All You Need To Know To Pack And Plan For Your OBX Trip


All You Need To Know To Pack And Plan For Your OBX Trip | Great Escapes OBX

Congratulations on your decision to book a Great Escapes Vacation rental on the northern beaches of North Carolina’s beautiful Outer Banks. We know that you will be pleased with your choice to be a guest in one of our selective, high-quality homes. 

We also know that you likely have some questions about what to pack and how to plan for your upcoming vacation, so we've tried to answer a few of the most commonly asked questions here.

What Do I Need To Bring From Home?

Whether you're a beach-going pro or this is your first time visiting the OBX, it's always helpful to review a list of basic beach travel needs. 

While there are certainly places that you can shop for almost any forgotten item while you're here on vacation, it's usually a good idea to arrive fully stocked with certain things. Not only is it often less expensive to bring needed items from home, it's usually more convenient as well. After all, the last thing you'll want to do when you've finally made out onto the beach is pack everyone back into the car for a 20 minute trip to the store!

How to pack for an Outer Banks vacation | Great Escapes OBX

Don't forget to pack the following:

  • Sunscreen - for body and face, adult and child. Remember, you can never have too much! 
  • Sun cover-ups - head and body, and don't forget shades for your eyes!
  • Lightweight, long-sleeved shirts and pants - yes, we're serious! You'll thank us for this reminder in the event of an unexpectedly cool evening or if you find yourself nursing a sunburn.
  • First aid kit / ICE information - minor injuries like shell cuts and scrapes are fairly common at the beach. Plus, it never hurts to be prepared for the unexpected.
  • Medications - be sure you have enough of any prescriptions that you may need as well as common child-specific medicines (allergy meds, pain and fever reducers, etc.)
  • Umbrella - a large umbrella can be used as a shade on the beach or as protection from a late summer afternoon storm.
  • Snacks and entertainment items - traffic to, from, and along the barrier islands can often be slow moving during peak season, and the last thing you want while you're on vacation is a car full of bored and hangry people.

How to Pack for Kids on Vacation | Great Escapes OBX

We're Finally Here! When, How, and Where Do I Check In?

Welcome to town! We know that you're ready to check in and get settled into your vacation rental home, so let's get to to it!

Good news! There's no need to come by the office for keys to your property. All Great Escapes rentals have keyless entry systems that become active at 4:00 p.m. on your check-in date and expire at 10:00 a.m. on your checkout date. Codes will be emailed several days prior to arrival. Codes will NOT be emailed unless balance is paid IN FULL.

Please do not go to your home prior to 4:00 p.m. on your check-in date as we have a very short time to clean, inspect and make any repairs after the previous vacationer has checked out. Maintenance or extensive cleaning of your vacation home may require check-in to be delayed until after 4:00 p.m. though this is not typical. In the event of this rare occurrence, we will alert you to the delay as soon as possible.

Please take a few minutes upon your arrival to familiarize yourself with your home. If anything is not cleaned to your satisfaction or not working properly, please contact Great Escapes within 24 hours of check-in. Our management and staff are here to make sure you have a great vacation.

I'm Staying In A Pet-Friendly Rental. Can I Take My Dog On The Beach?

We here at Great Escapes know that fur babies are family too, which is why we take great pride in offering several excellent pet-friendly rental options.

While in town, pets must be on a leash at all times. Owners are entirely responsible for maintaining control over and cleaning up after their pets. Each township has its own beach access pet policies, outlined below: 

What to bring for pets on an Outer Banks getaway | Great Escapes OBX

Corolla - Dogs are allowed on the beach with a year round leash law. Your pet must be on a leash at all times. Pet owners/handlers are responsible for removal of pet waste.

Duck – Dogs are allowed on the beach unleashed, but as a matter of public safety and courtesy, they should be under the watchful eye and contact of their owner. They must be leashed, with a leash not exceeding 10 ft. while in the town limits.

Southern Shores - Dogs are not allowed on the beach from May 15 - September 15. Year-round leash law. All pet waste must be collected immediately and deposited in appropriate containers.

Source: OBX Chamber of Commerce

How to know if you need travel insurance for your vacation | Great Escapes OBX

Do I Need Travel Insurance?

