One of the common complaints many parents mention is the fact that travelling with a family on a limited budget can be quite a challenge, especially in the UK.
Fixed school term times for many mean that you only have to look at the sharp rise in the brochure prices from the previous week’s price to know when the half term or summer holidays begin.
Most of us have to work within financial constraints so in order to get the family holiday we want, you have to be smart and know how to make your money stretch as far as possible.
Pick and choose your times
It is certainly not always easy to get the school to agree to allow your children to take time out for a holiday during term time but rather than trying to get a whole week off, you could still make savings by trying to get a couple of days agreed.
Starting a family holiday on the Friday before they break up or even when there is a bank holiday can mean that the price of your holiday could fall into a cheaper bracket and save you some serious cash.
Haggle over the price
Many parents are frustrated when holiday companies class any child over 12 (sometimes even younger) as an adult when it comes to calculating the cost of the holiday rental or package deal. Age brackets can vary wildly between companies so shop around to see which holiday package or rental offers you the best terms and if there is one place that you particularly want to go to, don’t be afraid to haggle over the price or try to negotiate a better rate to include your 12 year old adults as the children that they still are.
Our spending habits as a nation have changed since the UK’s finances hit the rocks a few years ago and that means that many people are no longer prepared to pay the full price for anything. There are plenty of discount websites such as Happier.co.uk who can guide you to cheaper prices for most things these days.
Not using the discounts or incentives available through these websites is simply wasting money you could be spending on your holiday treats, so make full use of the savings available.
For families, the National Trust offers great value with a wide range of activities and places to visit throughout the UK that most kids will enjoy. The annual family membership fee can quickly be recouped with just a couple of visits per year and there is something quite satisfying about waving a card and gaining entry to one of over 500 venues without any more money changing hands after you have paid the annual direct debit.
Using the National Trust for fun days out is quite cost-effective for families and they even offer the chance to participate in a working holiday, where you get cheap accommodation in a stunning location in return for maybe doing a bit of conservation work, such as planting some trees.
Sharing with friends
Another great way of cutting the cost of your holiday is to share your holiday with family and friends. You can slash the cost of accommodation if you find a place that sleeps 12 and fill it out, which generally works out much cheaper overall than the cost of a standard rental for 4 people.
Once you have found the ideal holiday and paid your money, set a daily budget while on holiday and try to stick to it. That way costs won’t run out of control and give you a financial headache when the credit card bill arrives the following month.
Travelling with your family on a budget is perfectly feasible, you just have to take advantage of all the offers available to you.
Julian Heam is a travel agent. He loves to write about how to save money while travelling on family blogs.
Photo Credit – JR P