10 Must-Packs for Your Next Vacation Rental


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Luggage in the back of a car.

One thing that can make traveling with kids a little easier is staying in a vacation rental instead of a hotel. Having stayed in vacation rentals several times in the last few years with my kids (ages one-and-a-half to eight), I discovered some must-packs for your vacation rental.

Now, I always keep these items on my packing list. Here is my list of 10 surprisingly helpful things to pack for your next vacation rental.

1. Chip Clips

Chip clips are perhaps the most surprisingly helpful item on this list. The discovery was a happy accident.

If we have snacks in the pantry already opened, I will put them in the car before a road trip. They are often secured with a chip clip. We’ve used chip clips not only to keep snacks fresh, but also to secure a rotating iPad in the car so all of the kids could see it. We also used a chip clip to secure a blanket to a curtain rod creating makeshift blackout curtains in the baby’s room. The possibilities are endless!

2. Extension Cord

There’s no way to know what the electrical situation will be where you’re staying. You may need to plug in a sound machine, monitor, and find a place to charge electronics. This extension cord is easy to pack and can really come in handy.

3. First Aid Kit

I think most of us pack children’s acetaminophen and ibuprofen when we travel. You never know when a rogue fever will pop up (for my kids it’s during every.single.trip)!

Items in a first aid kit.But when you’re staying in a vacation rental, it’s helpful to also pack a small first aid kit – be sure to include bandages, antibiotic cream, and anti-itch cream. It may save you from searching for a local pharmacy.

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4. Inexpensive Plastic Containers

One of the greatest advantages to staying in a vacation rental is the ability to cook and eat your meals there.

However, I’ve noticed a lack of plastic containers at several vacation rentals. Pack a set of inexpensive plastic containers for leftovers!

5. Kitchen Items

Most vacation rental kitchens are well-stocked. But if you plan to do a lot of cooking, there are a few items you may want to bring from home.

I’ve found that the knives, specifically bread knives, are often lacking in a rental kitchen. Measuring cups and spoons are small and easy to pack and could save your recipe (these were particularly helpful when cooking Thanksgiving dinner away from home).

6. Nightlights

We remembered a monitor, sound machine, and lovies for the kids, but once the lights were out, it was incredibly dark in their rooms and the hallways! A pack of nightlights is easy to pack and will make every room of your rental more navigable at night (especially since we know kids don’t always sleep well in new places).

7. Plastic Grocery Bags

I have a stash of plastic grocery bags in my car at all times. Putting a few extra in the suitcase is a good idea, too. They can be used for car sickness, dirty diapers, and any number of unexpected emergencies.

8. Permanent Marker

During our last trip with a large group, we used a lot of disposable plastic cups. Rather than throw them away after each meal, we had the kids (and adults) write their names on their cups so we could reuse them. A permanent marker saved the day!

9. Slippers

This last one may not exactly qualify as useful, but it certainly adds to the comfort of your stay. Don’t forget to pack your slippers or house shoes!

10. Step Stool

My four-and-half-year-old is very independent at home. However, the first night at our vacation rental I asked her to wash her hands before dinner, and she told me she couldn’t reach.

We have step stools in every bathroom at home, but there weren’t any at the rental. It was more of an inconvenience for me than for her, but I’m definitely packing a folding step stool for our next vacation.

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I keep a packing list on my phone or computer at all times. Before each trip, I add destination-specific items. These items now have a permanent place on my packing list. Keep this list of 10 must-packs for your vacation rental handy, share with your friends and family, and enjoy your trip!


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