10 things to do before heading to your cottage

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If you plan your vacation in this summer case, start planning ahead of time. It's all fun: have children engage and have periodic family reunions to discuss what you should bring with you, what you want to do when you arrive and who is responsible for it. Here are some tips to get you started.

1 Read the contract and the terms and conditions thoroughly

Be sure to know when the check-out is done. You do not plan to arrive before the scheduled time. Owners only have a short period of time to change a home between customers and often have a lot of work and general maintenance. Arriving soon does not mean that you will have access to the country house or the seaside promenade and, perhaps, you should leave and return again at the time of arrival.

2 If you plan to take your pet, make sure the owner has allowed it to do so

Carrying a pet to the hut is a privilege and not a right. Often, homeowners will not allow pets on their property because their children have allergies or just do not like dogs or cats. Respect this and do not place the owner in the embarrassing position of having to ask you to leave and look for alternative accommodation for your pet.

3 Buy a good map of the area, plan your route and have an alternative by hand

The main rural roads are congested on weekends at summer. Buy the MapArt Book that covers the area you are visiting and plan your route in advance. Make sure the addresses you have from the owner or agency can be followed from the map. Enter the directions, the address of the house and the details of access to a clearly labeled plastic folder. This must be the first thing you put in the car and the last one to check!

4 Write a packing list and get the whole family to be added to your lists

When you arrive at the cottage at the end of the night, at 15 kilometers on a rural road, it is not time to realize that you have forgotten to pack the toilet paper. Most homes have a supply, maybe it's an extreme example, but packing lists are vital to remembering all those little things that make self-catering more comfortable.

5 Check at what time the stores are closed in the area

Rural stores will remain open later in the summer season, but not as late as the city. Maybe it's better to stop before it's late if you plan on collecting food on the way.

6 Buy water shoes

Zebras mussels are common in many lakes now, despite the efforts of the lakes associations to prevent them. They are sharp and can cause very painful cuts. I would recommend carrying water shoes wherever you go, especially for children. They are also useful if you are in an area where the lake bed is soft and feeble, unless you like being struck between the toes!

7 Find out if lifejackets are provided and check the sizes

It is the law that lifejackets or personal flotation devices (PFDs) of sizes appropriate for the occupants, are carried in any watercraft. Of course, it is much safer and more sensitive to bring them! Some homeowners offer a selection of PFDs, but you must make sure that they fit correctly or that you may be subject to a heavy fine. In case of doubt, buy yours.

8 Purchase a fishing license

If you plan to fish, even outside the dock, buy a fishing license. More information on the Fish Ontario website. Lakes are patrolled by OPP in summer, just like the roads, so make sure you have the correct license to show. http://www.fishinontario.com/regs.html

9 Check that you know the size of the beds

If your cottage does not provide bedsheets for the beds, check the sizes before leaving. Striving to stretch full size sheets on a queen bed is not what you want to do on the first night. Most owners will provide bed linen for king size beds, but it is also best to check it. And if you plan to use sofa beds or a sofa bed in the house, ask the owner if you provide quilts, blankets and pillows.

10 If you go on vacation with your friends, decide the basic rules before you go

This is the topic of another article, so now, plan a couple of meetings with your friends to discuss how you plan to make the holidays work for all of you. Talk about your expectations and be realistic and sincere about everything you may not be willing to commit to. Sleep schedules in children and eating patterns are often the problems that turn into disarmonious reasons.

Good planning will pay dividends to create holidays without stress and enjoyment. Begin in advance and you will be well on your way.

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