Self-Catering house versus Hotel – the Pros and Cons

Some people choose to use self-catering places for holidays and others use hotels. There are advantages and disadvantages to both and it is good thinking through the different factors before deciding which one might be the best for you.

Cost

It is usually the case that a hotel will cost more money than self-catering. All types of hotels and self-catering places will vary in price though. If you have a holiday budget then you could probably find a hotel or self-catering place that will fit in it. If the places are too expensive you might be able to stay for less days in order to make it more affordable. You also could consider taking your holiday off season when it will be cheaper. A budget hotel could cost less than a self-catering cottage, but you will have to pay for eating out if you are staying at a hotel. With self-catering you can choose to eat in and save money.

Cooking

Some people really enjoy cooking and like being able to make healthy meals or meals to their taste and therefore being able to self-cater is ideal. Other are not so keen on cookery and really like the idea of being able to have meals cooked for them. If you are in self-catering, you can eat out of course, but in a hotel, you will have a restaurant that you can eat in and this can be more convenient. You can also have food brought to your room so you do not even have to leave the room if you would rather not. You may want to choose a hotel based on the food that they provide, perhaps a specialist one for vegetarians, healthy food or high quality items. It will depend on your taste and requirements and you will need to see if the hotel will be able to cater for you.

Facilities

If you have a hotel room, then you are likely to have bed(s), desk, chair, and shower room possibly with a bath. You might also have tea and coffee making facilities and a wardrobe. . You will probably also have a television and wi-fi. In some cases you may get a parking space, but this will depend on the hotel and its location. Some hotels may also have gyms, spas and even swimming pools and so this might be something that you think you will really take advantage of and enjoy. If you have a self-catering place then you are likely to have bed(s) shower or bathroom, tea and coffe making facilities, TV, wi-fi and parking space. Unless you are in a studio apartment, it is likely that you will have a lot more as well. You will probably have cooking facilities, perhaps a microwave and hob or even a full oven. You will have a kitchen sink and may have a dishwasher and washing machine as well. It is likely that you will have a dining table and chairs too. You might have a Cd and/or Blu-ray player, books, games, three piece suite and coffee table too. You may have a garden, private driveway and a number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Some places come with games rooms and swimming pool, sometimes private and sometimes shared pools. Obviously what you get will depend on how much you are prepared to pay, but you are likely to have more space if you have a self-catering place rather than a hotel room.

Cleaning

If you have a hotel room then it is likely that the maids will come in daily and tidy and clean the room for you. This can mean that you will not need to worry about doing any of this. With a self-catering place, you are unlikely to have a housekeeping service, although you may be able to pay extra for it in some circumstances. You will therefore have the choice of keeping it clean and tidy yourself or allowing it to get a messy and dirty during your stay and perhaps not be as comfortable. Some places will ask for it to be left in good condition anyway and expect you to keep good care of the place.

Flexibility

With a hotel, you will have less flexibility with things. You will have to vacate your room during the day so that it can be cleaned and tidied. You will also need to have breakfast at the time that it is served, which could mean that you have to wait to have it later or get up extra early for it. There are the same possibilities with other meals in the day, whether you eat in the hotel or not. If you are self-catering you can choose to eat whenever you like.

Space

There is usually a lot more room in a self-catering home compared to a hotel room. This means that if you want to spread out or family members want o have some of their own space then they will be able to do so more easily. If you have a family hotel room, then you will usually only be able to hang out on your bed in the communal room or in the bathroom but with a self-catering home, you will have more room to find places that you can go to be alone or to have more space. This may be particularly useful for teenagers who sometimes just want to be alone or away from their parents for a while.

