Space, or lack thereof. It’s the one big problem with luxury hotel accommodation. And one of the big reasons we have come to embrace self-catered rental accommodation with their separate bedrooms, lounge room and kitchen, there’s space for everyone.
The Collins Dictionary defines self-catering as, “If you go on a self-catering holiday or you stay in self-catering accommodation, you stay in a place where you have to make your own meals.” That means you are going to have to pack a whole heap more stuff than just your clothes.
But don’t fret we’ve got you covered with this complete cottage packing list for self-catering holidays along with a meal planner and a grocery list. Plus a free printable PDF checklist.
In this Cottage Packing List Your Will Learn:
- How to determine what to pack for a self catering holiday
- The essentials for a cottage self catering vacation including:
- Receive additional planning guides for a self catering holiday
- A self catering meal planner
- A grocery list for a vacation rental
This post by Tips 4 Trips contains affiliate links*. This means I may receive a small commission if you click on these links. Learn more at the bottom of this post.
Before You Pack for a Vacation Rental
To start planning your packing list for your self-catering holiday you will need to know:
- How many days you are travelling
- What your self catering accommodation supplies
- What activities you have planned
- What other facilities are nearby eg. supermarkets, butchers, fruit and vegetable stalls
- Which meals you want to eat at your self catering accommodation
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The Cottage Self Catering Packing List
Generally, when you stay in a self-catering cottage you should find supplied basic kitchen equipment like crockery, cutlery, glasses, pots, pans, cooking utensils, kettle and toaster. Some self-catering accommodations also include a measuring jug, mixing/serving bowl and a grater. But you should always check with your choice of accommodation to ensure which items are supplied and what you need to bring. Many accommodations will also supply a starter kit of coffee, tea, creamer, salt and pepper sachets.
However, they rarely supply the other pantry items you take for granted which are always in your kitchen. Pack:
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Plastic containers for leftovers
- Tea, coffee and sugar
Top Trip Tip: Double check to ensure washing up liquid, sponge, tea towel and garbage bags are provided
Self Catering Food List- Dry Goods
In addition to these kitchen essentials, I add the following items from the pantry
- Tomato ketchup
- Jams, preserves, honey and vegemite (I’m Aussie 🙂 )
- Pancake mix
- Lots of snacks (if you have kids)
Top Trip Tip: Put these items and the kitchen essentials into a large plastic crate*
Self Catering Food List – Cold Items
These items all get packed into an esky/cooler box* with a few ice bricks to ensure it all stays cold for the journey to your self-catering vacation spot.
- Cold luncheon meats
- Meat for main meals eg chicken, steak, chops, premade hamburgers
- We like to BBQ as much as possible
- Premade meals eg casserole, bolognaise
- You may want to add rice and/or pasta to the dry goods
- Drinks (wine, beer, soft drinks, juices)
- Dips and nibbles
Top Trip Tip: If you freeze your main meal meats it helps keep everything else cool and the meat stays frozen for the road trip
You will need to check exactly what your accommodation includes but many self-catering cottage accommodation options provide bed linen and a bath towel.
So you will just need:
- Face wash
- Beach towel
- Pillow (if you are a little fussy, like me)
If no linen is provided add:
- Bath towel
Top Trip Tip: If you’re taking your pets you may like to add an old sheet for the couches so the pets don’t make any stains or leave hair behind
Not that anyone wants to do laundry on a vacation but if you are staying for any length of time you will need to wash clothes. Check what facilities are available at your cottage rental. Some may have a laundry within the cabin; others may have a communal laundry facility. Some cabin rentals include a washing basket, clothes horse and pegs others none. So let’s assume at this stage you need everything.
- Washing basket or large garbage bag
- Even if you are not planning on doing laundry, pack a large garbage bag for dirty washing to take home
- Detergent (decanter just enough for the trip into a zip lock bag or travel container)
- Rope to make a washing line
Top Trip Tip: Do your research on your vacation rental home. If the answers are not on their website don’t be afraid to email for clarification
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For the Kids
Packing for kids for any trip can be a minefield. Currently, on Tips 4 Trips we have three detailed packing lists for kids:
In a nutshell, you need to pack this list of items for a vacation rental family trip.
- Snuggle friend
- Activity books
- Reading books
- Scooter or bike (if you have room)
Top Trip Tip: Place this bag of goodies including a few snacks next to your child for road trip entertainment as well
On occasion, you can even find a self-catering accommodation that allows pets. If you plan on taking your furry family member pack:
- Animal bed
- Animal food
- Rope for extra length to wander
- Poo bags
Top Trip Tip: Save space with collapsible food bowls, they are also really handy when you head out on day trips
Documents and More
No matter whether you are taking big trip abroad or a weekend getaway road trip you can’t leave home without:
- Passport or at least identification
- Credit card and money
- Travel documents
- Accommodation confirmation
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Of course, you will also need
- Basic first aid items
- Specialist equipment for activities planned for your self-catering holiday eg swimming or hiking
Use the Ultimate Trip Packing List to complete your travel packing checklist.
Top Trip Tip: If you download the free ultimate travel packing list you will have it available for every dream trip you embark upon
Planning Your Cottage Packing List for Self Catering
I hope that you found some inspiration for self-catering food ideas in this cottage packing list.
If you download the free Cottage Self Catering Checklist “Welcome Gift” (link above) you will also receive:
- A free one-week self catering meal planner and
- A self catering shopping list to help you buy all the groceries for your vacation rental trip.
I hope that you come to embrace the same flexibility and space that self-catering vacations have brought to our family holidays. Let me know about your travels in the comments.
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