We’ve always liked to do things on a budget as a family, and this includes booking a holiday on a budget. We were fortunate enough to be able to save a bit of money this year, so we wanted to make sure we got the most value for money when it came to going away.
Pre-children, we were happy to ‘rough it’ a bit, after all we only had ourselves to please, and we had many times where things didn’t go exactly to plan, but we could laugh about it. Since having children, we’ve realised that, when it comes to holidays, happy children = happy us. We try to make our time away as relaxing as possible, sometimes meaning extra facilities are needed, which in turn means we can’t always pay the rock bottom prices we used to!
However, I have put together some of the ways we are able to book a family holiday, on a budget of around £1000 (that’s including travel, accommodation and spending money!)
Avoid unexpected costs
Before thinking about booking a holiday, make sure things like your passports are all up to date. It can be costly if you suddenly realise they all expired 3 months ago, or that you can’t find them!
Put some effort into looking
Booking a holiday on a budget don’t always come easy. When we knew we wanted to book something, I spent many evenings researching all the cheapest sites, getting a feel for the cheapest destinations, looking at countless hotel reviews, getting a feel for what really was a ‘cheap deal’. The sites I found to be the most reasonable were:
Book Last Minute
Obviously this isn’t always possible, especially is you have work or school constraints. However, by far the cheapest deals I saw were all last minute. This is how we ended up booking our holiday on the Tuesday, and flying out on the Thursday! By doing this, we managed to save over 50% on our accommodation, meaning we bagged it for £530 (7 nights self catering at a 4* Tui Family Life hotel in Gran Canaria). You can find out more about our holiday here.
We absolutely loved going away spontaneously. It meant less of a stressful build-up, and it was so much fun surprising the children! Although the eldest STILL managed to complain the two sleeps was just too long to wait, haha!
Consider self catering
It can be easy to think that All Inclusive is the only way to holiday with children, but far from it! We love discovering local restaurants, and not being tied to having to eat at the hotel. Obviously there are times when All Inclusive would be better, perhaps if your accommodation is off the beaten track. More often than not though, it’s easy to find a local supermarket and places to eat.
Another benefit of this is that you can usually buy simple ingredients to have meals back at your accommodation, thus reducing your spending. We tend to eat 2 or 3 evening meals back at the room, and the majority of our breakfasts and lunches. Things like pasta/bread/cheese/ham/fruit and veg are an easy and reasonable way of filling up.
Use Cash back sites and voucher codes
Never accept a final price! Quite a lot of the time, you can get your holiday even cheaper. Make sure you do a quick google for discount codes before pressing the ‘confirm payment’ button. Sites like Top Cashback and Quidco are also great for shaving a few extra £’s off your final price.
Don’t overspend on holiday clothes
It’s so easy to get caught up thinking we need a whole new wardrobe for 7 days away. This year I really made a conscious effort to not go mad at Primark, throwing everything that looked slightly summery into my basket. I did a bit of a mental inventory, going through my summer clothes and really thinking about what I actually needed. I ended up spending around £30, and got 2 pairs of shorts, a dress and some sandals.
When it comes to kids clothes, it can be a little more tricky, as obviously they can grow a massive amount in a year! This is where ebay and local facebook selling sites can come in. I’ve talked before about selling clothes on Ebay, but I also buy from there. As sad as it is, English summers are not always brilliant, weather-wise, so it can feel like a waste buying them a brand new summer wardrobe or essentially a couple of weeks a year! I also checked out my local facebook selling groups. I bought 3 pairs of sandals for £9 for my toddler. They had loads of wear left in them, and were a proper bargain.
Think outside of the box
I’m always trying to save money where I can, so I can spend it where I want too! After all, in my opinion, even if you holiday on a budget, they are still to be enjoyed. For instance, we made sandwiches to eat at the airport, which worked out really well. It meant we weren’t having to queue for overpriced food, with whingeing children. It felt slightly odd, having our little picnic, but we actually had quite a few comments saying we definitely had the right idea!
I hope you’ve found some of these helpful, I am so grateful that we managed to get away this year, and we made some amazing memories.