• What I Learned After Spending 15 Days At My Vacation Rental : A Follow Up!

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    Last year, I wrote a post about my experience staying in my vacation rental in Kauai for a full 30 days – and what I learned while “living like a guest” for a month.  

    This summer, I was fortunate to be able to go back in live in my Kauai rental again, this time for 2 weeks.

    As always, I came away with a few lessons. So I thought I’d write a “Staying in my Vacation Rental – Phase 2” post, so I could share my top five takeaways with you.

    Read on!   

    1. Don’t forget replacement pillowcases!

    I inventoried my linens and was pleasantly surprised to learn that my method of stocking three sets of sheets for each bed and three sets of towels for each guest (my condo sleeps 6) worked quite well this year. I only had to replace one sheet set due to some staining and general wear and tear…and with 90% occupancy, my sheets get lots of use!

    But the surprise (which with hindsight should have been super-obvious)? I was really low on pillowcases! My remedy was to stock an extra 12 Standard pillowcases and 6 extra King pillowcases, so I won’t find myself with a shortage next year. (It sounds like a lot, but trust me, backups save so many headaches in the long run.)

    I use the a cotton polyester tone on tone blend for all of my sheets – they are interchangeable and so convenient. I was happy to discover my towels held up remarkably well, too. I use a cotton-polyester blend which is 1) durable and 2) easy and low-maintenance to launder efficiently (love that!).

    2. The Clorox Bleach Pen works miracles.

    After taking my extensive linen inventory, I loaded up my kids and walked to our local Foodland. I was on the hunt for some color-safe bleach for my linens. And what do you know? Not a single color safe bleach product to be found. (We call that “Island Problems”!)

    The Clorox Bleach Pen caught my eye, though, so I bought one. Remember those stained sheets I mentioned above? I decided to dig them back out and try my new toy on them. Guest what? Nothing short of a miracle, those linens came back to life, and the stubborn stains disappeared. I’m a believer!

    3. Create a locked emergency supply closet.  

    As I talk about in this post, I had the “ah ha” moment this trip to create a small closet where I could store my extra coffee pot, toaster, blender, a spare key to the garage, a garage door opener, an emergency radio and a few other emergency items for guests.  

    To keep guests from using these items unnecessarily (i.e. when it’s not an emergency) I installed a combo code lock, which works wonders. The next time my guests are in a pinch with a broken coffee machine...no problemo: we give them the 3-digit code and we’re back in business!

    Looking to create something similar?  Click {here} for pictures and additional intel

    4. I installed my new...drumroll please...RESORT LOCK! 

    Let me tell you: this new Resort Lock has changed my little life. I get notifications when my cleaner or handyman enters the house. I can give each guest an individual code (I always use the last 4 digits of the guests’ cell phone #...learned that little trick from my friend Heather Bayer over at CottageBlogger!). I can unlock the door from my computer, laptop, or smart phone in a pinch.  

    What a difference-maker!  Seriously, if you don’t already have a resort lock – consider getting one this year.

    5. Sometimes you just have to make the big investments.

    This is a biggie, so I saved it for last. Every once in awhile, the time comes to make some big investments at your vacation rental to ensure it continues to flourish.

    In this case, I’m talking about new appliances.

    This is especially true in our case: my vacation rental is on an island, so when an appliance poops out on us it’s a monumental disaster. Plus, the original appliances that came with the condo were bottom-of-the line. The dishwasher sounded like a freight train. The dryer was making a horrible noise, too. And I had heard a horror story of other owners who had to replace their broken refrigerator… and discovered there was not one to be found on the entire island. They had to wait 2 weeks, much to the disappointment of their tenants!

    So, it was time for an overhaul. We held our breath, headed to Home Depot to take advantage of their 4th of July sale, and forked over the money to replace the microwave, dishwasher, refrigerator, range and washer/dryer all at once.

    Sure, we could have waited until each appliance kicked the bucket, then replace them one by one, but to me, it was important that the appliances matched. I didn’t want to end up with a gleaming white refrigerator and a stainless stove. Plus, there was a chance the fridge or dishwasher could break during a guest stay, which would undoubtedly lead to an extra expense on top of the replacement: free nights compensated for unhappy guests!

    So the cost of upgrading everything all at once was the best option for me. Now I can forget about appliances, knowing that I'm set for at least another 10 years!

    Don’t get me wrong...It wasn't all work, work, work in Kauai. We managed to have some fun in the sun, too.

    What did you do to improve your rental this year? Feel free to share in comments below!

    As for me… I’m already thinking new carpet next year…

    Until next time, friends!