One of my favourite things to do when I have a few minutes spare it planning a holiday for my family – I’m already working on next Summer’s as we all have two week’s off together for only the second time since the kids started school!
As you probably know, part of the reason I started writing this blog is so that we can have a record of my kids’ lives throughout their childhood that they can treasure and look back upon when they are adults. While I love to save pennies and quid on groceries, delicious recipes, technology and clothes shopping, I also want to share the lovely experience of travel with my children.
For the last few years, we’ve deliberately limited ourselves to trips within the UK for a few different reasons but we’re more and more aware that the costs of travelling in the UK seem to be ever-increasing- by the time we fill the car with petrol, take trains, book hotels and pay for attractions in England and Scotland it can cost a fortune, even with a plan-a-holic like me (new word?). A Summer rail journey to Cornwall is far more expensive than a cruise through the Greek Isles when you factor in all the costs for us as a family of four travelling from the North East when you take into account some of the great deals you see advertised.
Travel can be a daunting topic for us frugal-lers (that’s two new words for you in one post ;-)) out there so I have compiled some great tips about how any family can afford and book a great holiday on a budget. Even if you have a large budget for your trip, booking the flights and accommodation for less After all, the less you spend on the holiday itself, the more you’ll have to spend while you are at your destination!
Check your credit score
This may seem like a strange point for entry number one, but it really is important. By checking your credit regularly you can ensure that you are in good financial shape, make sure you have no unpaid debts and ensure that you have not been the victim of identity theft. It is always a good idea to improve your credit score before taking any holidays – I know someone who’s credit card was stopped while she was away as there’d been some fraud on her account that she was unaware of. Not knowing there was a balance on there, she’d not made a payment so the card she had planned to use on holiday didn’t work – she got it sorted but it cost her a fair amount in phone bills!
Travel in September
This is a bit of a controversial one. While it is understandable that you would want to take advantage of your child’s summer break by booking your holiday in July or August, you will pay dearly for this! August holidays are 48% more expensive on average than trips in September. The moneysaver in me says book for September and the parent in me says no, don’t do it. I do believe that children will learn more travelling to a new place than they would in a week’s school but I get the implications with missing school.
Search on a Tuesday
It has been shown that airlines and holiday providers drop their prices on Tuesday afternoons and evenings – it pays to wait and have a look at these times before you book.
Watch out for baggage fees
Pack light –most budget airlines impose hefty fees for checked baggage, and they also have smaller allowable dimensions for their cabin luggage. Ensure that your carry on is the right size in order to prevent expensive charges by checking this carry on size chart. When we’ve travelled with budget airlines before, we’ve managed with just carry on luggage to avoid the baggage charges – you can fit a lot in a carry on bag with some careful packing!
Think outside the box
Want sun, sand and surf? Instead of flocking to the cramped beaches of Spain (where, to be fair, you can get great deals), think instead about a Croatian getaway, a Turkish beach resort or even a relaxing spa holiday in Cyprus or Malta. The kids will get a chance to see something unique and exotic, you will build memories that will last a lifetime – and most importantly, these countries are affordable and fun!
My main tip though would be to PLAN, PLAN, PLAN
Look at where you’re going and find out what’s nearby that you can visit, look for deals on Agoda and even ask on Facebook or Twitter in case anyone you know has a bit of knowledge about where you’re going!
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