Relaxation

Sometimes staying in a hotel can just feel a lot more relaxing. It might be because you do not have to worry about cooking and cleaning or because you have a luxurious bedroom or are in a place where you are made to feel special. Some people can feel equally relaxed in a self-catering home, but this is not always the case and it is worth thinking about whether you will feel more relaxed if you have had a hotel break rather than self-catering. You will know what will feel the best for you.villa photo

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Best Places to take a Toddler on Holiday

Taking young babies on holiday can be fairly easy as they do not tend to need entertaining and can stay in a pushchair, baby carrier or being held most of the time and they are often asleep. However, once they become toddlers it can be more difficult as they want to be moving about all of the time, they are interested in all sorts of things and they can be hard work! So finding places to take them, where they can be safe and have fun but you can also relax and have a holiday can be quite tricky. It is therefore worth thinking about the advantages and disadvantages of different types of holiday so that you can decide which will be best for you and your toddler.

Coastal

A coastal holiday can seem like the perfect place for a little one. Lovely beaches where they can play at making sandcastle or digging holes in the sand. This can be a lot of fun for them but some toddlers tend to eat sand and then cry and do not really know what else to do with it, so this is something worth considering. It is also worth thinking about the weather as if it is wet then the beach is not such a fun place so you will need to think about other activities that you can do. If it is really hot then it easy to burn at the beach as there is not usually very much shade, so beware of that as well. If you go to a busy resort, then they are likely to have activities that appeal to all ages and so this could be a great positive. If you go to a pebble or rocky beach then there is less sand to eat and children might enjoy using chalks to draw designs on the rocks. However they may find walking on pebbles or rocks extremely difficult.

Countryside

The countryside can be a great place to explore new things. Seeing great views and experiencing new plants and maybe animals too can be a lovely experience for everyone. However, with a toddler you will have to be aware of the amount of walking that you might do and the fact that you may need to carry them or use a pushchair which would need to be suitable for the countryside terrain and footpaths. There will also be less entertainment than there might be in a town or city, so you will have to entertain your toddler rather than being able to take to places where they will be entertained.

City break

A city break can be great as there is plenty to do from the museums, shops and art galleries to the theatres, concert halls and cinemas. With a toddler though, you may need to change some of the things that you do. For example anything where you need to be quiet, such as a play, you would not be able to take them to. However, they may find other things interesting such as museums. Shopping may be appealing to some but not others, the same as art galleries, you would therefore need to think about what your toddler likes and whether this sort of holiday would suit them or not.

Theme park

A theme park can be great fun but many of the rides have height restrictions. Often there will be an area for younger children could be a lot of fun for your toddler. However, it may mean that the adults may miss out of the rides they want to go on as at least one of them will have to stay with the toddler and they may get bored as well, waiting for adults on the rides. You may think that if you miss out of the big rides then it could be a waste of money getting into the park. It may of course depend on what type of theme park it is and how many things there are available for young children to do. Therefore it is worth some thought.

Camping

Camping is a good way to have a budget holiday as long as you have all of the necessary equipment that you need. You will just have to rent a pitch somewhere. With a toddler you would need to check out the bathroom facilities at the camp site as you would want to make sure that they are suitable for a little one. It might be that they only have showers, for example and toddler often find that baths are the only way that they to wash. You will also need to be sure that they cannot escape the tent when you are all asleep and do not get frightened of the dark. However, this will not be a problem for everyone and they may think it is a great adventure.

Hotel

Staying in a hotel can be a great way to have a proper break as you will not be cooking meals or have to worry about any chores. They tend to have great facilities too so you can really relax. You would need to find a child friendly hotel which provides a cot or small bed in a family room. You would also need to think about the types of food they might serve and whether they would have things that the children would eat. If you think you might be better taking food for them then see if the hotel room has a fridge.

Self-catering

If you hire an apartment, house or cottage and go self-catering this can mean that you can prepare food that you know your toddler will eat. However, it does mean that you will not get a break from cooking, which could fine if you like cooking but not so good if you do not enjoy it. If you are away for quite a while, then having washing facilities, which you get in some self-catering places can be very useful particularly with a toddler who may need more than one set of clothes per day or clean bedding on occasion.kids holiday photo

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Top Ideas for Family Day Trips

If you are going out for days as a family then this can be a lot of fun. Going to different places each day can be entertaining and it can be comfortable to be able to return to your own bed each night. However, it can sometimes be tiring and expensive and it is therefore worth planning things well before you start.

