Deciding to start a vacation rental is so exciting! It is also very overwhelming, and you’ll probably find yourself combing through your checklist over and over (I know I was!). I’m here to make it easier on you with my list of top essentials for outfitting your vacation rental.
What are the Top 55 Vacation Rental Essentials Every Host Should Have?
Vacation Rental Bedroom Essentials & Supplies
Why do people rent out places to stay? Sure, they might be interested in sightseeing, visiting local attractions, or trying out the local cuisine. But what they’re most interested in is the bed! Having nice bedsheets is non-negotiable. Give your guests the relaxation they deserve, and you’ll be well on your way to a great review!
Another critical part of getting a good night’s sleep is the pillows. Providing guests with hotel-quality pillows not only ensures that they’ll be resting comfortably, but also makes sense on your end. Did you know that not all pillows are created equally? Hotel-quality pillows often feature thoughtful additional specs such as being dust mite resistant and hypoallergenic.
Finally, a great mattress topper like this is a really great addition to your vacation rental’s bedroom. It can make a mediocre mattress a lot more comfortable, and also provides a bit of a barrier between your guests and the actual mattress itself. If would skip the cheaper egg crate-style toppers and go straight for a thicker memory foam piece. I like that this one features cooling support and a 10 year warranty.
Investing in great pillows won’t do much in the long run if you don’t protect them. Pillow protectors ensure that your pillows have a fighting chance against sweat, spills, and other messes. These are waterproof, bed bug proof, and hypoallergenic, which is always a must.
Likewise, the greatest mattress in the world won’t hold up against a red wine spill or a bed bug infestation. Protect your mattress with this waterproof, dust mite proof, and bed bug proof hypoallergenic model. It’s still pretty breathable, all things considered, and totally worth the investment.
Programmable devices are quickly becoming the norm, and even lamps are no exception. My guests love this Bluetooth lamp that I keep on the bedside table. It changes colors, can connect to smartphones and play music, and even has a timer and an easy-touch on and off. It is cordless and needs to be charged, but you can also just keep it plugged in via a USB cable.
Noisemaking potential aside, a tabletop fan is great for bedrooms. A lot of bedrooms tend to be pretty closed off from the rest of the house, resulting in poor ventilation and stuffiness. A fan can be set in front of a window or just circulate the air within the room. If you aren’t too excited about having one out and visible all the time, a smaller one can be tucked away in the closet or under a nightstand.
Another common complaint amongst guests is that their rooms let in too much light. While this would normally be considered a bonus, it can be annoying if you’re trying to sleep in. Blackout curtains solve this problem, and they make pretty stylish ones nowadays. In fact, you usually can’t tell them apart from typical window treatments. I like a solid gray or black curtain, but they come in lots of colors and even patterns if that’s your style.
Upon arrival, guests will need a place to set their bags. Sure, the floor or a table works, but they’re not exactly ideal. A luggage rack is an easy hotel-style amenity to provide and will make it a little easier for guests to access their belongings. They also look much less clutter-y than bags strewn across the floor!
A lot of guests, especially short term guests, travel for business. They need a place to hang up nicer clothes, so a garment rack like this one is a must-have. Even if they won’t be sporting a full business suit during their stay, it’s always nice to have a place to put clothes besides rumpled up in a suitcase.
Not everyone sleeps directly under the comforter, but it is still critically important to make sure that it is hypoallergenic along with the rest of the bedding. Nothing will ruin a guest’s experience more than having an allergic reaction while they’re trying to sleep! I like that this one fits in my washing machine for easy cleaning.
Full Length Mirror
Checkout out a full outfit isn’t always possible with a standard bathroom mirror. A full length mirror takes up very little space but is always much appreciated by guests. This one goes right over the back of a door and has zero footprint, perfect for rooms with limited space.
Alarm Clock with Charge Ports
Outlets are the name of the game these days, and often guests have multiple devices that need to be charged at the same time. Avoid squabbles over outlet real estate with this clock, which has both standard and USB outlets built in. It’s especially great for rooms where two beds share one bedside table, as there are plugs on both sides.
Vacation Rental Kitchen Essentials & Supplies
Cooking Oil Dispenser
A cooking oil dispenser is an easy and space-efficient way to store the most commonly used ingredient in the kitchen. I like that this one has two sides, so you can either store different oils or a combination of oil, vinegars, or even salad dressings. Just refill in between guests and you’re good to go!
Wine glasses are an item that I see missing from vacation rentals all the time. People usually remember regular plates, silverware, and glasses, but forget the more niche items. Your guests can enjoy a nice glass of wine (if your house rules allow it!) with this sturdy stemless set of six glasses.
Water Filter Pitcher
Providing a water filter pitcher is a good idea, even if the tap water in your area is perfectly fine. Some guests prefer the taste of filtered water, while others aren’t comfortable drinking municipal water. A filter pitcher is a great low-maintenance way to keep everyone happy.
