Packing tips for self-catering accommodation

EEEK, another list post!

As I’ve mentioned in a few previous posts, I love making lists for everything. Packing lists included.

Last year, we went away to Ezemvelo Nature Reserve for a long weekend. All the accommodation at the reserve is self-catering, even with the different types of accommodation to choose from. You can either choose something more homey or with the bare minimal available to you.

I prefer self-catering because it gives you the freedom and the flexibility that other types of accommodations don’t provide. In the long run, a self-catering getaway is easier on the budget too.

We’ve now had the opportunity to pack twice for a self-catering accommodation getaway and it’s easy for me to prepare for them knowing what we need to take with and what can stay behind.

We’re planning another getaway in a few weeks and it’s going to be a breeze packing for it because I already know what to expect and how to plan.

If you’re planning for a self-catering accommodation getaway, these tips will help you prepare!

Packing lists are important to make sure that you take everything that you’ll need with you. Getting organised is crucial to giving you peace of mind.

Preparing for self-catering accommodation comes down to four main categories:

  1. The duration of your stay
  2. What activities you’ll be doing
  3. Available shops/facilities on the premises
  4. What meals you’ll be making

These are the four main points you’ll need to plan around to know what and how to pack for self-catering accommodation. I’ve broken some of them down into a little more detail to explain each one.

The duration of your stay is one of the important points when planning your packing list and will help you plan accordingly.


Here’s a breakdown to help you set up your packing list for self-catering accommodation.


Self-catering accommodation comes with kitchen facilities; logic.

Depending on the type of place you’ll be staying at, you might not find that it is as equipped as other places. Before you start a packing list, first get information about what is available at the accommodation. You’ll usually find items like utensils, plates, cups, pots, a kettle, a cutting board, etc.

Some places might have more items than others, and that is why it’s important to find out beforehand what is available so you know what you might need to take with extra, depending on what you’ll be cooking for the duration of your stay.

Once you have a meal plan set up, you’ll be able to use the information provided about the accommodation to see what you’ll need to take with extra. You don’t want to overcomplicated your meal plan if you’re going for a few days and want to relax.

We kept our meals simple; easy breakfasts, quick lunches and dinners prepared mostly over a fire. We did need to pack a few things in of our own as the facility didn’t provide them. Knowing what we were planning on eating made it easier.

We made sure to pack enough snacks for our getaway as well to eat between the meals or took them with on our game drives.

There was a little shop on the premises that sells essential/basic goods, and the prices were quite high. So if you can, bring extra snacks with you to last for the duration of your stay-especially if the place doesn’t have a quick shop.

Examples of kitchen items to take with:

  • Canned food
  • Cereal (or whatever you plan for breakfast)
  • Long-life milk
  • Coffee/tea/sugar
  • Drinks
  • Sauces and spices
  • Oil
  • Good knives
  • Tupperware
  • Cling wrap/foil
  • Pans and pots (for outside use)
  • Plates/cups/glasses/utensils (sometimes there aren’t enough or not of the best quality)
  • Extra kitchen utensils (depending on what you’re planning on cooking)
We packed all our items into crates to save on space and it made it easier to keep everything together than have multiple storage containers

More things to remember when packing:


It’s obvious to pack clothing with, but if you’ll be doing event specific activities, remember to pack in those items/clothes-hiking shoes, fishing gear, etc.

If there are no laundry facilities on the premises, make sure to pack extra clothing in.


Some places provide bedding, others don’t. You’ll need to get that information as well from the accommodation.

It’s everyone’s choice but I prefer taking mine along for hygiene purposes.

Keeping busy

You won’t be out and about all the time on your getaway and the weather might not be kind, so make sure to pack in some keeping busy items/activities. If you’re going with kids, some colouring in books and crayons, minimal amount of toys and maybe a reading book can do the trick. We took our Jenga blocks along too.

Extra items to pack in:

  • Dishwashing liquid, sponge and kitchen cloths
  • Handwash washing powder and pegs (in case you need to wash something)
  • Cleaning products (for tables/wash basin)
  • Toilet paper
  • Toiletries
  • Towels
  • Bags for a dustbin
  • Serviettes
  • Camping lights
  • Wood/charcoal
  • Braai kit
  • Ice
  • Cooler box
  • Medicine
  • First-aid kit

Your packing list might look different to the items I have listed here, these are just guidelines to get you started and give you a direction to work in.

Packing tips for self-catering accommodation #traveltips #packingtips

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