I have been a keen traveller since I was at uni- young, free and single. I used to save up my student loan and search for the craziest, cheapest deals I could find. I used to live on supermarket crisps while I was away so I could afford to see the sights on my pathetically low student income. I would sleep on overnight coaches and trains to save on time and hostel costs. I loved it.
Then I got married and for a while we continued to travel. My husband, who had barely travelled outside of Yorkshire got dragged along to New York, Iceland, Morocco, Italy and France, and the Caribbean. We continued to live on a budget as neither of our incomes were particularly high. We found it easy to live the life we wanted as we were happy to rough it.
Then when you decide to reproduce, things get a little more expensive and harder to organise. Those red-eye flights and sleeping in coach stations aren’t too fair on your tiny humans. We have had to be more savvy and plan, plan, plan.
I have come up with some top tips to help cut the costs of your holiday, meaning you can travel more:
- Do not assume package deals are cheapest. I always compare booking flights and hotel/lodging seperately. Use websites like flightscanner.com and booking.com to search for some deals
Try to travel towards the end of the school holidays. If you are able to travel outside of the school holidays then lucky you! (Notice my seething jealousy). The best bargains to be had are those at these times. But if you, like me are tied to the school hols (damn you education) then you will often find that the best summer dates are those right at the END of August. Try it!
- I have said it before, I’ll say it again. Tripadvisor the hell out of your plans. Sourcing out those top tips save money, and time.
- Save on extra luggage by seeing if you can cram all your belongings in cabin luggage. I know I am mental, but we try to travel as lightly as possible anyway. We may have a week away in Scotland booked in October – all just with hand luggage!
- Dont be roped into buying stuff at the airport. We always ensure we have a picnic packed and those concentrated squash things are genuinely saved our lives. If you have kids like us who won’t drink water, you will understand! Free airport water can also help avoid having to buy overpriced drinks -you can find a list of UK participating airports here:
6. Free play areas in airports are also a fantastic way to entertain the kiddies before they board that flight and help them burn off some energy. Below are a list of UK airports with such facilities:
7. Hire a car and make your own way round. Avoid all those pricey trips in the luxury of an air conditioned/heated car. The beauty of hiring a car with kids is that you can do it all at your own pace, and discover the beauty of your location on the way.
9. Find your local supermarket. 4 euros for an ice cream adds up for a family of four. Lets face it, I wouldn’t even pay that for 1. Try a massive tub instead for 2 euros. Eaten/scoffed overlooking the local beauty. Utter bliss. We often live off french bread sticks and cheese on holiday with a lot of crisp sarnies. Everyone has different priorities I guess, but I would rather do this and see everything I want to see. We don’t tend to eat out. I do love eating out, but boy does it rack up the price of a holiday. Plus, with a son with eating habits like ours, its probably for the best.
10. Act like a local. We often try to avoid the over priced tourist attractions and instead enjoy the local stuff. Its way cheaper and I think we get a better feel of the area. Trying the local shops too can reveal some fab local prices.
11. The travel diaries part 1Explore the outdoors. Most of the beauty you will see whilst travelling will be outdoors and free. A lot of the holidays we go on involve just exploring outside. And boy, have we found some gems.
That’s all for now folks! Happy Travelling!
Please share what works for you and your family in the comments below! I would love to hear from you.