A lot of the great cheap hotel deals here at Sunshine are for self-catering units – that is, a hotel that doesn’t serve any food but your room will have a kitchen (or kitchenette, in some cases – fit for purpose but not enormous). Personally, I love self catering because it’s a chance to save money and eat a little healthier; I don’t know about you, but for me it’s easy to just grab sodas and chips when travelling because you just want something quick and simple.
If you’ve not been on a self-catering holiday before, I’d recommend it. Here are a few tips.
This isn’t camping, it’s self catering. There will be a kitchen with minimal appointments for you when you arrive. (Most self-catering companies are very clear as to what will be included.) I’ve seen people arrive with an entire suitcase full of stuff, which seems just silly. You don’t need to bring all of that stuff.
I’m all for keeping it simple. But if you’re in Spain, why are you only picking up ingredients from the British aisle at the supermarket? You’re on holiday so embrace something new. Even if that’s trying a foreign-inspired version of an old favourite – maybe switching to a different type of meat, or a local cheese, just to (literally) get a flavour of local life.
Just because you’ve got a kitchen doesn’t mean you need to be slaving away over the stove 24/7. Sure, self catering holidays are great because you can save money, but that doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself to a nice meal during your trip. If you’re tired and you want someone else to serve the beer and cook up the steaks, then go out. It’s a holiday – so enjoy yourself when the time suits.
If you don’t like to cook, then why are you booking a holiday where cooking is kind of expected? That’s sort of like going on a beach holiday when you hate the rain. Just don’t do it – even if it is a cheaper option.
Ever notice how some of your favourite things in the local shop are kind of expensive? The same goes for the supermarket when you head abroad. You’ll find some of the ingredients you are wanting will be expensive, which will eat into the savings you will have gotten from going self-catering. Also, since no doubt you’ll be in metropolitan area, you won’t have easy access to the cheapest store in town (or you won’t know how to get there.) You can adjust by changing what recipes you’ll make, but at the end of the day, you might just have to pay up.
Maybe it’s just me, but it seems that self-catering managers are usually a little more “in the know” and resourceful than your average B&B owner. Anyway, it’s worth chatting them up to get tips on where to shop, what kinds of things to buy, and specials/must-try things in town when you’re not relaxing in your accommodation. As with all things, this can be hit or miss, but it never hurts to smile and strike up a conversation.
Posted : Thursday, November 4th, 2010 at 13:01
Andy Hayes is a travel journalist currently based in Edinburgh, Scotland. When not criss-crossing the world to have his next travel adventures, he is spending time hanging out on his own website, Sharing Travel Experiences.