With the holidays around the corner, everyone is looking forward to unwinding and reflect on the year that has passed. We want to give you some advice before you head off on your much deserved holiday so that you can get the most relaxation from the experience.
But it is not just the accommodation that you need to worry about, if you want a really relaxing holiday you need to ask the right questions, especially about the mattresses.
Around the holidays 99% of all accommodation in coastal as well as bush lodges are fully booked. So to avoid disappointment, book beforehand. When booking accommodation, ever thought of what questions you have to ask to ensure that you do not pay more than you have to and get a good night’s rest cause they have the best mattresses.
Here are a few questions to keep in mind when booking your road trip and holiday accommodation.
Are you located in town or outside of town and if so how far and in which direction?
By asking this you will be able to work out your petrol usage exactly. If they are located in town then you will use less petrol and it won’t be out of your way if it just an overnight stop. If they are located out of town and you are staying for a few days then you will have to use more petrol for town runs and if they are located on your course then it is extra driving for you as well.
If you get the accommodation and you are not satisfied and it does not look like the image you have been provided with, can you cancel and get a full refund?
This completely depends on the terms and conditions of the resort/lodge. You can insist on speaking to the manager or owner to have it straightened out.
Who can I contact at any time if we need anything, who is our contact person?
This is always good to know as you will then only speak to one person and not 2 or 3. This way the arrangements do not get mixed up.
Is there enough parking for all the vehicles if it is more than one and is there an extra charge for more than one parking?
Some lodges/ resorts provide enough parking for at least 2 – 3 vehicles but in some cases, there is an extra fee payable. Make sure of this so that there are not any unexpected charges that will mess with your budget.
Is the parking at the room/chalet or do you park and walk and is the parking inside the resort/lodge?
This a question of safety and comfort. If the vehicle is parked next to the chalet/resort then it is easy to offload and you can keep a close eye on it. If it is a park and walks resort, then you have to carry the luggage which means you will need assistance and if you have someone for whom walking is not an easy task because of a disability or illness then this resort/lodge is not a good fit. If the vehicles need to be parked outside then safety is your first concern. You will have to ensure that there are car guards and you won’t be able to get a good night’s rest as you will be constantly worried.
Is there a coffee/tea tray with all the trimmings?
If you are a person that cannot start your day without that first cup of coffee then this is a must for you. Having a tray in the chalet/ room with all that is required to make a cup of tea or coffee helps you to really feel like you are on holiday. Sitting on the veranda with that first cup still in your pyjamas is the perfect way to start your day when on holiday.
Is there a microwave in the room?
If you have children or you have a newborn baby then this is a major requirement. Having to walk to where ever the kitchen is on the resort/lodge just to have the baby bottle warmed up is such a hassle and by the time you get back to the room it is cold again. Therefore having a microwave in the room is such an advantage. If you have small children that are used to a certain routine that includes their meals at a certain time then having a microwave to warm up quick meals for them is a saint. Rather than having to pay extra for the kitchen to whip up something or having to drive into town to get them something to eat. If it is a cold night and baby needs to sleep with her warmed up bean bag then a microwave is just the tool you need. So a microwave in the room will help mom to also have a bit of a holiday.
How far is the nearest supermarket/grocery store?
Some of the accommodation is self-catering and know how far you have to walk (if it is not too far) or drive to purchase some meat and groceries for the braai that evening will be an advantage.
Is there a pharmacy nearby and what times are they open?
If you know that your immune system is very easily affected by climate change and you have a lot of allergies or you are currently struggling with a cold that is out to spoil your holiday then knowing where is pharmacy is is a good thing. If you have children then this most definitely something you have to know. Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye and be prepared is always good.
Is there is fridge and freezer together with all utensils/kitchenware available?
In some self-catering units you have to make 100% sure that all the basic kitchen elements required is available, in some lodges/resorts it is not and you have to take your own with. Make sure there is a dish rack to save you the uncomfortable situation of struggling with the dishes.
Which bed sheets are provided and how often are they changed?
Staying at a lodge/resort for a couple of days means that your sheets need to be washed and replaced at some stage. Make sure to know exactly when this is so that someone is available to open up the room/ unit for them. Some lodges/resorts really treat their clientele and provide them with complete crisp and super comfortable bedding, other require that you bring your own duvet and pillows.
