The Deal Mommy

11 Items You’ll Wish You Had Packed for a Vacation Rental

Vacation RentalThis post is written in partnership with Traveling Mom and Vacatia. Opinions, as always, are my own.

Regular readers know I’m a HUGE fan of the vacation rental or “resort residence”. From our recent trip to Gran Canaria to Hawaii last summer to over 20 other trips over the years I’ve taken advantage of the many benefits resort residences offer. From saving on food to 2 TVs to that all important closing door I recently mentioned it’s hard for me to feel like a trip is luxurious in a regular hotel room when I’m traveling with the Deal Family.

I recently learned about a new source for resort residence rentals: Vacatia.  They offer resort residences in top US vacation sites such as Orlando, Florida beaches, and Hawaii.  They even offer Disney Vacation Club Rentals! For more ways to save on Disney World resorts check out my post on Traveling Mom.

Browsing the list I immediately spotted Kona Coast Resort where the kids and I stayed last summer.  Our 2 bedroom unit was recently remodeled, HUGE, fully equipped and had a gorgeous balcony where we ate most of our meals.

After so many trips you’d think I would have packing for one down to a science. However, every time I check in I realize there’s some random item I forgot.  This post is as much for myself as for you!  Here’s a handy list of the stuff I always end up wishing I had packed in my bag:

  • Coffee filters and fixins: For a week long trip I go through about a normal size bag of coffee.  That I’m happy to buy onsite- in fact in places like Hawaii it’s a bonus to buy it locally.  But I’m left scrambling for filters and sugar every trip.  The idea of buying a pack of 100 filters and a pound of sugar when I need 1/10th that amount drives me nuts!  I’ve learned to stick 10 or so filters and a bunch of sugar packets in a ziploc bag. Tip: a paper towel works in a pinch as a coffee filter but a Kleenex does NOT. Trust me on this one.
  • Peanut butter: This one is specifically for international trips.  Finding peanut butter outside of the states can be a real challenge.  I’ve gotten my kids to love Nutella, which is available pretty much everywhere, but if you’ve got a picky eater Skippy may be a life-saver.
  • A small spice kit: I use a “days of the week” pill box to store a tablespoon of salt, pepper, basil, oregano, garlic powder, cinnamon etc.  It makes all the difference with your eggs or pasta.
  • Protein bars: I can usually find pastries right away for breakfast but it may take me a day or so to find the “big” grocery store for a good protein source.
  • A corkscrew/bottle opener.  Most good resort residences have them but if you need one you don’t want to get caught short.
  • Non-bubbly bath salts: Many resort residences have Jacuzzi tubs- in fact our condo in Gran Canaria had one on the balcony.  Taking a bath directly below the Big Dipper was a bucket list experience I didn’t know I had on my list! However, using bubble bath in a Jacuzzi is a BIG no-no. One of Deal Dad’s favorite stories is of the time I flooded a hotel bathroom trying to get my bubble on in a Jacuzzi bathtub.  A packet of scented bath salts or a fizzy block is now always in my bag.
  • High end toiletries from your other trips:  Most residences come with basic shampoo and shower gel but I’ll bet you’ve got a ton of Molton Brown or Bliss at home.  Bring em! I almost always end up using one more soap bar than a resort provides- I like one at the kitchen sink and they usually only put soap in the bathrooms.
  • Beach Towels: Many resort residences have “pool towels” but most don’t have beach towels.  I’ve got more than one set bought in distress at the local Walgreens. Throw a set in if they’ll fit.
  • Microkites, beach balls: They cost $2, take up no room, and are a blast on pool and beach days.
  • A deck of cards: Playing cards take up no space and a sure fire way to entertain the kids after dinner when there’s nothing good on TV.
  • A beanie baby sized lovey: If you have younger kids a stuffed friend might help them get to bed in a strange room.

Any items you always end up buying on vacation?  Please share your list in the comments.

The Deal Mommy is a proud member of the Saverocity network.  


12 thoughts on “11 Items You’ll Wish You Had Packed for a Vacation Rental

  1. David

    For the brave souls out there: google how to open a wine bottle with your shoe. It’s not super classy, but it works if you don’t have a corkscrew!

  2. Jo

    We don’t drink coffee, but when I’m smart especially in cold months taking hot cocoa packets is great cause every room has stuff for coffee, but nobody has hot cocoa packets. We use the cups, voila.

  3. Rachel

    Laundry detergent pods! Often you’ll get one box of detergent, but with wet clothes and beach towels (plus a toddler), we do quite a bit of laundry.

  4. Janet

    Quart and Gallon Ziploc bags. Endlessly useful for segregating wet/sandy swimsuits on the last day, a waterproof bag for your phone at the beach or on a boat, and can be used in a pinch for leftover storage in the refrigerator. I always keep a handful of both in the front pocket of my suitcase.

    If I know we plan to cook and eat in regularly, I take:
    1. A ‘sink kit’ with a small bottle of dish soap, a couple of sponges, a scotchbrite scrubby, and a bunch of dishwasher tabs, plus a couple of thin “flour sack” dish towels. I have been to condos that provide one washcloth, one dish towel, and one packet of dishwasher soap for the kitchen for a week-long stay.
    2. Knives. Every vacation condo I have stayed at only stocked serrated knives, which are useless for cutting anything except bread. After several purchases of crappy knives at local supermarkets which were left at the condo upon departure, I bought a set of Komachi knives (the colorful ones that have individual plastic sheathes, they can be sharpened at home and they will easily stay sharp for a week) and I take a couple of decent knives with me if I am checking luggage. I take small ones if I’m worried about customs laws. Worst case, I can throw them away, the whole set cost like $20 at Costco.
    3. A set of compact, disposable, stacking takeaway containers and lids for food storage. Most vacation home kitchens have exactly one set of dishes, with very little for storage.
    4. If I know that the destination will be incredibly overpriced and/or understocked (e.g. Atlantis Harborside), I have taken things like paper plates, coffee supplies, Salt and Pepper packets, Parmesan cheese packets, sugar, spices, the nieces’ preferred organic snack foods, etc.

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