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Packing For A Short-Term Rental Stay

Packing for a Short-Term Rental Stay

Vacations are undoubtedly exciting, but packing for them, well, that’s a whole different story. From clothes to toiletries, outwear, and shoes, there are so many items to sort through and so many decisions to make – and that’s just for hotel stays! If you plan on spending your vacation at a short-term rental home, your packing list gets even more complicated. With a kitchen to stock, a bathroom to fill, and possible outdoor activities to take advantage of, there’s much more that you’ll need to bring for your vacation rental. 

While it’s always best to check your rental listing to confirm what you need, here’s a quick guide to some of the most common items you may want to include on your packing list!


Everyday Outfits: Be sure to bring along enough clothing to last for the duration of your stay. Some rental may not have an option to do laundry. 

Weather Appropriate Clothes: Depending upon where you are going and the time of the year, you may want to pack items such as swimsuits, raincoats, winter jackets, etc. Do a final check of the weather the day before leaving to ensure you pack for weather conditions during your stay. .

Shoes: Be sure to pack weather-appropriate footwear.

Laundry Detergent: Many rental homes have on-site washers and dryers, but you’ll need to provide your own laundry detergent to utilize them.  Double check with your host to ensure they will be available. While hosts do their best to provide the best service, appliance can need repair. 


Personal Toiletries: While some rentals may provide a few travel-sized toiletries, it’s best to bring your own; especially any favorite products. This includes items such as shampoo, conditioner, body soap, toothpaste, etc.

Hand Soap: Again, travel-sized soap may be available, but you shouldn’t count on it.

Toilet Paper: Most rentals will provide a roll or two of toilet paper to get you started, but it’s always a good idea to bring your own as well, just in case you need it – and chances are you will if you’re staying more than a couple of days.

Sunscreen & Aloe: Location and weather dependent.

Bug Spray: Location and weather dependent. It doesn’t hurt to pack your favorite bud repellant. It’s better to have it and not need it – than to need it and not have it. I’m sure you’ve heard that saying a few times.

Sleeping Necessities 

Pack’ n Play: Most rentals don’t provide cribs, so pack ‘n plays are ideal for those traveling with infants and babies.

Portable Bed Rail: If you have a young child who can’t sleep in a regular bed yet, a portable bed rail can be used to create a safe space for them to rest. 

Nightlight: You typically won’t find nightlights in vacation rentals, so it’s a good idea to bring your own, especially if you’re traveling with children who are used to using them.

Flash Light: They are not just for going outside at night, if there is a power outage during your stay, you’ll want to have a flashlight nearby.

Alarm Clock: You can also use your cell phone.

Air Mattress: If you need an extra bed, you can always bring an air mattress. Just be sure to check your rental’s rules to ensure you’re not exceeding the maximum capacity for guests! Ask your host about space and where you can place the mattress. Keep in mind clear spaces to exit doors. In case of a fire, you do not want your exit blocked.

Kitchen Essentials

Food: You have an entire kitchen at your disposal – make use of it! 

Drinks: Most rentals have a coffee maker on hand, so don’t forget your coffee and creamer. Just be sure to confirm what type of coffee maker is provided, so you can plan accordingly.

Condiments & Spices: Many rentals have condiments and spices leftover from previous guests, but you never know what you’ll find. COVID has also changed the way hosts will offer “leftover” food items. It’s best to plan to bring all the food items you’ll need during your stay.  If you’re near a grocery store it is easy to pop in and get what you’d like.  This avoids packing so many food items.  You can always check with your host to see exactly what is and isn’t available.

Dish Soap: Some rentals may provide a small bottle of dish soap, but others don’t. 

Paper Products: It’s always a good idea to bring napkins and paper towels.

Trash Bags: Chances are you’ll be expected to gather up all of your trash before you leave, so be sure to bring along a few large trash bags for this purpose.

Storage Products: Aluminum foil, Ziploc bags, and plastic wrap are all great items to have on hand, especially if you plan on doing a lot of cooking.

Special Cooking Tools: Basic cooking tools such as pots and pans should be available for you to use, but if you plan on cooking anything fancy or have specific tools that you like to use, you should plan on bringing your own. 


Media Streaming Devices & Passwords: You can check with your host to see if they have streaming devices available. If they don’t, you can bring your own. Remember to bring your passwords for your favorite streaming apps.

Extension Cord or Power surge: Extension cords will make your life easier, especially if you plan on bringing along a lot of electronics. 

Laptops & Tablets: Just about everyone travels with a laptop or tablet. It’s a great way to stay connected, download photos, read/watch streaming apps and the list can go on. If you like having a computer nearby, bring your laptop. There are no guarantees you’ll find a computer in your rental or if a library is nearby.

Portable Speaker:Share the music throughout your stay with small speakers. Remember to consider where you’re staying and any quiet time, and just basic consideration of others who may be nearby having their own experience.

Books & Magazines: Is spending down time reading your favorite book a fun way to spend your vacation. If the answer is yes, bring along the books and magazines that you’ve been wanting to finish.

Board Games & Cards: Many rentals will have games available. The condition of the games may not be thoroughly checked after each renter leaves. Pieces maybe missing, etc. Bring along favorite games just to be sure.

Children’s Toys: If traveling with children they will want to explore the area, but also will want some of their favorite toys. Let children who are old enough decide what they’ll bring.

Miscellaneous Needs

Stroller: If traveling with young children.

Baby Gate: If traveling with young children and your rental has stairs. Ask the host about the layout of the house and let them know you’ll have small children traveling with you.  Some renters tend to only include the adults in the guest count. Babies and small children should be in the count and let the host know in case more safety precautions are needed on their end, i.e. moving sharp-edge tables, outlet covers, etc.

First Aid Kit: First aid kits are always good to have on hand in the event of an emergency. Some rentals will have them, however, bring along meds for cuts and bruises.

Flashlight: Bring a flashlight in case of any unexpected power outages.

Beach Supplies: If you’re traveling to a beach destination, don’t forget to bring along beach towels, chairs, umbrellas, toys, etc.

– – – 

Hopefully, this list is helpful in preparing you for your upcoming trip! If you have any lingering questions, you can always reach out to your host for clarification on what you’ll need for your stay!

More packing tips to help any vacation feel less stressful.


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