Rentini provides useful and exciting travel insights. From adventures to marketing tips for vacation rental owners, we want to help you travel as it's meant to be – easy, refreshing, & fun!

Archive for January, 2012

PART I: Adventures of a Kiwi in the Big Apple

Have you ever heard of a Kiwi? I’m not talking about the fruit….Or the bird for that matter. I’m talking about the people.  A Kiwi is another word for a person who comes from New Zealand. Anyone who classifies themselves as a New Zealander is called a Kiwi.

I better mention, before I go any further, that I am a Kiwi. A proud Kiwi! I even wear a ring on my finger which is made from a New Zealand 5c coin from the year I was born. It’s a symbol of my home, of where I’ve come from. I have a mixture of French and Welsh heritage somewhere in my bloodlines but I, like my parents, was born and raised in New Zealand. New Zealand is, and always will be home, but for the last two months I’ve been creating a new home in the city that never sleeps – New York City.

Over the next week I will be posting a series of posts about my adventures in the Big Apple, I will write about things that I saw, people I’ve met and places I’ve traveled. Follow along, if you like, I’d love to have you along for the ride.

So, where was I? Ah yes, whoever said that Kiwi’s couldn’t fly was clearly wrong!

New Zealand is a beautiful country. The pictures you’ve seen, and the things you’ve heard about the stunning scenery? It’s all true. We have sprawling green fields, snowcapped mountains, lush green forests, beautiful lakes and incredible beaches. It’s only now that I’ve left that I realize just how stunning New Zealand really is. We also have a lot of sheep, I’m not going to deny, there are more sheep than people. The population of New Zealand sits roughly at 4 million. That’s less than the population of New York City in an entire country! But we’re a staunch and loyal bunch. We love our country, we love our rugby and we love our summers!



These shots were taken in New Zealand’s Bay of Islands, in the Far North. A beautiful spot with some incredible scenery.



As New Zealand is so small, it’s not hard to head to another part of the country for the weekend. It only takes 80 minutes to fly from Auckland (near the top of the North Island) to Christchurch (middle of the South Island). During the summer I have always tried to get away from the cities for weekends to the beaches or prime walking spots, such as Rangitoto Island, an old volcano in the middle of Auckland Harbor, or Piha to walk the lush forest areas. During the winter I love escaping to the lake areas where there are great ski fields like Queenstown and Taupo or  Hanmer Springs or Rotorua with it’s thermal hot springs. As you can see, i’m a loyal member of the New Zealand fan club. I haven’t always been, in fact I couldn’t wait to get out and see the world. But it’s like that old saying – you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. Now that i’m gone, I see exactly what I had, and as much as i’m loving New York and America, I really do miss my homeland. 



My dog enjoying the water on a nature walk (above) the views over the Hauraki Golf from the top of Rangitoto Island


I used to think New Zealand winters got very cold. Turns out I was wrong. New York winters are cold! The lowest temperature the most southern parts of New Zealand gets in the winter is 14°F (-10°C), and that doesn’t happen all that often, but could be as warm as 59°F (15°C) in the winter. Don’t get me wrong, this is still cold and if you’re in the south you’re going to need thermals! But I’ve never had to wear layers before. Currently i’m wearing about five layers on the top. In New Zealand I rarely wore more than a long sleeved-tee and a jumper in the winter months! Needless to say I didn’t own the appropriate clothes for the New York winter! In the warmer months (November – March) the average temperature ranges from 68-86°F (20-30°C). Just the right temperature – not too hot but not too cold either. The New Zealand winters are typically spent making the most of the numerous ski fields while the summers are spent at the beach and having regular BBQ’s.


