5 Tips to Furnish A Rental Property (from a Full Time Airbnb Dweller)

Hey guys. If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you own a rental property and are ready to post it on Airbnb. That means we have a complicated relationship. I love you, I fear you, and sometimes, I even hate you (I’m sorry!)

Why?

I’m a full-time traveler and have lived in Airbnb apartments and short-term rentals for 16 months now. Oh, and I move to a new one every single month.

That means I’ve seen the inside of A LOT of properties recently. Some good, some bad, and some just plain ugly.

Lucky for you, I’ve decided to vent my frustrations in a helpful post on how to furnish a rental property straight from someone who is actually living in them.

I know most people who rent your place are just passing through, but the digital nomad movement is on the rise. Using these ideas will make your rental property more appealing to long-term renters, who always have an eye on the reviews looking for small details like these.

So, without further ado, here are my five biggest tips to furnish a rental property that every guest will love!

 

cute kitchen

 

1. Live In It

It’s so simple, it hurts. I’m honestly surprised more hosts haven’t actually spent time eating, working, and cooking inside their own properties.

Welcome to a week in my life. During it, expect episodes like: getting all prepped to make that new Pinterest recipe, only to realize you don’t have a grater.

Or, a situation in which: you unpack a suitcase full of clothes only to realize there is not a single storage space for them (yes, this has happened to me more than once).

The list goes on and on.

Honestly, this is really the only tip you need to quickly learn exactly how you need to furnish your rental property. However, I know most of you just don’t have the time or energy to do it so I’ll continue with the rest below…

 

2. If You Want a Clean Apartment, You Need to Provide Cleaning Supplies

Fun fact (or is it?): the only host who complained about the apartment being dirty when I left was also the only one suspended by the Airbnb security team because his messages to me were so unhinged.

Well, the reason his apartment wasn’t spotless when I moved out wasn’t because I already paid a cleaning fee, and it wasn’t because I lived in it for a month rather than the usual two or three days (although, I feel these are both valid reasons…) it was because he didn’t provide a single cleaning supply! Not even a broom!

I’m more than happy to take your apartment through a weekly clean on my own because I’m not an animal and don’t want to live in my own filth. But, that requires a couple spray bottles, a mop, and maybe an old rag or two as well. Stock a cabinet with cleaning supplies and if your next tenets are anything like me your apartment will be sparkling when they move out.

 

3. Your Kitchen Needs More Than You Think

I have never once moved into an apartment that has spices in the kitchen. Never. My garlic powder budget has become like $60 a year and counting. A basic spice rack would seriously be a godsend for cooks like me, who often get stuck using salt only for weeks… so boring.

While you’re in the kitchen aisle, you should also buy a corkscrew (even though I’m now a pro at getting wine bottles open with a bobby pin and a spoon, contact me for more details), chip clips, a pitcher, a grater (clearly I’m passionate about shredded cheese), and a large pot with a lid (this is rare for some reason). Also, any sort of coffee maker is required (please don’t make me consume any more instant sludge), and Tupperware and aluminum foil are very appreciated as well.

Finally, take a moment to honestly evaluate your counter space. I’ve been in more than one Airbnb with so much random stuff on the counters that I’m unable to actually cook. Get rid of it, and cook a meal or two in the kitchen to make sure it’s fully stocked and usable.

 

 

4. Consider the Small Stuff

You would be surprised by how many apartments I stay in that don’t have a single lamp. When my choices are overhead lights or nothing at night, it’s hard to relax in the apartment.

Other furnishings that have been seriously lacking in most rental properties I stay in include hangers in the closets, coasters so I don’t destroy your tables, and a full-length mirror. Also, please put a trash can in the bathroom. I’m sad that I even have to ask.

Another great tip is to never furnish a rental property with anything white! This freaks me out!

The one I’m in now has white sheets, white towels, a white tablecloth on the coffee table, and a white throw blanket on the couch. I mean, it looks nice, but there’s literally no way I’ll get out of here without accidentally destroying something, and I would really prefer not to do that.

