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How to be a great cottage guest

When you’ve received a coveted invite to someone’s cottage, you’ll want to be the best guest ever in your host’s mind so you’ll get another invite next summer.

Lake cottage

Here’re are some rules on how to behave. Follow them, and you’ll be a sure thing next season (or even later on this summer!).

When you don’t own a cottage, the next best thing is having a friend who owns a cottage. Once you get that coveted invite to come up for a weekend, you’ll want to make sure you are the most helpful and easygoing guest (leave your diva attitude at home), because you want to be invited back. Here are some ways to be seen favourably by your host.

Bring your own bedding and towels

Hosting people at the cottage can add up to lots and lots of laundry. Save your host time and energy by bringing your own sheets and pillowcases and your own bath towels and beach towels. If they insist you use their bedding, at least pitch in and help to make and unmake the bed, and then offer to pitch in on doing loads of laundry.

Help out in the kitchen

Bring salads and meats for the barbecue to be shared by everyone at the cottage, or step up and make some of the meals for your hosts. Help clear the table, do the dishes or put away the ones that have been dried.

Bring a gift for the host

Bring a good bottle of wine they can enjoy on their own. Or if you’ve noticed they need something for the cottage, by all means, buy it as a gift. Perhaps they could use a new Muskoka chair or two, or a speaker dock for an iPod so they can listen to music on the dock. They’ll be touched that you’ve paid attention and are contributing to their home away from home.

Come with essential cottage staples

These are not gifts per se, but they’re things we all need and use at the cottage, so they’ll be welcome by your hosts. Think toilet paper, paper towels, matches, suncreen and insect repellent.

Occupy yourself with things to do

Your hosts likely go to the cottage to kick back and relax, so don’t count on them to show you around or entertain you. Bring a book, or research on your own what you might want to do in the area. Invite them along, but don’t expect them to be the ones to prepare a fun-filled itinerary. And of course, keep your complaints to yourself! Comments about how you wish they had a kayak you could use will not win them over.

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