Loading up the car and heading off to a cottage for a mini-vacation is a fantastic way to disconnect from the doldrums of everyday life. The peace and quiet of nature, the lush greenery of surrounding forests, and the lapping waters of a nearby lake or beach are sure to encourage you to decompress and hit reset.

With optimal relaxation and fun in mind, you can do a few things to minimize any chance of frustration - including preparing in advance and bringing some cooking essentials with you.

Every cottage is stocked differently. For example, while some may provide a coffee machine, others may have opted for a pod coffee maker; knowing what to expect in advance will allow you and your travel companions to prepare accordingly. Thoroughly read the cottage listing - they're generally very comprehensive and should provide you with all the information you need - but connect with the cottage owner or the booking agency if any questions remain unanswered.

Research your route and any potential hold-ups before you go. For example, if you're looking for cottages to rent in Ontario in the winter or spring, know that some roads might be a little slower than usual if snowy weather has moved in. Factor Ontario's weather into your travel plans, have alternative routes in mind and take note of any grocery stores you might want to visit on the way.

Now that you know what the cottage has to offer and you have your route mapped out, here are six cooking essentials you should bring to your next cottage getaway.

1. Tin Foil

Tin foil is a great cooking tool when you're at the cottage; with tin foil, it's easy to cook vegetables on the BBQ, and it allows you to easily keep veggie burgers separate from meat. Further, it'll protect the oven and BBQ grill, saving you from a big cleaning chore as you depart.

2. Bottle Openers

While most cottages will have a bottle opener (or corkscrew combination), on occasion, the party before you may have misplaced or accidentally packed it (it happens). Arriving at the cottage with your favourite bottle of red with no way to open it is sure to thwart any attempts at relaxation. Remember your travel opener and you'll be ready to go.

3. Coolers

Bringing a cooler to sit outside by the firepit or on the porch will save you many trips in and out of the cottage. This is especially beneficial if you're on the water. It saves drying off the kids every time they need to dash inside for a juice box.

4. Food Containers

Bringing three to four assorted food containers will allow you to keep leftovers safe for consumption the next day. They'll also allow you to safely bring home any food that you have leftover at the end of your trip.

5. Herbs and Spices

This isn't to say you need to bring your whole spice rack. But if you know in advance some of the dishes you'll be making, having the necessary pre-mixed herbs and spices means that you don't need to sacrifice flavour while you're at the cottage. Old tic-tac containers and miniature travel bottles are great space-saving vessels.

6. Small and Large Garbage Bags

Some cottages ask that guests take their recycling and garbage away with them. Bring some spare garbage bags just in case to save coming up short. Extra bags will always come in handy, too; they're great for dirty laundry.

7. Old Newspaper

Hold onto your old newspapers for a couple of weeks in advance of your vacation. Not only is newspaper great for starting fires, but it's also ideal for drying out soggy hiking boots.

Going to a cottage is a great way to recharge. With a few pre-emptive steps, your cooking prowess will remain intact, and you'll still have had a relaxed and fun time away.