If you really wanna be a stellar host, include details like converters, charging cords, travel-sized shampoo and conditioner so I can shower before I go out shopping for the basics, and a card with the wifi password prominently displayed. Small things like that make me feel like a human again when I get into the apartment after 30 hours of traveling, and are much appreciated.

 

5. Throw Out Everything Decorative

Decluttering is all the rage right now, and it’s something every Airbnb host should accept deep, deep, into their hearts.

Things I’ve had to move/hide/stash when I moved into new apartments included: vases with dried flowers, framed personal pictures, candles, a very large, very strange decorative tree, musty books, an endless supply of knick-knacks, and once an entire table set for 10 in a one-bedroom apartment… just, why?

I don’t have much stuff, but I still need space to put it. If you truly insist on sharing your decorative taste with your guests, then at the bare minimum make sure they have an empty set of drawers for clothes, and a shelf or clear counter space in the bathroom. That’s all I ask!

 

Use These 5 Tips to Furnish Your Rental Property

When I’m looking for my next Airbnb, reviews are my best friend. Just a few positive words from another digital nomad who spent spending weeks in your apartment will automatically move to the top of my list.

So, take some time to furnish your rental property with a new eye, and full-time travelers around the world will thank you!

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How to Become a Translator & Work Anywhere in the World

Are you bilingual? Do you have a knack for grammar and writing? If so, it may be time to become a translator!

This job is ideal because just like writing and digital marketing, it’s easy to freelance or work remote with an agency. With it, you can finally achieve location independence and make money while traveling the world, just like Daniel and I have been able to do.

For this article, I interviewed two translators. Justin started in 2017 and gets most of his work through just one agency. The other, Eki, has been working as a translator since 2012 and chose to go the freelancing route. Both shared their experiences with me, along with an in-depth look at their lifestyle, hours, finances, and most importantly: the steps they took to get the job.

Become a translator and work anywhere in the world with their expert advice!

 

group working in a cafe

 

The Stats

Average Income: $2,000 to $4,000 a month

Free Housing/Utilities: No

Tax-Free: No, you will need to file taxes appropriately in your home country.

Healthcare: No, you will need to purchase your own.

Vacation Days: No paid vacation days, but both freelance and agency work is flexible and taking unpaid days off is easy.

Certifications needed: As with most freelance work, knowing your stuff is all that matters and being self-taught won’t hold you back. However, you can also get language qualifications or a professional certification from the American Translators Association to help boost your resume.

 

Finances

Although I got a bit into each translators’ average income above, I wanted to dig deeper into their finances.

Justin says when it comes to freelancing your income will vary based on your language pair, whether you work directly with an agency or have to find your own clients, your subject areas (are you specialized in anything, like law or medicine?) and of course, the amount of hours per week you’re willing to work.

Just like my writing clients, Justin and Eki’s clients pay per word rather than per hour. That means an hourly estimate is difficult, but generally translation work lands them between $20 to $50 an hour based on the difficulty of the assignment.

So, how much time goes into earning their salaries?

While numbers vary, Eki said right now he’s making around $2,000 per month with a 20-hour work week. Justin pulls in $4,000 per month, because he works closer to full-time.

Both also said that the workload is very uneven, meaning that they often take in small projects on the weekends, or go from slow periods to super high workloads, and then back again. If you’re looking for a very steady income while you start out in the freelancing world, working as a translator may not be for you.

However, there is one major benefit. No, it’s not healthcare, a 401k, or paid vacation… it’s something even more rare: location independence. For Justin and Eki, this is what encouraged them to become a translator and makes up for the financial uncertainty!

 

table with japanese dictionary, camera, and money

 

How to Get a Translator Job

First things first, where is the best place to find translator jobs? Justin recommends both ProZ and Translators Cafe as the go-to job boards for established translators, even though he ended up getting a job with an agency that he found on LinkedIn instead.

