This entry is part 8 of 8 in the series Home Exchange

You have the beds and the garage, but have you thought about these little items? They can make your guest’s stay all the more memorable.

We’re going to assume that you have the basics covered, but what about “all of those little things” that are either going to make or break the memory of your guest’s vacation. Here are six random tips that might just make that guest leave with an extra spring is her step.

Label Maker Mania

A full-blown manual is great, but for the important stuff, make little sticky notes.

A full-blown manual is great, but for the important stuff, make little sticky notes.

You have the manual, you even have the one-page checklist hanging from the kitchen hook. But what about when you really want them to remember to lock that back door, that the kitchen window sticks or that you need to, yes, slam the front door to make it close properly.

Invest the whole $17 in a label maker and, if you can arrange it, have someone read your house manual briefly and then go through your house and note what they forgot–or at least forgot what you rather not that they forgot. Just print out a friendly label and it’s a reminder that this item is important.

Single Serve Coffee Maker

Supply a starter kit, but let the guest go to the store and choose flavors they like.

Supply a starter kit, but let the guest go to the store and choose flavors they like.

The old-school coffee pot is great (and maybe you even have that, too), but the single-serve machines give your guests that hotel-room feel and let them choose from a variety of flavors and brews. Yes, they’re expensive, so supply just the first few days’ worth and then let them buy the refills. Often they’ll buy too many and you’ll be left with gifts of tons of flavors you might never drink–but your next renter might.

Bonus: I don’t even drink coffee, so I’m thrilled if they have a water cooker, too.

Apple TV (or Roku or Google TV)

View photos on the big TV, play your own music ... if you're in the Apple world anyway.

View photos on the big TV, play your own music … if you’re in the Apple world anyway.

If you have Apple guests, they’ll be right at home with Apple TV as they can then stream movies, listen to their own music or purchase movies. But any device that lets visitors stream music and/or movies is handy so guests can choose their own content from their own devices easily.

When the device can mirror an iPhone or laptop, guests can even show a slideshow of their photos from the day on the big screen.

Careful: if you have Apple TV set up, there are a few precautions you might keep in mind. For example, if you keep the photo sharing on and your own Apple ID connected, your guests might just skip the latest James Bond to rather watch the latest photos from your own photo stream. (We’re doing this here and it’s quite entertaining … )

A Regular Phone

An old school telephone is still handy especially for those out-of-country visitors who don't have local phone plans.

An old school telephone is still handy especially for those out-of-country visitors who don’t have local phone plans.

Sure, most everyone has cell phones and many of those have unlimited talk and Internet. But some guests, especially those from foreign countries, might not have the local plan and would love to be able to call a taxi or a hotel or a restaurant.

If you bundle your phone service with your cable service, you often get unlimited nationwide (and a few other countries) minutes. No bill for you, no money changing hands. Just a handy phone line to call out from.

This also gives you a number to call if you need to contact someone in the house (provided guests dare answer the phone).

Keyless Locks

OK, so this isn't such a small one, but it saves everyone headaches!

OK, so this isn’t such a small one, but it saves everyone headaches!

Granted, this might not seem like a little or simple thing to do, but the hassle savings are well worth it. No more keys means no more lost keys. Nothing physical to change hands, no neighbor or management company to be there at the right time and the right place to hand it over. No key chains, broken keys, different keys for front doors and back doors.

If you’re installing them on the front door, you might as well go all out and put one on the back door, too. In fact, the place we’re in now has them on all three bedroom doors. We’re not completely sure why, but maybe they rent it out separately or close off certain bedrooms for certain rentals.

I don’t know if this exists, but it’d be quite something if you could change the codes remotely. New guest? Just change the number on your phone and the new guest punches in the code and is in. Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself on the simple tips.

Pump Soap Dispensers

Pump soaps are easy to refill and prevent wasted bars of soap.

Pump soaps are easy to refill and prevent wasted bars of soap.

This might seem obvious, but bars of soap (as much I’m a fan) just aren’t very shareable. You need to throw them out after each guest and they also leave more of a mess on sinks.

If you want to go all out, you can get matching dispensers for the whole house and just make them a little nicer than the ones you get in the shop. Fill them up with different scents in different rooms.

Pump dispensers in the shower are also nice if you’re going to provide shampoo and/or shower gel.

 

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