Self-care, Travel

Stuff to take for a cottage stay

We’ve just been to Whitby for a week, back to the place we loved in summer 2021.

Because I forgot some stuff this time, largely because of all the other things going on (which I’ll explain another time, nothing to worry about), I thought I’d write a list of stuff to take when you stay in a holiday cottage.

Breakfast stuff

The last thing you want is to wake up on the first morning in an unknown place and discover you’re hungry but have no food. We take a pack of pain au chocolat to warm in the oven because they’re cheap, quick, easy and feel like a luxury.

three pancakes with chocolate spread, one with a 9
Three pancakes with chocolate spread, one with a 9 for a birthday breakfast

Your favourite hot drinks

This is sort of similar to breakfast but absolutely essential. Most cottages will leave you some sachets of coffee and tea, I’ve even stayed in one where there was ground coffee! However, it’s unlikely to be your coffee or tea. Do you really want to drink sachet coffee for a week? (Yep, I forgot mine last time, but had lovely Yorkshire tea to make up for it). So take yours with you, especially if you want decaffeinated anything or any sort of herbal or fruit tea.

More clothes than you think you’ll need

As a rule of thumb, take one extra set of everything for every four days. You don’t want to be doing laundry on your holiday and something will happen. Food will get spilled, mud splashed or you’ll get soaked in the rain.

However, if your kids are like mine then you can also take the opportunity to teach them that trousers and jumpers can be worn more than once.

Games and books

Remember, holidays aren’t about being out and about and busy every minute of every day. You need down time to relax too. So take you favourite board games, the ones that don’t induce massive family rifts. Take a pack of cards. But most of all, take books: novels, nonfiction, activity books, colouring, a whole variety. Whatever age you and your family are, always take books.

Chill out mindset

The key goal of a holiday is to relax, forget your worries and the usual busy-ness of life and switch off for a while. Right?

Well then, bring an attitude that’s a lot more chilled out than usual. When your child asks for a creme egg for breakfast, say yes. When they want an ice cream on a freezing day, say yes. When your husband is still lying in bed browsing the Internet at 9am, leave him there, it’s his holiday too. Don’t hurry everyone out of the door, get one of those colouring books and space out creating something fun.

Comfort clothes

Snuggly fleece, slippers, comfy jeans or joggers. Who wants to be uncomfortable on holiday? You might wear something nice for days out, but when you’re chilling in your rented cottage or house, flat or caravan, make sure you’re enjoying the most comfortable experience you can.


If you were at a hotel, you’d be indulging in the all you can eat buffet and free cocktails. Treat yourself to the same yummy snacks and drinks. It’s a holiday! Maybe that’s chocolate and wine, maybe it’s cheese and milk, or crisps and beer. Whatever your favourites, make sure you’ve got something to end the day with a treat.


This one very much depends on the place you’re staying. Many cottages provide towels but if they don’t, remember to take not only bath towels but also bath mats and hand towels and kitchen towels. Can you guess what I forgot this last time? If they do provide towels, remember to take your own for any swimming or beach trips. Yeah, not a fun indulgent one to end with but surely practical and necessary.

And what you don’t need to take

Some of the clothes that you packed will inevitably come home clean. Maybe you didn’t go for a run as planned. Maybe the nice restaurant was fully booked. Maybe the sun shone warmly and you didn’t need the extra jumper. But pack them anyway.

The kitchen sink. No really, most holiday cottages provide washing up liquid, clothes and a tea towel, even dishwasher tablets.

Work. I’d like to imagine that it doesn’t need saying, but turn off your work computer or brain before you go away and don’t take it with you. Work will cope without you. Yes, you’ll have three million emails when you get back, but do you really want your holiday to be sprinkled with them? Not to mention settting expectations of colleagues for your next holiday and a bad example for junior staff – don’t teach them to take work on holiday too. If you really must, leave your phone number with your boss on the understanding that they will text you, not call, in an emergency only.

Love from Smell xxx

7 thoughts on “Stuff to take for a cottage stay”

  1. Thanks for sharing, I always forget to pack something when going for a holiday to a cottage, like a bath sponge so I’m having to buy them, also when we have been to places we have had to bring extra dishwasher tablets and washing up liquid as we run out half way through our stay 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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