Hate the great outdoors? Here are nine ways to ensure that you’re never invited back to a cottage:
1. Go to the cottage empty-handed.
Showing up without food or drink is a surefire way to end up on the cottage blacklist, especially if you have dietary restrictions. However, it’s also a rookie move. If you really want to annoy your hosts, take it up a notch by showing up totally empty-handed. Don’t bother bringing sunscreen, bug repellant, a bathing suit, a towel, or any other cottage essentials. Just assume that you can borrow that stuff from your host. Finally, when it comes time to chip in for gas for the boat, make sure you have absolutely no cash on you.
2. Get belligerently drunk.
Speaking of mooching, as far as booze is concerned, the more you can drink of it, the better. (It’s free after all, right?) The majority of your consumption should happen in high-danger situations—like while you’re kayaking without a lifejacket, holding a baby near the campfire, swimming in a thunderstorm, or demonstrating your headstand skills on the dock.
3. Bring special snacks, but don’t offer to share them.
Since you’ve left everything useful at home, you’ve got extra room in your bag for your favourite snack foods. Don’t wait until you’re alone in your room to chow down; instead, crack open your treat next to the bonfire so that everyone else can watch you enjoy it.
4. Flaunt the rules.
Does the cottage have an ancient septic system? Time to test it out to see what it’s truly made of. Go ahead; flush all manners of objects down the toilet. Bonus points if you get caught flushing your host’s cooking down the drain.
Conversely, if it’s a modern cottage with no plumbing issues, you can show your hosts what you’re truly made of by not bothering to flush at all.
5. Complain constantly.
Cottages afford unlimited opportunities for whiners, so this one should be a breeze. Gripe away: There are too many mosquitos; it’s too hot; it’s too cold; the bed is too hard; the fire is too smoky; the water is too wet.
It’s not enough to just complain, though—make it clear to your hosts that you hold them personally responsible and expect them to resolve your issues as soon as possible.
6. Refuse to participate in any activities.
“No” is your new favourite word (unless you’re being offered food or drink, of course). It will become your go-to as everyone else at the cottage engages in games, charades, sing-alongs, boat rides, swimming, and anything else that remotely looks like fun. You might be tempted to join in at times, but remember that you always have your cell phone to stare at instead. (Of course, if there’s no reception, that’s just more material to complain about.)
7. Bring as many extra people as possible.
Cottages are one of those places where the adage “the more the merrier” doesn’t necessarily apply. There are usually a limited number of beds, so bringing uninvited bodies will truly show your guests that you have absolutely no respect for their second home.
A smelly friend or an un-housetrained dog ought to do the trick. Insist that you and your guests get the best room in the house, especially if that’s the one that your hosts usually sleep in.
8. Kick back while your hosts clean up.
You’ve had a hard weekend of complaining, avoiding activities, and begging. You must be tired. So when they’re cleaning up—particularly if it’s the final pack-up before the drive back to the city—sit down and have a nice relax. You’ve earned it.
9. Don’t bother saying thank you.
Seal the deal by not bothering to offer any words of gratitude. Not saying thanks is the ultimate way to ensure that you’re never invited back to the cottage again.
Oh wait, you love the cottage and want to be invited back every year? Follow these rules instead.