I welcome the opportunity to improvise in the kitchen, but usually that has to do with ingredients and cooking techniques. When you go on vacation to a rented kitchen, however, you often get to improvise with equipment as well.
We've been going to rented condos for many years and I always take along a box or two of stuff that I might need -- cutting board, good teflon frying pan, sharp knife, lots of kitchen towels, that sort of thing. Generally if I have brought along a particular tool that means I'll find two of them in the rented kitchen, and if I have failed to bring it along, there won't be one there.
This year our kitchen has been the most sparsely equipped we've seen in a long time. Only two dishtowels, for instance -- hey, I go through two in a typical meal -- but fortunately I brought ten of my own.
No hot pads (good thing I brought lots of dishtowels). No salt and pepper (I brought a pepper grinder, but we're cutting down on sodium this week).
No covers for most of the cooking pans.
Not to worry. Improvisation is good for the soul. In fact, that wine bottle made an excellent potato masher, maybe even better than my orthodox one at home.