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Top tips for how to plan a self-catering holiday! Plus download your FREE self-catering holiday checklist.

Why go self-catering?

Before our little one came along I was not a fan of self-catering holidays. Part of the attraction of going on holiday for me is being able to leave the cooking and general housekeeping behind!

But that all changed upon the arrival of our daughter….Anyone who has spent more than one night in a cramped hotel room with a baby or toddler can probably relate. Suddenly the idea of having a whole house to ourselves, where we can come and go as we please and eat whenever suited us, became a lot more attractive.

Hence our conversion to the self-catering holiday!

But if your previous experience of holidaying is the all inclusive variety then it can be daunting to think that you will need to do everything yourself and also budget for cooking your own meals.

Self-catering holidays don’t have to be expensive or complicated though as long as you are prepared and plan a few things in advance. Read on for how to plan for a self-catering holiday and download your FREE self-catering holiday checklist!

Tips on how to plan a self-catering holiday

Spend the first night of your arrival in a hotel

Yes, despite my previous assertions about not being a fan of combining hotel rooms and young children, I can cope with this situation for one night!

If you are going on a self-catering holiday where there is a long journey time, or you will be arriving late in the day, then make life easier and spend the first night in a hotel.

You are guaranteed a room ready for you, you can recover from your journey and get the lay of the land of your new surroundings. The biggest bonus is that you then have time the next day to go shopping for all the food and provisions you need for when you arrive at your self-catering accommodation.

Shop like a local

Before you head off on your self-catering holiday make sure you research the best places to buy food. Where do the locals go for the basic provisions such as bread and milk and where do they go for the best, fresh produce? Which foods are local and seasonal (and therefore likely to be cheaper) at your destination? Have a list with addresses of where you plan to go for your shopping. Make sure you also check opening times as these can be very different from the UK.

Keep it simple

Unless you are going on holiday specifically to hone your culinary skills then keep things simple in the kitchen! This will cut down on both cooking time and cleaning-up time. Buffet style dinners are good-set out a selection of local fruit, vegetables, cheese, meats and breads and let people help themselves!

Check your equipment

Most self-catering accommodations will list the main items you will find in the kitchen. It might seem silly, but check that you have everything that you want for example a cooker (does it have a hob and a grill?), a fridge, a freezer, a toaster, a kettle etc. You may also find lists of the exact cooking equipment included such as the pans available. If you can not see this information on the listing then it is worth contacting the owner in order to clarify.

Prepare for dietary requirements

If there are any dietary requirements in your holiday party, such as allergies or specific diets, then it is a good idea to make a small card that has the information written on it in the local language. That way you can show this to people in shops or in restaurants so they can advise you on what you are able to eat.

Pack smart

There is no need to pack a whole week’s worth of food in your luggage when going on a self-catering holiday. Unless you are going on holiday in the middle of the Amazon Rainforest, then there will be shops where you arrive!

However, you might want to make room for a few items to help make your self-catering holiday go more smoothly.

  • Toilet roll-pack one, just in case! (enough said…)
  • A few teabags/instant coffee sachets – this is non-negotiable for me and my other half. Arriving somewhere without the instant ability to make a cup of tea or coffee does not bear thinking about!
  • Your toddler’s favourite snack. At least enough to get them through the first few days!

Eat outdoors

Unless you are going on holiday somewhere very cold then one of the great joys of going self-catering is the opportunity eat outdoors as often as you want. Explore the local area, walk up mountains or along the beach then throw down a picnic blanket and enjoy a leisurely lunch or dinner. To make the most of this bring along the following for your holiday:

  • Picnic blanket/s
  • A cool bag-ideally a rucksack style one
  • Ice packs for the cool bag
  • Plastic plates, cutlery and cups
  • Cloth napkins (you can wash them at your self-catering accommodation)
  • Small, plastic tubs for storing leftovers
  • Cloth shopping bag or tote

I hope you found this guide to how to plan a self-catering holiday useful! You can download your FREE self-catering holiday checklist here. Remember to share or pin this post before you leave to help other people.

holiday items next to a pool. caption reads how to plan a self-catering holiday plus free self-catering holiday checklist

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