If you are one of the many Canadians lucky enough to have a cottage or summer home, then you are probably already thinking about cottage season! Days out on the dock, lakeside drinks and bonfires are right around the corner. However, in order for a weekend away at the cottage to be a success, you must prepare for cottage season accordingly. Nothing puts a damper on a relaxing weekend away than finding out you haven’t taken the necessary steps- to prep. To get you ready for the upcoming summer season, you can find isure’s list of 10 tips below to help you get the most out of your weekend up north!
1. Prepare before heading up north
Two or three days isn’t really a lot of time to prepare for cottage season. That is why it’s important to do as much of the prep work as you can before heading out on the road to the cottage. This means buying groceries, prepping meals and organizing your keys and tools ahead of time. It’s important to be extra diligent when it comes to remembering to pack everything, as well! Make sure you have everything you need to make any necessary repairs that may need to be done. It’s alsomportant to have all of your important documents in one place before you head out. This may include insurance papers, ID’s and health cards in case of an emergency. If there are any major projects or renovations that need to get done on the property, consider hiring some extra help to get the job done prior to your arrival!
2. Properly open the cottage before you relax
The first weekend up at the cottage is one of the most exciting parts of summer. Upon the first arrival, it can be tempting to jump out of the car and head straight to the lake for a dip after a long ride. Although there is nothing wrong with this, it’s always a great idea to do a little maintenance first so you don’t forget to do so! Make sure to turn on your water and electricity, as well as clean and inspect for any possible issues. To avoid overwhelming yourself later, it is also good to unpack what you can so you are ready to tackle the weekend ahead.
3. Plan meals beforehand
Nobody wants to spend their entire cottage weekend in the kitchen cooking. If you are going with friends or a few family members, plan out a schedule as to who will cook what meal, and make sure it’s evenly dispersed so everybody has a turn cooking. Ask your cottage goers to think ahead as to what they are going to make, and have them write a list of the necessary ingredients beforehand. This way everyone has the opportunity to have a meal cooked for them without having to worry about the added stress! This is also a great time to show off your skills in the kitchen. If your guests aren’t going to be with you the entire trip, have them bring a dish for a certain meal and go potluck style.
4. Assign tasks and chores evenly
Like planning your meals, it’s always a good idea to assign different tasks to each guest so that everyone contributes to chores during the weekend. Creating a schedule for tasks, such as taking out the garbage or doing the dishes, can ensure that you prepare for cottage season properly! If everybody pitches in on doing these tasks, it makes the weekend go by a lot smoother with less clean up and hassle.
5. Clean as you go
We all know a cottage is a place to let loose. However, when you’re there, clean up after yourself as you would your own home. Cleaning after cooking, completing tasks or games, helps minimize the amount of packing up you’ll have to do when it’s time to hit the road on Sunday. This will allow you to get going earlier and avoid any suspected traffic. A good thing to keep is mind is that garbage and recycling may work a bit differently in cottage country, so always remember to put it out and discard of it properly when you’re up north!
6. Prepare for rainy days
Let’s face it, sometimes the weather simply isn’t on our side when we plan a weekend away. Rain or storms can interfere with your plans to sit outside by the water all day. With that being said, this doesn’t mean you still can’t have a great time with your family and friends. Prepare for this by packing an array of board games or decks of cards. For the evenings, have your Netflix list prepped for a cozy night by the fire. When it comes to getting your tan on, there’s always tomorrow!
7. Use (eco-friendly) disposable items
We all know that cottages are the perfect place to relax and get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. So, feel free to go ahead and cut some corners where you can! For example, cut down on dish-washing time by using eco-friendly utensils, cups and plates for the weekend. As mentioned before, you can always cut down on meal prep by asking your guests to bring their favourite dishes.
8. Do your research in advance
This one applies more so if you are renting a cottage for the weekend or don’t visit your cottage frequently. Take some time before your trip to plan out your drive there to avoid any major traffic. Let’s face it, you probably aren’t the only one planning a trip up north for the long weekend! You can also discuss with the owner of the cottage about amenities on the premise. Make sure to research the local area for grocery stores, restaurants and hardware stores so you know exactly where to make a pitstop.
9. Pack up properly
Nobody likes having to leave the cottage and return back to their normal day-to-day lives. But packing up and leaving is a crucial step when visiting the cottage! Make sure you have properly locked up the cottage and any sheds. Spend some time making sure you have unplugged all of the appliances you used. Ensure that your water and electricity are turned off if you don’t plan on returning anytime soon. Also, make sure you have taken out any garbage or recycling that needs to be discarded. There will be nothing worse than coming back up to the cottage and realizing your cottage is infested with flies or maggots because of old garbage.
10. Make sure your insurance is up to date
Check to see if it’s renewal time for your cottage insurance policy! With seasonal home coverage, you can maintain most of the coverage you would have on your primary residence. isure also offers coverage for other cottage staples, such as boats! For more info, contact us or request a quote today.
We hope our list helps you prepare for cottage season so you can kick back and relax. Remember, the most important tip of all is to remember to have fun and enjoy your weekend getaway! If you are in need of a cottage insurance quote or are looking to make a claim, please contact isure today.