Whether you are a travel pro or new to renting a vacation house, having a vacation rental packing list is key. Here are the basics to get you started on your next adventure.

Whether you are a travel pro or new to renting a vacation house/apartment, having a vacation rental packing list is key.

Obviously you don’t want to forget anything but you also don’t want to lug loads of extra items to your destination either. The line between too much and too little can sometimes be blurred. And that’s where our vacation rental packing list comes in.

All rentals are not the same. Be sure to read the rental listing and any correspondence you received from the owners. Often, they will clearly outline exactly what is expected of you as a guest as well as what is included (and not included) in the rental.

Reading reviews is important too as they give you a (hopefully) non-biased view on the property. 

Our vacation rental packing list is here to help make sure you have everything you need for your next rental.

Why stay at a vacation rental?

With so much uncertainty in our world right now, vacation rentals have been awesome for families. They allow you to spread out, have extra space, and feel more like a home away from home. Plus, they allow families to prepare and eat food in the rental, do their laundry and potentially provide some on-site activities. All of these things can save a significant amount of money. 


7 Reasons to Choose a Vacation Rental

  1. Families can spread out, getting all the room they want. Most vacation rentals allow for places to gather but also to be alone.
  2. The vacation rental can include activities like swimming in a private pool, kayaking down a river nearby or hiking, biking or just hanging out. Rentals often include the equipment for these activities and insider information on how to do them.
  3. The cost for a vacation rental is often much more affordable, especially considering the extra space. This is especially true for families who need to book two or more hotel rooms.
  4. The vacation feels like coming home, with the amenities you associate with staying at a friend’s house, minus the friend.
  5. It is a socially distanced, often safer experience to stay in a vacation rental as opposed to staying in a hotel. No crowded elevators or other common areas.
  6. If the trip is for an extended amount of time, a vacation rental can help families feel part of a neighborhood as opposed to a hotel in the business district.
  7. Big families, multigenerational gatherings or large groups can all stay together under one roof. 

What do you need to bring to a vacation rental?

One of the best things about staying in a vacation rental as opposed to a hotel is that most of the time everything you need is provided for you. Most vacation rentals include what you need to cook meals in the kitchen, hang out by the pool and other necessities.

However, not all vacation rentals are alike. It’s always best to thoroughly check over the listing to make sure there are no  surprises when you show up. And if you can’t find out if something is included or provided, be sure to reach out to the rental owner with any questions. You could even send them the vacation rental packing list we included below and let them confirm what you may need.

Your rental may come with a small sampling of common household items to get you started, but once that runs out you will need to replenish your supply. The longer your stay, the more important this will be. You can either pack the essentials you’ll need and bring them with you or be prepared to locate a nearby store to buy them.


Check out the items we suggest when heading to your next vacation rental.

20 Items for your Vacation Rental Packing List

  1. Toiletries: toothpaste, sunscreen, shampoo, soap and lotion
  2. Sunscreen
  3. Aluminum Foil
  4. Disinfecting Wipes
  5. Dishwasher detergent or dish soap (Pods work best for traveling.)
  6. Linens: Most rentals provide sheets, bath towels, hand towels and washcloths, but if  you are uncertain you should check with your host. If you need a particular type of pillow or thread count, you might want to bring your own.
  7. Paper towels
  8. Toilet paper: Your host will most likely provide at least a roll or two to get you started, but it’s always good to have extra rolls, especially if you have an affinity toward a particular brand.
  9.  Napkins
  10.  Coffee and maybe coffee filters (Be sure you know the type of coffee maker at the vacation rental so you will know to bring pods or ground coffee.)
  11.  All-purpose cleaner (especially if you want to have a COVID safe getaway)
  12.  Sponge/dishcloth
  13.  Dish Towel
  14.  Laundry detergent (Pods work best for traveling.)
  15.  Trash bags
  16.  Corkscrew
  17.  Pool/Beach towels
  18.  Bug spray
  19. Toys and games 
  20. Clothes (You can pack less clothes if the unit has laundry facilities.)



Bottom Line: Not all vacation rentals are made the same.


This vacation rental packing list is designed to help you understand what you may be required to bring to your rental.

There is no “one size fits all” approach to packing for a vacation rental though. Length of stay, number of people in your group, destination and personal preference will dictate a lot of it.

If you do your research and make calculated choices, you should have everything you need. (And if you don’t, there’s probably a Target nearby.)