We are in the process of booking our second UK holiday of the year. And I thought I would talk you through our booking process.
We’ve opted to mainly have UK holidays for the next 3-5 years. Simply because it’s expensive to travel abroad and we have already taken my little one to Lanzarote. Whilst it was a fantastic holiday for all the family, there are changes we would make if we returned. For example, we would probably need a villa instead of a hotel. This is so we can accommodate meal and snack times. And live more comfortably throughout our stay. Keep a lookout for our upcoming travel plans on the Travel Diaries page.
Let’s dive into my top tips for booking a UK holiday break:
List your must-haves and don’t deviate
For us personally, we are looking for comfort, and enough bedrooms for everyone. Outdoor space, near some amenities, including a village, pub, and restaurant. And a beach is a bonus.
If you’ve ever done a holiday search, you will know there are 1000s of potential options. Sifting through them can be a nightmare. I personally get very overwhelmed. And we end up finding options we absolutely love, that are just not suitable for our needs. Filter all searches to allow only the properties you would actually stay. Therefore, you are only allowing the practical options to get through. And avoiding the heartache of finding a stunning house, but with none of the other, much-needed desirables.
Make enquiries to get your desired break length
Most large holiday sites and caravan parks have a standard holiday format for booking. It’s usually Monday – Friday or over the weekends. Also 7 days or two weeks.
However, you can find breaks that differ in length by making enquiries directly to the owner or the holiday travel website. I have also found that Hoseasons allow you to put an odd number of days in the search.
Because we are travelling on a Sunday, to avoid traffic on a long drive, we needed a booking site which would allow us to book outside the normal booking pattern.
Plan the logistics
Ensure that you carefully plan travel time, what you will need to pack and the nearest supermarket etc.
If you are combining this break with other days out. Such as visiting a zoo, attending the theatre, or finally going to the theme park that was always too far away. Make sure you factor the logistics into your plan. And you can attend these other activities on the days you are there.
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Check out reviews for amenities
In the past, we’ve booked stays in Wales, only to find that the local village pubs only open on certain days and have strange food service times. Not ideal. When you have a toddler and you don’t find this out until you actually get to the town centre.
Google the nearest pubs and restaurants. Check the menu. Email the venue if you have queries. Make sure these places are practical to visit and you will enjoy your time there as a family. If not, move on to the next holiday home and do the exact same searches on the local amenities.
We learned our lesson the hard way. We now do the research upfront and even book restaurant tables before we set off on holiday! Especially if it is a special occasion.
I have an endless list of properties I’ve come across over the years. Wonderful places to stay but not practical. As they were either in the middle of nowhere or didn’t meet our criteria.
I still think about how wonderful some of them are. But it doesn’t make them the right place to stay.
Stick to your list of requirements and don’t deviate. You wouldn’t buy a house in the middle of nowhere if you didn’t like to be secluded, just because it looked great. Jot down your personal preferences and stick to them.
Keep a list of properties you may want to stay in
Each time we book a holiday, we end up with a shortlist. It was so close on one occasion, I had to create a pros and cons checklist. Yes, I started this blog because I love planning, lists and organising things. Booking websites also allow you to create an account and save your favourites.
It’s great to refer back to these great properties. An occasion may come up in your family which makes the secluded property, all of a sudden the perfect match for the holiday in question. Don’t discount those which were once unsuitable. It all depends on the requirements of that particular holiday.