, and make a list of what you need.
Most likely you'll be surprised to find food and other supplies that have been left by either the vacation rental home owner or previous guests. The rule of thumb is, what you find is yours to use.
It's also normal to find multiples of some food supplies. Everybody has their own comfort level, and preferences. Don't be surprised if you find a couple jars of peanut butter, and other such supplies. Again, you're welcome to use them, but if that makes you uncomfortable, just add that item to your shopping list.
Generally the cleaning crew has been instructed to remove anything that can spoil or attract unwanted critters. While we're on this subject, when you leave try to dispose of anything that will spoil, or will attract bugs.
You may also find non-food items such as bar soap, shampoo, laundry detergent, dish soap, sun block, etc. You are welcome to use them, but they may not be your brand or whatever. So, just leave them for the next guests.
Once you've looked around and taken an inventory, make a grocery list and go shopping. You'll want to stock up for your stay and you should plan to replace anything you use. You certainly don't want to leave the property without essential items like toilet paper and soap.
It's kind of a "pay-it-forward" philosophy. The idea being if you leave it well stock for the next guest, they'll do the same for the guests after them, etc. Hopefully, you'll benefit the next time you stay at a privately owned vacation rental, and the home will be well stocked for you, upon your arrival.
Always remember you are staying at somebody's home. Yes, you're paying rent and yes it's your right to use it, but use it with respect. If you move an end table or a lamp, you should return those items to there original location.
If you break something, be responsible and replace it if you can, or offer to repair or share the cost. In the least, let the vacation home rental owner know, so that the item can be replaced for subsequent guests. Most vacation rental home owners understand about wear and tear, but common courtesy and consideration are very much appreciated.
Remember, staying at a vacation rental home is not that different than staying at a relative's home. Would you use up all their supplies; Would you rearrange their furniture without permission? What if you broke something, wouldn't you be responsible and either fix it, replace it or at least notify your relative? Just use some common sense and courtesy, and everybody will be happy.
Staying at a privately owned vacation rental is a great experience that allows families to vacation together comfortably. If you feel the need to be pampered, then staying at a hotel where there's plenty of staff available to cater to your needs, is probably a better choice for you.
But if you enjoy your privacy, and like the idea of getting up in the morning and having a cup of coffee while sitting by the side of the pool in your PJ's, then a privately owned vacation rental can't be beat!