To land your first gig, he says the most important things is “familiarity with other subject areas and the language of those subject areas. A good translator is required not just to convert words from language A to language B, but to write them as if they were written by a specialist in that field.” 

One way that agencies differ from freelancing, though, is that they’ll often require potential recruits to pass a test. Luckily, Justin found that the first agency I signed up with gave me a test of reasonable difficulty and offered a contract with a reasonable rate. Since then, I have applied for jobs with other agencies whose tests were unreasonably difficult or whose evaluators were unreasonably strict for the terrible rates they were offering.”

Eki, who relies on his freelance income rather than an agency, suggests online marketplaces like Upwork as a good jumping off point as well. However, he makes no allusions that starting out is easy, and warns that in the beginning “you really need to prove yourself, and probably work for pennies to even get any job in the first place so that you could start gathering feedback that would make it easier in the future.”

Read More: My tried and true tips to getting started on Upwork

Although he’s chosen the freelance route recently, Eki recommends working through an agency because you don’t have to waste time looking for jobs and can work when you want and as much as you want.

 

desk stacked with work

 

The Lifestyle of an Online Translator

Now for my absolute favorite subject… travel! One of the major goals of becoming a translator is that you can work anywhere in the world! Interestingly, at the moment both Justin and Eki are based in Vietnam.

Justin explained that he fell in love with Vietnam last year, and loves living there because the cost of living is incredibly low. His rent in Airbnb apartments has averaged to $290/month during his past few months in the country, an amount that he can easily make in just a day and a half of work.

Eki clearly had the same idea and says he enjoys living in Thailand because it allows him to have a stress-free life on his current income (although he is strongly considering heading back to Europe soon). The digital nomad life has allowed both men the freedom to travel extensively after they became translators.

Justin has definitely not let the opportunity go to waste. “I embarked on this SE Asia journey in Jan. 2017, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and got the agency contract a month later. Since then, I’ve visited or stayed in Kuala Lumpur, southern Thailand, Bali, Bangkok, northern and central Vietnam, Siem Reap, and India (Bombay, Pune, Bangalore, Mysore, Hyderabad).”

His favorite travel memory so far was a 12-day cycling tour through Thailand and he strongly recommends the Ha Gong loop in Northern Vietnam to other travelers as well.

Eki also enjoys the international travel that’s been possible since he’s become a translator. “I tend to visit two to three new countries each year, staying for few weeks in each location at a time,” he told me “And I go between Asia and Europe one to two times a year.”

 

cycling at sunrise

 

Personal Experience

Finally, Justin and Eki both finished their interviews with a few comments on their personal experience working as translators.

For Eki, translating started out as a side job that he just sort of fell into because getting the work was easy in 2012. He stayed because he liked the many pros of the job, like location independence, freedom to work as much as you want to increase income, and the decent salary for hours worked (as long as you don’t have expensive taste, he specifies).

However, he does miss the Nordic safety nets that many other Finns enjoy in his home country. Still though, when prompted, Eki confirmed: “Unless machines completely take over, I’ll probably be doing this to my dying day.”

For Justin, his road to translation was similar. Originally he was looking for coding jobs, but fell into translating when we saw the ability to rekindle his use of the Japanese language he studied as a child. I asked if he recommends it to others, which is clearly a bit of a loaded question.

“For introverts who know another language and are genuinely interested in language, it can be a good fit for a while. It also depends on your language and areas of expertise. (The most lucrative fields are legal/patents for Japanese, oil/gas for Russian, etc.) Translation is just as much an art as it is a science, so it is important not to underestimate its challenges.”

To him, one of the biggest pros is the limited need for video conferencing, making it an ideal job for nomads in areas of low internet connectivity. He also feels in-control of his time on a daily basis, which isn’t something most others with a nine-to-five can say. However, one major con that sticks out to him is that “it’s rather hard to make fixed plans or maintain a full schedule of non-work activities, as work can and does come in randomly and require you to suddenly drop everything. To a certain extent, I feel like I’m living sort of “reactively” for now.”

