August 8, 2023

23 tips for self catering holidays

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.

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  1. Laura Cameron-Clarke August 8, 2023 at 7:25 pm - Reply

    How do you find good deals in self catering holidays? Any recommendations? X

    • ToniG August 8, 2023 at 7:44 pm - Reply

      I google it and have found them that way, or through or Haven holidays.

      • Eleri August 10, 2023 at 7:43 am - Reply

        Brilliant tips – thank you. Something I always pack are oven gloves – not often provided as I don’t think they expect guests to do much cooking .

  2. Sue Orange August 8, 2023 at 7:26 pm - Reply

    Some great tips some I do already and some new ideas. Thanks

  3. Willis Gill August 8, 2023 at 7:49 pm - Reply

    Great tips.
    Don’t forget tea towels! Lots of them.
    I always take a bottle of spray cleaner and wipe surfaces when I arrive . But then I’m weird! Lol

    • ToniG August 9, 2023 at 5:39 am - Reply

      Oh yes, I better add that, thank you. Cleaning is my least favourite job but that is a good idea if you are prone to catching things . Just looked and I had already mentioned the tea towel!. x

  4. Kathryn Naden August 8, 2023 at 7:52 pm - Reply

    Thanks for your list . Love the idea of the sponge in the freezer . I take freezer blocks & I take a knife sharpener & a little hand whisk so I can make my porridge & sauces & a measuring jug & cup measures . I weigh out enough flour for pancakes / pastry adding any other dry ingredients I either bag them up or put in a tub . Love my self catering hols x

    • ToniG August 9, 2023 at 5:37 am - Reply

      Great idea. When we have rented a static caravan we will often take ingredients to bake whilst there and weigh them out before we go. We then come home with food to eat for the week and have saved on gas and electricity by not cooking it at home. x

  5. Julie Barton August 9, 2023 at 7:07 am - Reply

    Such very helpful tips Toni thank you.
    Do you cook a chicken first then cool & freeze it whole? X

    • ToniG August 9, 2023 at 7:30 am - Reply

      Yes I do. I then strip it when away and will make things like chicken supreme with pasta, put it on a pitta bread pizza, make sandwiches and wraps with it, and just have it with potatoes and veg or chips.

  6. Karan Fowler August 9, 2023 at 2:01 pm - Reply

    Great tips, thank you

    • ToniG August 9, 2023 at 3:22 pm - Reply

      No worries. Thanks for commenting x

  7. Masha White August 9, 2023 at 9:22 pm - Reply

    Wherever we go, home of abroad, I always take my small, sharp paring knife. Nothing worse than a blunt knife!

    • ToniG August 10, 2023 at 8:52 am - Reply

      Do you get it through customs ok? I have taken a knife when I have gone abroad in my car, but never tried it in my suitcase. Thanks for sharing x

  8. Eleri August 10, 2023 at 7:45 am - Reply

    Brilliant tips – thank you. Something I always pack are oven gloves – not often provided as I don’t think they expect guests to do much cooking .

    • ToniG August 10, 2023 at 8:50 am - Reply

      A great idea, thanks. I often burn myself using a tea towel

  9. Jane August 11, 2023 at 8:08 pm - Reply

    I always take rubber gloves for washing up.

    • ToniG August 14, 2023 at 1:01 pm - Reply

      Great idea. Mr S does most of my washing up and I do the drying and so I hadn’t thought about that. Thanks

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