Everything You Need to Make the Most of Your Vacation Rental

The bags are packed and the house is booked. All you forgot is… well… everything.

7 min read

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The summer vacation house is rented and the PTO is in the books. There’s beach access, a big kitchen for cooking — maybe even a pool! Everything is perfect and relaxation is yours. But then you arrive and realize… there isn’t a decent coffee maker. Or beach towels. Or an indoor form of entertainment for keeping the sunburned kids quiet. You know you’re going to be at the house for a while, so  you pull up DoorDash and get everything you need delivered right to your temporary home like magic. Here’s our ultimate packing list to everything you need to buy to thrive at your vacation beach house.

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Kitchen Basics 


If you’re like me and require a decent espresso to wake up in the morning, you could take the opportunity to order a top-of-the-line espresso machine like the De'Longhi La Specialista Arte Evo, which grinds beans and froths milk to create the perfect cappuccino every time. Or just keep it simple with an easily transportable Bialetti 3 Cup Moka Stovetop Espresso Maker, which gets you equally caffeinated at a fraction of the price — you’ll just need to grind your beans and froth your milk separately. 

A good set of sharp knives is also a must if you’re going to be cooking — order a quality set along with a Real Living 3-Piece Cutting Board Set (three cutting surfaces means three family members aka sous chefs can chop at the same time — which is key if you just returned with a massive farmers’ market haul for dinner). And of course, you’ll need a pitcher of frozen drinks to fuel all this chopping, so invest in a Black+Decker 6-Cup 10-Speed Blender.

Bathroom Necessities


It’s a scientific fact that no rental house will ever contain enough toilet paper to last the span of your stay; avoid emergency shortages by pre-ordering a 6-pack of ​​Charmin Essentials Soft 2-Ply (each mega-roll is the equivalent of 4 regular rolls, which nets out to a very necessary 24 rolls). 

Hand soap is another frequent miss: If the house has it at all, it’s probably not the greatest quality, so opt for a pump bottle or two of Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Hand Soap. 

And then there’s the shower. You’ll almost definitely need some decent shampoo and conditioner; try a color-safe, paraben-free vacation-y scent to please the whole family, like OGX Coconut Milk Shampoo and Conditioner. Round out the collection with an all-purpose body wash like Dr. Bronner's 18-in-1 Hemp Lavender Liquid Soap (16 oz), which can double as a cleaning agent for the house if you need it. 

Oh, and did you forget the toothbrushes even though you said you weren’t going to forget the toothbrushes? A Colgate Extra Clean Soft Toothbrushes Value Pack includes 6 brushes, which should cover just about anyone who left theirs at home, and some Colgate Total Clean Mint Toothpaste.

Outdoor Accessories 


If it’s summer, chances are you’ll be spending a good deal of your time outside, which means you should invest in a few crucial items to maximize your outdoor space. If there’s a beach or pool nearby, you’ll need some beach towels and beach chairs:  The Life is Good Sun & Sea Beach Towel is a high-quality option that will last well beyond your vacation, and the Quest Blue Floral 1 Position Beach Chair is affordable enough to order a whole set. 

For backyard barbecues, a Weber Portable 14" Grill is a great option — since it’s portable, you can even bring it to the local park or beach. Of course, summer unfortunately means mosquitoes, but you can keep the bloodsuckers at bay with the surprisingly effective Thermacell Patio Shield Mosquito Repellent. This portable, cordless, lightweight device uses a compact heating mechanism and refillable DEET-free repellent to create a 15-ft mosquito protection zone.

Fun Stuff 


Okay, now you know the basics of what to bring to a beach house rental. So let’s have some fun! Keep kids entertained in the backyard with a Splashy Fire Hydrant Water Sprinkler, which attaches to a garden hose like a regular sprinkler but is way cuter. Throw in a couple of Nerf Super Soaker XP100 Water Blasters, or perhaps a Zuru Bunch O Balloons Shark Slide with Self Sealing Water Balloons — it’s the classic Slip-n-Slide of your youth, with the added joy of a water balloon fight (bonus: It’s made of recycled plastic!). 

For older kids and adults, a Rec League 2' x 4' Wood Regulation Cornhole Board Set is a guaranteed hit. The set folds up for easy transport and includes two weather-safe boards, eight bean bags, and an official game rules booklet. 

If you’re headed to the beach, some sand toys are all but a necessity; opt for an all-in-one kit like the 14-pieceAmloid Nettled Beach Toy Set, which includes shovels, a bucket, and sandcastle molds. And once you get home, sunburned and ready for some quiet time, a classic board game like Scrabble or Monopoly is a must.

Photography: Paul Quitoriano
Art Direction: Sarah Ceniceros Gomez