Self-catering holiday is a challenge for anyone trying it for first time. A growing concept abroad, a self-catering holiday, like the name suggests comprises of stay in a cottage or a home where-in you get all basic amenities that you would normally expect in a home but have to arrange all other essentials including meals yourself. So why is the concept growing if it sounds cumbersome? One primary reason is affordability and secondly, the experience itself. Self-catering cottages or homes turn out to be a more affordable and inexpensive option versus staying in hotels which can become quite expensive especially in Europe. The other lure is that of “trying out something new”. Travelers are always looking out to try new destinations and experiences and self-catering stays offer both – a combination of a new experience and possibly new destinations that are yet not too touristy. For examples, some cottages offer you a purely farm like experience!
So, how do you prepare yourself for a self-catering cottage? (I am using the example of the cottage since I just stayed in one and you can read more about it on my blog – stay at Cilhendre Fawr Farm Cottage)
First of all, before you make your reservation, make sure you visit the website and look-up facilities and amenities that will be provided at the cottage. It’s helpful to take a print-out of list of items and keep it handy while doing your packing. In case the website isn’t too clear, it may be a good idea to call up the resort and confirm (recommend this anyway to make sure the information on website is updated)
Typically, facilities that are expected to be provided are:
- Kitchen with utensils (pots, pans, saucers etc) and tableware (cutlery, plates, dishes etc) and electrical gadgets (microwave, dishwasher, cooking range, refrigerator, electric kettle)
- Essential furniture around the house (Beds, dining table, chairs, sofa etc)
- Basic entertainment (TV and music system with some CDs)
- Essential bed and bath linen (Fresh bedsheets, pillows, throws, towels etc)
- Other electrical equipment (Heating system or cooling system as applicable, geysers etc)
- A good Wi-Fi network
What you will need to carry:
- Items to prepare your meals – food ingredients including spices – if you like to do your own cooking or are picky about your food. You can also opt for ready to eat packets or buy stocks of frozen food from a store nearby and stack-up the refrigerator.
- Coffee, tea, powder milk, paper napkins, ketchup tissues etc.
- Meal accompaniments such as sodas, liquor, wine, mixers etc
- Bath items – soap, shampoos etc (there may be some toiletries provided in the cottage but its best to carry your own stuff)
- Emergency medicines (esp if you are traveling with your family)
- Items of interest or hobbies – favorite CDs, books, games, playing cards, iPad etc
- Other items which may come handy such as torch, lighter or matchbox, mosquito spray
So largely that’s about it but the list will largely depend on the type of self-catering cottage you choose (basic vs luxury, in a remote location or in a town etc). Also, I’ve listed below few links of self-catering cottages that came up online for UK, Scotland and Wales and there are a lot of options that look truly appealing!
So browse and enjoy and have a different holiday next time!