Read our top tips to help plan your next getaway.
Whether you are planning a trip to a far-flung destination or staying a bit closer to home, we’ve got some great tips to help you save money on your family holiday, wherever you choose to go.
1. Book early
Booking well in advance is the key to bagging a bargain. Lots of travel companies offer discounts for booking early, and some will even offer free kids places, or throw in extras like free dining for children. Make sure you are actually getting a good deal by checking price comparison websites like TravelSupermarket or IceLolly.
2. Book in advance
Pre-book as much as you can before you go to save time and money when you get there. This includes things like car hire where you can use price comparison websites to find the cheapest option. Book airport car parking well in advance, as leaving it until the day can be far more expensive, especially at the larger airports.
3. Wait until the last minute
While booking last-minute won’t often work in your favour for a break abroad, it can be a good option if you are planning a staycation.
For instance, some holiday cottage companies reduce the price of properties the closer it gets to the school holidays so it’s possible to bag a bargain, if you can hold your nerve.
Sign up to company newsletters to be the first to hear about promotional offers and deals. Try Sykes Cottages, for rentals in South Devon, or Cornwall.
4. Pick your dates wisely
If you’re limited to school holidays, the last week of August and the first week of September are usually the cheapest for holidays during the summer period, but May and October half-term are worth considering. To save money on flights, avoid travelling at weekends. Early and late flights are usually cheaper, although probably not very child-friendly! Try Skyskanner to check the best deals.
5. Do your research
Once you’ve booked your holiday, do a little bit of research on the area. Check out what there is to do for free or low cost, if it’s raining for example. Many tourism destinations offer sightseeing passes that you can buy in advance, offering free or reduced admission to lots of attractions, and even free public transport.
6. Holiday like a local
When you get to your destination, ask the locals where they like to eat out, do their food shop, or where they like to visit. Armed with these sorts of recommendations means that you can often avoid the tourist traps and their over-inflated prices. Use local transport to get to places of interest, instead of booking trips through a tour operator. Save money on food when you are out and about by stocking up on the hotel breakfast buffet or shop in local supermarkets for picnic lunches.
7. Go with friends or family
It might be harder work, but pairing up with friends or family means you can share the cost of holiday accommodation, food, travel and also get some free babysitting thrown in! Make sure you draw up some ground rules first, or you might fall out!
8. Take your own food
Buying food on the plane, train or at a service station can cost a small fortune. Pack your own travel friendly meals and snacks and you can make big savings. These recipes are perfect for long car journeys.
9. Shop around for currency
Whatever you do, don’t wait until you get to the airport to sort out your currency. You tend to find the worst exchange rates here, so you could save big by shopping around in advance. Use travelmoneymax.com to search for the best currency deal - and don’t forget, delivery charges can be high, so you might be able to make a good saving by collecting your cash in person.
If you are going abroad and plan to use a card to make payments check out how much your bank might charge. It might be worth opening an account with someone like Starling (no fees for spending or cash withdrawals) or Monzo (no fees for paying with your card) to use on your holidays as you can save a lot compared to most high street banks. Check out moneysavingexpert.com in good time before you go
10. Don’t splash out on a holiday wardrobe
It may be tempting to splash out on new clothes especially for your holiday, but kitting out your family for a few weeks of sun is a massive waste of money, especially when some of the clothing is likely to come back unworn. Check what you already have in your wardrobe before you go shopping, and make a list of what you absolutely need. Could you borrow that sarong or buy that snorkel secondhand? The Money Shed has some great tips for ways to save money when buying clothes for your holiday.
Need to spread the cost of your next holiday? Our loans are often cheaper than credit card borrowing - visit our loans page for full details.