It’s only a few weeks to go before the annual Team Minted trip to the land of Poldark. I’m preparing already and I’d like to share my top tips for making a self-catering holiday in the great British summer go with a swing.
1. Take the first night’s dinner
You’ll probably have a spent a good few hours travelling to get to your accommodation. You want a sit-down and a glass of wine; you don’t want be cooking. You could eat out but one trick is to make a big lasagne or shepherd’s pie in advance, freeze it and take it with you. By the time you arrive, it will be defrosted and ready to cook. Stress-free supper!
2. Organise shopping delivery
Get the local supermarket to deliver all your online, pre-ordered shopping at a time you know will be after you’ve arrived. Beats flogging around the shops after a long journey.
3. Book popular restaurants in advance
Reserve your table weeks (or months) in advance if possible, especially if they are owned by a celebrity chef. These places tend to get mobbed especially in August and it’s disappointing to be turned away.
4. Take a windbreak and a parasol
You know what the British weather is like. Yes, it will rain, no doubt. But it could also be blisteringly hot and you need to be prepared for all eventualities. Add in some packs of cards or family DVDs for those rainy days too.
5. Include a sharp knife or sharpener
Not for killing your relatives after five wet days on the beach but for actual food preparation. In every self-catering property I’ve ever stayed in, the knives are always blunt and/or useless. This makes cooking a chore so I take my own or a means of sharpening what’s there.
1. Take friends or relatives
This can work out as a big saving on the accommodation when you share but also on babysitting. One set of parents can go out for grown-up time while the others babysit all the children. The next day you can repay the favour. Plus having other kids around makes child entertainment easier.
2. Bring your tipple with you
It’s often cheaper to bring your own choice of wine or drinks, especially if you got them on a deal. The local selection may not be very wide and could be more expensive.
3. Fill up at home
Petrol is much pricier at motorway service stations and in remote areas of the countryside. Make sure the tank is full before you leave.
4. Buy second-hand wetsuits
Now Tesco Direct is closing, the original £20 wetsuit isn’t so easy to come by. But don’t skimp: English waters are only bearable when you’re enclosed in neoprene. Mountain Warehouse seems to have a reasonably priced range but try Gumtree and Ebay for cheap second-hand suits. Especially as kids grow out of them so quickly, it doesn’t make sense to keep buying new.
5. Thermos flask
A hot drink behind the windbreak as the wind whips up the surf is always welcome. Coffee by the coast can mount up though – you’ll be glad you brought your own.
Don’t forget you might need travel insurance for UK trips too. See our SMM guide here.