Use search engines to plan days out

It is wise to look carefully into each attraction that you plan to visit before you go. Take a look at their website and you should be able to find out all sorts of useful information. Firstly, you should think about the cost of going to the place and whether you feel it is good value for money and if it falls within your budget. Check how to get there and what the opening hours are. Look and see if there are any special events and activities that you might want to see or perhaps might want to avoid. Check the general information about the place to ensure that it fits with your expectations.

Consider travelling distance and amount of walking required

It is worth thinking about how long it will take you to get to places each day. If some places take a lot more travelling, then it could be wise to space those out with days when you do less. This will avoid you having to do all of your travelling in a block, which could be rather tiring. The same applies to walking. If some places have a lot more walking than others then split them up so that you do not have several days with lots of walking, making you too tired to enjoy other days out. It is good to do different types of activities next to each other. So if you are planning a zoo visit, several museums, several art galleries and a safari park then split them up so the museums are not on days next to each other etc and then you will have a more varied week Vary the activities

Weather

Think about the weather when you are planning the day to make sure that you are inside on appropriate days and outside on others. You may prefer to be inside when it is wet or you may prefer to be inside if it is too hot. Think about whether you can be flexible with where you go and when and plan for that. Also make sure that you have appropriate clothing for that weather such as sunblock and hats, umbrellas and macs or scarves and gloves!

Food

It is a good idea to think about food as well. It can be expensive to eat when you are out for the day, particularly if you are in a specific place like a museum. Therefore it might be wise to think about whether you should take food with you, if you can. It could save you a lot of money and allow you to ensure you have something that you like. If you have children, it can be tricky to find food that they will eat sometimes and so taking food for them can really help. Taking drinks can also be a good idea, warm drinks in a flask for cold days and cold drinks for hot days. If you follow a special diet, perhaps for health or ethical reasons, then it may be difficult to find food that suits you otherwise.

Extra Costs

make sure that you take into account any extra costs when planning the trip. You may include entry fee and travel costs, but in some places there will be extras as well. You may need to pay for certain activities and at some places there may be very little to do apart from the activities that you have to pay for. If it is not clear from the website or leaflet, whether you will have to pay extra for things, then get in touch with the place before you go, so that you do not have any nasty shocks when you arrive.

Souvenirs

When you go to any place there will be souvenirs to buy. These are often directed right at children and so you may need to be prepared for this. You can either be prepared to pay out for them or you can warn the children beforehand that they will not be getting any souvenirs from the gift shop. It can be hard to avoid the shop as many places are set up so that you have to walk through it before you exit.

Consider some days at home

It can be worth also considering whether you might like some days at home. You may want to have a day where you no longer need to travel and so you can just relax. You will not have to get up early to get somewhere or have to walk around all day. It might be nice to just stay at home or go out in your very local area instead.

Choosing the right type of place to visit can also have an impact on how good the day is. You might decide to go to a city, the country, the coast or to a stately home, wildlife park, farm, art gallery, museum or pottery. Consider what will appeal to you and the family as well as any others going with you. You may be going out with friends or other family members and so they may have different interests to you and so you will need to consider this as well. Adults tend to behave better than children in the sense that if they get bored, they can find a way to entertain themselves, whereas children are very much less able to do this. So if you do have children going with you then think of their needs first as otherwise you could end up having a day where the children are constantly moaning, which will not be fun for anyone.

