Top tips when booking a self-catering holiday and the essentials to pack

Top tips when booking a self-catering holiday and the essentials to pack

Self-catering holiday tips from things to remember when looking for a cottage as well as the essentials to pack for a smooth stress-free trip

It’s the summer of the staycation, and holiday cottages are selling out fast as Brits flock to a home-away-from-home for their holidays.

If you’ve booked a self-catering getaway, there will be a little bit more planning involved when packing your suitcase, as you’re going to be in charge of those extra home comforts to make your trip as smooth as possible.

However, there can be a fine line between packing the essentials and ending up bringing everything but the kitchen sink.

Your property’s listing should have plenty of key info on what will be/won’t be provided, but there are some essentials that can easily be overlooked.

Kitchen Essentials

  • Look closely at the listing’s pictures – can you seen an oven and hob? How big is the fridge? Is there a freezer? If you’re unsure, you can get in touch with the property owners – they can give you a better idea of what to expect.
  • Some smaller places may only offer a toaster and microwave – the listing should specify cooking facilities but consider the types of meals you’re planning.
  • Pots and pans can be hit and miss – if you have specific requirements for a meal, it may be worth packing your own.
  • Don’t assume there will be a dishwasher. (You may want to pack some extra tea towels for drying too!).
  • Need certain spices for your favourite meals? You may want to bring your own to save having to buy entirely new pots at the local shop.

Think of extras you may need such as a potato peeler, bottler opener and Tupperware for leftovers – again, it’s worth checking with the property owner in case there are already some of these utensils at the cottage.

 Bedrooms and Bathrooms

  • Towels and linens are usually provided – but don’t assume this is the case. Double check the listing.
  • In need of particular bedding, or suffer from allergies? You may want to consider packing your own bedding so you can get a decent night’s sleep.
  • Planning long luxurious baths during your trip? Make sure to check a property’s listing to check there is a tub when booking a trip, to avoid disappointment, as some homes offer showers only.
  • Don’t forget things like shampoo, conditioner and soap! There may be some provided, but they won’t be replenished during your stay, so you may want to bring your own favourites along.


  • Don’t assume a TV will be loaded with Sky, Netflix, Disney+ and other services you may be used to. (Especially if you’re booking a remote cottage). In this case you may want to prepare and pre-download some content on your gadgets, or embrace the extra time to read, walk or even play some board games. Speaking of which…
  • Pack some board games! If you have some family favourites, bring them along.
  • If you do use streaming services when at a property, remember to log back out of your accounts before you leave!
  • Wi-Fi is usually included in the price, but be aware that this doesn’t mean you’ll have the speeds you have at home. You could bring a Wi-Fi dongle for an extra boost.

Extra Tips – Including Mishaps and Breakages

  • If you break something, leave a note or contact your host to explain – this also means they can let you know if there will be a charge, and save for a nasty surprise post-holiday.
  • If you spot any major damage to the home when you arrive, take plenty of photos and send them to the host as soon as possible. This means you won’t risk being blamed later.
  • Taking a car? Confirm with the host as to where you can park – and if there’s no off-street parking, find out if there are any charges you’ll need to be aware of in the area.
  • Booking a flat or a remote cottage? Knowing things like whether there’s a lift, or if it’s a short walk from car to door will be handy when you’re planning which bags etc to pack.
  • Familiarise yourself with the local area using maps – knowing where the nearest supermarket/restaurants/shops are will be useful.
  • Take your own first aid kit with any prescription medicine needed, plasters, antiseptic cream and pain relief you’d usually have at home.
  • Keep the number of your host or agency handy in case you need advice (for example if you’re struggling to turn a hob on) or need to report a problem.
  • If you think the cottage listing was misleading and you don’t think you’ve got the stay you were promised, get in touch with the host. They may not be able to magic up the extra bedroom you thought you were getting, but they may offer alternatives such as a discount or other perks.




Andy Halliday

Andy is a camping expert with over 20 years of outdoor experience. He shares his expertise through his blog that features on his very own e-commerce camping gear store. He aspires to use his knowledge and experience to help disabled families get the most out of every trip they take.

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