So.. with all of the rain we’ve had in the past week, it got me wondering about what to do during inclement weather while on vacation in a private home rental. As a vacationer, are there things that you count on to be in your vacation rental in case the weather turns nasty? As a homeowner, do you leave special things to do in your home to keep guests busy during a rainstorm (snowstorm, hurricane)?
As a vacation home rental owner, I’ve found quite a few things that can entertain families of all shapes and sizes and many can be low cost (or free – if you’re as frugal as I am) as well.
1) Books and magazines. Often you can purchase a book for 10 cents at the library. Or maybe a box of books at a yard sale for a few dollars. Try to get an assortment of books that will appeal to the variety of guests in your house. Know your demographic. Does your rental home mostly attract families? Couples? Single women traveling together? My rental attracts many retirees or outdoor enthusiasts. I try to include books and magazines that appeal to that demographic. And I’ve found that sometimes books disappear, but many other books appear – it’s great – I know my little library works. (If you have any favorite book, though, I wouldn’t leave it in a rental as it might disappear – I learned this after my hardcover version of Throeau’s “The Maine Woods” disappeared last summer).
2)Television and internet. Most rentals offer television and internet. (And that alone is usually enough to captivate the younger generation). But have you thought about those new gadgets so you can watch movies and tv shows whenever you want? Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu are examples of streaming services. You plug a USB-looking device into your tv or get a box to connect to the tv and it allows the movies and shows to be streamed onto the tv. Examples of this are ChromeCast, Roku, Apple TV. I recently purchased a ChromeCast and an Amazon Prime membership so I’m experimenting with this now. If you don’t want guests to have access to your streaming membership — you can provide the “hardware” and the guests can use their own Netflix subscription.
3)DVD’s. Similar to a book library — I also have a dvd player and a growing library of DVD’s, mostly found at our local dump swap shop.
4)A bookshelf or closet with games. I think a vacation is a perfect time for a family to get together and play a board game. Or assemble a puzzle. It’s perfect for family bonding on a vacation. I’ve found these at various yardsales, although they are very affordable new — they are great because they don’t take up a lot of room, yet offer variety. (I also stock jacks, pick-up-sticks, and several decks of cards).
5)Cooking/baking items. What is better on a rainy day than to back a fresh, hot batch of snickerdoodles or gooey chocolate chip cookies? Consider leaving some baking pans and cupcake tins in the kitchen (and while you’re at it, leave a few cookbooks on your library shelves). Some owners also like leaving things like flour and sugar and other pantry staples for their guests to use. Personally, I don’t like leaving flour and sugar – and I don’t think I would use flour and sugar in a rental house – but that’s just me. However, I do leave baking power, vanilla extract, cinnamon, etc.
6)Umbrellas. Leave some umbrellas in the closet for those outside rainy adventures. You can purchase them cheaply (I buy mine at Ikea – $2.99 each with a free family membership). I make sure to purchase the ‘regular sized’ umbrellas – I imagine it might be easy to pack the tiny, micro-umbrellas by mistake, but the big ones would stand out and stay in the rental longer.