2. Keep the screen doors shut . Cottage country is home to a number of wily little critters that will take every opportunity to become an unwelcome resident in the cottage. Leaving a screen door open, even for a couple of minutes while you unload the car, could be just the invitation they are looking for.
3. Respect the septic system . Only flush when necessary, use the minimum amount of toilet tissue and don't flush anything away that hasn't been through your body first! These are the key factors to remember to ensure a trouble free stay. The last thing you need on vacation is to be reaching for the plunger every time someone uses the washroom.
4. Be prepared for bad weather . Few cottages have satellite TVs with gazillion channels. If there is a TV at all, it may at a push show 3 or 4 fuzzy local stations. Most will have a video player so make sure you take a supply of videos if you must watch TV at all. Better still, pack games, cards and puzzles to keep all of the family occupied when the weather keeps you indoors. And don't forget to take some warmer clothes, just in case of those cooler evenings that can unexpectedly occur even in mid-summer.
5. If in doubt take your shoes off . Many cottage owners will not expect you to take your shoes off at the door when you are at their cottage. After all, the kids will be tracking in sand from the beach anyway. However, some will, so to be on the safe side either remove your shoes as you would at home, or check with the owner to establish this particular cottage rule.
6. Be honest about damage. Accidents do happen and cottage owners know this, so be upfront about any breakages or stains. At the very least this gives the owner a decent opportunity to make good before the next renters arrive. If it is beyond expected wear and tear, you may be charged for replacement or repair but your honesty will go a long way to defray that cost.
7. Leave the rental cottage the same way you found it . Regardless of whether you've rented the cottage or are staying in one owned by a friend or relative, ensure you leave it in the same condition as you found it. This is just a common courtesy and ignoring this or just doing a cursory dust 5 minutes before you depart may leave you with a costly cleaning bill, or looking for new friends. Some cottage owners offer a cleaning service for an additional cost - if you want to take advantage of this, give them plenty of notice.
8. Do ask questions but don't bother the owner unnecessarily . Cottage owners are the best source of knowledge about their cottage and surrounding area, and they should provide you with relevant information in a cottage guide or directory. However, don't feel you can call them up at all hours of the day or night to ask what time the Beer Store opens, or what movie is running at the local cinema. They will happily respond to genuine problems but please respect their personal time.
9. Expect the bugs . If you visit cottage country in June and July there will be bugs. Black fly, deer fly and mosquitoes are part of the country experience and although we would all like them not to be there, it is very probable that you will be 'bugged' at some time. Take a good supply of repellent - Health Ontario tell us that 'deet' based repellent is best.
Above all - enjoy your time at the cottage. It's a vacation!