The Travel Diaries Part 2: Keeping your costs low

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:

  1. Do not assume package deals are cheapest. I always compare booking flights and hotel/lodging seperately. Use websites like and to search for some deals
  2. 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!

  3. 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.
  4. 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!
  5. 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.



Nowhere better to have our evening meal than our cosy caravan!

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. 

Local train in Sri Lanka. Cost pennies and oh, the memories!
Local shop down the road from our hotel. Fresh fruit juices for 20p!

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. 

Another bonus to exploring with a rented car. We would see so much local beauty – instagram perfection.
Making the most of our hotel. Want to see the northern lights?! Avoid those expensive trips and drive a bit further out of Reykjavik. Plus my favourite part – you don’t have to share your experience with the crowds.
Jumping into the sea in Negril, Jamaica. Fun. Free.
Adventures..on a budget.
Discovering a local cave in Jamaica and exploring the local sea creatures. Pretty damn magical.


The lava fields in Iceland. Again, free and an awesome experience. You could still feel their warmth!

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.


Click here for related articles


62 thoughts on “The Travel Diaries Part 2: Keeping your costs low

  1. Clumsy Chic

    Such great tips. We too hire a car when we travel and it makes life so much easier. Not the cheapest form of travel but super convenient.

  2. I haven’t traveled very far with my kids. Not more then 9-10 hours at the most. It’s a chore for that. I can’t imagine the packing, airport, foreign land etc with kids. You make it look easy at least doable with the tips.

  3. Such fab tips! We are always trying to keep the costs down with there being the six of us but find it hard as things can escalate on holiday and we always over spend. I’ll be following these tips in future!

  4. I never knew that about the end of August – I would have thought it was more – because of it being hotter and the Bank Holiday. Great money saving tips but don’t skimp on the holiday insurance.

  5. OH this post resonates with me! My sweet 4 y/o has been feeling the pull of Disneyland but dang those passes are pricey. Truth be told I’d love to talk her into a different adventure for her upcoming birthday. I’m ready to start prioritizing travel a bit more overall πŸ˜‰ You guys are a wonderful example!

  6. We love to travel and tend to do so on a budget! We have stayed in some fabulous hotels for such cheap prices because we did a little research! Preparation is key!

  7. projectlifewellness

    I love all of these tips! we aren’t able to travel much right now but absolutely plan to when the boys are older so I’m bookmarking this for then! There are so many ways to save money and keep the kids busy and It’s great to have them all in one place.

  8. I agree with the end of august tip, we saved a lot of money by travelling then. Also May / June half term always seems more reasonable too. We don’t do cabin luggage but its always remarked we travel light, just don’t take loads of clothes LOL

  9. Completely agree with you about package holidays! I try to book as much as possible separately as it can often save a fortune. Also agree with you about hiring a car/using public transport, I think it’s the best way to see a location – we drove around Oahu, Hawaii in a convertible Mustang! (Probably not that cheap, but we made great memories) xx

  10. Joslynn Wassing

    These are awesome tips!
    My husband and I have not taken a trip with our kids yet, but its definitely something we want to do! I will have to make sure to save your tips for then!

  11. We have yet to take a “real” trip with our two small children. To be fair, we didn’t travel before we had children either. But your blog post is inspiring, and has me wishing for a trip somewhere!

  12. Musings of a tired mummy...zzz...

    We stay in the UK for our holidays as I have a fear of flying. I can’t believe the hike in prices for school holidays!

  13. So reassuring that you take it all on your stride. The idea of just exploring is so much more appealing than the idea of keeping hold of kids at busy tourist attractions

  14. I am SO bookmarking this! We don’t have a great deal of disposable income and so travelling feels so far from our budget but you’ve got some great tips to make it more affordable and get the best deals. Thank you so much!

  15. Expedition Motherhood

    Traveling with kids is so hard but you make it look easy! I really want to travel with our kids more soon. The most we do right now are small day trips to local sites (I am in the US). One day I want to travel across Europe with them. Great tips!

  16. These are such fantastic tips especially as the more you save the more one can travel and also have something to fall back on. We love to travel as a family and these are super useful tips

    Laura x

  17. Scandi Mummy

    Really great tips. I personally wouldn’t want to visit somewhere without experiencing the local cuisine which for me is a big part of traveling. If you seek out restaurants that the locals go to they are often cheaper than the tourist traps on the high street.

  18. Momma To Go

    yes, we totally try to eat in, stay in airbnb places, bring our own airport food. We do usually eat out once a day, or maybe not depends. we love to use the points from credit cards (travel hacking) to save money!

  19. Great tips here. I honestly cannot remember the last time a packaged deal came up cheaper than planning it myself. In all honesty though I’m pretty easily pleased, I just need a beach and some local culture and I’m a happy bunny!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s