Pack List for Vacation Rentals


a photo of our vacation pack list
Packing these items makes life in a rental house or apartment so much easier!

Tomorrow we leave for Croatia and with the weather here holding at 8C and rainy, the 24s forecast for the Dalmatian Coast cannot come fast enough. Brrrrrrrr. *Snuggles down into comfy chair with pot of tea for the day*

Today I’m packing for our trip and realized that after four years of vacations spent primarily in rented apartments and homes throughout Europe, we’ve got packing experience worth sharing. I’m not talking about clothes or shoes, because that varies so much based on where you’re going and when. I’m talking about a handful of household items that we’ve learned through experience can make life in a rental so much easier.

These items may not be necessary if you’re staying in a major metropolitan area with a mega-store right down the way, or if you’re hoteling it, but if you’re staying in out of the way places, or traveling without a car, both of which are the norm for us, this pack list for vacation rentals can make a huge difference.

We always pack the following items to ensure we’ve got our necessities covered on holiday:

  • A sharp knife – We now have a razor-sharp Opinel folding picnic knife that goes everywhere with us.
  • Salt & Pepper grinders – Not only is buying these bulk items a pain, but it’s just not worth the risk of ending up with pre-ground pepper, or whole peppercorns and no grinder.
  • Dishwasher tablets – Inevitably these are sold in mega-packs of 1000 when all you need is half a dozen to get through the week.
  • Washing machine tablets – Especially if you have anyone in your family who is sensitive to fragrance (ahem…). We stock up on Tide Pods when we’re home, but there are other brands as well.
  • Zip-top bags – If there’s one thing rental houses seem to skimp on, it’s lidded containers for leftovers. So I always bring a handful of bags just in case, and they always seem to get used by the end of the trip.
  • Folding chairs – We bought a pair of these Alite Mayfly Chairs this summer. They pack down nicely and only weigh a pound each, meaning we can even use them on a backpack trip like the one we’re about to take.
  • Insulated shopping bag – If you’ve ever bought aged cheese at a market and walked home with it in your purse or backpack, you’ll understand why this is worth packing. Also doubles as a picnic basket, a cooler, and storage for all the items on this list.
  • Coffee maker – After nearly exploding a very old moka pot in Italy one year, we started traveling with our own Bialetti right up until Matt discovered the Aeropress, which is even smaller/lighter to carry and makes a great cup of coffee.
  • Collapsible wine glasses – I take these everywhere from holiday to the beach to a picnic to the monthly PTO meeting (kidding, kidding!).

I could tell you hilarious stories about accidentally putting dishwasher soap in the washing machine or using a bottle of washing liquid so smelly that our clothes smelled of the stuff for a month after our trip. Or about the time I nearly ruined 50e of meat butchering it with a dull knife. But you get the picture, right? Bring this stuff along and avoid the hassle.

Is there something else that you take with you everywhere you travel?

4 thoughts on “Pack List for Vacation Rentals

  1. This is such a great list! I would probably add a small first aid kit. For some reason, I always need a band-aid. How long will you be gone?

  2. Yeah, we were pretty shocked that it wasn’t mentioned in the apartment info. I wouldn’t have had a problem bringing my own if I had known. Who wants to spend their vacation money on sheets, let alone on ones they would probably never use again?!

  3. We have had to resort to using the little travel packs of tissues for TP in the past, so I definitely should have added that as a necessity. But no sheets? That’s a new (& terrible) one! Jeez.

  4. Totally! I take a number of those same items with me as well. I’m in love with Starbucks VIA for travel because all you need is hot water and a mug. 🙂 After my last vacation rental stay, I’ll also be taking along an extra roll of toilet paper and a pillowcase next time. We arrived in the evening (after stores closed) to find the apartment didn’t have any tp or sheets!!

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