8 Cottage Etiquette Tips to Get Invited Back

August 13, 2019

Weekends at the cottage are great to get you out of the house and off on a mini-vacation.

Get ready for a road trip, towards the sunshine, boating, beaches, mountains — or just good ol’ nature. Whether it’s a waterfront-facing treehouse or deep-in-the-woods on a remote island, scoring an invite to a cottage always makes you feel lucky. But wait — before you pack your matching swimsuit and flippers, give yourself a refresh on guest etiquette to make sure that next summer, you get invited back.

Tip #1: Bring your own sheets

It’s important to keep in mind that your friend or family’s cottage isn’t a hotel or a bed and breakfast.  Especially if multiple people have been invited, it’s safe to assume that the host might not have enough sheets for everyone. It’s good etiquette bring your own towels, bedding and sheets up to the cottage. Many cottages operate on septic systems or are a drive away from a laundromat.  So, pack all the sheets and towels you think you’ll need for your stay. This small gesture helps the host minimize laundry efforts when you head home.

Tip #2: Do your fair share of kitchen duty

Cottaging is all about “teamwork” and kitchen duties are to be shared among everyone, Kids included. Make sure you pitch in where you can. This can include bringing your own groceries or offering to cook a meal. Cottage cooking is easy, just fire up the grill.

If your friends dread your cooking, you can always offer do handle clean up duty!

Tip #3:  Remember, water toys don’t run for free

Water toys cost a pretty penny to operate and gas is expensive. Whether you’re boating, sea-dooing, wakeboarding or doing anything else that might require an extra expense to the host, considering offering gas money.

Even if your friends decline, it’s always nice to offer.

Tip #4: Don’t show up too early, or overstay your welcome.

Remember that your host is also on vacation and showing up early can add extra stress to their hosting. Show up when you planned. When arranging your trip you should also let your host know when you plan to leave, this helps them plan meals and the schedule.

Don’t over stay your welcome and leave when you promised, no matter how nice the sunshine and fresh air feels.

Tip #5: Don’t assume that your plus one can come

Space is often a premium out in cottage country. If there’s a number of people going up, there might not be room for you to bring your plus one.  This can also extend to pets. Not every cottage is equipped to be pet-friendly or there might not be space if other people are bringing their pets too. The best etiquette would be to ask for permission from the host before bringing anyone along with you!

Tip #6: Pace yourself and drink water

While spending your days on the dock in the sun, you’ll want to make sure that you stay hydrated with water.  Especially if alcohol is involved, practice safe cottage behaviour and make sure to pace yourself appropriately and hydrate between beverages.  You want everyone to have a good time, without any loud or obnoxious behaviour.

Tip #7: Don’t make the place completely your own

Remember, you’re likely just visiting a friend or family member’s cottage for a few days. It’s important to respect the space that you’re in by cleaning up after yourself, asking about the water rules, and any other property-related questions you think you should know.

This can mean making the bed in the morning, picking up your wet bathing suits and towels and making sure that everyone’s dishes have been put away. And remember, accidents can happen while staying at a friend or family’s place. If something breaks, or damage is done by a pet, make sure to privately let the host know.

Tip #8: Have fun and relax

Ultimately, cottage weekends are all about kicking back with friends and family for some much-needed rest and relaxation.

At the end of the day, as long as you’re being a thoughtful guest, the only other thing that you need to remember is to make sure everyone has fun!

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