Have you decided where you are off to on holiday yet? With the school holidays imminently upon us, many parents thoughts are turning to what they are going to be doing with their kids during the long summer break…and how they are going to afford it?!
Well, I don’t believe that you need to spend a fortune on your children to keep them occupied. There are things you can do, places you can go and sites you can search – all of which mean that if you look after the pennies then the pounds will look after themselves.
Caxton FX have asked parent bloggers to post their top holiday budgeting tips so, in no particular order, here are 10 ways I believe you can save money on your holidays.
1. If you are self-catering, find a cheaper place to shop!
We learned this the hard way last year. Upon arriving at our self-catering holiday park in France, we had no food at all so we decided to take a visit to the Parc Market on site. £35 it cost us. Yes, £35 for one and a half meals for the 3 of us (and no, we didn’t have lobster or an expensive banquet). The following day we ventured out and found a supermarket 10 minutes up the road where the food was cheap but the quality was great (this also included the wine!).
Grace LOVES the beach…and I mean really loves it. She would spend all day looking for fossils if we let her. You can have lots of fun building sandcastles, burying your dad/mum/sister/brother/gran* (delete as appropriate) making sand cars (it means you don’t need a bucket and spade!) and searching in rock pools for crabs and starfish. A great way to go crab fishing is to tie some bacon rind on a piece of string and drop it in the water. Take it from me that it works!
3. Look for free days out
This time of the year there are plenty of summer fetes, festivals or carnivals which cost next to nothing to join in with. Invariably there will be events to enter for the kids where they can get creative and win a prize. Tombolas, lucky dips and face-painting are all great ways for the kids to feel like they are being rewarded. My daughter came home with a teddy from the teddy tombola. It had cost her 50p for 3 tickets. I have never seen a bear so loved.
You will find that many museums, gardens or historic sites are either free or ask for a small donation. Some of my favourite places have been cathedrals where you can spend your time doing some brass rubbing, climbing towers to see the view or enjoy a guided tour (especially if they have a creepy crypt!).
5. Be flexible with your dates
If you can give yourself around 5 days either side on your departure and return dates when you go away, you could save yourself £££s! If you staying in this country and decide to drive to your destination then why not leave really early before everyone else is on the road? It means you won’t be sitting in traffic and it will save on fuel. Either that or leave late evening when the commuters are home having their tea!
Don’t just turn up at your bank and settle for their exchange rates. Shop around and you find just find you get more for your GBP.
7. Take public transport – it’s far less stressful and more fun for the kids
In my experience, a train ride is a great big adventure for children. It also means that you are not the one getting stressed out with driving leaving you more time to interact with the kids, play board games, read, challenge each other on the iPad or look at the beautiful scenery.
8. Look for discounts and offers online or at tourist information centres
There are plenty of sites which offer cheaper days out such as half price family tickets, kids go free and discounted food vouchers. There is also kids go free week to many of the top London West End shows. If you are staying in a particular holiday location then look for your local tourist information centre or at the tourist section of where you are staying. There will usually be leaflets detailing days out together with vouchers you can cut out and use. As well as all of this, if you decide to visit one of the bigger theme parks then booking online will save you money.
9. Don’t feel peer pressure from other people
There is an awful lot of ‘competitive mum’ or ‘competitive dad’ when it comes to parenting – and sometimes that is with each other if you are not together! Just because little Johnny up the road is going to Barbados with his parents, doesn’t mean that you need to keep up with the Joneses. Your child is not going to judge their holiday on your bank balance. It will be on their memories.
10. Pick up your essentials from charity stores and pound shops
Some of the best holiday buys I have purchased in the past have been from pound shops. You can buy items such as sun lotion, sun glasses, hats, buckets and spades and travel aides such as padlocks for your cases, passport covers and travel pillows. It also means that if anything gets lost or broken you haven’t spent a fortune on it in the first place.
This is my entry into the Caxton FX giveaway to win a prepaid currency card.