Vacationing checklist
July 24, 2008 6:23 AM   Subscribe

Packing for a trip to the NJ Shore. Do you have a check list you use when you take a family vacation in a rented house/condo? more inside....

We rented a house and now I need to think of EVERYTHING we might need there. We're going Aug 1 - Aug 8. I have a husband, baby and a 13 year old. We're staying with other family (FIL, MIL, BIL, SIL (where "IL" is In Law)). Normally MIL packs everything, but this year FIL is very sick and going through chemo/radiation treatment for esophageal cancer at hospital 2 hours away in Philly. I volunteered to work with SIL to bring all that is needed for the week. I've never done this before and feel some pressure not to forget anything.

Do you have a checklist to share or any tips for me to use? Emphasis is on food stuffs, but remember we can buy things down there (Jersey veg and fruit). Bonus points for thoughtful things to bring for FIL.
posted by vermontlife to Travel & Transportation around New Jersey (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My parents always stock up on produce because it's expensive at the shore. (Of course, they go in June, so your selection of local, presumably cheaper, produce would be better than theirs is.)

Aside from that:
Snacks -- bags of pretzels, Trader Joe's cookies, cheese, crackers
frozen burgers/veggie burgers and buns
posted by Airhen at 6:51 AM on July 24, 2008

Which shore? (I'm a Sea Isle man myself) We do one week every year and have gone back and forth from bringing everything imaginable to packing light and buying down there.

For foodstuffs, we usually make 3-4 freezable dinners and a big batch of pancake drymix to take down. Most of the rest of the stuff we buy at the Giant on 9 after we get there. Prices are a bit higher, but for us, it's worth paying to avoid the hassle of packing food. (although I like Airhen's idea of frozen burgers - frozen things = useful icepacks) I always take my good knife, a good cutting board, a good non stick pan, and a good peeler - shore house kitchens usually have all these, minus the word good (I cook so these are important to me yrmv).

Were I you, I would give the 13 yo a space allotment, and let h/h decide which books/games/whatever to take. The baby's needs will all be on you, so I would spend more of my time on that list.

One sweat shirt and one pair of long pants for everyone - you may not need them, but if you do and don't have, you will be sad.

Try to find out what they might have at the house. Lots of places already have a ton of beach chairs, boogie boards, sand toys, etc, so you can maybe save some space there.

Oh, just thought of a good one - For the baby, take one of those inflatable pools - it's a great way for little ones (who can be intimidated by the waves) to play in the water + they can play while you sit in a chair. In fact, take two and keep one with fresh water back at the house.

That's off the top of my head - will post again if I think of more. Also, I am now jonesing for the third week in august when I can get me some Nickleby's.
posted by qldaddy at 7:18 AM on July 24, 2008

I'm going to go the other way, and say that you probably shouldn't bring too much food down with you, especially if you're a novice. There's the constant worry about keeping things cold, or making sure they don't get squished, or hoping they don't leak.. and if you've got old folks there, you're definitely going to be carting lots of luggage up stairs as well as all the food. Really, it's not worth it. You want to relax the minute you get there, and we've found that lugging groceries is just not worth it. Bring booze and beer, a few snacks if you must, and just enjoy your first night or two.

In EVERY shore community, there are locals, and you just need to find out where the locals shop. Basically, bring enough for the first night or two, then go shopping on sunday night or monday morning. Even if you shop right in the thick of things, there isn'te that much price difference. Think of it as a relaxation surcharge. Anyway, I understand that Vermont has a pretty high cost of living, so you may find that groceries are actually cheaper at the shore. Depending on where I shop in LBI, some things at the Acme in Beach Haven are cheaper than the Acme where I live. The Shoprite in Manahawkin just over the 72 causeway is much cheaper, especially for meat, than the Shoprite where I live.

The key to a successful shore migration is simplification. Limit the amount of crap you bring. Remember, the shore is not Disney World, many, many people live there year round, and they have to survive just like everyone else.
posted by Geckwoistmeinauto at 7:19 AM on July 24, 2008

Laundry detergent/fabric softener
toilet paper
paper towels
beach towels/towels
dish detergent/dishwashing detergent
dish washing sponge
trash bags

bread (white and whole wheat)
peanut butter
condiments (I have this weird thing where I don't like buying new bottles of ketchup or mustard if I have 1/3 full or more ones at home)
Along the same lines: baking powder, baking soda, syrup, spices

Figure out what recipes you want to make for dinner throughout the week and bring things in labelled baggies.
posted by spec80 at 7:20 AM on July 24, 2008

Response by poster: awesome suggestions... keep 'em coming! Oh and we'll be in Brigantine.
posted by vermontlife at 7:53 AM on July 24, 2008

Best answer: We used to go for 2 weeks every summer. Great vacation with the kids, but it always felt like we were practically moving there when we packed.

Here's an excerpt from my old list...
 Sheets
 Bath Towels
 Hand Towels (at least one each bathroom)
 Wash cloths
 Beach Towels
 Pillows (sometimes the ones in beach houses smell gross)

 Dish Towels
 Sponge
 Dish Soap
 Laundry Baskets (pack linens, towels, etc in these)
 Hand Soap (one each sink)

Paper Products
 Toilet Paper
 Napkins
 Paper Towels
 Paper Plates
 Tissues
 Paper Cups
 Bathroom Cups
 Garbage Bags
 Baggies
 Plastic Wrap
 Foil

Beach Fun
 Camera
 Binoculars (lots of dolphins to see)
 Extra Cooler & drink jug for bringing snacks, drinks to the beach
 Sunscreen, sunscreen, then one more bottle of sunscreen
 Avon Skin-so-Soft (nothing else works for the greenhead flies!)

 First Aid Kit
 Bungee Cords
 Scissors
 Shower Nozzle (my husband used to swap out the outdoor showerhead with a handheld sprayer for the kids when they were little, then change it back. Requires a wrench of some sort.)

Have fun!
posted by Breav at 9:32 AM on July 24, 2008

I like to keep it simple, but remember the markup at Jersey Shore shops. A friend once told me that when she worked at a beach store, they'd re-sticker all of the items in May, marking them up for tourist season.

With that in mind, try to buy stuff like sunscreen (so important!), bug repellant, and food before you go. But if you plan to eat out a lot, don't overpack on the food. And as it's been said, go a little further from the beach for a cheaper market.

Breav's list is excellent. First aid supplies are a good idea, as well as toilet paper and stuff that will be marked up down the Shore.

Bring extra bags for the crap you'll likely accumulate while there.

And bring RAIN GEAR. Just in case.

Have a great trip!
posted by cherie72 at 10:17 AM on July 24, 2008

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