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Find A Perfect Holiday Cottage (Without Losing the Will to Live)

How To Find Your Perfect Holiday Cottage

Afton Thatch, a holiday cottage in Isle of Wight

Afton Thatch, a holiday cottage in Isle of Wight - "the quintessential country cottage"

As a directory site, the team at My Favourite Holiday Cottages spend a lot of time getting to know how you people like to find cottages.It helps us to improve the site to make it easier for you to find your perfect holiday property in the shortest possible time. But, no matter how easy we make it, we can still see people getting it wrong. So, for those of you who find themselves losing the will to live after a long trawl through hundreds of cottages, here are a few tips in tracking down 'that cottage' that will make your holiday the most memorable - for all the right reasons.

Across all sites that are trying to sell you just about anything from cottages to toothbrushes, people are always put off by choice. Now wait! Don’t close this page just yet. It's true and there is a lot of psychology backing up this claim.

When presented with too many choices, the vast majority of online shoppers will simply give up, unable to make a decision and therefore unwilling to buy. It's like having a sensory overload that just sucks all of that spontaneous adventure you had in your heart. You will have felt this before, if you have ever tried online clothes shopping, you will have found yourself giving up with a half full basket because you got bored. Its the same deal with holiday directory sites!

So, what can we do about this? Obviously the first thing I’m going to do is direct you to our site! After all, with a name like My Favourite Holiday Cottages - what better place could there be to begin? But that isn’t what you want to hear. So lets break down the problem into three tips:

Devon Beach Court, a holiday cottage in Devon

Devon Beach Court, a holiday cottage in Devon - "Light and airy comfort throughout"

First of all, you have to identify your most important search criteria. Now for most people that will be the number of people the cottage sleeps, but we don’t want to bring up every self catering cottage in the UK that can accommodate auntie Berta, her snoring new boyfriend, Uncle Tom Cobley and All! So instead, lets switch to where it is you want to go. In which UK town, county or location do you desire to holiday? Think about this. If necessary, write a shortlist and then stick to it!

On most directory sites, where you want to go will be the first thing you are asked. If you know exactly where you want to go then this is easy, just pop in that town name, or location such as The Norfolk Broads or Lake District or just a desirable quality such as a holiday cottage in a remote location, and off you go. If you've got a shortlist, then write this down and stick to it. However, we know this is rarely the case. If you don't know where you want to go, then you need to find somewhere that will appeal. Most good sites will have a description of a county, town or regional location such as Ex, describing its virtues as a holiday destination. This will save you huge amounts of time compared with searching for towns on google only to switch back to the directory site to search for cottages. Use a site's descriptions to hone your search down to a particular county or town. This will probably be good enough, and we can go from there!

Updown Cottage, a holiday cottage in Dorset

Updown Cottage, a holiday cottage in Dorset - "on the iconic hovis hill"

If you are less fussed about where you go and more concerned with what your desired cottage has to offer, then you can try a different tack. After all, county names are arbitrary borders created centuries ago by Saxons, Vikings and other greedy landowners! They won't tell you if a cottage is dog friendly or is suitable for a romantic escape. Searching for Cornwall because you know it has great beaches is going to leave out some of the best award winning beaches in the world that lie just a bit up the coast in Devon. So instead you can search more specifically for the kind of things you are looking for. This is where different sites have different ideas! On the site you can simply click the “beach” checkbox along aside the “pet friendly” and “large cottage” boxes to get a list of cottages that meet all 3 criteria. Don't be afraid to get more bedrooms than you need. You never know if Aunt Berta and Mr Snore will have a falling out over that clothes peg on the nose and want some room to spread out! Essentially, decide and select your criteria.

Manor Farmhouse, a holiday cottage in Kent

Manor Farmhouse, a holiday cottage in Kent - "huge 15th centuary cottage with pool"

But this is not a guide for how to use our site! This is about improving your searching experience. So let's get onto the second and arguably most important thing to have in mind. BE PICKY!

There are so many holiday houses in Britain offering such a huge range of features in a very competitive market. You can guarantee that there is a perfect house out there for you, but not only is there one, there are hundreds! Don’t worry that you are going to have to search through the entire internet to find what you need, just be super picky!

Every search criteria you click, will make that list shorter and shorter until you find the one that makes you go… ᵒᵒᵒᵒᵒʰ. Afterall, where's the harm in having a search list of one if it totally fits the bill? So, don't be afraid to be picky right from the outset. It's far easier to widen your search if your first attempt doesn't come up with anything suitable, than to have to narrow it down from too large a list.

Old Coastguards Cottages , a holiday cottage in Devon

Old Coastguards Cottages , a holiday cottage in Devon - "one of the most stunning views you could hope for" (no longer available)

Tip No.3 is the hardest one: DON’T BACK TRACK! If you are sitting there looking at your perfect house, and then you think “what if there is one as good as this but with a pool” or “i wonder if I could find a cottage just like this but slightly cheaper”, that is exactly the moment when you will become overwhelmed. Too much choice and you will become paralysed by the feeling like you could always find one better. Which of course probably isn’t true!

This doesn’t meant you have to accept anything less than the best of course. However, put your time and thought into the first search and you won't need a second! You may need to send an enquiry to more than one cottage just in case it isn't available, or to confirm that the price is correct. There's nothing wrong with that. A prompt, friendly and helpful rsesponse will help to reassure you that a particular cottage has your name on it.

Don’t feel bad for being picky. The internet doesn’t have feelings of adventure. Don't let it drain yours!

The Well House, a holiday cottage in Herefordshire

The Well House, a holiday cottage in Herefordshire - "spacious accommodation for 15"

And there you have it - 3 tips for identifying a cottage that will be perfect for your next self catering holiday and saving yourself the dreaded loop of disappointment!:

1- Prepare your shortlist

2- Be Picky

3- Don't do the 'What If' thing and back track having found somewhere that meets your needs. Just contact the owner - by phone or e-mail. And book that perfect holiday!