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What to Expect in a Month Long AirBnB

I've been on the road for 49 weeks now and have just left one AirBnB in Tennessee and will be arriving at a new one in North Carolina shortly after this posts. I'm pretty careful about what I book, making sure to read the listing and the reviews thoroughly, and emailing the host in case of any doubt. But there's always some degree of blind trust and a good deal of randomness in what you get, especially when it comes to the household essentials. For example:

  • Half my homes had enough toilet paper, laundry detergent, dish detergent, and soap to last my entire stay. 
  • Only two of my stays had some kind of cling wrap in the kitchen and only one had foil.
  • Seven places had enough coffee to get me through the first week; one place had enough coffee for my entire stay, and one place barely had enough for two mornings.
  • One place had no large kitchen trash bags.
  • Three places had tons of cooking spices available, four had the basics, and two had almost none, not even pepper.  
  • Only one place had sharp kitchen knives. I bought myself a very nice chef's knife to travel with at my first stop.

small white house

I expect enough of these types of household essentials to get me started, but I travel with all my own items anyway since I have a whole SUV worth of space. But it is extra nice when they stock you for the entire time. Especially considering how much a five-to-six week stay costs, the owners can always afford to spend $20-30 dollars making sure you are well supplied. But many don't.

Then there's the next level up of household basics:

  • While every place had closets, only one place had an appropriate number of clothes hangers. Most places had almost none. Two places also had no clothes dressers.
  • Half the places had an appropriate number of plates, bowls, and cups for the number of people they claimed their house could sleep. One place that claimed to sleep four people only had two coffee mugs.
  • Seven places had a ridiculous number of bath towels, but two places had almost none.
  • Half the places had a ridiculous number of pots and pans. Only one place really didn't have enough.
  • One place had no measuring cups, one place had no wine glasses, and one place had no normal sized drinking glasses, only juice glasses.
  • One place actually didn't have a hair dryer. I realize this is an amenity you can filter for in AirBnB but I never bother because who doesn't have a $20 hair dryer in their rental?! Although I suppose it's just as odd that I'm not traveling with one since I have everything else anyone could ever possibly need. I travel with an Instant Pot, for goodness sake.
pink house behind large backyard with fire pit

The most essential components:
  • Six places had great mattresses, two had good-enough mattresses, and one had a crappy mattress. Thank god I don't have back problems.
  • Two had really fancy refrigerators.
  • Every place had fully functioning appliances (except for a rogue burner on a stove top here and there), heat (though sometimes only space heaters), and air conditioning.
  • One place had no decent desk and chair setup for working. Well, it did, but it was in an unusable, three-season room (I don't remember whether the limitation on this room was clear from the listing) and I was there in the dead of winter. Unfortunately, the sofa was also in that room, but at least the second bedroom had a futon.
  • Two places had sofas with no arms. Who makes sofas like that? Not comfortable.
  • A few places had issues like flickering lights or low water pressure.
  • Seven places I booked included outdoor space like a patio. Three of those had fantastic outdoor furniture, three had normal, usable outdoor furniture, one had shitty, pathetic outdoor furniture.
  • Beware that even a single-level house (essential for an old dog) might have multiple (steep) steps to climb up from outside.
Like I said, be sure to ask questions before you book. I have yet to encounter anything that was intolerable for five or six weeks, but some people are less adaptable than I am.

Then there are the bonus items:

  • Eight places had a blender. 
  • Seven places had a book collection and only one of those specifically requested you not take any with you (I always take some and leave some)
  • Seven places had games and/or puzzles.
  • Four places were well-stocked with tourism brochures for the area.
  • Half the places with televisions (not something I require) had popular streaming services logged into someone's account.
  • Four places had a lot of beautiful plants, indoors and out.
  • One place had a cool Sonos speaker setup I was able to connect to.
  • One place had a wine fridge.
  • Half the places had nice artwork, including one where the owner was an artist and all the work was hers. Very trusting of her to leave pieces that she sold for thousands of dollars hanging in the place.
  • One place had a swimming pool in the complex (that I was provided a key to use) that inexplicably wasn't mentioned in the listing.
  • And one house had enough microwave popcorn for me to have a bag every single day I was there.

dog on porch of small, white house

Finally, probably the best part, I've been able to try out furniture and styles and amenities to see what I might want in the next place I buy. For example, I've learned

  • Never get glass bathroom sinks unless you can afford twice a week maid service. They look so scummy and gross so fast.
  • All kitchen sinks need a spraying attachment and the angle at which the sprayer rests matters because at the wrong angle, you can end up spraying yourself every time you pick it up.
  • Gated communities suck. I knew this before as a guest of people who live in them, but I also know it now as the resident. I hated having to wait for the stupid gate to open every time I came and went. 
  • Having an infrared sauna was kind of cool, but I think not worth the expense and space it takes up.
  • Never install a tile floor in a cold climate, no matter how artsy and hip it looks.
  • Turns out, an oven that is built into the wall so the racks are waist height is super convenient and a necessity for my future.

And what about my own place? What little gems do you get when renting my Boulder condo that you might not realize from the listing?

  • A popcorn air popper and lots of popcorn to go with it.
  • A clothes drying rack for sweaters and ladies' delicates.
  • A blender.
  • Tons of clothes hangers and a suitcase rack (in addition to plenty of dresser space).
  • Shelf inserts in the kitchen and bathroom cabinets to make the space more usable.
  • Great artwork, or at least I think so.
  • Way more plates, bowls, and especially cups and mugs than you'll ever need.
  • An epic book collection that you are welcome to help yourself to.

And what will disappoint you? Well, my coffee maker doesn't have a timer function. I know, I'm horrible. I never had a coffee maker when I lived there because I always used a French press. So I bought a super cheap coffee maker when I started renting it out, but now that I've experienced the pleasure of waking up to brewed coffee (that aroma!), I feel pretty bad about cheaping out on my guests. Not bad enough to replace it though!