The beautiful Ocean Beach on Whangarei Heads and the view from Waiheke Island looking out towards the Coromandel Peninsular 


Generally, most Kiwi’s love summer. I am no exception. It’s my favorite time of the year. I spend a lot of time outside, climbing the hills, going to the beach, walking through forests and visiting waterfalls. Therefore it was an incredibly hard decision to leave my beloved summer behind and make the move to New York, just as the Northern Hemisphere entered winter! Keeping in mind I had just had a long and cold (what I used to believe was cold) winter, and I wasn’t super keen on repeating it, but the adventures to be had overseas were too hard to ignore, especially as I had a serious case of ‘itchy feet’


This is me enjoying one of New Zealand’s amazing beaches and Whangarei Falls in Whangarei




“Itchy feet” is a term commonly used in New Zealand for people wanting to travel/explore the world, and this is what eventually got me, along with my partner in crime, Jesse, to America. I will tell you all about it in my next post.

Have you guys ever heard the term Kiwi? A lot of people I’ve come across think I’m talking about the fruit (which we actually call kiwifruit). Have you visited New Zealand, or plan to in the near future?

Read more at PART II

A week in paradise – The Island of Rarotonga

I don’t know about you, but during the winter all I can think about is sunshine, beaches and warm weather. It’s been especially bad this winter. Hailing from a sub-tropical climate I can honestly say I have never been as cold in my life as I have been this winter. Therefore, my thoughts have been firmly placed on tropical islands. Rarotonga to be exact. This little island defines paradise.
The Cook Islands is a collection of 15 small islands located in the South Pacific Ocean. Rarotonga has the largest population of the 15 islands and houses both the international airport and the Cook Islands’ Parliament buildings. Typical temperatures in Rarotonga range from a balmy 64°F (18°C) – 86°F (30°C) making it a very popular tourist destination, particularly with New Zealander’s and Australian’s
Our decision to go to Rarotonga happened very quickly. The idea was formed and 48 hours later our flights and accommodation were booked. My family and I decided to opt for a two bedroom vacation rental for our stay rather than booking a hotel or resort. I found vacation rental at Muri Beach – known as the best beach in Rarotonga, right on the lagoon, with a pool right outside the door. We couldn’t have asked for anything better! We had a full kitchen, immediate access to the beach and walking distance to a number of great restaurants.
This option proved to be much more cost effective than renting a room in one of the many Rarotongan resorts saving over $150 per night! During our planning phase we stayed in close contact with the home owner who provided us with all the help and advice we could possibly need. Through the homeowner we were able to organize an airport transfer through Tiare Transport. Our driver from Tiare Transport was there to meet us at the airport and drive us around the island. Half way through the drive he pulled over and walked into the bushes, coming back with a handful of passionfruit he had just picked fresh off the tree for us! There is truly nothing like fresh passionfruit! At the end of our stay the driver returned to our vacation rental to collect us and drop us at the airport in time for our flight. It couldn’t have been any easier!
Rarotonga has a ‘small town community’ feel about it. Most people who arrive in Rarotonga want to get around by car or scooter. There is a bus that goes around the circumference which is only 20 miles (32km) and takes approximately an hour to circle the island. In order to rent a vehicle in Rarotonga, you will need a Cook Island driver’s license. This can be purchased from the police station in the main township, Avarua, for $20. You must have a driver’s license from another country to do this. To drive a scooter, the process is much the same if you already have a motorbike license. If you don’t then you must take a short test ($5) to demonstrate your ability to control a bike. 
My parents already had motorbike licenses (from some past life I know nothing of), so they were able to easily get their Rarotongan license and hire a scooter. My sister and I needed to sit the test.  Jessica decided she didn’t want to manage the heavy scooters, but I obtained my license easily. With our new mode of transport we were able to explore the island more freely. We split our time walking along the beach, swimming in the lagoon and exploring the area.
Muri Beach itself is a great location for families as the water is shallow, warm and smooth in the lagoon and the sand is soft and golden. The lagoon here is the broadest on the island and has three smaller islands within swimming and canoeing distance. There are plenty of water activities you can par-take in. Situated right on Muri Beach at Sails (a delicious restaurant well worth a try) is Nautica. Nautica hires catamarans, kayaks and windsurfers. If you’re travelling with children, it’s easy to hire a double kayak for $10 an hour and paddle around the coral reef where you can see all kinds of fish and sea life!
Other popular island activities include snorkeling around the reefs, scuba diving, horseback riding, deep-sea fishing, hiking, flights over the island and boat tours. There are many boat tours on the island but I would recommend Captain Tama’s Lagoon Cruise where you visit a marine reserve for a snorkel, visit the small island of Motu and enjoy a fresh fish open fire BBQ lunch. If you don’t suffer from sea sickness, check out the Raro Reef Sub – you may even get to see a turtle on this trip!
If you find yourself around Muri Beach make sure you check out Te Vara Nui Village where you can learn all about the history of this Polynesian community and watch an amazing night show over a traditional Cook Island dinner. As part of the night show you will be treated to traditional hip-shaking Rarotongan dancing. Many resorts and restaurants around the island also perform traditional dance shows and feasts for their guests so make sure you head along to one of these performances for a fun, carefree night out.


