What to bring to a vacation rental

If you’re renting a vacation house for the first time, it can be very overwhelming. Most vacation rentals supply basic amenities while guests are required to bring everything else. Even though my family spends a week in Cape Cod every summer, we always seem to forget something. I’ve put together a list of “What to Bring to a Vacation Rental” to help.

Make sure to always review the rental agreement before you start packing so you know what’s available in the rental home.

Vacation rental basics

Linens: My family has stayed in a variety of beach cottages – some rentals have linens and towels while others do not. Check the rental agreement twice before you leave home without sheets, pillows, and bath towels.

Paper goods: Toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, etc.

Laundry detergent: I actually enjoy doing laundry on vacation so we unpack clean clothes when we get home.

Pillow & blanket: My daughters prefer their personal pillow and blanket, so we always bring our own.

Dirty laundry bag: Even if there is a washer and dryer on site, you’ll still need a way to transport dirty items home. This is my favorite bag.

What kitchen supplies to pack

Condiments. Pack your favorites. Some vacation rental owners provide basic condiments, but we don’t always use them.

Corkscrew. I never leave home without one!

Cereal or other breakfast foods

Trash bags

Food storage bags for leftovers or beach snacks

Aluminum foil and plastic wrap

Coffee – THIS IS A BIG ONE! Also, don’t forget your favorite coffee creamer

Dish soap & sponge

What to leave at home

Mini appliances (unless you love your blender and there isn’t one at the house). Also toaster, coffee maker, dishes, silverware, etc. Always check with the rental host for a list of what’s available.

Don’t forget these bathroom and toilet supplies

Medication (for adults and children)


Shampoo & conditioner

Blow-dryer – not every vacation rental will have a blow dryer so pack yours or a travel blow dryer.

Toilet paper – even if there is a roll or two when you arrive, it won’t last a week with a full house. We always BYOTP!

Sunscreen & aloe

First aid kit

Other Essentials to Pack

Clothing Hangers – there are NEVER enough provided.

Beach Chairs – even if they’re provided, sometimes we have found the beach chairs to be old/damaged.

Bug repellent

Beach blankets

Beach toys – some beach rental owners have a collection of beach toys for guests, but it’s best to be prepared with backup toys in case one is lost at sea.

Beach umbrella or tent

Baby gate – if you have a wandering baby in a big house, come prepared to close off stairs or doorways.


If you need certain items but have limited space in your vehicle, use a local rental service!

Every year we use a local rental service in Cape Cod to request the following items: crib, pack-n-play, beach umbrella, beach cart, high chair. Most of what’s listed is too big to bring from home. Also, it costs less to rent these items than to buy them once we reach our destination.

Some tips for traveling during the Summer and Covid-19.

Check travel restrictions and quarantine rules for your desired destination.

Always sanitize high-touch surfaces, like keys, TV remotes, night stands, handles on sinks and doors, the fridge (inside and out), light switches, cups and plates.

For rental homes, ask your host how much time will pass between you and the previous guest. If possible, delay your stay so there’s a 2-3 day buffer. If that’s not possible, doing your own cleaning is much more important.

Caitlin Houston is a Wallingford blogger and mom of three who loves sharing all of her favorites on the Caitlin Houston Blog. Learn about fun activities at home, family friendly trips, easy recipes and more.

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