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How to Cope with Holiday Travel with Children

Going on holiday with children can be a great pleasure. Sharing fun experiences with them and showing them new places is great. However, children do get bored easily and while you are on holiday you should be able to find plenty to do to entertain them, but while you are travelling it can be much more difficult. Whether you are flying, going in the car, using public transport or doing a combination, you will need to plan for the journey well to make sure that they are happy.

Food and drink

You will be able to purchase food and drink on most journeys but it is a good idea to have soe with you. Children can be fussy and they may not be happy about eating and drinking things which are not familiar to them. If they do get hungry or thirsty it is likely to affect their mood and they could get grumpy which will not make things fun for anyone. Think about how long the journey is likely to be and prepare more than enough in case of delays. You may also find that when you get to your destination, it may not be that easy to get hold of food or drink quickly and so having some, if you can, will help. Remember to have some for yourself and other adults with you as well because it will also be easier for you to cope if you have had something as well. It also means that if you get hungry or thirsty you will not be tempted to take some of the children’s things, if you have your own.

Temperature

It is really important to think about whether the children will be too hot or cold and consider what to do about this. It is uncomfortable if you are not the right temperature and so make sure that they are able, as much as possible to be comfortable. This means making sure that you have think and thick clothing or them and layers to keep them warm if necessary but to take off if they get too hot. It can be tricky to predict what the temperature might be, so it is wise to be prepared for everything. Hand held fans can be a good way of keeping cool and making sure you have sun block and hats if you are likely to be outside in the sun is useful as well.

Sleep and rest

Travelling can be tiring and if you are going a long way, then it may be that children are travelling past their bedtime or that you change time zones. It can be wise to make sure that they get the sleep and rest that they need to make travelling easier for everyone. It can be difficult though so think about what they might need to help them to sleep. It might be that they will need a blanket, pillow or special teddy, for example. You may need to think about making it dark, so perhaps having an eye mask and perhaps even ear defenders or ear plugs so that they are not disturbed.

Colouring/drawing/writing

Keeping children occupied can be tricky when you have limited space for carrying items. However, if you take some paper and pencils or pens, then they will be able to draw, write or colour so there are several activities that they can do with the same set of equipment. You may even be able to do quizzes with them or play other pen and paper games such as boxes or noughts and crosses. Obviously whether this will entertain the children will depend on their age and what sorts of things they like to do, but there are lots of possibilities so hopefully it could work for a lot of them.

Games

There might be some small games that you could take with you. A pack of cards can be useful as they can be used for all sorts of games, both games for one person and for more. You might have other types of card games that you could take or small board games such as travel chess. You can also make up games such as eye spy and twenty questions as well as quizzing each other or seeing who can spot different things out of the window. It can be good to search for new games to take with you that could be a lot of fun, but do make sure that it is something that you know you will like or else you may end up carrying it back and forth for nothing.

Comfortable clothing

It is a good idea to make sure that the clothing you wear when travelling is comfortable. You may find that after sitting for a long time, things start to feel rather tight, particularly if flying. It is also more pleasant to have breathable clothing in case you get warm. For children the same applies, they will feel much happier if their clothes are cosy and loose. They may like to wear snuggly clothes which could help them sleep or something that will keep them cooler. What you choose may depend on the way you are travelling and how hot you expect it to be. If the children are young having a few changes of clothing handy could be worthwhile in case of accidents or spillages.

Electronics

Older children will be entertained by phones, music players and things like this. These can be a great way to pass time and will mean that the adults will not have to do the entertaining. However, it will be important to make sure that you have everything charged up ready and take chargers with you. You should find out whether you will be able to charge things on your journey and if you cannot, then you will need to take batteries if you can and make sure these are charged up beforehand.

Get them prepared

It is also a lot easier if you can get them prepared in advance. Explain to the children how long the journey will be and the amount of space they will have and things like that. Discuss with them, what sorts of things they might like to do during the journey and see what they come up with. If they understand that it will be a long trip then this should help them to know that they might get bored or tired and hopefully will allow them to prepare for it better.kids holiday photo

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How to Organise a Budget Holiday

If you do not have a lot of money but you still want a holiday, then there are ways that you might be able to achieve this. It will take some effort and you may have to make some compromises but it is certainly possible. There are some tips below which could help you to plan the holiday.

