We tend to go on a lot of self-catering holidays out of season as it is possible to find really cheap, last- minute deals. We have seen a lot of Britain in this way.
Life is much easier and cheaper if you are organised before you go on a self- catering holiday. We are due to go on one of these soon, and so I was thinking about small things I bring or do before I go. I thought I would write a list as it might help someone preparing to go away during these school holidays.
- Take some toilet rolls. Our usual accommodation give you one roll, but I have been to some places where you don’t get any.
- Take a small container with washing up liquid in, and a cloth/sponge and tea towel. Sometimes I will wet and freeze a sponge and place it in a bag and freeze it before I go. It then acts as a freezer block in our cool box.
- Take a black bag for rubbish.
- Take some oil in a small bottle for cooking.
- Take a miniature soap so that you can wash your hands in the bathroom. I have freebie ones from hotels or from gift sets.
- Pack things like salt and pepper, and a few herbs and spices if you intend to cook. Depending where you go you may need a bottle opener or tin opener too.
- Take carrier bags, or use a particular case or bag to put dirty laundry in so that it is easier to sort when you get home.
- Don’t forget some tea bags and sugar etc. Mr S takes his own ground coffee and a pot to brew it in.
- A cool box or bag is useful for storing or taking food in, and I often also take foil as it useful for cooking or storage.
- If taking a picnic for travelling, take it in Tupperware boxes or zip lock bags which can be used for storage or picnics whilst you are away.
- Have a rug or a beach mat in the car for picnics.
- Take some small bottles to make drinks in. It is cheaper to decant from a large bottle of pop rather than buy lots of separate ones, or you can make up cordial. If we are somewhere hot, we put them in the freezer for a while as they thaw and you can have a cold drink when out.
- Buy ice creams, ice pops or lollies at the supermarket and keep them in the freezer if there is one. This saves loads of money if you have kids.
- Another thing I used to do to save money, and stop the children nagging when away, was to buy some different bags of their favourite sweets from discount shops before we went, and decant them into a bag (as if it was pic a mix) for each day. They could eat a bag when they wanted each day, but when they were gone, they knew not to ask for any more that day. They got really good at making them last.
- Save condiment sachets to take with you so that you don’t have to buy or take big bottles.
- Don’t forget to pack any meds you need. I also take pain killers, plasters, things for insect bites and stomach upsets, and a travel first aid kit.
- Before you travel read the reviews of where you are going as people will recommend what you need to take to your accommodation some times. One said that the knives were blunt and so I took a sharp one. We also look for free or cheap activities and places to eat in the area, and I like to check YouTube for walks and to see what the area is like.
- Take entertainment like a book, comics, cards etc. When the children were young I would buy colouring or sticker books and a new game from a charity shop to play. I would even pack their inflatables when we went abroad.
- Take beach towels. A lot of self-catering accommodation you have to provide your own towels for the bathroom too.
- Even when I went abroad, I would take a few items of food with me in my suitcase eg a tin of tuna, the kids favourite cereal, teabags etc. I take most of my food in this country. I have friends who stay in cottages and they organise a supermarket delivery slot for the first night.
- When I went away with children, I would set them a spending budget and put their money in separate purses. It helped teach them about money and stopped them asking for everything. If we could only afford one paid activity, I would involve them in the decision making for that too.
- I will often take a slow cooker with me when going away so that we can have a hot meal waiting for us when we get back after a day out.
- I will often take a frozen cooked chicken with in the cool box, and a frozen cooked meal from home. This way we have a meal for the first night, and meat for sandwiches and meals for the rest of the week.
I hope this helps someone to write their lists for going away. If anyone has any more tips please feel free to share them.