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HouseTrip review thread. Non-testers: Share your top tips on how to make the most of holidaying in an entire house, apartment or villa and you could win a £200 Boots voucher NOW CLOSED

(144 Posts)
AngelieMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 09-May-14 17:01:07

This thread is for the five lucky MN families who are going on a HouseTrip holiday this month.

HouseTrip say "HouseTrip is an online platform that allows visitors to choose from over 300,000 full homes from around the world to holiday in. From ivy-dappled country cottages to beach retreats and city-centre lofts, the service offers simplicity, value, flexibility and security for families looking for a hassle free and enjoyable holiday experience from start to finish."

Testers are visiting London, Edinburgh and Brussels – check back to this thread to find out how they are getting on.

We have asked testers to add feedback at least three times - before they go, when they are there and when they get back home.

Non testers: HouseTrip would love to know your top tips on how to make the most of holidaying in an entire house, apartment or villa. Everyone who adds a tip will be entered into a prize draw where one Mumsnetter will win a £200 Boots voucher, so that they can get stocked up for the holiday season.

Please note tips and comments may well be used by HouseTrip on their pages on Mumsnet, social media and elsewhere. Your MN name will not be used.

Testers – please share on this thread your overall opinion and experience plus your responses to the following questions.

Before you go
- Have you or anyone you know ever been on a HouseTrip holiday before, and if so where did they go?
- What are you looking forward to most? What are your DC looking forward to?
- How was the booking process?

On holiday
- How is it so far? What's the weather like?
- Describe your accommodation e.g. the amount of space, outdoor area, particular parts of the house etc.
- What else are you doing outside of the HouseTrip stay, in the local area?
- How does this compare to previous hotel holidays or previous home rental holidays you've experienced?
- What have you got up to at your HouseTrip property?
- Have you used the kitchen to cook at home? Where did you get cooking ingredients? If you haven’t been cooking much, how often did you choose to eat out?
- What have your DC enjoyed most about the HouseTrip experience? And what have you/your DH/DP enjoyed most?

When you are back

Overall opinions from you and others in the family:

How would you rate/ describe...

- Accommodation as a whole
- Kitchen facilities
- Bedrooms/Sleeping arrangements
- Local area
- How were the checking in and out experiences?
- Would you return/ try out another HouseTrip holiday?
- Would you recommend HouseTripping to a friend?
- What did you think about the value for money – especially compared to other family holidays? What did you think about the amount of space you get for the cost?
- Any other comments?

Please also do add a review on Mumsnet to the Self Catering pages.

Thanks
MNHQ

PS We've 'highlighted' the testers posts on this thread so we can see them!

StillNoFuckingEyeDeer Sat 10-May-14 06:28:04

I've always found it useful to take a small supply of kitchen essentials - pepper, herbs, oil, one or two stock cubes etc. Things that you'd only use a small amount of over a week/two weeks, so wouldn't want to buy a whole jar/bottle/packet of, but which will make a big difference to your cooking.

I always pop in the postcode , find the supermarket that will deliver there and then place an order at home to arrive at the holiday home soon after we do. If it's not the supermarket I use at home I usually find a money off first home delivery coupon too. It's great to get there knowing that all essentials wine wine and cake will be delivered without having to make a trip to a supermarket on the first day.

boptanana Sat 10-May-14 15:41:26

I agree taking a pack of basics for cooking is so handy as well as some basic toys and kit for the kids if not provided. Getting a grocery delivery saves room in the car and takes the pressure off finding somewhere to eat on the first evening.

MakkaPakkasSponge Sat 10-May-14 15:52:51

Our family is doing its first villa holiday soon, so I'll be watching this thread for tips. The one thing I'm definitely taking is our blackout blind as DS is a poor sleeper unless its really dark.

flamingtoaster Sat 10-May-14 15:59:57

We always take quite a lot of food with us on holiday due to family allergies - and ahead of time I check out which supermarkets etc. stock things we might need to top up on. It really helps to take the ingredients for an easily cooked first meal (or even a pre-cooked casserole to reheat if not travelling too far). When the children were tiny I always took some of our usual washing powder with us, and bedding washed as normal at home - that way everything in the cot/buggy would always smell the same and ensured they would settle easily.

We always take a supply of herbs, salt pepper, vinegar, mayo and ketchup, oil, butter, loo roll, kitchen roll and anti bac spray! Great to be able to use little bits of stuff but also to spray everywhere before you start.

We find the nearest supermarket and get an online delivery and get it delivered asap. We but tons of bbq stuff so that the option is always there if we want it rather than having to rush off to stock up again. We also do a meal plan like we would at home and plan meals that readily come in jars/packets to take the pressure off. Pizzas, chilli cook in sauce, fajhita kits, curries etc. it means we keep the costs down for meals but maximises our time.

I quickly learned that a washing machine and a dishwasher is a godsend. You'll get tutted at for "doing washing when we're meant to be in holiday!" but I find it far easier to wash stuff a little bit each day, when i'm away and pack it all back up than to come back with a laundry mountain.

boptanana Sat 10-May-14 16:12:28

I agree taking a pack of basics for cooking is so handy as well as some basic toys and kit for the kids if not provided. Getting a grocery delivery saves room in the car and takes the pressure off finding somewhere to eat on the first evening.

starfishmummy Sat 10-May-14 17:23:21

We always make sure that we pick a cottage where bed linen and towels are provided. Sometimes we have to pay a bit extra (favourite cottage charges for towel hire) but it saves room in the car!

Alwas have a loo roll.or two handy in the car. As well as being useful on the journey we have sometimes arrived at cottages to find the "loo roll provided in each bathroom" that the owner mentions is just a few squares left by the previous occupants.

