Moving into your vacation home

Whether you are returning to an old family vacation home or visiting a rental property for the first time, preparing for the move into your vacation home can be a daunting prospect. What should you bring? What gets left behind? Use planning and preparation to help your vacation home move go as smoothly as possible.

Start by determining what items are already in the vacation home. Unless you are moving into a recently-purchased and empty vacation property, you can usually assume a basic level of furnishing and amenities. If you own the vacation home or participate in a timeshare, you should have a good idea already of what is in the house. Make a list of the various pieces of furniture, cross-referenced to the room in which that furniture is located. Any deficiencies in furniture quality or quantity should be addressed after you arrive, if possible. If you need to ship furniture or other large items, plan well in advance so as to get the best deals on shipping.

If you rent your vacation home, make sure to contact the owner to get a detailed listing of the furnishings and fixtures available. How many beds? What appliances are in the kitchen? Are blankets and towels provided, or should you bring them? Experienced owners of rental properties will have this information readily available. If you have trouble getting the information, check on-line for reviews of the property.

Before you leave for your vacation home, determine which portable objects you will need or want when you arrive. Basic items, such as toiletries, food and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, are easily obtained when you arrive, even if your vacation home is in a foreign country. More personal or specialized items like prescription medications, clothing and children’s toys should come along with you.

In addition to the essentials, you should also consider packing some items that will ease your transition to the vacation home. Think about what you like to do immediately upon arrival. Do you head right to the beach? Do you prefer to relax with a cup of coffee? If the necessary items for your activities are not present in the house, bring them along with you. Sarah Rainsberger, a real estate investor from Prince Edward Island, Canada who relocates to Mazatlan, Mexico during the winter, advises a “mini-house kit” for movers: “The goals of the mini-house kit are either to replicate the stuff we know we want to have at home or scaled-down versions, suited for travel, of things we use at home.” Travel-sized toiletries, portable computer equipment and compact kitchen appliances are all possibilities for your vacation home.

Check on utilities and services before you arrive. After long vacancies, many vacation homes, especially in rural areas, will have the electricity, heat or water turned off. The last thing you want to worry about after a long trip is how to turn on the lights! Get a caretaker to turn on the utilities before you arrive, or talk to the landlord about preparing the home. Spend some time before your move checking on services like cell phone reception and Internet access. Life does not stop just because you are on vacation, and you need to know just how connected you can be during your holiday.

Your vacation should never be a headache, so be sure to plan ahead when moving into your vacation home. With a little preparation, you can be enjoying your new and relaxing environment right away.

Relocation.com is a leading provider of moving services and advice for people who are relocating.