My boyfriend and I fall into a demographic that is growing by the day: traveling remote workers. We live and work out of vacation home rentals – and spend a fair amount of money doing so. What has been surprising to me is that the market doesn’t seem to have any concept of our needs. I continually see VRBO commercials advertising “you won’t have to have dinner with a stranger.”
I LOVE having dinner with strangers! Meeting locals is one of the greatest joys of traveling!
We just had the most amazing week in Charleston, West Virginia, staying at the home of a rock star. We got to listen to his band practice and he invited us to parties and salsa dancing lessons with his friends. My dogs got to play with his dogs. I got to experience the culture of Charleston like I would never have been able to without him. All thanks to a shared Airbnb. Sometimes privacy is overrated.
So, as a remote worker, what do I care about in a vacation rental? The main thing to remember is that I am working from the place. So for starters, I obviously need trustworthy WiFi. Then there’s all of the following…
- A desk. A large one, preferably, with drawers and a chair with a back. Airbnb added a feature where you can search for a “designated workspace” and this filter is a life-saver.
- A well-stocked kitchen with ample counter space. I do not have enough time in a day to go out to restaurants for every meal, seeing as I’m working and usually staying in each place for a week or longer. I also need an empty cabinet or two for food storage.
- Dog-friendliness. The expensive and mandatory professional cleaning service should be able to sweep up a couple extra hairs. Any damages occurred get charged back to the guest anyway. And if it’s noise you’re worried about, you can mention that in the listing.
- A safe neighborhood. I need to walk the aforementioned dogs.
- Safety measures, including windows that open and physical backup keys. Apparently a lot of owners decide to cut corners during renovation by painting windows shut, instead of replacing them. This is a building code violation and a fire hazard. It’s extremely dangerous. This summer I was in a Texas condo when the power went out and I nearly suffocated because I couldn’t get air in. The problem was exacerbated by the fact that there was an electric key-code on the door, and it turns out that without electricity I could no longer lock the door.
- Space. Space for doing yoga, working out, playing with the dogs, and setting down our suitcases. The more space the better.
If lack of privacy doesn’t bother me, what does?
- Health hazards, such as mold, cockroaches, water damage, ceiling tiles falling. All of the above happened in my Nashville Airbnb earlier this year.
- Tiny homes. These are meant for people who leave during the day and just want a place to sleep. They are not comfortable for anything else.
- Passive aggressive messages on the listing, like “NO PARTIES OR EVENTS” in all caps. I don’t want to feel like I’m in trouble before I’ve even gotten there.
- Keurig coffee makers. Worse than instant coffee and so wasteful.
- Bottled water. I know it’s meant to be a nice gesture of hospitality, but to me it just looks like an egregious waste of plastic. Put a Brita in the fridge instead.
In case Santa is out there listening, some other items on my wishlist include: a king sized bed with a fluffy down comforter, high ceilings, dimmer switches, French doors, a jet tub and a fenced backyard… But if that’s too much then let’s start with the basics.