The summer travel season is just around the corner and whether you’re heading to a lake house, mountain cabin, or beach house, it’s time to prepare for some well-deserved break. However, don’t forget to bring a few essentials for your rental home when you pack your flip flops, swimsuits, and sunscreen.
Of course, part of the fun is renting a space, discovering (and enjoying) the quirky, random, and often hilariously dated decor. But while pieces like a puka shell chandelier are charming, the bed sheets of unknown origins are questionable. If you’ve been there for at least a week and driving to your destination, it might be worth bringing some items with you or picking them up to make your summer rental feel more comfortable and less sketchy. Read our tips on how to spice up your (temporary) home.
What to pack
Bring essentials to make you feel more comfortable and which would be too expensive or annoying to buy when you arrive. Bring a set of neutral sheets for the bedroom and fresh white towels for the bathroom. Not only do they work with the eclectic decor you encounter, but they also eliminate the ick factor of using someone else’s bedding. If you’re going to the mountains or anywhere where it gets cold at night, bring a few litters to sit on the porch in the evening or around the fire pit.
Many rental properties come with glassware, dishes, and cutlery. However, if you haven’t been there before, it’s unclear what exactly you are up against. So if you are renting the house with a large group of family members or friends and are planning on having some good meals together (and you don’t want the table to look like a crazy mix of styles), bring a simple, inexpensive one with dinner set .
What to buy
At the farmers market: Do not miss the opportunity to visit the nearby farmers’ markets or farm stalls. Not only are they great places to shop for incredible local produce, honey, jams, and baked goods, but you can also buy some essentials to cheer up your rental (and get some great recommendations for restaurants and things to do). Pick up a few clusters of local flowers. Flowers instantly transform a room, so buy at least enough for a vase on the kitchen table as well as a few stems for bud vases on bedside tables. While you’re there, grab a few bars of handmade soap. Put some next to the sink or in the shower to use during your trip and bring some home to remind you of your trip.
In the grocery store: As you fill the kitchen with groceries for the week, get some things to use as home decor. Buy enough lemons and limes to fill a large clear bowl. They not only serve as a bright, fresh centerpiece, but are also an indispensable side dish for the cocktail hour. It is also a good idea to purchase an assortment of candles. You never know what mysterious smells will greet you upon entering a rental property (especially on a fishing-friendly lake). So choose some scented candles to burn around the house, as well as citronella candles to keep mosquitos out on the porch.
At the flea market: Look for local flea markets – it’s a great opportunity to find unique items for your home and vacation rental at prices unmatched. Vintage tablecloths and even lengths of fabric are great for decorating your dining area or as a picnic blanket. Grab mason jars, pitchers, vases, and even juice glasses to display your farmers’ market bouquets. If you’re hosting a group, don’t resist the urge to buy a cheesy, cool jug from the 1960s and glasses that are good for juice in the morning and cocktails in the evening. Be on the lookout for old school board games too. They are a must have for both rainy days and hardcore family tournaments.
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