Tips when considering self-catering

Everyone thinks they know how to travel, until we start really thinking about how to be more efficient. We should not leave our travel accessories for the last minute. After all, no one wants to be halfway to their destination only to realise they’ve forgotten some key part of having a successful holiday. Indeed, we don’t want to set ourselves up at our holiday resort, only to realise our assumptions about what they’ll offer does not meet our requirements. We need to be pro-active and begin seriously thinking about what we need.

Check thoroughly

The very first thing we should do is find out precisely what will be available at our holiday resort, house or B&B. In South Africa, the Tourism Grading Council handles quality assurance for tourism products. As they indicate, there are various grading criteria. For self-catering, for example, there are minimum requirements as well as five stars. Minimum requirements include, for example, a parking area but getting five-stars is having a valet service.

Obviously we pay for these services, but the point is we should know what is included in our accommodation. What’s offered in luxury self catering accommodation versus budget will then dictate what we bring with us.

What to bring

Location is everything. Knowing how far we are from restaurants, banks and so on will also impact precisely what we’ll bring. If food is difficult to acquire, then we should bring our own – this could mean packing and storing lots of meat, vegetables or whatever we feel we need. Cans are always a good idea, but make sure to bring a can opener.

We also must make sure how extensive the electricity coverage is. Find out from reviews how reliant the energy supply is. This could mean taking solar powered batteries or small generators if we can. Some are designed for camping, for example, and are ideal for putting into a car.

Medical and bathroom essentials are a must. We must make sure we are stocked up on any chronic medication. A first-aid kit is always good – indeed, we should just make sure one is kept in the car at all times. At least a week before we leave, we should make sure everything is in order in this kit, since it could be the difference between minor inconvenience and a hospital trip.

Cellphones are also our lifeline. We must find out how good the reception will be, since we don’t want to end up in a situation without being able to contact anyone. We should make sure there’s at least a landline, since being able to contact the manager is part of the minimum requirements of any resort.  

Hopefully, with these considered, we could end up having a wonderful time with our families.

(Picture credit: John Hickey-Fry / Flickr)