It’s around this time of year that all thought turns to holidays; it might only be February but a couple of sunny days have most definitely put me in the mood for a bit of sun and a big dose of vitamin D! Over the last few years, we’ve become huge fans of holidaying here in the UK and this year’s no different. We’ve got a trip to Center Parcs planned in, a road trip to North Devon and I’m hoping to book our first abroad holiday as a family of four in the next few weeks. Travelling as a family (or without one!) can be expensive, so here’s some of our tips for how to find a family holiday for less.
How To Find A Family Holiday For Less
When it comes to your dates for travel, try and be as flexible as possible. Yes, it’s always more convenient to base your trip from weekend to weekend in order to maximise the time you have off. Which is exactly why it’s the most expensive time for flights and holiday rentals. Try looking at flying midweek to midweek or going for a slightly longer or shorter trip than your standard 7 or 14 nights. You’ll be amazed at the variation in prices once you start looking at different dates. Save yourself the pain of going on to every flight provider website by using a tool such as Skyscanner; pop in the month you want to travel and it’ll bring you up the cost of flights for each day making it far easier to hunt around for the best dates!
Travel In Shoulder Seasons
It goes without saying but if you’re not tied to school holidays, avoid travelling in them like the plague! Most destinations will have four main pricing periods; off season, shoulder months, peak season and back to shoulder months before cycling back round to off season again. For us, shoulder months are our favourite time to travel; the weather is normally a little cooler and less predictable than peak season but not as bad as off season and the prices reflect that. It also tends to be quieter without landing you in a resort where everything is closed. With a young family, cooler, quieter and cheaper are three words I absolutely love to hear when booking a holiday. Find out your destinations peak and off peak seasons and book in the middle of those.
Related post: How to travel light as a family
Set Travel Alerts
If you’re looking to fly then once you’ve got an idea of your dates, it’s time to start hunting around. The cost of flights in particular will move up and down on a daily basis depending on a multitude of different factors. I use Kayak to set the dates of the flights that we’re interested in and set up a daily alert on the price. You can even set a threshold for when you want it to email you; if the price drops below that, you get an email and you can go and book. Think of it as saving you from checking every. single. day.
Find A Board Type That Suits You
It can be tempting to book an all inclusive deal for your holiday. It takes the stress out of paying for anything whilst you’re there and means you know exactly what your costs are from the word go. Tempting, isn’t it? However, often all inclusive works out more expensive, especially if you’re not big drinkers. It’s worth comparing all of the different options and working out which suits your needs the best. For us, we don’t drink enough to warrant the all inclusive options often and a self catering set-up suits our family needs right now. Sure, it means buying the food out there but who doesn’t love a foreign supermarket?! In my experience, self catering is a cheaper and more flexible option especially when there are little ones around.
Related post: Eight top tips for flying with a baby
Marketplace style websites such as Expedia can be incredible for finding holidays, flights and accommodation deals but it’s always worth checking the prices for booking directly as well. Many accommodation providers will offer different, cheaper packages directly. It does mean that you may have to purchase your holiday in separate bits; flight, hotel, transfers etc but the savings may well be worth it. We’ve found a couple of deals this way, not necessarily cheaper but with additional benefits on top of the offering from larger websites.
Booking a holiday can be a large investment, especially if you’re travelling as a family. Some companies do offer you the opportunity to pay in instalments but you’ll often end up paying more in the long run. One of our favourite ways to pay is to use an interest free credit card allowing you to spread the cost out over a number of months as well as offering you some protection should your holiday provider go under. Whilst credit cards and short term loans aren’t for everyone, they’re a great way of accessing larger lumps of money when you need it and treated with respect, can also raise your credit score at the same time. If you do decide to use a credit card or pay day loan, make sure you have a firm repayment plan in place and always use a reputable provider such as Cashlady.com.
Related post: How to save money like a pro!
And there we have it, some of our favourite ideas on how to find a family holiday for less! What would your top tips be for making family travel affordable?
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