Reap the benefits of a self-catering holiday
Published: Saturday 21st May 2016
Written by: Betheny Ellis
When choosing a family friendly holiday, we appreciate that an all-inclusive option may seem the more appealing choice on paper - a holiday with no meals to prepare, somewhere for the kids to be entertained all day (by someone else) and possibly, most importantly, no washing up! But, when it comes to the crunch, we believe that the aspects of hands-off convenience which self-catering may lack, is more than made up for in the guise of freedom, privacy, flexibility and cost. Clearly pipping the all inclusive to the post (in our humble opinion).
Benefits of a self-catering cottage holiday
Whether you are a luxed life seeker, complete with accompanying hot tub and sauna, or you dream of the country life, with welly boots and freshly laid eggs for breakfast; whatever you seek from your holiday, the self-catering cottage holiday offers a multitude of options, all on an easy to consume platter. And the real benefit of a self-catering holiday is that you can pretend to live another life, just for a week or two. You can step into a 5-star lifestyle and enjoy a family life with all the mod cons and luxurious offerings, or step into a free spirited, welly boot wearing life and enjoy the freedom, landscapes and fresh air that a rural retreat can deliver. It can fill the entire family with a sense of exploration and adventure that you will be hard pressed to find anywhere else. You may even come away liking each other!!
Without a doubt this is one of the major perks of choosing a self-catering cottage holiday. Family time is precious and whilst we can appreciate that meeting lots of new people on an all-inclusive is fun, sometimes we don’t want to spend the duration of our ‘together’ family time surrounded by strangers.
In fact, as the industry develops, it is common that you won’t even meet the homeowner, with keys being collected either from local brand offices or with a key safe at the property - ensuring your cottage experience really is private and you can enjoy your temporary home all to yourself, right from the start. A cottage holiday can provide you with your own private and often secluded space - perfect for some real R & R and switching off.
Obviously, from a practical viewpoint, self-catering with young children offers oodles of flexibility. If your kids are in that all too familiar ‘fussy eating’ phase then an all-inclusive buffet dining experience might seem attractive, but in reality, the trials of trying to get your kiddies to eat ‘unfamiliar’ foods, can be more than you bargained for and certainly an experience not to be repeated. Dining at your cottage is just as easy as dining at home and with local supermarkets and delis, you will be able to pick up some interesting and tasty local produce, as well as the kids favourite spaghetti, hula hoops or cheese sandwiches!
It’s not just the food but the meal times which are far more favourable for a self-catering holiday; breakfast can be when you want and last for as long as you want - your day is not dictated to by dinner schedules and entertainment times, leaving you to relax, go with the flow and let the days unravel naturally.
With flexibility comes health; not everyone wants to neglect their health or diet just because they are on holiday, and self-catering means you can stick to your healthy eating habits, ensuring your long worked for beach body stays in top notch condition. Or the kids can be kept well clear of E-numbers and other energy (chaos) inducing foodstuffs.
You may think a self catering holiday will tie you to the cottage when the little ones are in bed and as well it might, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing - undoubtedly running around all day will mean that the little rascals are so shattered that an early bedtime ensues, leaving you to be grown ups and enjoy a quiet evening of wine, delicious eating and an opportunity to reconnect with each other. . . all much nicer than being squeezed together in a hotel room or confined apartment.
If you’re a couple holidaying together, then a mini-adventure down the local pub is always memorable, if only for the local characters you’ll meet and the comedic stroll home down country lanes in the pitch dark.
Of course, when you do your own cooking you lose the financial safety of an all-inclusive holiday. A good way to keep abreast of your spending is to make a shopping list in advance and either locate a nearby supermarket, or as so many cottages will allow, organise a supermarket delivery to the cottage on the day of your arrival. This leaves plenty more time for fun and exploration as opposed to supply seeking expeditions! Comparatively, you may think that an all-inclusive offers free food all week and your budget will be safely met. But you will be surprised at how many snacks, drinks and titbits will be added to your spending, not included in the package - leaving you with quite a heavy bill on top of what you have already paid for your holiday.
Of course, if you opt for self-catering, it is highly unlikely that you will have EVERY meal in the cottage, but that’s okay! You can budget for the odd meal out or the addition of an unplanned trip to a local attraction well in advance. And it’s good to relax things a little, it is YOUR holiday after all, so one meal a day out or at least 3 during your week will lighten the burden for the cook and certainly give a dose of the local flavour, making these meals really memorable.
In a nutshell
Obviously, everyone wants something different from their holiday and every family’s needs are different too. The benefit of a self-catering holiday is that it allows you to do your holiday at your own pace, meeting the needs of all the family, as opposed to being squished into a ‘one size fits all’ experience which can so encapsulate the all-inclusive package holiday. We say, don’t rule out the self-catering experience as the ‘hard work’ option, but give it a try and realise how easy it is. And if you want any advice about ‘how it all works?!’ then call our team of experts on 0333 2020899. We’ve been in the business for nearly 25 years and we will be more than happy to share our knowledge to help your holiday choice be all plain sailing!