A trip to a cottage is a wonderful opportunity to connect with nature, explore a new area of the world and disconnect from your usual day-to-day activities. Unlike hotels, a cottage allows you and your travel companions to live at your own pace: cooking when you’d like, waking up with minimal disruption, and relaxing peacefully outdoors.
It also means that you need to be well-prepared — once you arrive at your cottage, there’s no reception desk or 24-hour room service to call upon (although cottages will often have a number you can call in case of emergencies).
But this is by no means a bad thing. A true vacation should mean minimal disruption. To achieve this level of peace, it’s ideal to have all your essentials close to hand — which is easy to do with just a little planning.
Being on vacation doesn’t mean your cooking prowess needs to be compromised. In fact, by planning ahead, you’ll be able to make delicious meals on the firepit, in the kitchen or on the BBQ. Research your recipes well in advance and find out what local produce will be in season at your destination so that you can make the most of the region.
If you’ve booked your lodgings through a company like RentCottage.com, you’ll find thorough and detailed inventories for each room on your cottage listing. This is incredibly helpful when you’re deciding what foods and cooking implements to bring along, as you’ll know in advance if there are appliances like toasters, coffee machines, and microwaves (to name just a few examples). A listing of such kitchen essentials also shows consideration on behalf of both the cottage owner and the booking company.
In addition to consumables, there are some kitchen essentials you should consider bringing for your comfort on the off chance they’re not provided.
- A small bottle of dish soap.
- A cleaning cloth.
- Bags of ice.
- Reusable Ziplock bags to safely and easily store leftovers.
- Hand soap.
- A can opener.
- A roll of paper towels.
- Coffee filters in sizes 2 and 4 (or a French press if the kitchen isn’t stocked with one).
Clarify in advance of your departure what bedding is provided. Sometimes, you may need to bring your sheets, pillowcases, and towels.
In addition to essential bedding items, there are a few more bedroom luxuries that you can bring with you to ensure optimal comfort.
- Your own pillow. Interestingly, 7 in 10 Americans say that their pillow’s quality has a ‘big impact’ on their ability to have a great night’s sleep. If pillow hardness or softness affects your ability to rest well, consider bringing your own.
- Slippers or thick socks.
- Long- and short-sleeved pyjamas. This is especially important in the spring when temperatures fluctuate.
Sure, the cottage is supposed to be your time to disconnect. But in some situations, remaining contactable might be necessary for maximum relaxation. There are a few technical electronic essentials — and some luxuries — that you should consider bringing, including:
- Your tablet, phone and chargers for both.
- Portable speakers are great for listening to music while you’re cooking, relaxing down by the water, or on the deck.
- A flashlight or headtorch with spare batteries will come in handy should you want to go on strolls in the evening or in case of a power outage.
- A travel hairdryer.
- A nightlight if you’re travelling with young children.
- Your camera, spare batteries or a charger, so you don’t miss any special moments.
As mentioned, the weather during spring can fluctuate daily. Packing in case of every eventuality will ensure ultimate comfort and warmth. Some items that you may consider are:
- Hiking boots and hiking shoes.
- Multiple pairs of long thermal socks.
- Base layers — base layers threaded with silver are great for cottage adventures as they don’t need to be washed as frequently as cotton tees.
- Sunglasses — even on snowy days, sunglasses are advised.
- A rain jacket.
- Multiple sweaters.
- A hat, baseball cap and mitts.
While you’re probably not spending hours in the bathroom styling your hair at the cottage, there are a few bits and pieces of cosmetic and bathroom products that you should bring to keep you comfortable and safe.
- We should wear sunscreen with a factor of at least 30 SPF daily.
- A First Aid kit. It’s advised that this includes an antibacterial cream or spray and bandages.
- Toilet paper. While most cottages will supply toilet paper, having a couple of spare rolls is always handy.
- Lip balm. It’s all-to-easy to get uncomfortably dry lips when spending a lot of time outdoors. A moisturizing lip balm will help keep chapped lips at bay.
- Bug repellent — mosquitos appear as early as May in some areas. Bug repellent (and an ointment for bug bites if you’re unlucky) will keep your arms and legs itch-free. If you’re especially bothered by bugs, know that it’s been found that mosquitos are attracted to dark colours and red and orange; remember long-sleeved tops and consider investing in a mesh hat.
Most cottages will have some form (or forms) of entertainment, including televisions, board games and books. However, there’s certainly no harm in preparing for poor weather by bringing entertainment that you and your travel companions will find joy in.
Some ideas are:
- Movies (if there’s a screening device provided).
- Board games that you enjoy.
- Painting supplies for a paint night.
- A deck of cards.
If you’ve arranged a day excursion, you’ve reserved some outdoor equipment (like snowshoes), or if you’ve booked a table in town for dinner, bring a printout of the confirmation and the directions to get to your destinations. While most cottages come with Wi-Fi, in case there’s a drop in connection, you’ll know exactly where you need to be and when.
Bring a box of matches or a lighter for lighting indoor fires, BBQs and firepits. While cottage owners will typically provide these, you won’t be left in the dark if a fellow cottage guest accidentally misplaces the matchbook or lighter.
Going to the cottage this spring is sure to be a wonderful experience whether you’re going with friends, family or a loved one. With a bit of forward-thinking and delegation, you’re setting yourself up for a comfortable, stress-free cottage adventure for all.