Along with the beautiful beaches, Rarotonga has some amazing lush greenery, mountain treks and waterfalls to be explored. Most of these can only be reached on foot, but it’s worth it! The freedom of having transportation allowed us to explore many areas of the island, and discover many gems! One such gem was the Maire Nui Cafe & Gardens. This beautiful Polynesian style café is set amongst the tropical gardens of Rarotonga.



We stumbled upon this place by accident. We were taking a ‘scooter rest’ break in the parking lot of this café. Once we decided to carry on our way, I jumped back on my scooter – I had become reasonably confident on the beast by now – and turned the motor on. Unfortunately I forgot the handle bars also doubled as the accelerator and the scooter was off and running before I had time to realize what was going on. It was almost something of a cartoon; me hanging off the handle bars with the motorbike driving around with a life of its own. The bike skidded on the gravel, I fell off, the bike landed on me and together we were dragged across the stones.

Needless to say I was in quite a lot of pain, covered in dirt and displaying some pretty impressive gashes and bruises all down my side.  I was later told they’re called “Scooter Scars” and are quite common in Rarotonga. Before I knew it I was bundled off in the Rarotongan ambulance and taken to the hospital. While I don’t recommend going to the hospital in Rarotonga, the view from that place was pretty spectacular! 
Once I had been cleaned up by the hospital, I hobbled off on my way assisted by the friendly island police. A few weeks later I was put on crutches with ligament damage and promised myself not to try motorized two-wheelers anytime soon, but for the rest of the trip I was content with the hobbling.
We returned to Maire Nui Cafe & Gardens a few days later (I traveled via bus…) as I needed to thank the staff who had helped me. (In fact they had carried me to a staff property across the road and started cleaning me up before the ambulance arrived). It was only then that we realized the beauty of this place. Acres of beautiful plants, trees and flowers! Right in the middle stood a gorgeous little café. I ordered a banana split. Before this day I wasn’t a huge banana split fan. That all changed. The ice cream was made locally and the banana I assume had been picked from a nearby tree. The grated coconut on the top had been freshly grated. I never had and have never since tasted coconut that good. It was exquisite. Another recommended eatery is the beautiful Tamarind House in between Tupapa and Avarua. The restaurant is situated right on the water’s edge with an incredible view over the sea; this is also a perfect place to watch the sunset. The food at the Tamarind House is divine and they go out of their way to accommodate all their guests, including those with food allergies.


On our last day in Rarotonga, just around the corner from our vacation rental, we discovered a black pearl shop. While you do have to be careful with authenticity when buying pearls, this shop was excellent, and they’re a true souvenir of the Cook Islands. My sister, my mother and I left the shop carrying new black pearl pendants, all slightly different, yet symbolic of our amazing holiday. To this day all three of us still treasure these pendants.
We stayed in Rarotonga for just over a week, and had a magical time. Before I’d even left the island I was planning my return to the Cook Islands. The people, the atmosphere, the sunshine and the golden sand all equal perfection. As I said, Rarotonga defines paradise


Have you ever been to Rarotonga or are planning to go?
Ra Manea! (Have a nice day – Cook Island Maori)

Paris – The City of Love

Paris won me over.


