What to Bring to a Vacation Rental House

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I love a good hotel or resort, but renting a beach house is a fabulous way to spend a vacation. We have done so in Maui, Kona, Hana, the Outer Banks, Virginia Beach, and most recently in Kure Beach, North Carolina. A beach house can afford you more space to stretch out, and can be large enough for big groups. Having a kitchen to cook meals, and a washer/dryer to do laundry can also be an added convenience. But knowing what to bring, and what not bring to your beach house rental can be a little stressful! So here are my best tips on how to pack for your beach vacation rental house.

What to Bring to Your Beach Vacation Rental House

Planning a Beach House Vacation


In the past, I have used VRBO to find a beach rental house. Now we all have heard the nightmares about these home share rentals, so it’s very important to do your research and vet your choices. This will help with packing as well.

If you are new to vacation home rentals, I encourage you start here: How to Book a Vacation Rental Home. Important tips for choosing a vacation home include – looking at all the pictures, reading lots of reviews, and always clicking through to the find the final price. Many of these home rentals advertise a nightly price, but then tack on fees and deposits (sometimes refundable, but sometimes a lot of money to lay out at the time of booking). I have recently seen one that had a mandatory insurance policy the renter had to take. So to be able to truly compare prices, but sure to click all the way through.

If you are a little wary of renting directly from an owner, you can often check out properties owned by management companies. Sometimes you can even score a better price by going directly through the management company, as opposed to renting through a third-party site.

As a full-service travel agent, we cannot book clients into properties off sites like VRBO or Airbnb, but we can help with vacation rentals in certain destinations (like Maui or Florida, for example). Be sure to reach out if you need help planning a beach vacation and are interested in a rental house – plus our services are completely FREE!



In terms of packing, when deciding which unit to rent, be sure to look at the list of amenities that are provided. So many properties include things like Wi-Fi, and beach gear, it’s silly to rent one where you would have to bring all that stuff. I would encourage you to choose a property that is well stocked (there will often be pictures of the equipment supplied, such as the garage filled with gear or linen closet) and has a detailed list of what is provided.

Kure Beach, NC


Packing for your Beach House Vacation

Once you have chosen your rental and made your reservation – a great way to start figuring out what you need to bring is to read through the description of amenities provided. You can cross reference that with this list.

Sometimes the amenities will be specific such as “one dishwasher pod” so you can plan accordingly. Sometimes they only list the bigger items that are provided (like a dishwasher).  If there are things you are not sure of, make a list of questions and then send one big email to the owner or property manager inquiring about the availability of certain items. For example, if the property claims to provide “beach chairs” you might want to ask how many if your group is large.

From my experience with these rentals, some items are sometimes there  – for example, if one family buys a box of garbage bags, they might be left behind, but not necessarily provided by the owner. Which is hard to plan if you are packing up at home and intending to bring everything from the get-go. No one wants to over pack on vacation, but no one wants to get stuck running to the store everyday while trying to enjoy their trip!

Don’t want to spend time at the store on vacation? Then consider a grocery delivery service such as Amazon Fresh, Instacart or Shipt  – Depends on what is available in your area. Also be sure to download the ibotta app to save money on all your grocery purchases!


Beach House Packing List


Food &  Drink Items:

getting ready to food shop for the beach house trip!

You will definitely want to bring your own food. Plan out what you want to eat for breakfast, what you want to have on hand for lunches, and meal plan any dinners you might cook at the house.

On our recent trip to Kure Beach, breakfasts included eggs, toast, cereal, pancakes (I bought a box mix where you just had to add water), and Eggo waffles for the kids. Don’t forget things like butter and maple syrup!

For lunches we bought bread, lunch meat, cheese, and bags of salad. Everyone was able to make sandwiches or salads to their liking. When shopping, don’t forget condiments – ketchup, mustard, mayo, pickles, and salad dressing!

For dinners in we bought hamburgers, hot dogs and veggie burgers to grill. We bought too much and ended up eating this for two nights. Grocery store side salads (potato, coleslaw, macaroni) make for great additions to this meal.