Justin can see himself working and traveling for the next few years, but ultimately becoming a translator was his jumping off point for more and he hopes to use his experience to create mobile and web tools for language learners in the future.

 

travels in vietnam

 

Become a Translator with these Insights from the Experts

One of my major goals here at Slight North is to keep the site honest… always. That means interviews like these, which share both the good and the bad or becoming a translator. The work isn’t steady, hours can vary, and moving up is hard. However, it IS a great way to make money while traveling and stay on the road longer, or even indefinitely.

Are you considering giving translation a try, or have you worked as one in the past? If so, I would love to hear from you in the comments below!

All my love,
Di

PS check out the rest of my Working Abroad series to learn how to start a digital marketing business, travel the world working on a yacht, make money teaching online ESL classes, and more!

 

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Portland Inspiration Album

Just some of my favorite pics from my week long trip to inspire you to plan a trip to Portland, Oregon! Enjoy the delicious eats, beautiful scenery, and unique PNW vibe 🙂

 

Flying into the PNW

 

Tonkatsu Ramen from Marukin

 

The Voodoo Doll from Voodoo Donuts

 

International Rose Test Garden

 

International Rose Test Garden

 

Hoyt Arboretum

 

Pad Thai from Baan Thai Restaurant

 

Council Crest View Point

 

Burgers and truffle fries from PDX Sliders

 

Old Salmon River Trail in Mount Hood National Forest

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Old Salmon River Trail in Mount Hood National Forest

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The Reggie from Pine State Biscuits

 

Oceanside Beach

 

Oceanside Beach

 

Oswald State Park

 

Pittock Mansion View Point

 

Pittock Mansion

 

Lunch at Breitenbush Retreat

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breitenbush hot springs

Breitenbush Hot Springs

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Oregon really has it all. The amazing hikes, the beautiful beaches and coast, and of course a vibrant city with a delicious food scene and wild nightlife. If you’ve been considering a trip to Portland, book it! Just one week was all it took for me to completely fall in love with the city.

Love,
Di

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Breitenbush Review: The Clothing Optional Hot Springs in Portland

Breitenbush is a clothing optional hot spring and lodge about two hours outside of Portland. The whole wellness industry is big here, and you’ll find centers for it scattered all around the city. Most of them involve paying a set fee for a sauna and hot tub soak, massages, acupuncture, yoga, or all of the above, and Breitenbush is no different.

The retreat center has a large lodge, hiking trails in the scenic Mount Hood National Forest, multiple hot springs, massages, yoga classes, a meditation sanctuary, and cabins for overnight stays all spread across their remote piece of land. It sounded so very “Portland” to me that I just had to go check it out for a day, and of course write this Breitenbush review to tell you all about it!

 

lodge at breitenbush

 

Costs and Reservation

Breitnebush offers a sliding scale of payment, which means that a day pass can cost you anywhere from $20 to $35. They’ll just ask you on the phone and you can pick what you’d like to pay. I also had to pre-order any meals I wanted for $15 each. I opted for lunch only (served from 1-2), but they also have breakfast and dinner daily.

The actual reservation process is pretty old school. It’s still not possible to make one online (but you can check availability here) so you’ll have to call during business hours to lock in your slot and pay with a card over the phone.

 

river at breitenbush

 

Getting There

Breitenbush really prides itself for being off the grid, so they have no wifi or cell service and getting there can be a little tricky. The drive is two hours from Portland, and the retreat sits just outside the tiny town of Detroit, Oregon.

When I made my reservation, Breitenbush sent multiple emails that stressed that the backroads are treacherous and if I tried to use GPS I was doomed to be lost in them forever… but that’s not the case. All you have to do to get there is plug “Detroit” into your GPS, and once you arrive you can follow the signs for a few miles until you arrive at Breitenbush. Easy.

 

What to do at Breitenbush

The most popular activity at Breitenbush is definitely soaking in the clothing optional hot springs. They have four man-made spiral pools on one side of the land, and three natural pools on other with varying heat levels. The last one is the hottest, and also requires absolute silence.

