Over the course of this summer, the usual barrage of complaints has rolled in from those heading out on a self-catering break only to find there was a rather nasty sting in its tail. This happens every year, but as we’re living in a time when folk just aren’t willing to bite their collective tongues anymore, the complaints volume for 2014 has spiked once again.
However, in the overwhelming majority of cases all such complaints could have been avoided altogether. The thing about ‘self-catering’ as a definition is that it can be used so very loosely. Just in the same way that ‘all-inclusive’ doesn’t mean you get literally everything in the world free of charge, there are also many different definitions of self-catering and some are anything but on par with traveller expectations.
Here’s a look at just a few of the most important considerations to think about and check out before booking a self-catering break anywhere:
Gas and Electricity
First and foremost, never forget that there will always be those self-catering options where utilities are not included in the price paid. More often than not, in such cases there will be a gas and electricity charge added to the final bill at the end of the stay, charged at the rate agreed when making the booking. It’s important to check this out as if you’re travelling in winter and plan to spend a lot of time in the apartment or holiday home, you could end up amassing a huge heating bill you really cannot afford.
You’ll assume there will be things like a fridge, a washing machine, a kettle and various other appliances ready and waiting to be used, but how can you be sure of this? It’s crucial to know what’s there are what isn’t as if you plan ahead for a trip wherein any such appliances play an important role, you’ll find yourself rather stuck without them.
Cooking and Dining Equipment
And the same also applies to the kitchen too…or at least the kitchen supplies. Self-catering is taken for granted as meaning ‘all you need to cook your own meals’ which is why it always sparks complaints when folk find themselves with nothing to cook with and nothing to eat with either. Unless you plan to take your own or eat out at every meal, check in advance.
Linen and Towels
You shouldn’t just assume there will be linen and towels provided, but at the same time there’s no sense in packing way more than you need. So, the simple solution is to just ask whether it’s included AND whether there is any extra charge for it.
Will you need to buy your own supplies to give things a clean from time to time, or do they come with the booking as standard? This is again good to know in advance so that you neither spend money needlessly or end up with a pretty filthy room/holiday home and no way to clean it.
Last but not least, it’s a given that you can’t leave any accommodation looking like pigsty and get away with it, but at the same time you need to be sure of a fair cleaning policy. If, for example, you’re expected to polish every window to perfection and leave the place gleaming like brand new inside and out or face a nasty charge, there’s a good chance this will leave you with a sour taste – always make sure there’s a fair and agreeable cleaning policy in place.