The first time I ventured to the city of love I was fifteen, accompanied by my family, exhausted after six weeks of non-stop travelling, encountered terrible weather and wasted two of our four days at Euro Disney. Don’t even bother. If you want Disneyland, go to California, I learnt my lesson.


The second time I went to Paris was purely to see a friend. I was going to bypass the city having nearly written it off after my first disastrous trip. Thank goodness I didn’t. Paris certainly deserved a second chance. It is, after all, the city of love.


There are some areas in Paris that are obvious must-see tourist attractions; The Eiffel Tower, The Louvre Museum, Versailles Palace, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Cathedral, Champs-Elysees and Place de la Concorde. However, as in any city, there are hidden gems that many tourists unwittingly bypass.


If you’re planning a trip to Paris and want to try something a bit different, give these suggestions a go.


1. Check out Saint Severin Church in the Latin Quarter.

This Roman Catholic Church is one of the oldest remaining churches standing on the Left Bank and continues to be used as a place of worship. The building was started in the 11th century, however many of its features date from the 15th century.
This church is worth checking out primarily for its ancient stained-glass windows which were inspired by the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church. This little gem is right in the middle of the city, and hardly any tourists know of its beauty so make sure you check it out on your wanderings!


2. Shakespeare and Co Bookshop, right by the Notre Dame.

This shop is what I would classify as an ‘adorable Parisian shop.’ It’s traditional and rustic with lots of nooks and crannies. Any book from here would be a great addition to any library.
The shop opened in 1951 as Le Mistral, and was renamed in 1964 as a tribute to the original Shakespeare and Co Bookshop which shut down during the German occupation of Paris. The shop has featured in popular films, Before Sunset and Midnight in Paris.





3. Picnics by the Seine River

There’s something about a picnic in Paris that seems more magical than a picnic anywhere else. There are a few grocery stores around the inner city which are perfect for picking up some picnic worthy food – cheese and crackers, pastries and fruit, wine… When the weather is warm, there’s nothing like sitting on the banks of one of the most famous rivers in the world and taking in the Parisian scene. Definitely give it a try!


4. Montmartre

This 130 meter high hill in the north of Paris is one of the most popular neighborhoods to explore. Primarily known for its white-domed Basilica of the Sacre Coeur on the hill’s summit, this neighborhood also has a strong nightlife. While you’re exploring this area, make sure you check out the vineyard, vigne de Montmartre. It is the most famous of the Parisian vineyard and while its wine is rather expensive the earnings are used to help social institutions, so you can feel charitable at the same time!


5. The Cinematheque Francaise near Bercy

For anyone who loves films, The Cinematheque Francaise is quite a find. It holds the world’s largest collection of film archives, movie documents and film related objects. The Cinematheque also screens films around around the world daily – perfect if you’ve got a couple of hours to spare!


6. Le Marais

This impressive district of Paris holds many architecturally outstanding buildings which also hold a lot of historical significance to the area. The area has become a fashionable district over the past fifty years, becoming home to many art galleries, trendy restaurants, and fashion houses. While you’re in the Marais district, be sure to check out the Place des Vosges, which is the oldest planned square in Paris. It is placed on the border of the 3rd and 4th arrondissements and was built by Henri IV from 1605-1612





7. Christmas in Paris

If you happen to spend Christmas in Paris make sure you stop by Galeries Lafayettes, the ten-story department building in the 9th arrondissement. The Christmas decorations and their giant Christmas tree is quite an extravagant site and sure to get you into the Christmas spirit.


