Didn’t think there’d be any more stuff? Guess again!!
I went over a few things previously, but there’s so much to take into consideration. Some of this is getting into super nitty-gritty detail, and it really depends on whether or not these things would affect you. Everyone’s got their own style of what can be raggedly rich, and what can’t, and only you know what that is.
Closet Space / Drawers
Are you going to be living out of a suitcase for a few days? Or do you need some closet space to hang everything up, and empty drawers to tuck away all your nicknacks? Make sure there’ll be some room for you when you arrive.
What are you going to pack your stuff in? I know from experience that packing everything, completely, into suitcases, or suitcase-like things, is the easiest way of transporting things from A to B. I used to travel with a lot of stuff, and I would have two large suitcases, a smaller suitcase, two backpacks, and about five or six different individual reusable bags of various sizes, filled with STUFF. The stuff isn’t as big of a problem, as the fact that making multiple trips from your car to your room, and fudging about with a whole bunch of bags with crap stuffed into them – AFTER a long day in the car / road trip. It’s not fun. All you wanna do is get in there, and finally relax, and the more stuff you have, and the more pieces you have for that stuff, the worse it’s going to be.
I’ve packed down to a backpack, two suitcases, one small suitcase, and one or two reusable bags. I could have just one suitcase, but I dedicate most of the second suitcase to my water pillow and work clothes.
Off-limit Items / Spaces
I always ask this about guitars (since I rarely travel with mine), and things like electronics. I also like asking if there’s specific mugs or plates I should stay away from, either for sentimental value, or because they’re expensive and delicate. I really don’t need to drink from a crystal wine glass, I’ll stick with my coffee cup and avoid any potential upset. I also ask if it’s okay to read any books lying around that look interesting – but I’m extremely careful with my paperbacks. If I’m worried I might damage it, I just won’t touch it.
If there are pets, what are the expectations regarding them? Did you score a sweet deal with the understanding you’d take Lulu for a walk when Joe’s working late? Or is the pet something you are there despite; I had a friend who’s roommate had a dog, and the poor thing was so neglected. When my friend pointed out that the owner was never home, and when she was, didn’t take the pooch for walks, HE was then accused of being the problem even though it wasn’t his dog, he never agreed to co-care for it, and he was out of the house all day, most days.
Utilities / Fees / Internet
Is this included with the price you’re quoted? Is there a cleaning fee? Are utilities variable or a set cost? Are you going to be covering a portion of the internet bill, or is it covered? And if you find it too slow, or need a faster connection for work, will they be able to accommodate that if you pay the difference?
When do they need the money? How do they want it transferred? What’s the cancellation policy like, for both the one with the house and the one taking the house? If it’s an arrangement made on faith, do you know enough about this person / trust them to hold up their end of the bargain?
Heating / Cooling
Is your room connected to the central heating and cooling? Are there baseboard heaters you can use if you get too cold? If you’re worried about heat, ask about fans. I don’t know how practical it is, but giant blocks of ice in front of fans are actually really effective at mimicking an AC.
Arrival / Departure Times
There’s no point in leaving at 6am to get to a place for 3pm, when the person with the keys is only around after 6pm. Make sure you’ve arranged a time to meet beforehand, so you can adjust your travel plans accordingly. Sometimes there’s no choice, like if you’re catching a plane, but even then, hanging out in a cafe is 10x better than sitting on someone’s door stoop. And what’s the plan for giving the keys back, when you leave?
Related to this, is what do you expect when you arrive? I had someone who took about a week to finally get all her stuff out of the apartment I was subletting from her (she was using the time as a test-run with her boyfriend). I arrived and it was chaos – and theoretically, I don’t care, but a heads up would have been nice.
Local Food Haunts
I don’t eat out, and make sure to bring enough to tie me over to the next morning (usually); but if you like eating out, it’s good to ask about places nearby that are cheap and delicious. Or even expensive and delicious. You never know what hole-in-the-wall is going to blow your mind!
I do usually ask where the best / cheapest place to get groceries is. Usually I find somewhere better ( I haven’t had the pleasure of staying with any raggedly rich, like-minded folk ), but it’s a good jumping off point.
There you have it! Another post about questions to ask when you’re trying to find a place to stay abroad. Hopefully it helps, or at least puts some ideas in your head about the things that you find important when you’re looking for a place to stay.