What You Should Bring to Your Vacation Cottage

Pack the Right Items for Your Cottage Getaway

Cottage in Idyllwild, California. Photo © Travel Ink / Gallo Images / Getty Images

Packing for your vacation cottage getaway can be a challenge, particularly when you are not sure exactly what is available in your rental unit. This checklist will help you decide what to bring and what to leave behind.

Vacation Cottage Basics

These must-have items can make or break your stay. Review your rental agreement carefully to be sure you know which items are supplied and which items you must bring with you. If possible, ask the owners or management company to tell you what supplies and kitchen items are in the cottage.

At a minimum, you should pack:

  • Owner / manager contact information, so you can call for assistance during your trip
  • Final payment, if not already submitted
  • Driver's license and passport
  • Debit and credit cards
  • Cash for local purchases if you are renting within your own country
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Camera and charger
  • Converters and plug adapters, if you are traveling to another country
  • Sheets, towels and / or pillows, if required by your rental agreement (be sure to verify bed sizes if you are packing sheets)
  • Charcoal, lighter fluid and matches if a charcoal grill is available and you are driving to your vacation cottage; you cannot bring these items onto an airplane
  • Firewood, if a fireplace or fire pit is available, you are driving to your vacation cottage and the cottage is not located in a firewood quarantine zone

Kitchen and Bathroom Supplies

This list includes basic items only. If you plan to do a lot of cooking and you have extra space in your car or suitcase, consider packing a favorite frying pan and saucepan, too.

  • Favorite spices and seasonings for cooking and grilling, including salt and pepper (pack in small zip-closure plastic bags to save space)
  • Gluten-free cooking ingredients, if needed, unless you know you will be able to buy them at a local grocery store
  • Condiments (consider buying individually-sized packets)
  • Corkscrew / bottle opener
  • Coffee, tea, creamer and sugar
  • Favorite kitchen knife
  • A small cutting board, if space permits
  • Aluminum foil (handy for wrapping leftovers and for grilling)
  • Pet food, if your pet will accompany you to the vacation cottage
  • Extra toilet paper, tissues, paper towels and trash bags, if you are staying far from a grocery store or will not have time to buy them when you arrive
  • Laundry detergent, if you plan to wash clothes (Tip: Bring a couple of laundry detergent capsules from home to use at your cottage or the laundromat. They are easy to pack and use.)

Personal Items

  • Clothing, shoes and outerwear suitable for your environment and planned activities
  • Hand soap, shampoo and other personal toiletries
  • Medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, if needed (Tip: Bring prescription medications in original containers if you are crossing an international border.)
  • Hair dryer, if needed, unless one is available at your vacation cottage
  • Rain gear, such as rain shells, umbrellas and ponchos
  • Insect repellent

Recreational /Leisure Items

  • Location-specific and seasonal items, such as insect repellent, beach towels and sunscreen
  • Sports equipment for outdoor fun (Tip: Ask about bike helmets if the cottage has bicycles available for you to use. You will probably need to bring your own helmets from home in order to be sure that you have a helmet that fits properly.)
  • Reading material, digital media players loaded with music and podcasts, board games, DVDs, playing cards and other activities suitable for rainy days; ask the vacation cottage's owner or property manager whether a TV and DVD player are available (Tip: Remember to pack your charger if you bring an e-reader.)
  • Laptop computer, if desired; ask whether WiFi is available. If not, plan to look for local WiFi hotspots or bring your personal hotspot to your vacation cottage. (Tip: If you are traveling to another country, be sure to sign up for an international data plan before you leave home.)

What if I'm Flying to My Destination?

You may not be able to bring olive oil or firewood in your checked baggage, but you can bring small kitchen items, utility knives, spices and a corkscrew in your suitcase without difficulty. Be sure to check the Transportation Security Administration's list of prohibited items if you are flying to or from the US.