Living on a budget may mean sacrificing certain things, but a family holiday needn’t be one of them. The chance to get away and spend precious time with your loved ones is something it’s hard to put a price on, and these days it’s actually pretty easy to have a scout around the web and find a cheap holiday online. What’s more, with a few clever shortcuts, you can have a fun-packed, relaxing family break for a bargain price.
Timing is everything
The most important money-saving trick when booking a family holiday is picking the right time. With young kids at home, it’s tempting to book your travels in high season, when they have time off school. But if you’re on a budget, prices for travel in the long summer holidays are going to wipe you out. Instead, look at travelling in the spring or autumn half-term breaks. If your kids aren’t in school yet, then choose the off-season months for your holiday. Put simply, you are going to save a lot of money by booking out of season.
Choose your destination wisely
Flights, hotels and insurance will swallow up your budget, and while you might dream of white sand beaches and multi-coloured cocktails, young children want to be active, play and have adventures. If you’ve only got a week to spare, the time you spend dealing with airports and transfers can leave you feeling frazzled. Choosing a closer destination means that those wasted hours could be part of your holiday, giving you a longer break and saving you money in the process.
Look for a home from home
A great way to create a really cheap holiday is a house swap. If you live in a popular city, or near to the sea or a tourist attraction, you may be able to swap your home with another family for a week or two. This means you get luxury accommodation without shelling out for expensive hotels. If a home swap isn’t an option, then check out hostels and campsites. These offer several advantages to families, not least saving money on food and drinks by self-catering. Staying on a farm or in a forest provides a natural playground for inquisitive youngsters. And most campsites now have good facilities including club houses, bars and bike rentals. For the really adventurous, a campervan is the perfect combination of home and holiday all in one!
Make it a rule to never pay tourist prices for anything! A bit of research online will easily uncover free local attractions and cut-price tickets for shows and events. A day at the beach needn’t cost anything, especially if you bring packed lunches. But don’t forget you’re meant to be having fun, and do set aside a little bit of your budget for essential holiday treats like ice cream and candyfloss!