If you’re one of the many Canadians lucky enough to have a cottage or summer home, then you’re probably already thinking about cottage season. Days out on the dock, lakeside beers and bonfires are right around the corner.

To help you prepare for opening your cottage, maintenance and other general good habits, here are five tips to get the most out of your weekend.

1. Be realistic about your time

Let’s be real, the first weekend up at the cottage probably won’t be filled with a lot of relaxation. Take this weekend to open up the cottage, turn on water and electricity, clean and inspect for any maintenance issues. To avoid getting overwhelmed in one weekend, a good habit is making periodical trips to your cottage during the winter and early spring, just to make sure everything is looking good.

2. Prepare before heading up north

Two or three days isn’t really a lot of time. That’s why it’s important to do as much of the prep work as you can before heading to the cottage. This means buying groceries, prepping meals (i.e. making sides, marinating meat etc.) and organize your keys and tools ahead of time. If there are major projects that need to get done on the property (i.e. repairing the dock), consider hiring extra help to get done during the week prior.

3. Cut a few corners

Cottages are great places to relax and get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life for a few days. So go ahead and cut corners where you can! For example, cut down dish-washing time by using eco-friendly recyclable utensils and plates for the weekend. Or cut down on meal prep time by asking your guest to bring up their favourite dishes, potluck-style.

4. Do your research ahead of time

This applies more so if you are renting a cottage for the weekend or don’t go to the cottage frequently. Take time to plan out your routes to avoid major traffic, talk to the owner about amenities on the premise, and research the local area for grocery stores, restaurants and hardware stores.

5. Make sure your insurance is up to date

Check to see if it’s renewal time for your cottage policy. With seasonal home coverage, you can maintain most of the coverage you would have on your primary residence, but with a little less coverage (usually there is not protection against vandalism, water or freezing damage, or broken glass). isure also offers insurance coverage for other cottage staples such as boats. For more info, contact us at 1-877-514-7873 or [email protected]

The most important tip of all may be to remember to have fun and enjoy your weekend getaway! Cheers!

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