What’s better than a holiday? A cheap holiday hack… That’s what!
I love holidays… Who doesn’t right?! But it’s not always easy to find the spare cash to pay for them, and no one wants to go away and then have to say no to their kids… Awful!
Over the years I have been a teen mum, single mum, student mum with two children and step-mum, teacher mum with four children.. Suffice to say there has never been a massive budget for holidays.
But family holidays are IMPORTANT!
For me personally, it has always been a priority to give my kids some kind of ‘holiday’ at least once a year. I truly believe that family holidays are invaluable to us, time as a family away from the stress and routine of daily life gives us an opportunity relax, enjoy each others company, chat, try new things and to bond over shared experiences good and bad!
We have been very lucky to have had all sorts of holidays and I have travelled quite extensively with my kids on a maximum budget of around £1600 for travel and accommodation for 6 people for up to two weeks during the school summer holidays.
So with 18 years experience of planning cheap and cheerful family holidays I give you my favourite hacks for something cheap, fun and more exotic than camping in a field! (All of which have been ‘experienced’ by my family!!)
Challenge Clare’s Holiday Hacks!
1. UK holidays are generally EXPENSIVE especially during the summer holidays. Accomodation, food and transport are all ridiculously overpriced here. We have spent more camping in our own tent in Cornwall for a week in the summer than we ever have in Europe. So my general rule of thumb is UK holidays out of season and Europe in the summer holidays.
2. TravelLodge sometimes have some great deals for super cheap rooms; great for a few nights.
4. Family friendly music festivals can be quite reasonable. Look for ones that either don’t charge for children or the fee is nominal and have family camping. Take your own food and drinks and it can be surprisingly economical. UK Festival Guides is a great information site that independently reviews pretty much every festival in the UK and is a great place to start to get some ideas!
5. You might not think it, but if you avoid package holidays then Europe can be done very well on the cheap! You will need to do some planning, independent booking of travel and accommodation and be flexible in your choices and dates. But there are definitely bargains to be had!
6. Do some research and choose less well known destinations for your holiday. For example Nice, in the South of France is quite expensive, but there are some lovely resorts close by on the coast that are much cheaper.
7. Book your flights as soon as possible as this can be the most expensive part of your holiday. Long haul flights you should be looking for a year in advance and short haul roughly six months in advance. Kayak is a great app to check the best time to book flights for the cheapest deals. Skyscanner is also a great flight comparison tool.
8. It’s a pain but an early evening flight the day school breaks up can be significantly cheaper.
9. Consider making the journey part of your holiday.. Inter-ailing is not just for students! Travel by ferry as a foot passenger or go by Eurostar and then use the train to get you to your destination! Public transport in Europe is great! Trains are a cheap and reliable way to travel both short and long distances and are family friendly. They have some amazing deals for families travelling by train too! Check out themaninseat61 for all your planning requirements!
10. Think about splitting up your holiday and stay in more than one place it can make accommodation options far cheaper.
11. Great deals can be had on hotels and self catering accommodation via Booking.Com and other hotel booking apps. Read the reviews and make your choices!! The sooner you book the greater the discount. Booking.com also offeres a preferential rate to customers who rebook through them.
13. Think about using AirBnB – You can rent a whole house for far less than a hotel or static caravan and if you have little people then a home from home can be really relaxing..
14. When the weather is good entertaining the kids is easier and cheaper, our favourite place has been Liguria in Italy, family friendly, great beaches, cheap to eat out, lots of history, lots of free activities and great public transport.. And Gelato!
15. Put £3 a day into a jar/online saver account, that’s the cost of a coffee.. You’ll have £1095 for your holiday at the end of the year
Share your holiday hacks @challengeclare #holidayhacks