Electric kettles have been popular around the world for decades and are now picking up steam in the US. They are much safer for guests to use than the stove, and are an even better inclusion for a single-room rental that may not have full kitchen access.
It may seem obvious, but a lot of hosts forget to provide cleaning supplies for their guests. Most of us do our own cleaning, so we make sure that we have everything we need to clean. Sometimes it’s easier for guests to do a little bit of the tidying up themselves, and most won’t mind! You should at least provide sanitizing wipes, some paper towel, and maybe a stain removal spray as well. Don’t forget dishwashing supplies!
Spices aren’t something that a lot of hosts think they need to provide. At most, people usually assume that some salt and pepper are enough to get by with. This could not be farther from the truth! As cooking at vacation rentals becomes more popular, even with shorter term rentals, spices are a must-have item. This rack is great because it comes with five years of spice refills!
Light snacks are always welcome, no matter the occasion. Giving your guests a small taste of the local food or samples from nearby shops is a great way to help them feel at home in your rental right away. Some stores will even give you free samples if you mention that you’ll be handing them out to vacationers.
Food Storage Containers
With cooking comes excess food, and guests will need a place to store their leftovers. These OXO Good Grips containers have always been my favorite. They’re durable, dishwasher safe, and airtight when closed. They also look great as countertop storage for common ingredients like pasta, flour, sugar, or coffee.
Having a nice set of knives in the kitchen not only looks great but is a wonderfully functional choice in a vacation rental. This set is a bit on the pricier side, but looks fantastic on my countertop.
Another hotel staple, a coffee maker is expected in any vacation rental. Just because they’re common, however, doesn’t mean that they have to be basic. I love this coffee maker because it looks super professional and uses convenient pods so I don’t have to worry about having freshly ground coffee available at all times.
Coffee and Tea Organizer
You’ll want to be able to cater to the tastes and preferences of every imaginable guest, so you’ll probably need something like this organizer to store all of your supplies. It has a nice spot to place your coffee maker, as well as tons of drawers and storage compartments for any condiments, coffee pods, or tea bags.
Trash and Recycling Bins
To round out the kitchen, you’ll need somewhere for guests to dispose of trash. Offering a recycling bin also shows guests that you’re environmentally friendly. I like this two-in-one unit that has built-in bins for easy removal. It’s also touchless, so no messy lids!
A fire extinguisher is both a legal requirement and common-sense addition to your vacation home. Make sure that yours isn’t expired and that you select one that isn’t too difficult to use. Also, be sure that your guests know where it is!
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Necessities for Your Rental’s Living Room
My smart doorbell has been my saving grace time and time again. Not only does it serve as a mini security camera for my front entrance, it also serves as a great tool for a “virtual” check in. I don’t even have to be at my vacation rental to greet guests when they arrive!
Smart locks are the tool of choice for many hosts that don’t typically meet guests in person at the property. There are tons of different options on the market ranging from simple lockbox-style devices to full-on security systems. I like this one by Schlage because it has a keycode as well as a physical key hole for foolproof access either way.
I love my rental’s Smart TV. It’s a great way for guests to entertain themselves on a rainy day. This one comes with Amazon Firestick capability and built-in Alexa voice commands, so it’s really easy to sync up to an existing smart home system. Creating guest accounts on popular streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney Plus is much easier than trying to have guests log into their own accounts, in my opinion.
If you don’t already have one, a fast and up-to-date WiFi router is a necessity. Make sure that guests have your WiFi password and test your network regularly. I always use a secure network to avoid potential issues that arise with unprotected WiFi.
Throw blankets can truly make or break the whole vacation for some guests (I’m serious). If a guest is at all uncomfortable in your home, whether or not they consciously realize it, their review will reflect it. Throw blankets make it easy to cozy up when the AC is too high, or the heat is too low. They can also turn a couch into an extra bed if necessary! I try to have extra blankets placed throughout the home, and definitely make sure to have extras in the linen closet.
A smart thermostat allows you to control the temperature inside the home remotely. A lot of them can be locked or unlocked from an app, or you can your own set temperature parameters. I love that the Google Nest works with Alexa and integrates seamlessly into a smart home system. Guests can also change the temperature when they’re at home, which means a lot less complaints on your end!
Even if your home has plenty of accessible outlets, a designated charging station makes it much easier for people to charge their devices in a convenient, single location. This one comes with tons of cords to fit all sorts of devices, but still won’t clutter up your countertop.
Does You Have These Vacation Rental Bathroom Essentials?
This soap dispenser has saved me so much time and money as a host. It doesn’t need to be constantly restocked or refilled, unlike single-use individual bottles. It also allows me to buy shampoo and soaps in bulk, saving on money and packaging.