We know. Travel insurance *seems* like one of those schemes dreamed up by big business profit-makers. But let us state this clearly:

Great Escapes strongly recommends all of our guests purchase travel insurance, as no refunds will be offered, even in the case of a mandatory hurricane evacuation.

Rental insurance is automatically included on your lease. However, you may opt out of purchasing travel insurance when you sign your lease. Under the Vacation Rental Act of NC, if travel insurance is offered and you decline to purchase it, you are not entitled to a refund under a mandatory evacuation.

Among other things, Red Sky Travel Insurance Sun Trip Preserver covers trip cancellation or interruption due to:

  • A named hurricane or other natural disaster
  • Uninhabitability of the destination vacation home caused by a natural disaster
  • Uninhabitability of your primary residence or your traveling companion’s primary residence caused by natural disaster
  • Sickness, injury or death of you, a family member or traveling companion

Travel insurance is absolutely a measure of protection for your vacation investment. Read the full policy here

Speaking Of Hurricanes...

When it comes to direct hits by hurricanes to the U.S. mainland, North Carolina ranks 4th overall, having been broadsided by these powerful storms a total of 51 times over the past 166 years. (In case you're wondering, Florida ranks 1st at 117!) 

Hurricane season runs from June 1st each year through November 30th. While hurricanes can and do form in months outside of this period, it's relatively rare.

Hurricanes on the outer Banks and how to prepare for them | Great Escapes OBX

Although hurricanes can be somewhat fickle in terms of their individual path and strength, they do generally fall within a cone of predictability. In the event of a potential storm, emergency authorities will continuously monitor the situation to determine whether or not evacuation orders must be issued. 

RULE #1 is DON'T PANIC! Remember that EVEN IF a hurricane blows in during your OBX vacation, it does not necessarily mean that an evacuation will be required. The most important thing to know in advance while planning and packing for your trip are the basics of what to do in the event that a mandatory hurricane evacuation is ordered during your stay.

Corolla: If an evacuation is ordered, ALL vacationers must leave the Currituck Outer Banks. The only route off the northern beaches is South NC 12. During peak tourist season, more than 100,000 people may be evacuating on this two-lane road. Follow orderly traffic procedures and heed any directions from emergency officials.

Duck & Southern Shores: Evacuations are only called for when the lives and safety of those in the area being evacuated will be a risk. With seasonal increases in population and limited access on and off the barrier islands, major traffic delays will occur during evacuations. Once an evacuation has been called, to ensure your personal safety gather your belongings and leave as soon as possible. In addition to protecting yourself, doing so will save a significant amount of time in traffic while helping emergency officials as they prepare for, or respond to the incident.

You can review OBX evacuation history since 1985 here and read more about OBX hurricane procedure here.

Information on getting to the Outer Banks | Great Escapes OBX

Our Vacation Was Amazing, And Now It's Time To Check Out. 😢 What Do We Need To Do?

Alas, your vacation is coming to an end, and it's time to wrap up the final rental details so that you can be on your way home.  

Remember that check-out is 10:00 a.m. and your keyless entry code will expire at that time. Please vacate the premises no later than 10:00 a.m. on your check-out date so as to give our maintenance and cleaning staff as much time as possible to prepare the vacation home for our next guests.

Actions to take before exiting your vacation rental:

  • Please load and start the dishwasher.
  • Place all towels and sheets in the black bins in the carport, or if there are no bins, in the laundry area.
  • Leave comforters, blankets, quilts, pillows, pillow protectors and mattress pads on the unmade beds.
  • Place all trash in trash bags and leave in the outside trashcans. Only trash in cans will be picked up so please do not leave any trash outside the can. Place recyclables in the recycle can.
  • If you moved any of the furniture around please move it back.
  • Leave the house, decks, pool area and yard tidy and remove all of your belongings.
  • Set the thermostat to 74 in the summer or 65 in the winter.
  • Close and lock all doors and windows.


We hope this article helps prepare you for your upcoming OBX vacation! Feel free to contact us at 844-458-0201 if you have any additional questions. You can also like and follow us on Facebook.


Did you enjoy this post? Please SHARE it with your friends on social media. And don't forget to check back here in two weeks to get into the vacation mood with Quotes That Will Make You Crave An OBX Vacation!

All You Need To Know To Pack And Plan For Your OBX Trip | Great Escapes OBX


Comment on this post!