Big pots of chili, trays of lasagna or rotisserie chickens would also make easy beach house meals that would feed a crowd.

When shopping, don’t forget snacks, fruit, sweets and any baby food/baby bottles you need for the little ones!

For drinks, bring cases of water, soda, a gallon of milk, any coffee creamers you usually use (don’t forget sugar as well), beer, wine, and juices for the kids. Be sure to bring  a bottle opener, or stick to screw-top drinks.

Hanging at our beach house, Kure Beach, NC

Kitchen Items:

Ziploc Bags/Tupperware for leftovers or picnics

Aluminum Foil

A small cooler & reusable ice pack

Dishwasher Pods

Sponge/dish soap

Coffee and Coffee Filters



Paper Goods:

Toilet Paper

Paper Towels

Plastic Bowls/Plates/Solo Cups/Plastic Silverware – who wants to do dishes on vacation?

Garbage Bags



Tide Pods

 Hand Soap – one for each bathroom

Nightlight/Sound Machine (we always travel with these)

Full Size Toiletries

Beach Bag

Games/Cards  – we have been loving Exploding Kittens and Emoji Uno

Gaming Console – you can plug this into one of the probably many TV’s

Fire Stick

Toys for babies or toddlers


Things to Maybe Bring to your Beach House:

These  items are usually provided, although you might want to inquire for sure. It would stink to be at the beach without a towel or toys, but annoying to lug if they are already there!

Beach Towels/Pool Towels, if there is a pool (I always bring a few of our own anyway)

Beach Chairs

Beach Toys – although I just bought this Surfer Dude Beach toy – HIGHLY RECOMMEND! Packs up flat and provided HOURS of beach entertainment for my family!

Boogie Boards

on the beach with snacks we brought, toys from the house, and some fun stuff we packed from home.

Be sure to check out my Beach Packing list and Pool Packing list for more cool gear recommendations!


Things NOT to bring to your Beach Vacation Rental

Almost as important as what TO bring, here are some things you MOST LIKELY DO NOT need to bring (again, always ask your host for specifics).

Wi-Fi – in this day and age, make sure your rental has Wi-Fi. If it doesn’t move on to another option.

Cleaning Supplies – Maybe bring some Lysol wipes, but  the house should be professionally  cleaned when you walk in, and will be cleaned again when you check out. No need to clean on vacation!

Linens – Again, these should be provided and if they are not, might want to consider another property.

Too Many Cars – Beach towns are notorious for hard to find parking. Make sure you are not bringing more cars than can fit in the house’s driveway/designated parking spots.

Pack and Play/High Chair – In houses that cater to families, these are usually provided. Again  best to inquire to be sure (However, I used to always travel with  my own pack and play sized sheet when the kids were little)

Too Many Clothes – One of the best things about a rental house is you can do laundry, so no need to overpack!


Don’t forget to bring your clothes, sunscreen, a cute beach hat, sunnies, and a good book to read while relaxing on the beach! Once you are all packed, you can sit back and  enjoy your vacation with  your friends and family!

Relaxing with a good book. I love the beach, but glad we rented the house with the pool.

Have you done a beach vacation house rental? What would you add to the packing list?


Rent this house in Kure Beach, North Carolina


Looking for beach vacation inspiration? Then check out this list of Best Family Beach Destinations, written by several of my travel blogging friends!


Vacation Rental House packing list

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8 Comments to “What to Bring to a Vacation Rental House”

  1. Jessica

    This post is a bit older, but I recently used BabyQuip to rent some stuff for my son that I didn’t want to pack in our car on our first beach trip with him at 2 years old. If you have limited car space or are flying to your beach rental, check babyquip.com in your destination area for rentals. I borrowed a train table for rainy day play, a beach wagon, some beach toys that I wouldn’t otherwise buy, a stroller, etc. They also had cribs, pack & plays, car seats, bumbo seats, and all kind of things. Any tourist area will probably have a local babyquip supplier. Check them out!


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