It’s suddenly autumn. Nights begin to get darker, and hot summer days dwindle into fond memories.
But fear not, this is the perfect opportunity to plan your next holiday! Don’t lament the change in weather, for it welcomes a period of excitement.
Going away for a new year’s break gives everyone something to look forward to, and see the new year in with the best company.
However, it can be a bit of a military operation to organise and prepare. Here are some top tips!
Gather the Troops
First things first, find out how many people need to go. Start a facebook group and invite people to it so you have a fixed place to share information (messages get lost in chats so avoid them).
Choose Numbers Carefully
If possible, try to invite 8, 12 or 16 people. A lot of properties tend to fall into these capacity ranges and having 1 outside may make things expensive.
For example a cottage may have 2 double and 2 twin rooms, giving room for 8. But as soon as you have a 9th person you’re going to need somewhere that sleeps 10 or often 12, meaning the cost is split over the nine people.
E.g. Sleeps 8 = £800 or £100 each for 8.
Sleeps 12 = £1200 or £130 each for 9.
Get an idea of budget
Before we start hunting, we also need an idea of how much people are happy to pay. If you’re going for 3 nights then £150 should give enough wiggle room.
However, bare in mind that places charge extra over new years as it’s classed as peak season. Prices also vary a lot on area (tip: Wales is usually cheaper) so shop around if you’re able to travel a bit further.
Where to find somewhere to stay
No matter where you are in the UK, there are plenty of rural retreats and city breaks as for your parties needs. It’s just a case of finding them!
If your party is large, over 10 people, then I would recommend looking elsewhere than AirBnB. It tends to be expensive and quite limited in larger places.
- Homeaway.co.uk – Probably the best site, it has a huge range of listings for every size and location. Decent filters to quickly narrow down
- Wimdu – A German company with listings in the UK, they tend to be more focused on city breaks and
- Holiday Cottages UK – A bit more like AirBnB than the rest, homes are picked and curated to ensure suitability.
- Owners Direct – Part of the Homeaway family but focused on direct relationships with the owners.
- Landmark Trust – A charitable organisation restoring places of historic interest. Some amazing and unusual properties available such as castles, forts and follys.
Paying for it
You’re going to need to book it quickly – if possible put down a deposit and if not, pay on credit card and hound your friends for payment. It’s not worth the risk of waiting a week for money to arrive and then booking as it will likely be gone by then.
Book as early as possible
Places will disappear fast, so book places as soon as you have confirmation.
Find their website
Once you’ve found a place to stay, google the house name and see if they have a personal website.
Often owners prefer to complete the transaction outside of the platform to avoid hefty fees and are willing to pass this discount on.
So we have somewhere booked and a list of people going. Excellent!
Now it’s spreadsheet time.
Create a Google Sheets document with:
List of names and who has paid
Having a list of everyone who is going helps allocate bed and car space, as well as track who has paid already.
There’ll be something you forget, but a rough list of gadgets and entertainment like projectors, chrome cast, board games etc to take will ensure you don’t get bored!
No matter how many times you send the info round, people will still ask for info on where it is. Put it on the spreadsheet for future reference!
Plan a few main meals! This stops only snacks being brought, and lets everyone contribute and be involved. Otherwise some can feel like they’ve been shafted on paying and cooking everything.
It saves a lot of arguments if you allocate bedroom spaces before arrival. This way if people turn up late, they still know they have a room with someone they get on with.
Give everyone space in cars so everyone knows who they’re going with. Usually I would say no more than 4 in one car to leave space for food and booze.
Getting everything ready and together in this format helps you enjoy the time once you arrive without having to think about anything. Everyone will turn up with enough food and drink to see them through a few days away, leaving you to now relax…