I enjoyed soaking in the springs for a couple hours during my trip, especially when a family of five deer came and ate in the field right in front of us! It was cool to connect with the wild so closely, and I won’t deny it’s an extremely unique experience. The view from all of the springs are beautiful, but the last silent pool was definitely my favorite.

 

breitenbush hot springs

 

Because I arrived around 11:30am, I only had about an hour before it was time for the 1pm lunch in the cafeteria (or you can opt for silent eating in the library as well). I felt like I was back in school lining up and hitting the buffet, but honestly the all-vegetarian food was really good. The menu is ever changing but I thoroughly enjoyed the falafel sandwich, salad, and basil lemonade.

After lunch, I went on a short hike on the trails and then soaked the hot springs again. Around 3:15 I decided I was done, hit the showers, and packed up to leave. However, heading out at 4pm was a mistake because I reached Portland juuuuust in time for that rush hour traffic. I’d recommend timing your departure either earlier or later to make sure you miss it.

 

sandwich and salad for lunch at breitenbush

 

So, Would I Go Back?

Honestly… no. I really wanted to love it and feel ultra-relaxed, but the truth is I just wasn’t a huge fan.

I like wifi and meat, I suck at yoga, and I get bored in quiet places. I know there are plenty of people who are into meditation and getting unplugged to find their inner self, but the vibe just wasn’t for me. It was kind of relaxing, but by the afternoon the pools were starting to get cloudy (ew) and I was definitely ready to go after only four hours at the lodge.

If Daniel had been there though, I think I might have enjoyed it more. I’m glad I went, but I also thought $40 payment was a bit steep and think there’s other, better things to do in Portland for the price (like go for a free, easy hike in Mount Hood National Forest and then use that money on dinner, drinks, or a million other things).

 

river at breitenbush

 

Breitenbush Review

Honestly, I know that there are plenty of people who love this place and I really get why they do, but the Breitenbush retreat isn’t for everyone. It has its pros: nice mountain views, delicious food, and natural hot springs, and some cons: far from Portland, kinda pricey, and no wifi or cell service.

You all know yourself best, and know if you’d enjoy the place or not! If you’re interested, give it a try and let me know what you think!

All my love,
Di

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Old Salmon River Trail: An Easy Hike in Mount Hood National Forest

If you’re looking for an easy hike in Mount Hood National Forest, the Old Salmon River Trail is a great choice.

When my sister and I went visited Mount Hood in late March we thought we would be able to hike anywhere, but we were so wrong. The snow was still packed in on almost all of the trails! Unfortunately we were not prepared for snowshoeing or winter hiking, so we had to return to the Zig Zag Ranger Station and the trails at the start of the forest, where the snow was melted.

We asked for an easy hike in Mount Hood National Forest, and the ranger recommended Old Salmon River Trail. It’s almost two miles out and back (four miles total) and has very little incline. It’s also located in a surreal and stunning moss covered forest along the banks of the wild and rushing Old Salmon River.

This hike does NOT have views of Mount Hood, but if you’re in the park on a rainy or cloudy day and want to experience the classic PNW atmosphere, this is a great choice for any and all skill and fitness levels. The best way to get there is to just plug the “Old Salmon River Trailhead” into your GPS, or stop by the Zig Zag Ranger Station that’s just a minute or two up the road for directions.

If you’re still on the fence, check out my photos below to see why you should add this easy hike in Mount Hood National Forest to your Portland to-do list!

 

old salmon river trail, portland, oregon

 

old salmon river trail, portland, oregon

 

old salmon river trail, portland, oregon

 

old salmon river trail, portland, oregon

 

old salmon river trail, portland, oregon

 

The Old Salmon River Trail is beautiful, easy, and a great hike during the spring or fall when options in Mount Hood National Forest are limited from the snowfall. Explore the trail, enjoy the scenery, and comment below to let me know what you think!

All my love,
Di

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