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Luxuries We Can't Live Without

After basic elements for survival are met—food, water, shelter — what modern luxuries do you consider indispensable? And what could you honestly do without? We surveyed 1,000 people and asked them about common American "luxuries" — smartphones, dishwashers, personal trainers, etc — then we rated their answers based on commitment level and cost. See how people responded below!

Luxuries We Can't Live Without

It's no surprise that Internet access and smartphones rank at the top, each with the highest score of the lot. Nearly all basic needs, as well as convenience needs, can be researched or accessed through the Internet. As a bonus, the Internet also provides entertainment and communication, thanks to devices like smartphones. Yes, one can survive without a computer in their pocket (civilization managed just fine before 2007, when the iPhone made its debut) but with so much information and connectivity at our fingertips, Internet-enabled smartphones are as ingrained into our daily lives as food, water and shelter.

The scores for entertainment luxuries boil down to personal preference. Mostly men, singles, and Millennials rated items such as premium headphones and music streaming services like Spotify as more essential, and women and Gen-Xers gave premium cable TV and DVR recorders higher scores than their counterparts. Everyone agreed that flying first class was a lower priority, but travel in general rated quite high.

After entertainment, food and drink landed in the mid-grade area on the essential luxury list. Eating out at restaurants, buying lunch during the work week, and eating organic produce all rank high on the index, mostly because of the higher cost associated with these activities. Responders recognize that there are cheaper ways to eat—for example, brown bagging their lunch and buying canned produce instead of fresh—but the convenience, lifestyle match and social aspects make eating out and higher quality foods very popular.

A category as broad as household items allowed for a wide range of what's essential and what's not. Having a clothes dryer, a dishwasher, and a microwave ranked among the higher items for "needs" because while there are alternatives — air drying your clothes, washing dishes by hand, using an oven—the convenience and speed of modern appliances make these items as close to essential as they come. Items like a Jacuzzi and maid service, while convenient and personally appreciated, aren't nearly as crucial to daily care and health.

Surveys like this show that while we may live in the Digital Age and technology is constantly outsourcing more and more tasks to automated machinery, we are only one power outage, Internet service disruption, or zombie apocalypse away from relying on just the basics. It's good to remember what's essential and what's simply a luxury.

The Ultimate List to Vacation Rental Upgrades

When you rent out your pad, it’s not enough to throw down a few pillows on a ratty couch and hope for the best. If you want a 5-star review, you’ve got to provide guests a 5-star experience. And we know just how to do just that. Below, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of all the ways you can attract bookings over your competitors and nab glowing reviews after guests finish their stay.

AirBnB Upgrade List 1 AirBnB Upgrade List 2 AirBnB Upgrade List 3

You want your listing to be competitive, right? At the most basic level, here’s what some of your top competitors have stocked up on: non-alcoholic beverages, cooking oils and hygiene supplies. WI-FI isn’t an issue, there’s a code-based lock to enter, and guests know their recycling/composting options. No dirt or dust, either—your place must be clean.

A little effort, especially with personal touches, can go a long way to making a big impression. And good news: You don’t have to spend big bucks. You could write a list of your favorite go-to activities, recommended restaurants, or even offer first-time Uber/Lyft passes. If you’ve talked to your guests beforehand, leave them something you think they’d like—maybe passes to a yoga studio, gym or comedy club. Throw in slippers and a yoga mat and your guests might confuse you for the Four Seasons.

There are some low-cost entertainment options you could add in, too. Books, board games, and a nice TV cable package won’t set you back too much—and will keep guests entertained on rainy days. Bonus points if you want to install a surround sound system.

You can create your own “home away from home” for under $500 with fancy soaps, a nice coffee pot, a water filter and luxurious pillows/sheets/towels. A high-end mattress will cost more than $500, but adds to the comfort of a stay.

You want your guests to have an easy, hassle-free vacation at your home. Anticipate what your guests will need, by providing relatively low-cost items like a luggage rack, a toaster and USB charging ports/international power adapter.

Let’s say you want to create a little atmosphere, but you’re on a tight budget. Here are two quick fixes you could make for under $100: install remote control dimmers and blackout blinds. If you’re willing to spend a little more, think about getting the walls repainted, add some new artwork or shop around for some stylish furniture. And if you want to go all out, splurge on a luxury rain shower with a bench. After your guests have been exploring your hometown all day, there’s nothing better than coming back to a shower like that!

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