8. Jardin des Plantes and Luxembourg Gardens

Jardin des Plantes is France’s main botanical garden. It covers 28 hectares and is one of seven departments of the Museum national d’historie naturelle. The gardens house a labyrinth which makes exploring the gardens especially inspiring.
The Jardin du Luxembourg, or Luxembourg Gardens is the second largest public park in Paris. It covers 22.5 hectares and is the garden of the French Senate. It is integrated extremely well into the city life around it which makes it very popular and easily accessible for all. Many French locals enjoy strolling through the park, playing chess, reading, enjoying the cafes or puppet theatres and renting a toy sailboat.
There are many nooks and crannies to explore in these gardens and they also make an excellent place for a spring or summer picnic.





9. Bois de Vincennes

This English style park to the east of Paris is one of those ‘gems’ that frequently are bypassed by tourists in favor of the Eiffel Tower and other such attractions. The park is three times larger than New York’s Central Park and four times larger than London’s Hyde Park with 2,458 acres to its name. Bois de Vincennes was originally a hunting preserve for the Kings of France but now features four lakes, several sports venues, a zoo which is home to many unique animals such as Asian elephants and a heard of mouflons, playgrounds and expansive gardens.


10. Rue Mouffetard

Rue Mouffetard is a personal favorite and one of the most vibrant and lively streets I’ve come across in Paris. The street is in the 5th and is part of Paris’s oldest neighborhoods. The street, which is mainly pedestrian, has many restaurants, shops, cafes and open markets. Definitely one to check out, if not for the shopping then at least for the atmosphere!







Shakespeare and Co Bookshop image (c) Laertes
Rivoli Marais Image (c)Wikipedia

Where the sun always shines – Australia’s Sunshine Coast

I don’t know why we ignored it for so long. My family and I were told repeatedly how amazing the Sunshine Coast was, how beautiful and relaxing the area is and how it has “something for everyone”. Finally we decided we’d give it a go, and it quickly became one of our favorite places on earth.

The Sunshine Coast is situated south of Brisbane on the East coast of Australia. This location was perfect for everyone in my family. It has warmth and sunshine, beautiful beaches, amazing surrounds and attractions, cool restaurants, cafes, bars and shops and is perfect for children. My family and I chose Caloundra, which is only an hour’s drive from Brisbane airport, to spend our holiday.

We hired two cars to get out to Caloundra and easily navigated our way from the airport. We stayed on the beautiful Kings Beach which is the main beach of Caloundra. The beach is patrolled year round by the Surf Life Saving Club and is a great spot to catch some waves. We purchased some cheap body boards from a local shop and spent many afternoons catching the waves into the beach with the kids.

We were also lucky enough to find accommodation right on the beach with a beautiful pool which was great for the kids. There are a number of restaurants along the waterfront in Caloundra and most evenings we’d walk along the boardwalk that runs beside the beach throughout Caloundra and find a new restaurant to try each night. There is also a small township with many eateries, numerous shops and a market every Sunday.

After our first few days in Caloundra we decided to explore some of the other areas on the Sunshine Coast. One day when the sun was high we packed a picnic, our swimsuits and some sunblock and headed to Currimundi Lakes. This is a hidden gem on the Sunshine Coast and was only a ten minute drive from Kings Beach. Currimundi Lakes is a great place for kids as the lake is very calm and shallow, particularly when the tide goes out. We were joined at the lake by our extended family so we had five children ranging in age from eleven months to eight years old. The older children had a blast running and swimming between the sandbanks, and the younger children enjoyed splashing in the shallow water. There were a few cafes in the area as well as a fish and chip and ice cream place right beside the playground.

