Welcome to the cottage. Wanna score a repeat invite? Follow our advice.
1. Avoid clunky gifts
Do not bring anything that takes up space, unless the host asks you to bring it. Exceptions: homemade baking, alcohol, and toilet paper. Never bring a watermelon. (It’s just weeks of leftover, rotting fruit.) This isn’t Dirty Dancing, and you’re not Jennifer Grey.
2. Offer to help
Lend a hand with boring jobs and do them enthusiastically. Shuck corn! Sweep! Bail out the boat! Gather kindling! Dry the dishes! Hot damn!
3. Don’t complain
Nobody likes wobbly outhouse seats or mosquito bites or lumpy beds or when campfire smoke blows directly into their eyes. It all goes without saying. So you really don’t need to say it.
4. Be self-reliant and self-entertaining
BYO sheets and towels; bug spray and sunscreen; warm socks and small flashlight; reading material and genius-level sudokus. Or whatever. Large-print word searches.
5. Respect the can
Follow your host’s septic-saving rules of water conservation. Even if you start to feel that you’re pushing the boundaries of acceptable personal hygiene.
6. Clean up
Take something with you when you leave. Something that the hosts don’t want, like a box of empties or the garbage. Not their cash or prescription medication.