Family holidays are a great way to spend quality time together. But if you’re the one footing the bill, booking a trip can be daunting. Here are some top tips that will help you keep the cost of your family holiday down.
Be flexible on dates
The price of flights, accommodation and holiday packages soar during peak season. See if you can travel during less popular times of year – October half-term will be far better value for money than travelling during July and August, for example.
Even if you want to travel during high season, make sure you check a flight aggregator to see if there are any price dips you can take advantage of. And bear in mind that it’s often cheaper to travel midweek than over the weekend.
Stay in the country
If you stay in the UK, you don’t need to worry about expensive flights or car rental. Simply strap the kids in to the car and head off. Once you start looking around, you’ll be surprised at how many affordable staycation options in the UK are available.
The golden-sand beaches in Devon and Cornwall rival any of those in Europe. Meanwhile, the Peak District’s glorious rolling hills are an outdoor playground, with lots of opportunities for hiking, biking – and even a theme park, Gulliver’s Kingdom.
If you’re stuck for inspiration, Center Parcs has six accommodation villages across scenic locations in the UK, where you can sunbathe on beaches, cycle along forest trails, try out water sports, and enjoy a refreshing swim.
Research in-country costs
Sometimes, when budgeting for a holiday, people only think about flights and accommodation. But the costs of food, drink and other sundry items in your chosen destination must also be taken into account.
You might have managed to find a cheap flight to Reykjavik, for example, but visit a bar in the city centre and you’ll find yourself paying more than £7 for a pint. Tourist excursions there are expensive, too.
There are plenty of websites to help you research. PriceofTravel lists the cost of hotels, excursions and food and drink in destinations across the world. Meanwhile, the Post Office publishes an annual survey of holiday costs in 42 countries, ranked according to the price of eight popular tourist items. This year, Sunny Beach in Bulgaria is the cheapest destination.
When you go on holiday, the cost of food and drink can really add up. Over a week, in a family of four, if each person eats three meals a day – that’s a total of 84 meals that need to be purchased. And that’s without the cost of soft drinks, alcohol and snacks.
But if you book self-catered accommodation, you have the option to cook at home, which could save you hundreds of pounds.
This needn’t be a chore. Choose a place with a barbecue and you can enjoy an afternoon having hot-dogs and sangria in the sun. Visit local farmers’ markets with your family, where you can have fun picking out fresh bread, vegetables and cheeses.
Of course, if you book self-catering, you don’t have to cook every meal at home – make sure there’s a restaurant nearby where you can treat the family if you’re feeling tired.
Book an all inclusive break
The best way to cut family holiday costs is to book an all inclusive holiday. You pay a lump sum for flights, accommodation, airport transfers and three meals a day. Often, some drinks and snacks are included. Not only does this take the stress out of planning, it allows you to save hundreds of pounds on your holiday.
These days, all inclusive holidays are more popular than ever, allowing you to travel across the world for budget prices.
Did you know you can book an all inclusive holiday at a Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando? It gives you unlimited access to Disney’s four theme parks, two water parks, and allows you to eat at venues across the park.
Other popular all inclusive holiday destinations include the Canary Islands, Cape Verde, and Mexico. Here’s some more information and tips about all inclusive breaks.
Watch out for hidden costs
When you book a hotel or flight, it’s important to read the small print for hidden costs. Budget airlines often charge extra for suitcases and meals on short-haul flights, which can actually make them more expensive than more upmarket airlines. Some hostels charge extra for towels and linen.
It’s especially worth reading the guidelines carefully for all inclusive breaks, as the offers can vary for each hotel. Some will charge extra for using the spa, shuttle buses in to town, and WiFi usage. Others will provide all this free of charge, and even include water sports, kids’ clubs and water parks as part of their deal.
If in doubt, contact the hotel or holiday provider for a list of prices, so you won’t be caught out.
These are just a few simple ways of cutting your holiday costs. With these in mind, it’s time to start planning some fun in the sun for you and your family.