Although the Sunshine Coast’s beaches are incredible, that’s not all there is to do in this magical part of Australia. One of the most popular attractions is of course the Australian Zoo made famous by Steve Irwin aka The Crocodile Hunter who was killed by a stingray in 2006. Australian Zoo offers guests the chance to cuddle with koalas, hand feed the elephants, meet the tigers and watch a crocodile show. Underwater World in Mooloolaba is also a great day out. You can watch sharks being fed, touch stingrays and starfish, check out tropical Australian reef fish, enjoy the seal show and even receive a kiss from one of the seals! Mooloolaba is also a great town to check out. It has some incredible restaurants and some very trendy shops. It’s the epitome of a beach town and even has some chic bars which my sister and I checked out.

One event to put in your vacation calendar is the Eumundi Market which is held every Wednesday and Saturday. This market is one of my favorite parts of any trip to the Sunshine Coast. The market is Australia’s biggest art, craft and produces market and sells everything from clothing, toys, jewelry, artwork, fresh fruit and vegetables, hot food and Australian souvenirs. Once I even got to ride a camel at this market…. Just saying!

Also worth checking out when you’re exploring the Sunshine Coast is The Ginger Factory, particularly for the ginger shop and their cordial mixes! They also have a great bee show and honey tasting tour and their ice cream (which is made in their on-site creamery) is divine! Sunshine Plaza in Maroochydore is great for a spot of shopping and the canals that run through the middle give it an extra special touch. Aussie World isn’t too bad as far as theme parks go and the Ettamogah Pub is well worth a visit if you’re in the area. If you are a nature lover, have a wander through the Noosa National Park or the popular Glasshouse Mountains. Make sure you take your camera to capture some breathtakingly beautiful images.

I have a lot of love for the Sunshine Coast. I’ve been there twice now, and both times have been drawn back to Kings Beach in Caloundra. It’s a truly beautiful area of Australia and there is so much to do for the young and the old. It is definitely one part of the world I would recommend to anyone for a dream vacation.

New homeowner from Glendale inspires creation of Rentini School

It wasn’t my first time visiting Los Angeles. Nor was it my last. This time was a bit different though. This time was particularly special because I received an invitation from my friend Viktor to stay at his house. It was a special privilege for me since I would be one of the first people staying at his own house. He had moved to LA about half a year prior to my visit and had recently bought a house for his lovely family of three. However, being a very social and lively person he made sure that his residence had a separate smaller house for guests. I couldn’t be happier for him! I must admit, that I also felt pretty lucky that I could stay at his house as a guest of honor.

In the morning, as Californian sun started beaming through the shades of the cozy one bedroom guest house, I walked out into the small garden and stumbled upon an orange tree. Breakfast was served and all I had to do was just raise my hand and take a fresh orange ball full of flavor. It was very refreshing waking up in an environment that felt like home–well it was home.

Later on, while working on rentini.com I often talked to Viktor about various bells and whistles that the site offers and one day suggested that he try it out. Viktor didn’t consider leasing out his guest house since the intention was for friends and family. However, he agreed to give it a try to see if he liked the experience. His concern was that he didn’t know how to start and what to do. At Rentini we make it our goal to help out new homeowners who have little or no experience with the process. Every feature is carefully thought out to make sure that things are easily understood both by an expert homeowner and by someone who is just getting started.  

Rentini school is in session at school@rentini.com (C) loop_oh

In fact, we were so inspired by this experience that we decided that we wanted to give a helping hand to anyone who has any questions regarding property rental experience. We opened Rentini School – you can email us at school@rentini.com to get answers to your questions.

No matter what your level of experience with property renting is, whether you’re a seasoned vacation rental owner or new to this line of business or if you’re a traveler who likes vacationing in comfortable environments of house rentals, we’d like to hear your questions and comments. Go ahead, start the conversation!

More cool features!



So, what’s new at Rentini? A great deal as usual. We’re out and about–trying new things and aiming to make Rentini the website you’ve been waiting for! New features are our forte, but we’re setting our sights on creating interesting experiences, building on current relationships and establishing new bonds.


With this in mind, our developers have yet again released a bunch of awesome features.