FrontForward Sat 10-May-14 18:39:56

Meal plan and supermarket delivery (don't think I'd fancy a cottage if there wasn't supermarket delivery available) The last thing you want is a shop on your first night. I usually make a lasagne in advance, freeze and take that defrosting on the journey.

Board games and good books -always been supplied but still good to be prepared with favourites

Check out local attractions/walks. Take dog towels and bed. It's essential to take my dog for me

NK5BM3 Sat 10-May-14 18:48:54

Wow!! I can't believe I'm one of the 5! grin Many thanks mumsnet and housetrip for organising this.

We go in two weeks - in terms of using this, no I've never used it before but going on the website it looked very user friendly. And indeed when we were enquiring about which properties were available, it was really quite straightforward. Put in the dates that you wish to be there, and press send. The owner will get back to you (some were quicker than others) and then you book it.

There were also reviews (like trip advisor) so you can tell if what the property says it is, really is it or not.

We are looking forward to doing stuff in London that we never have the time to do because we always have to catch the train home... Like going to the aquarium, Greenwich, various museums, eating lots of dimsum and other foods that we can't get in our local city!

Can't wait. The kids are very excited.

CheeseEMouse Sat 10-May-14 19:37:51

We take a picnic rug with us - this is handy for when outbut also makes a good substitute play mat for the baby whilst we are away.

when you find a mini bottle of kitchen cleaner, washing up liquid etc (bounty packs were good), don't test them, save them and take on holiday rather than the standard bottles.
Baby wipes clean most things!

cate16 Sat 10-May-14 20:43:57

We always take the 'arrival day' evening meal with us - ready prepared in disposable foil containers - something simple that just needs sticking in the oven. Online shop booked for that evening too, that way no waiting in next morning and hopefully all breakfast goodies ready to eat.

ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, take at least one toilet roll! smile

MadMonkeys Sat 10-May-14 20:55:35

I think the most important thing is like with any holiday - really research the property and area before booking so you get what you really want.

CointreauVersial Sat 10-May-14 21:54:04

If you are staying in the UK, book a Tesco delivery of essential groceries for the evening you arrive - they will deliver to any address, even if you don't live there. It makes the arrival so much easier.

And unpack everything straight away. Living out if the suitcase is miserable.

CointreauVersial Sat 10-May-14 21:56:32

Find out beforehand if you need to bring towels/sheets/beachtowels etc . It's a pain if you have to buy them when you get there, and an equal pain if you've brought yours from home and don't actually need them. angry

johnworf Sat 10-May-14 22:08:53

Have you or anyone you know ever been on a HouseTrip holiday before, and if so where did they go?

Don't know anyone who has booked with HouseTrip or indeed taken a holiday of this type.

What are you looking forward to most? What are your DC looking forward to?

I'm looking forward to spending some time with the family away from the humdrum of normal routine and yes, work. The children are just looking forward to going to London and going on a train journey; neither of which they've done before! DH can't wait to hit the science museum grin

How was the booking process?

Through the website was easy peasy. Very straight forward. Easy to view the properties available to us, see reviews and shots of the interior of the property.

The person who did all the booking for us was brilliant and really helpful.

smile

Cherryjellybean Sat 10-May-14 22:30:10

We always try and bring food for the first day ready or arrive in time to do a food shop before the next meal time.
If there's no wifi in the property, we try and find maps of places like supermarkets before we get there.
We try bring oil, salt and a few other basics with us.

ScrambledEggAndToast Sun 11-May-14 09:14:05

Make sure to ask the owners where the best local restaurants/attractions are. Tourist guides will tell you certain things but someone with "local knowledge" may be able to tell you about a little gem off the beaten track which you may never have found otherwise. Visit the local shops rather than the high street stores. Not only will you get to chat to more people, you will get to chat to people. Before you go, find out what things are available in the property e.g hairdryers, towels. It will save you cluttering up the car unnecessarily. If you are particularly fussy about certain items such as tea bags, take them with you in case you can't get them, especially if travelling abroad.

ScrambledEggAndToast Sun 11-May-14 09:15:19

*not only will you get to chat to more people! you will get to sample local produce.

That should read!!

HALA Sun 11-May-14 09:31:58

I always take some things like favourite family games, beach towels, and a supply of cereals, snacks and basic food items as there may not be a supermarket nearby. We also always make sure wether we are provided with towels and sheets or have to take some from home.

lottiegarbanzo Sun 11-May-14 15:26:23

When you do your online supermarket delivery, include at least two contact numbers for phones you will have with you - mobiles with different companies if you have them and the house landline if there is one.

Some cottages and apartments are difficult to find or identify and you don't want to replicate our experience of your 7-9pm order for the evening you arrive, including everything for that night's 'quick' dinner, arriving near ten, because the driver couldn't see the apartment name when he came at eight, then couldn't reach you because you didn't have your usual mobile with you, or, quite likely in lots of rural areas, there was no signal.

LocalEditorNottingham Sun 11-May-14 15:32:39

Well here's an obvious one, if you're holidaying in the UK - or is it?

Look at the Mumsnet Local site for the area you're going to. As well as visitor attractions it will list events, activities, festival and fairs etc so you can see what will be going on when you're there.

If there isn't as much info as you'd like, or you want to know about a specific area or activity, start a talk thread on local. The local editor and other local Mumsnetters may well be able to help with their inside knowledge.

Non - tester but I think you definitely need to be prepared. Do plenty of googling on the local area, check out transport links, where the supermarket is so that you can stock up on the way rather than have groceries in the car for however many hours or lugging them on the train.

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