From curling irons to kayaks, sewing kits to soap, innkeepers love adding perks to sweeten your stay. Many of these convenient inclusions are free for guests; better yet, in-room goodies and on-property amenities mean fewer things you’ve got to bring! Discover seven belongings you can leave at home when packing for a bed and breakfast stay.

Guide Books

Leave room in your carry-on for a juicy novel or a stack of long-neglected magazines and keep the guide books at home. Most properties helpfully provide local guide books anyway, plus their own curated lists of restaurants, shops, attractions and other nearby vendors. Additionally, innkeepers tend to act as consummate local travel guides and are more than happy to help you plan your adventures. Not only is all this advice free, it’s likely more up-to-date than a guide book.

It’s always a great idea to ask for local recommendations from your fellow guests, too. Many a breakfast-table conversation has ended with a hot tip about a restaurant you have to try or a hidden hiking trail you have to experience.


Beach gear

Waterside bed and breakfasts frequently have amenities like beach umbrellas, towels, toys and chairs for guests to use. Check your property’s amenities page or website before buying the town out of pool noodles. Similarly, if you’re staying in an area with paid beach access, ask whether beach tags or day passes are included. For instance, The Sand Castle Bed and Breakfast on the Jersey Shore helpfully tosses in beach tags (although you’d be forgiven for staying in the property’s heated pool all day, too).


Hair Tools

Heavy and clunky, with cords that tangle and flimsy plastic pieces that break off in transit: Is there any worse travel accessory than the hair dryer? Luckily, many bed and breakfasts include one in your guest room or private bath. Check the room details page for your property or call and ask the host if a hair dryer is included before you pack your bag. Some bed and breakfasts, like the Little English Guesthouse in Tallahassee, Florida, The Inn on First in Napa, California, and the T.C. Smith Historic Inn in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, even stock curling irons!


Toiletries

Most innkeepers have caught on to the popularity of bite-sized shampoos and soaps, and include bathroom toiletries as part of the in-room amenities. Some favorites: The White Fences Inn in Water Mill, New York, stocks luxury Malin + Goetz toiletries in their high-end bathrooms (complete with heated floors and volcanic-stone tubs). The Inn at Tabbs Creek in Port Haywood, Virginia, offers eco-friendly amenities in refillable tubes to cut down on waste. And the Lavender Mermaid Farm B&B lives up to its name, stocking lovely lavender-scented organic toiletries for all guests on its Pittsburg, Texas, property.

Forgot something? Check at the front desk before you nip out for a toothbrush or a sewing kit, as many savvy hosts keep extras on hand (and, unlike hotels, won’t charge you an arm and a leg for borrowing).


Entertainment

From the classic B&B pursuit of après-dinner board games to whole libraries stuffed to the ceiling with beautiful hardcover books, bed and breakfasts are known for having tons of relaxing entertainment options for guests. Sure, you should pack a magazine or two, but don’t forget to avail yourself of facilities like the Percy Inn’s 500-title movie library in Portland, Maine, or the Art House of East Hampton’s game room with HDTV, a Blu-Ray player and a Wii game console. These inclusions are perfect for rainy days and lazy nights, and it means fewer heavy books to stow in your suitcase.


Sporting Equipment

Before you spend the whole morning strapping your bicycle to the car roof, consider whether your B&B includes rentals! Quite a few properties keep them so that you can explore the local area at your leisure. And a handful, like the Bespoke Inn in Scottsdale, Arizona, make cycling the very center of your stay, with included complimentary use of a fleet of British Pashley city bikes and a boutique bike shop on-site.

Other properties offer everything from cross-country skis and snowshoes to tennis racquets and canoes. While some sporting-equipment rentals may come with a small fee, it’s well worth the convenience!


Special Meals

Most innkeepers are incredibly accommodating when it comes to dietary restrictions, allergies and even food preference. That can be so refreshing when traveling and trying to adapt the local food scene to your diet (and in some cases, having to bring allergen-free or vegetarian snacks with you). Always let your host know of any food restrictions so that they can prepare a different option ahead of time, especially if he or she prepares baked goods, dishes and snacks in advance. Most hosts are happy to help, and that eliminates snacks you’ll have to pack on your own!

—by Dara Continenza