Group Holiday Scotland – why go self-catering?
I have a fantastic idea – we should all definitely go on a group holiday together this summer! An excellent plan for fun and laughs, or the kiss of death?
Having experienced this exact scenario both ways, a group holiday can be ‘make or break’ for friendships. Perhaps the enjoyment might begin to fizzle out once you realise that your friend’s little quirks aren’t as funny after a two-week holiday, or perhaps you never realised just how much you had in common and discover a new found respect for your friends, their partners, their children.
Group trips can and should be great experiences. Nothing is more fun than a group holiday with your best buddies. Whether you’re planning to go away with a few families, your mates from university or a combination of the two, at Cottages & Castles we have a great range of self-catering large houses, lodges and cosy cottages to choose from. Whether you’re planning an unforgettable BIG birthday, a relaxing break with friends, or a reunion with the extended family, we’ve got you covered.
So here are 5 reasons why you could choose self-catering when on a group trip, and 5 top tips to ensure that you (and your friends) make the most of the experience, and still be on speaking terms when you return home!
Self-catering benefit #1: Freedom
One of major selling points of the self-catering holidays is that it allows you the freedom to set your own holiday timetable. Want to eat your breakfast at midday? Not a problem! Have a bath at 3am? Easy peasy! Have a midnight feast to satisfy the sweet tooth? Go for it! Staying in self-catering accommodation gives you more flexibility than other types of holiday, there are no restrictions for meal times so you can choose to eat whenever is best for you and your party, and you can do everything at your own, relaxed holiday pace. Because holidays are for saying goodbye to the schedule, if you are a late riser, enjoy a lie in, or if you rise with the sun, you can wake up and get out early – the choice is yours. The freedom with self-catering means you can come and go as you wish, as free as a bird.
Self-catering benefit #2. Space
Self-catering properties are usually much more spacious than hotel rooms which is perfect if you are travelling with a large family or group of friends. Most self-catered apartments also come with a large communal area/living space – great for socialising and getting everyone together. With separate living and bedroom areas it also means that the adults can watch TV or socialise in the evening while the kids are asleep. In large lodges there are usually more than two lounges, snug type rooms, as well as a separate dining room, so there are plenty of places to escape to for some alone time! Everyone needs downtime, and sometimes only a quiet read with a cup of tea will suffice, so areas to spread out and dilute the party with space is a necessity. Similarly, you might want some private, separate space for your own family or happy twosome, and that space is there when you choose self-catering.
Self-catering benefit #3. Economical
Pre-order your food with Tesco online! Self-catering holidays are generally a lot cheaper than all-inclusive ones, especially if you are good at sticking to a budget. If there is a large group of you splitting the cost of the accommodation between you all it reduces the overheads, and you will get more for your money. A large lodge split eight ways allows you all to enjoy luxury for less. Travelling in a larger group allows you all to contribute money into the holiday ‘kitty’ if you so wish, to put towards food and other holiday essentials. Self-catering also allows you the freedom to choose to eat as cheaply or extravagantly as you want. You could even save time and pre-order your shopping from your favourite supermarket before you leave home so they arrive at your accommodation on the day you check in! Or perhaps you wish to bring food with you from home – whatever suits you, it is your choice!
Self-catering benefit #4. Authentic experience
Exploring your destination can often be one of the most exciting parts of a holiday. We go to see new places, experience a new culture, from local food and drink to customs of the area. It can be tempting with all-inclusive breaks to stay in and around your hotel, to make the most of the meals, that rightly so, you have prepaid for. This does mean however that discovering any hidden restaurant gems will be unlikely, and all those delicious and surprising local delicacies will go untasted. If ever there was a reason to ditch the all-inclusive it’s that. With self-catering accommodation you are also more likely to explore your surroundings and get to know the the area you are staying in, with walks, cycles and visits to local attractions rather than restricting yourselves to the activities in the hotel. A drink in the local exposes you to local people who always have the best knowledge and tips of what to do in their area. Good things happen when you take the time to explore the area you are staying in!
Self-catering benefit #5. Home from home
The perks of self-catering is that you can enjoy all the home comforts of a ‘home’ with the added joy of none of the bog standard clutter of your own home. The standard of self-catering holiday home has risen dramatically due to clients expecting a holiday to a similar or higher standard to their own home. Why would you stay in a house that was less luxurious than your own? Many holiday cottages in the UK are not only like a home away from home, but some come equipped with everything from swimming pools and hot tubs to open fires and games rooms. It also makes it easy to cater for specifications to you and your party – if you are bringing children or babies on holiday with you, or you have any special dietary requirements, self-catering allows you to cook what you want, when you want. For some people, the thought of eating every meal in a busy dining room with other holidaymakers is the stuff of nightmares, so enjoying a meal in a quiet, comfortable kitchen with only your friends and family, is tranquility itself.
And now onto the Top Tips…
Top Tip #1 – Managing money
One sure way to start an argument while on holiday is not setting a budget. So in preparation agree how much you can spend before you leave, thus avoiding arriving with high expectations of Michelin star dinners whilst the rest of your party are searching for the nearest cheap café. Avoid owing people or being owed money as it can cause unnecessary tension, and split your bills evenly and stick to your own budget. At all costs, avoid that awkward conversation on your return as to when you’ll be getting that 30 pounds back.
Top Tip #2 – The power of compromise
As with any group activity, decisions should be addressed as a team. And there is no ‘I’ in team, so get ready to compromise. After all, it is everyone’s holiday, and if you want to spend it having fun times together then get ready to do what others want too, even if you don’t particularly fancy it! A distillery tour might not be high on your activities list, but if you want company whilst trying to hunt down the Loch Ness Monster then you may have to partake, complete with lots of enthusiasm! Sometimes going with the flow determined by other people introduces you to experiences that you would never have tried otherwise.
Top Tip #3 – Know your limits
Picture this: A 90 foot bungee jump over a luscious gorge, white water tumbling below; the whole party ready and twittery in anticipation of this great adventurous jump, nervous excitement tripping towards the edge. Each jumps off one after the other, you are at the back, and as your turn comes around you suddenly feel queasy, and you know that you are either going to projectile vomit or faint. And you do both. Note to self: just because everyone else wants to bungee-jump, it doesn’t mean you have to. Keep off the bandwagon – there is no shame in avoiding a situation that makes you uncomfortable.
Top Tip #4 – Allow yourself some alone time
Being sociable 24/7 can be exhausting. So if you find yourself craving some peace and quiet, embrace it. Don’t feel guilty if you want to go have a lie down somewhere cosy and quiet, even if it means you are missing out on a trip into town or a communal lunch. Constantly being “on” doesn’t give your brain a chance to rest and replenish itself, which is the point of a holiday, to recuperate. Being by yourself with no distractions (turn that phone off!) gives you the chance to clear your mind, focus, and think more clearly. Take the opportunity to revitalize your mind and body at the same time.
Top Tip #5 – Be considerate
In any group outing, and indeed in any life lesson, this is probably the most important. Consideration is key for any joint holiday. Being considerate of your fellow guests and respectful of what they want for their holiday will make everyone’s experience better. And they should do the same for you. And remember, for every annoying trait your friend has, you probably have one too!
It is definitely worth planning a group holiday in Scotland. It is an amazing country to explore with your nearest and dearest and hopefully with the combination of our advice and amazing holiday homes you won’t go wrong! Check out our website today and discover the best self catering holiday accommodation Scotland has to offer.