You asked

What do I need to know about self-catering holidays?

Depending on what you are willing to pay for, there are all sorts of amenities available for self-catering accommodation. The more expensive properties will come with a kitchen, full bathroom, satellite TV and even hot tubs. The less you pay, the more modest and simple the accommodation is.
Self catering holidays may not seem much different to your usual home routine, but they are great if you plan on having friends or more family members spending time with you. The convenient, familiar facilities prove their worth then. If you are staying in a busy city for your holiday, then you will probably be eating out often, so the self catering aspect won't be all that important.
If you are interested in finding suitable self catering accommodation, the best place to look is on the internet. Brochures don't contain detailed information, and there are usually better deals and discounts available for online booking. If you go online, you can see more photographs and look up reviews for the places you are considering staying at.
For family-friendly self catering properties in Ireland, try Gulliver Ireland: They offer the largest selection of approved accommodation. Most of the self catering properties in Ireland and the UK, are located in remote, or rural areas. If you intend staying in a city, there are serviced apartments for family accommodation.
Before making your booking, check the brochure, or website, to make sure that children of all ages are welcome. A great property can be very inconvenient, if it is completely unsafe for children, or has valuable, breakable items, such as furniture and glassware. Make sure about the number of actual beds available, not just the sleeping spaces. Sleeper couches might be intended for two people sharing. Ensure that there is adequate space and enough comfort for everyone.
The location of the property is important too. All that self catering convenience is pointless if you have to travel for hours to go to the spots you wish to tour. Your accommodation should be close enough to public transport and easily accessible; you don't want to battle going up and down long flights of stairs with small children and luggage.
Find out about the number of beds and how much linen is provided. Some villas have towels supplied for the pool, but you cannot take these towels to the beach, or off the property. If your children are going to sleep in bunk beds, make sure that there are safety rails. You may need to bring your own linen and blankets, depending on how much is available and how often it is changed.
Go over any safety checks that you can by asking about swimming pool childproofing, how slippery the floors are, if the rooms are potentially dangerous due to layout and furniture, and whether the establishment meets the relevant safety standards for accommodation. If you choose a hotel with self catering facilities check which facilities are available to you. There may be restrictions, or limited time periods that you can use facilities, which can alter your plans somewhat.
When you travel to your holiday destination, plan your journey carefully. Most hotels and guest houses only hand over keys in the afternoon to allow for cleaning and changeover services; do not get there too early. If you are going by car, know your route and don’t get lost, or end up sitting in avoidable traffic jams. This creates tension and stress for everyone in the car.

More questions

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