Years ago, while still living in New York, I greatly cherished my summer weekends at our rented shabby salt shack near the ocean. Time spent there was the exact opposite of daily life: it was barefoot, laid-back and filled with lazy sun and leafy trees. Because this was a shared rental there were, at times, nearly 15 people taking turns on the weekend, looking for an escape from the city heat. But even though the space was shared we quickly managed to make it feel like home. And you can too.
Your summer rental may be one that you've visited time and time again. Or perhaps this is a new adventure for you – an unfamiliar dwelling possibly shared with unacquainted people. No matter what your summer sojourn is like, there are several creature comforts that you'll want to bring with you to make your holiday rental feel more like home.
Bedding: Not only is it more hygienic, bringing your own sheets from home will make you feel more comfortable. Toting your own pillow, if you have a spare, will also help you feel more rested. If you have a place in your summer rental to store items, be sure to strip your bed at the end of the weekend and either bring sheets home to wash or store in a zippered bag or box . Placing a sachet or cedar block in the storage bag will impart a fresh scent and keep bugs at bay.
Summer Gear & Equipment: Keeping a sturdy, canvas bag with weekend gear, like your sun hat, tennis racquet or wet suit, will ease your schlep factor – especially if your mode of transportation is a train or bus. It's a good idea to wipe clean these items prior to storing; this will prevent smells or mildew. Using a dehumidifier would be a great idea as well. Be sure to label your bag and equipment, especially if your plan on sharing your weekend space with people you don't know.
Bathroom Essentials: Some rental homes may provide towels but if not, bring two sets per person for a summer's stay. If there isn't a washer and dryer you'll want to bring a set home with you and leave a set there – this way if you forget to bring out a new set you'll have one available. Think about writing your name on the tag or use some sort of identifier to avoid post-shower confusion. Same goes for beach towels: if hitting the beach is a daily activity, you may want to bring a few towels so you can always bring a set home to wash. Your personal bathroom accessories, like face lotion and toothpaste, may be something you'd like to store in a small toiletry pouch.
Personal Décor: Some other items that can make a summer rental feel more like home are a few personal decorating touches. Pieces like framed photos, a favorite tchotchke or reading lamp can instantly turn an unfamiliar place into a personal space. Again, your particular rental will determine what items you should bring. A shared rental with many strangers may not be the best place to bring your favorite collectible. But a home that your family will be renting on a regular basis would be a great place to show off family photos or a cherished piece of art.
Kitchen: Hopefully your summer rental will include all the necessary kitchen tools. But depending on the age of the home, and depending on your family's needs, you may want to bring a favorite tool or gadget. If you are addicted to foamy milk in your morning coffee you may want to bring your own frother. Or if you are particular about food prep, having your own set of chef's knives may be important. Obviously, your length of stay in your rental may determine the amount of contraptions you bring.
Other Personal Affects: While on vacation children are always instructed to bring their favorite stuffed animal or toy. Adults, although we may not admit it, are also happier when we have our favorite creature comforts surrounding us. For example, some travelers insist on bringing their cozy robe, a stack of must-read books or their favorite scented candle. Bringing too many items will load you down and may inhibit you from enjoying, and exploring, your new surroundings. But a few precious items can instantly make you feel relaxed and comfortable in an alien abode.
Image Credit: Christopher Baker, House Beautiful