Dealing With the Unexpected in Furnished Rentals

Well-Designed Travel

Since I've been traveling full time for a while now, I've found myself in a variety of living situations. Thanks to popular travel sites like Airbnb, HomeAway and VRBO, I've been able to secure short-term furnished rentals that feel a little more like home than your average hotel room.

It's really fun combing through these sites and daydreaming about living somewhere new, but from a few pictures and a short write up, it's hard to know exactly the situation I'll be moving into. So far, there have been lots of unexpected sounds, experiences and many quirky decorating choices in the rentals that I hadn't anticipated. At this point I've come to expect the unexpected, and quickly adapt to new situations. When the refrigerator sounds like a jet engine, I work with headphones on. When a neighborhood cat jumps onto the balcony and into the living room (we were 6 floors up, where did it come from?), I grab a broom and shoo. When there's no working stove, I make dinner in a toaster oven. No matter how annoying or weird the situation, I remind myself, it's only temporary.

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Here, we stayed on an organic farm in Central Texas for a week. My blogging office was on the front porch of our little cabin in the middle of 35 acres (dreamy!), but the chickens on this farm were quite social. They always wanted to hang out, so I had to learn to tune out the constant squawking and clucking. Also, I learned to keep an extremely watchful eye on my lunch.

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This high-rise condo in Vancouver was really comfy and had a great location, but I could just never figure out why there was a sliding door from the shower into the kitchen (notice the shampoo pump!). I suppose one could bathe and keep an eye on dinner at the same time, but I'm not really sure why one would go to all that trouble.

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I just loved these gleaming white stairs in our loft apartment in Buenos Aires from an aesthetic point of view. However, our next-door neighbors had the same bent-steel stairs mirroring ours in their unit, and the concrete walls did little to buffer the clomping sounds of running up and down. It took a lot of self restraint not to engage in a stair war to see who could walk the loudest.

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This mailbox/piggy bank is also the functioning light switch for a rental we had in Austin. Quirky idea, but it happens to be at eye level as soon as you walk into the bathroom. Late night stumblings to the potty could have become quite dangerous if I wasn't on the lookout for the light switch.

Travel is important because it takes us out of our regular comforts and forces us to sometimes figure out those less-than-ideal situations. Have you ever found yourself in a living arrangement where you weren't the one in charge so you had to make due with the interesting choices the homeowner had made?

(Images: Smith Schwartz)