Rain showerheads are all the rage right now, and it’s easy to see why. They can transform a regular shower into a spa-like experience and add a hint of luxury to even the plainest bathroom. I love that they come with adjustable settings and look great with almost any décor.
Makeup washcloths are a thoughtful inclusion that guests will definitely appreciate. Save yourself the hassle of trying to wash mascara out of a fresh white body towel and invest in a nice set of black makeup towels. They don’t show stains and launder super easily. The monogramming also looks really great.
Luxury towels are available in affordable sets and are certainly worth the investment. I tend to lean towards white towels as they are easy to clean and always look crisp and fresh, but you can find them in just about any color.
A good bath mat will save your floors from getting soaked and your guests from slipping when they hop out of the shower. I would choose one that matched whatever color my towels were, but it can look nice when the bath mat is a statement color as well.
A simple night light in the bathroom is such a nice touch and will save your guests from stumbling around at night trying to find the bathroom. It is much more energy efficient than leaving on the bathroom light, so you should definitely pick one up for your vacation rental.
There will come the inevitable time when you will need a toilet plunger. Ideally, providing one for your guests means that you won’t be getting called to unclog the toilet in the middle of the night, but unfortunately there are no guarantees.
Lighted mirrors have a small footprint but make a huge impact on the bathroom counter. Not just for makeup, they can help guests shave, fix a tie, clasp a necklace, and so much more. This one by Conair looks simple and elegant in any bathroom.
Sturdy Shower Curtain
Shower curtains are the first line of defense between your vacation rental’s bathroom and a slew of water, moisture, and mildew. As such, you’ll need a sturdy one that’s up to the job. These are great because they’re mildew resistant and have a nice weighted bottom hem, so they won’t fly around.
A lot of guests forget or simply don’t bring along a hair dryer. So many hotels provide them nowadays that most people think they’re better off leaving theirs at home. Be sure you anticipate your guests’ needs by having one ready. This one is low noise and comes with different attachments.
Other Essentials to Include in Your Vacation Rental
Exterior Video Surveillance
If you ever have any sort of dispute with your guests, you’ll be glad that you had exterior video surveillance. This can be used for a multitude of purposes such as tracking guest entry, number of guests, prohibited items, and more. Some states require that you notify people that they are being recorded, but it is always a good idea to notify guests no matter the laws in your area.
First Aid Kit
It never hurts to be prepared, and having a first aid kit handy is a solid step in the right direction. Store it near your fire extinguisher or in the medicine cabinet for ease of use. This one has so many different types of tools and bandages that you could practically perform surgery out of it! (…but please don’t)
Carbon Monoxide Detector
Carbon monoxide detectors are required by law in many states but should always be included in a home nonetheless. This is doubly true for vacation rentals, where you as a host could be held responsible for any incidents that arise on your property due to a lack of proper monitoring. Thankfully they’re relatively cheap and easy to install, with many not needing anything besides a standard outlet and some batteries to operate.
Smoke detectors are in the same vein as carbon monoxide detectors: it is better to have too many of them than not enough. They also tend to come pretty cheap, but building codes in many areas do require that at least one be hardwired into the home. This isn’t too difficult, and can usually be accomplished by anyone relatively handy.
Safety Stair Gate
If your vacation home rental has any stairs, it’s best to offer or include a safety stair gate. Some hosts ask in advance if there will be any children under a certain age staying in the home when the guest books. If the answer is yes, a basic tension gate can be installed in a matter of minutes and easily taken down when the guest leaves. They won’t damage the walls and will keep all of your guests safe and sound.
Outlet protectors are another consideration, especially if your rental typically caters to families with smaller children. They’re super inexpensive, and should at least be put on lower outlets within reach of toddlers.
Last but certainly not least, be sure to have a clear and concise house manual for your guests. It should have all of your rules and policies outlined, as well as contact information for you and other relevant services. A lot of hosts choose to include local recommendations and even a guest book to sign.
A sturdy safe in the bedroom closet (or wherever is convenient) is a fantastic amenity to offer. It allows guests the peace of mind that their belongings are safe, and can also help you avoid liability in case something goes missing during their stay. I like that this one has both a key and a code, so that you can give guests one or the other and still have access in an emergency.
Clothes get wrinkly after traveling, and no one has time to try the “steam them in the shower” trick! This iron is a great option for vacation rental owners. It has built-in steaming functions and lots of temperature controls for a variety of garments.
Along with a good iron, an ironing board like this one is a necessity. I like that this one has a designated spot for holding the iron (no accidental burn spots!) and folds up neatly in the closet or under the bed.
Is it okay to provide to provide alcohol for my guests?
The answer varies, mainly on your short-term rental insurance provider. Usually, the answer is no. If you want to be on the safe side, I would not recommend providing alcohol for guests. It can violate some insurance policies, leaving you liable for any damages or harm that may happen as a result.