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How to Choose the Best Rental Cottage: 8 Tips

Aug. 8, 2018
3 mins
A dad paddles a little boat while the son sits up front and tries to fish

As we enter August, many of us are making plans to go somewhere fun before the end of the summer. For a lot of us, that place is cottage country – possibly for the first time this year. If you don’t have your own cottage, but want to escape the hustle and bustle of your town, don’t fret. There are still options – but you’ll need to act quickly if you want to nab the perfect cottage for your needs. 

8 questions to ask yourself before choosing your cottage

Finding a cottage isn’t the hard part; there are plenty of rental properties and timeshares available across the country. Often, all it takes is a quick internet search. Some websites offer a quick and easy search tool to narrow down your options. You can also further narrow your search to include properties that include special features like access to the waterfront, pets, smoking, spa, internet, fireplace, bedding and a pool. The first step to choosing the perfect place is knowing exactly what you want – and the price you’re willing to pay. Here are some questions to ask yourself: 

How far do you want to travel?

There’s nothing worse than spending the majority of your getaway en route. If time is limited, be sure to choose a location you can get to in reasonable time.

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Do you have access to the waterfront?

Believe it or not, not all cottages come with waterfront access. Be sure to ask if yours does, especially if it isn’t outlined explicitly in the property listing. Pictures can be deceiving too, unless you can fully see the cottage front and the water in one image.

Does the rental fit your lifestyle?

Have you ever found yourself under-dressed at a fancy party? Embarrassing, right? Now imagine a week in the wrong cottage… stuck in a retirement community when all you want to do is party, or vice-versa. Avoid feeling uncomfortable or out-of-place by choosing an appropriate cottage and community that fits your lifestyle, considering kids, pets, and noise-level.

Is it missing any deal-breaking amenities?

Some cottages may not be furnished with the latest technology and equipment. Can’t live a week without TV or Wi-Fi? Would you absolutely hate living without a dishwasher? Air conditioning? A barbecue? It’s important to inquire if these amenities will be included in your rental – never assume! Recreational equipment such as a boat, skis, or a canoe also may not be part of the package. 

Is it BYOB (bring your own bedding)?

Many cottage rentals will supply bedding, but not towels. If bedding is not included, be sure to ask about bed sizes so you can bring the appropriate linens.

Check-in and check-out times?

This could truly make or break a weekend, especially if you’re expected to be out by noon on Sunday, but you planned on staying for dinner. Confirm check-in and check-out times, as leaving late could incur an extra cost. 

Are you on clean-up duty?

Cottages aren’t hotels. Most cottage owners will ask you to clean up after yourself and leave the place as you found it, leaving them to simply sterilize before their next guests arrive. Some may offer cleaning services throughout your stay, but this will be reflected in the price. Make sure you ask and understand the cleaning agreement if it is not specified in the property listing. 

Is drinking water included?

It could be quite the distance to the nearest corner store for clean drinking water. Always confirm if the water on-site is safe to drink. - Getting away for a week or even a weekend to cottage country is the perfect way to unwind, but it sure can be stressful – and expensive – if you choose the wrong place. Price is always important, but knowing what you want in a vacation is also imperative if you want to truly enjoy your time away. Good luck in your search for the perfect cottage rental!

This post has been updated.


The RATESDOTCA editorial team are experienced writers focused on sharing stories and bringing you the latest news in insurance and personal finance. Our goal is to provide Canadians with the information and resources they need to make better insurance and financial decisions.

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