When I’d booked the Algarve house, I’d mentioned being cold in the North to our host. When we arrived, João showed me that he’d plugged electric radiators in every room to warm the house through – so lovely. One of the benefits of an Air B&B holiday rental, even for long-term lets, was that power costs & internet were usually included. You pay a service & cleaning fee with the rental cost & that’s it.

Although we’d paid almost 50% less for a month’s rental for the yellow house, the €100 cleaning fee & €250 deposit brought the initial booking cost up to about the same. We were also later to discover that we ‘apparently’ owed an additional €63 for cleaning & an extra €218 for electricity as the power for the month cost a total of €468!

Lesson learned…

We also know from shorter self-catering holidays, that it’s necessary to:

  • Find the fuse box – there was a fan heater at the Galician house which, when switched on, fused the circuit if there were too many other appliances already turned on.
  • Have a torch to hand – handy in the event of the fuse flipping out, or an overall power cut. To-date, we’ve had power cuts in all but one of our temporary homes.
  • Have a spare gas bottle – if hot water is supplied by gas from a bottle, ensure there’s a spare. You can guarantee the gas will run out part-way through having a shower!
  • Water heater – we’ve had electric hot water tanks (of varying sizes) & combo gas boilers (which needed batteries for the ignition). If your hot water turns cold, you’ll need to know why.
  • The water supply – is it town water, or from a bore-hole? If a bore-hole, then the pump won’t work if you have a power cut.
  • Torches & candles – keep a supply of batteries for the torches & matches for the candles (which do seem to be acceptable & available in some rentals).

Renting fully furnished & fully serviced accommodation is great, but you do have to put up with what’s provided, rather than haven chosen it yourself. Sofas & beds may not be comfortable either & appliances may not work well.

Nancy sat on the floor in front of the washing machineIn the Algarve, the elderly washing machine didn’t initially work correctly & there were no instructions, in Portuguese or otherwise. After it didn’t stop at the end of a cycle & went around a second time, I sat & watched & waited for it to finish.

We’ve had cooker hobs where the diagrams & temperature guide has been rubbed-off & ovens with just two temperatures, very low & very hot!

I also work as a virtual assistant full-time so am sat in front of a computer for long hours. Back in the UK, had a comfortable chair & dedicated desk setup at the right height. Travelling means I have to use chairs of varying comfort & the kitchen or dining table as my desk.

A laptop set up on a table near a windowI brought a laptop height riser & have separate keyboard & mouse, but often have pillows & cushions on my chair to find a comfy position.

But these issues are part of the journey & I wouldn’t swap my current lifestyle!