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Kitchen Essentials to Pack for Summer Vacation Rentals

Kitchen Essentials to Pack for Summer Vacation Rentals

So you found an amazing beach house to rent this summer and can’t wait to make brunch by the water. Don’t let an understocked kitchen get you down—here are the kitchen essentials to pack for your vacation.

8 min read

Summer is here, and there is nothing like a summer getaway. And the best kind involves no flying and no stressing—just good old fashioned family fun, renting a home away from home in your favorite spot. It could be among the Cape Cod kettle ponds, on the rocky Maine coast, nestled into the lakes of Michigan or Minnesota, or on the beaches of Kiowa—you know what’s right for you and yours.

But there’s trouble in paradise when your great rental has a less-than-great kitchen. People who rent out their homes seldom invest in the best kitchen implements, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle, or just eke by.

Fear not: we’ve compiled a list of what to take on your summer vacation to turn your rental kitchen into your own. OXO has something to pack for every kind of cook and every kind of eater.

For the coffee connoisseur

Rise and shine, and start every day of your holiday with your favorite cup of coffee—it’s your ritual, it’s a daily gift to yourself, it’s a crowd pleaser. A coffee lover should not leave this to chance, especially on your precious vacation days. We find that manual coffee works best for travel because it’s light and portable, and works with mugs you’ll find in any cabinet. Try the OXO Pour-Over Coffee Maker with Water Tank. It’s self-contained and does all the work for you—just place the grounds in the filter, and pour boiling water.  If you’re sipping on the rental porch, any mug will do. If you’re brewing and heading out—a drive into town or a walk in the woods, you need a good travel mug, and the Thermal Travel Mug will be your new best friend—just pour and seal and go. We’ve engineered it for keeping things hot inside, and for ease of use. Expert coffee traveler tip: pre-grind coffee before traveling, and pack single servings in small bags.

For the kitchen maven

There is nothing worse than a dull knife, and any rental house almost certainly has the dullest knives around. With a good knife, you’ll make short work in the kitchen; if we had to choose, and if you’re traveling by car with no packing restrictions, we recommend these two:

  1. OXO 4" Santoku Knife: it’s good for chopping and transferring, and for cheese plates; 
  2. OXO Pro 3.5" Paring Knife: it’s best for chopping fruit for snacks, or limes for cocktails.

Our very first product was our iconic OXO Swivel Peeler, and we still stand behind it as not just the best peeler out there, but as an essential for a summer house for all those summer fruits and veggies. Your wrists will thank you! Veggies are more fun when they’re noodle shapes—from slaw to a straight-up pasta substitute. Spiralizers are relatively new to the world, and it’s almost certain that a rental home won’t have one of these. You’ll have zoodles galore for all of the fresh zucchini and other summer staples with our OXO 3 Blade Hand-held Spiralizer—take one blade or all of them for variety. (If you’re doing a summer diet like Whole 30, the spiralizer will be your BFF.)

For the brunchers

The OXO Egg Poacher is a modern classic in the making: you can now make perfect poached eggs at home, so why not make them on vacation? Bring a slotted spoon so the eggs leave the water under optimum conditions. Don’t stop at eggs, and don’t stop at breakfast: pack the OXO 3-in-1 Avocado Slicer, because delicious and nutritious avocado is always a good idea: on a summer salad, added to any sandwich, or on avocado toast.

For the neat freaks

Who wants to use someone else’s brushes and sponges? We recommend our OXO Soap Dispensing Dish Brush, because it’s self-contained and ready to go when you need it. In this vein, our OXO Bottle Brush will keep your water bottles and travel mugs clean for the duration.

For the grown-ups seeking adult beverages

What’s better than ending a long day of sun and play with a lovely glass of wine, or the perfect cocktail? It’s not a vacation if there’s no wine, and you can’t assume the rental will have what you need. We recommend our OXO Waiter's Corkscrew: it’s compact and a breeze to uncork your favorite bottle of wine.

Other kitchen tips

  • Bring several spatulas for everything you can think of—pancakes, burger flipping—and a few things that you can’t.
  • Pack mixing bowls with lids (bring food in them and re-use them when food runs out)
  • A can opener is always a good idea, and you never know what’s going to be in the drawer.
  • Also: don’t forget a small bottle of olive oil, a small bottle of balsamic vinegar.

More food for thought

Don’t forget snacks for the ride, either in easy zip top bags, or OXO Tot Glass Baby Blocks, cute hand-sized squares that snap shut and keep snacks—dry or wet—sealed tight. Make your first meal ahead of time, so you don’t have to get there and cook. We love noodle dishes or lasagna, if you pack them with ice packs and seal them in our OXO Smart Seal plastic or glass containers; they are leak-proof and vacation-proof.

Other essentials

Bring your favorite brands…because you never know what’s going to be there. Extra garbage bags, paper towels, dish soap, hand soap: best case, they’ll save the day, worst case, you’ll just take them right back home with you. Paper plates, plastic cups: who wants to clean dishes on vacation? And don’t forget your chargers.

Have little kids? Here's what to pack when traveling with toddlers, plus tips for packing it all.

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