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Rosemary Beach Cottage in Florida
Rosemary Beach Cottage/Flickr/Christy Bright

Sure, the listing for the vacation rental you’re eying says it’s fully loaded with amenities, but savvy renters know they need to bring a few extras for a safe, easy, and more enjoyable stay.

Apart from bedsheets and bath towels, here’s what else you’ll need to pack.

1. A sharp kitchen knife. Plan on getting good use out of that kitchen? Make sure you bring along your favorite kitchen knife, as the blades at rental homes are notoriously dull. Remember to pack it safely: Roll it in a T-shirt, then place it in a plastic bag. If you’re flying to your destination, definitely check your bag.


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2. A streaming media player. Whether you use Apple TV, Roku, or another device, this can save your rainy day. Just double check that the rental has WiFi. Something fun to try: Watch flicks or TV shows that were filmed in your location — like Jaws on Martha’s Vineyard or Sideways along California’s central coast.

3. A night light. Hotels often have dimmer switches in the bathrooms, but rental houses don’t. Save yourself the pain of tripping during a nighttime bathroom run by packing a small night light.

4. Your favorite pillow. You never know what you’re in for when it comes to the bedding at a rental — it’s not a four-star hotel, after all. Falling asleep in a strange bed is a little easier when you have a familiar pillow.

5. Sponges. Hopefully the courteous renter before you left behind dish soap, but how long has that sketchy-looking sponge been sitting there? Tote a fresh pack of sponges to cut down on germs.

6. Toiletries. While you can buy them at the local drug store, you’ll save yourself a resort town markup if you bring these items from home: body wash, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, sunblock, bug spray, razors, shaving cream, and anything else you use on a daily basis.

7. A beach blanket. A giant beach blanket (or two) will keep your host-provided towels from getting sandy and wet.

8. Portable fan. If your house doesn’t have air conditioning or if it turns out AC means old window units, a fan will help keep you cool. It can also help blow bugs away if you’re planning on grilling and eating outdoors.

9. Safety gate. This is a must if you’re traveling with little ones. You’ll be able to block stairs and cordon off the kitchen area to prevent accidents. It’s also handy if you have a pup in tow.

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