5 Unexpected Things to Bring to Your Vacation Rental

beach umbrella

Combining the economy of a staycation with the appeal of an exotic getaway, renting a house or condo for a week has become one of the most popular ways to spend vacation time. Most rental units are equipped with the basics like towels, sheets, pots and plates, but your stay can be made much more enjoyable if you bring a few select items from home.

1. Knives. Though the rental kitchen will have a couple of knives, they will almost certainly be flimsy and dull. Even if you don't plan to cook big meals during your stay, you will save yourself a lot of frustration if you have one of your own good sharp knives to slice a tomato for your sandwich. You don't need to bring your whole knife block; a chef's knife, a paring knife and maybe a bread knife will be fine for the week.

Capcatcher on the fridge

2. Bottle Openers. You are unpacked and ready to enjoy a nice craft beer on the deck of your vacation condo. But after opening every drawer in the kitchen, you can't find a single bottle opener! Sad face. This scenario can be avoided by packing up your trusty Capcatcher Bottle Opener before you leave home. It's magnetic, so you can pop it right on the rental fridge and open your beers with the same convenience you're used to at home. Bring a fold-up corkscrew too for the evenings when the meal calls for wine. Just don't forget to take the Capcatcher off the fridge when the week is done!

3. Portable Speaker. You've loaded your phone with good vacation music, but when you get to the rental house, there may not be a way to connect your phone to the stereo. There may not even be a stereo! You can pack a small portable speaker like this one from Armor Mine so that no matter what sound set up you find, you will still be able to enjoy your playlist.

4. Self-Filtering Water Bottle. Not all tap water is the same. The water from the faucet at your Florida condo, while still perfectly safe to drink, will taste slightly brinier than the water at home. The different taste can be a little unpleasant if you're not used to it, but instead of buying two cases of bottled water for your week away, consider bringing your own filtration water bottle. There are a bunch of different designs and capacities out there, at price points ranging from $8 to $40, but my personal favorite is this one from Nubo. It doesn't require squeezing or sucking through a straw, so I can use it to fill a water glass in the kitchen, and I can also take it down to the beach.

5. Beach Umbrella. If you have enough space in your car, a versatile sports umbrella like this one from Sport-Brella is a great thing to bring on vacation. Your beach rental house will probably have a few serviceable beach chairs, but there will not be an umbrella to shade those beach chairs when the sun gets high. Even if you are not vacationing at the beach, the umbrella can be turned on its side or suspended with the included ropes to provide shade in just about any situation.

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