Start to save money towards it as soon as you can

It is wise to start saving up money as soon as you can towards a holiday, as soon as you decide that you want one you need to start saving. You may only be able to put by a tiny bit to start with, but it is good to get into the habit of it. You should also start thinking about ways that you can save more money. It might be that you will be able to reduce spending on other things so that you have some extra money to save. It may be that you can earn some more money somehow as well. You might be able to get extra hours in your job, do an additional job or some freelance work or pick up some odd small jobs that you can do form home. You may also be able to sell some things that you own to get some money that you can put towards it. You may have to plan your holiday well in advance if you need a long time to save up for it.

Compare holidays to see which is the cheapest type

It is worth finding out what type of holiday might be the cheapest for you. Staying in a hotel, for example, is likely to be dearer than self-catering in a cottage as you will have to eat out while in the hotel or pay extra for all-inclusive food. It might be cheaper to go camping if you have everything you need already compared with staying in a static caravan, but if you don’t have camping gear the caravan could be cheaper. So it is really wise to do a lot of research into the costs of different types of holidays, including the transport, accommodation and any extras that you will need to buy. Do make sure that you think about how much you might enjoy different types of holiday as well. If you go the cheapest route but end up not having fun, then this is not a good holiday for you and may not be worth the money. It could be better to delay the holiday and save up more so that you can do something you will enjoy.

Book well in advance or at the last minute as this can save money

It is worth being aware that the time that you book a holiday will have an influence on the price. If you book a long way in advance it can sometimes mean that you can get the holiday cheaper. Although sometimes it works the other way and you can get it much cheaper if you wait until the last minute. Therefore it is good to find out about the type of holiday that you are thinking of having and then doing some research to see whether it is better to book in advance or last minute to get the cheapest deal. There are holiday and money saving websites and message boards which are likely to have this sort of information on them.

Go self-catering

If you self-cater on holiday then the food will be a lot cheaper. You can just buy the food that you would normally have or take it all with you and then you will not be paying out extra for food. If you go to a hotel that provides food or eat out then the costs can start rising. Even if you have a few meals out and a coffees and ice-creams it can really start to add up, particularly if you have a big family.

Borrow or buy things second hand if you need to

If you need to get hold of extra things for the holiday, perhaps sun hats, suitcases, camping equipment or things like that then it could be wise to see whether you can borrow them off anyone. If you do not have anyone that you can borrow them from, then it could be a good idea to see if you can buy them second hand. Sometimes people even sell new things that they have had for a while and not used or only used a few times, so you could get some great bargains.

Share the cost

Iit may be possible to rent a bigger house and share the cost with friends or family and this might be cheaper than you getting a smaller one. This will very much depend on where you are staying, but it could be worth looking into. You may even be able to travel in the same car so halve the petrol cost or things like that.

Stay with family

If you have family members that have room to put you up, then this can be a cheaper way to get away from home. If they live abroad, on the coast, or in a tourist area this could be even better, but even just exploring a different town can be fun an dbeing away from home be relaxing. If you have the space, you could always offer to do the same for them if they want to visit you at some point.

Consider a staycation

If things really are too expensive, then you could always stay at home and have a holiday at home. If you have children you make this fun by doing activities that you would normally not do at home. You make a tent in the garden or inside using bedding if you do not have one. You could get out the paddling pool or garden toys and play there. You could go out for walks and discover local places that you have not been to before. You could just relax in the house doing whatever you please without any worries about getting anywhere at a particular time. You may want to tell friends and family that you are away, unplug the phone and leave social media alone for a week so you can really wind or this could be stressful for you and you may prefer to keep things switched on but just no communicate with work.travel plan photo

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