Tuesday, March 20, 2012

3 Packing Tips for Vacation Rentals

While this may be the goal of any vacation,
you'll probably need to pack more
than just a bathing suit.
More and more people are staying in vacation rentals. One of the first questions they have is, "what do I need to bring?"  Here are packing tips you can use as you plan your stay in a vacation rental.

Make a Plan

This is a basic packing tip for travel, and it's one to keep in mind when for vacation rentals. But it has less to do with how you pack your suitcase and more to do with knowing how where you're going resembles what you're used to at home. 

First, find out as much about the area you're traveling to as possible. This will be fun, as you'll quickly become familiar with area attractions, restaurants, beaches, national parks, etc. You'll also become familiar with area grocery, department and drug stores. For example, you might be tempted to bring food for your vacation rental's kitchen when you first arrive. A little research might tell you that a 24-hour grocery store is right around the corner. Some parents like to pack over-the-counter medications for their kids, just in case. You can save that space and possibly unnecessary expense if you find your vacation rental is near a corner drug store. Conversely, you might find that neither is near your vacation rental. In which case, you might want to pack a few extra things so you have what you need upon your arrival.

Also, be sure to understand local customs and proper dress. For example, if you're planning a trip to Rome, you might want to make sure you have appropriate clothing for a trip to the Vatican. If you're planning a trip to India, you wouldn't want to offend anyone with western styles considered inappropriate in their culture.

All this information is easily obtainable either by doing a quick search on Google, or by asking the property manager or owner. 

Know What's Provided

Most vacation rentals provide soap and shampoo, much like a hotel, but there may be products you like to use. (Drawing from the first tip, you might want to go so far as to call the pharmacy or grocery store to see if they stock items you like to use.) 

Towels are also provided at vacation rentals, though daily maid service probably won't be. If you're near the beach or plan on trips to a lake, you might want to bring a couple of beach towels along. However, some vacation rentals will even provide these, so be sure to check with the owner or property manager. Most kitchens will be stocked with essential items: a roll of paper towels, coffee filters, garbage bags, etc. Depending on how long you stay, you may need to replenish these kinds of items.

When it comes to equipment needed for activities, you'll definitely want to speak with the owner or property manager. Many vacation rentals have equipment available for you to use, such as fishing poles, bicycles, tennis rackets, golf clubs, etc.

Know the Weather

If you're staying at a vacation rental, chances are you're going to be there for a week or more. It's a good idea to get a complete understanding of what the weather's like where you're going. You can put up with wearing your husband's sweatshirt on one cold night for a short weekend trip--but you probably won't want to wear it all week. Talk to the owner or property manager about weather and pack accordingly. Be sure to ask about variances in the weather--is it hot one time of day and cold another? Some travelers to some parts of Florida are surprised to find out that there's a daily rainstorm, usually in the afternoon. Should you bring and umbrella or buy one there?

Of course, you may decide not to pack heavy items such as jackets with the intent of buying them as souvenirs. Just remember to leave room in your suitcase for the return trip for any "day to day" items you buy on your trip. And should you find yourself with too much to bring back, consider shipping it back to yourself via UPS.