If you are in love with your own pillow and duvet cause it is the only way you can get a good nights rest or if you have a specialised pillow, then make sure to pack them, this is your holiday after all. If you have forgotten your medical pillow if you have a neck problem then rest the lodge/resort to see if they can not assist or find out where is the nearest pillow/mattress shop and purchase a new one to make sure you do not suffer from pain the entire holiday.
Are the required cleaning chemicals, housekeeping and washing included in the price or are they available at the request or can we do our own washing and what will the charges be?
Cleaning chemicals such as dishwashing liquid and washing detergent are not always something that is provided, always ask if you have to provide your own, especially if you are staying for more than a day or two. Nobody wants to do washing on their time off but by doing is a day or two before you leave you to have less to do when you get home and if you are off to another destination then all the clothes are nice and clean for the next adventure or if they have someone that can do it for you the better. Some lodges/rooms provide cleaning service; this is a big plus for families with kids as it will give the parents a break from cleaning the whole time. Make sure you know the exact prices for these services so that you do not get a surprise when the bill comes
How many people is allowed per unit/room?
Make sure you know this as it will indicate to you how many room/units you have to book and the cost implications.
If we go over a number of people allowed to sleep in the chalet (family visits for the day) How much is it extra per person and do children count?
This is very important, as some lodges/resorts charge per person and not per unit/room and in some cases they charge an amount for the children no matter what age they are.
What is the bed arrangement for each room?
Each room can sleep a certain amount of people, if it for a couple then they most likely have a double bed available, if it is for mom, dad & child then an extra single bed is included and so on. Make sure of this as it will rule out any uncomfortable situation regarding sleeping arrangements.
What is the bathroom situation?
In some accommodation locations, there are chalets that have a communal bathroom, which means you need to walk out of the chalet to a central bathroom that everyone uses just like when you go camping If you have small kids then making sure your room/chalet has its own bathroom is definitely a must. It will also give you a bit of privacy. In some hotels/resorts, you can request to have joined rooms that share a bathroom if you are a big family and you occupy 2 room. Make sure if the resort/hotel/lodge provides toilet paper, hand soap & hand towels.
Do you have to bring your own towels?
This is a question that has to be asked if you go to any holiday destination especially a coastal one. Some places provide basic bath towels but not swimming/beach towels. Make sure you pack your own if required.
Is there internet services and DSTV services available?
I know, we all want to get away from those pesky emails and would love nothing more than to go to a location where there is not reception and unwind but the fact is we need it. If you have a job that requires you to check your emails every few days then vacationing at a place that perhaps has a WI-FI spot so that you can go sit so that you can get back to your holiday then that is good. Also, we rely so much on the internet for information about the areas we are visiting, such as tourist sighting, that we need the internet and don’t forget the GPS.
Having a place with good reception helps to keep your family back home calm as well as they will be able to reach you of needed. Regarding the DSTV, make sure it is only available at the resort/lodge bar or restaurant as your husband is also on holiday and might want to enjoy a Saturday afternoon rugby game or watch a bit of golf just to relax.
What is there to do for the family, couples and kids at the resort/ lodge/ hotel?
The one sentence that no mom or dad wants to hear during the holidays is “mommy/ daddy I’m bored” Make sure there is entertainment for the kids or at least an area that they can go play in and keep themselves occupied like a swimming pool area and a play room. If you are a young couple with no kids then start acting like tourists and explore your own country and the wonders that it has to offer.
And now for the most important question of all…
What type of mattresses do you have in your room/chalets?
This is probably the most important question that you will be asking. It really does not help that you plan an amazing holiday with the family or your loved one and you can barely get up out of bed in the morning because your back or entire body hurts too much.
If you have an existing back problem then insist that you are provided with the correct mattress in your room, make sure that this is done when checking as it will help make your holiday so much more pleasant. If you able to speak to one of the managers ask them which mattress they make use of before you book and go to your best local mattress shop and try out the mattress they are using as this will give you peace of mind on which resort/hotel/lodge to book with. Having a sore body every day and tossing and turning every night can ruin your holiday and make you feel grumpy and unpleasant the entire time.
We tend to be a bit more physically active when we are on holiday because we swim with the kids and walk on the beach even swim in the ocean or go for 4×4 rides in the bush which all have a major effect on our bodies and that is why you need to be able to get a good night’s rest. Do not let a lumpy, uncomfortable, too hard or too soft mattress ruin it for you.
Written by guest author Vasti Lourens