10 new questions I’d ask if I were renting a short-term apartment

We’ve had some doozies over the years. One beautiful high-design apartment was built over a bar AND directly over the subway. It looked great in photos and even better in person, but we couldn’t wait for our vacation to be over so we could get a good night’s sleep.

Beyond the obvious, here are 10 things we’d want to know before sending in a deposit.

1. High floor? Ideally an apartment should be above the second (American) floor so you’re slightly above traffic noise and dirt.

2. Double or triple-paned windows? This can help, if not totally eliminate traffic noise.

3. Air conditioning? Never a “standard” item in Europe so always ask if you have low heat tolerance. It often doesn’t exist because cool nightly breezes cool things to “livable” levels, but you may be spoiled by US standards. Make sure A/C is strong enough to handle a major heatwave if you’re traveling at peak periods.

4. Close to subways or other transit? Close to grocery stores? This will make a world of difference if you’re out and about. It’s no fun to lug groceries 7 or 8 blocks home after a day or touring.

5. Friendly or at least non-aggressive neighbors? In many places, there is no legal ability for neighbors to protest short-term rentals, but they can go out of their way to make short-term renters feel uncomfortable and unwanted.

6. Quiet neighbors? Make sure the Flamenco dance studio is closed during your visit.

7. Bathroom and shower in the apartment. This likely won’t happen to you, but as a student, I once rented a place where you had to go out in the hallway to use the toilet. “Chambres de bonne” in France often have shared facilities including showers, so don’t take this for granted, especially for low-price offers.

8. Includes towels and other equipment? You don’t want your first excursion to be to a store to buy plates and towels, as I had to to do at a sublet in Corsica.

9. Does everything in the pictures “work?” TVs and computers make nice furniture, but are frustrating if they don’t actually function.

10. Internet or “internet-ready?” Even in 2010, some people suggest “internet ready data port” meaning an outlet for your modem cord on the phone. We fell for this one five or six years ago, but still see it often in ads.

Good luck and let me know if you have any of your own gained through experience!

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