The developers have enabled cropping of property images. Cropping is a helpful tool for removing unwanted details or subjects of an image. If you’re uploading a photo of your house, but neighbor Joe can be seen scooping up his dog’s business in the side of the picture – crop it out! You may want to focus on different parts of the image; cropping will help you do that, too. Another important use for cropping is to change the aspect ratio. Aspect ratios are the dimensions of an image. Sometimes an image may seem too tall or too wide and too repetitive. Cropping is useful for eliminating waste and keeping things simple for viewers. Once you’ve uploaded photos for your property listing on Rentini, clicking on the scissors icon next to an image opens our cropping tool.



Another new development is that vacation rental owners can now see their past reservations. As a homeowner or manager, simply go to Rentals on your Dashboard and you will see your schedule of past and future reservations. Clicking the tab “Past Reservations” reveals your rental history. At the bottom of your Rentals page, you can filter information for Reservations, Blockings, and Rates. This will show your past schedules. Clicking on one of the reservations will bring you to your Reservation Details page for that reservation. This page, as I’ve mentioned previously, shows your Reservation, Billing, and Contact info relative to the booking you selected. 


We’ve recently added our social networking buttons, too. These buttons allow you to share Rentini with the world at large. “Like” a property photo on Facebook, “plus one” a property page on Google+, “Tweet” about Rentini on Twitter, send your friend an email about booking a reservation. All this is now possible thanks to these buttons! If you like what you see, we encourage you to click and share it.


Finally, we have a couple of new domains: http://www.rentini.eu for European Union members, and http://www.rentini.travel for travel enthusiasts. We’d like to create a truly global travel network based around travel and vacation rentals. This is good for business, good for country and good for international cooperation. A little something for everyone.

A helping hand…or note

Over the New Year’s weekend a friend of mine organized a getaway to the Poconos Mountains in Pennsylvania. I have been there multiple times and it never gets old–fresh air, friendly people, blue skies, beautiful nature. What an excellent way to get away from our ordinary lives in the busy metropolis. There were 10 of us, including 3 restless children. When you go with a group like that, a vacation home is just no comparison to any other option available. So we rented a house–a beautiful three story house, open and closed terraces with three different types of grills, a lake view, and a fireplace to boot! That would be enough to please most people. However, the owner realized that a house that accommodates this many people would require leisure activities readily available. So they converted the garage into a game room–ping ping table, pool table, darts. Mini basketball hoops with 2 score counters side-by-side provided some healthy competition. My top score was 87 points in 30 seconds. I do have to admit, scoring was a little weird, but for the sake of argument let’s assume it was legitimate :)
As soon as I came into the house, I noticed index cards everywhere–attached to the fridge, walls, kitchen cabinets, and electronic devices. As I started reading them I realized what a brilliant idea it was–these index cards gave very brief, concrete instructions related to various aspects of living in the house. For example, since I’ve always lived in an apartment, I never knew what was required for an operational fireplace (don’t laugh at me, I feel bad enough already). A little index card explained that in order to use the fireplace I would need to open the chimney. It may sound trivial to you, but I didn’t realize that the chimney would need to be opened. I assumed it would just be ready for me. Chances are that I would have just started burning wood with the assumption that everything was already done for me.

Oranges make strange instructions sweeter © lukatoyboy
The homeowner predicated this practice on the notion that all kinds of people would visit and that these notes would be helpful. Other cards talked about the electricity, the boiler, and other essential parts of a comfortable stay. One thing I would recommend to the owners is to make the index cards a bit more inviting. The house was so beautiful but I felt that the white index cards took away a little bit of charm from the atmosphere. Perhaps a simple paper frame would do the trick. Either way, these notes are a much more direct way to get people’s attention than a lengthy manual. Or if you do opt for a manual perhaps it could have pictures. I always love to look at furniture assembly instruction that have some stick figures.… But that may be too much.
Have you noticed any interesting ways that homeowners communicate important messages that have made your stay a little easier? Or, if you’re a homeowner, do you have any tips to share?
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