If you’re penny pinching like the rest of us then it may be difficult to imagine a holiday this year. However, if the kids can’t stop going on about the summer holidays already, and you’re dreaming of some time to relax, then perhaps a holiday wouldn’t be a bad idea. Let’s have a look at some top money saving tips for family holidays and decide then whether going away may be more affordable than you thought.
First up, let’s see how much we have in savings. Don’t worry if it’s nothing, as we have exactly the same in our own savings accounts! What you need to do is start up a money box, or a vacation fund jar. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy; an old pasta sauce jar will do nicely. Simply slice a hole in the top big enough to drop coins in. Now let the whole family know that any change they have from shopping, or found down the side of the sofa cushions, has to go in there. Of course, a jar full of coppers isn’t going to get you far, but it will put you into a holiday savings mood. Sacrifice a few little luxuries a month and put your own money in the jar, in the form of notes. Just a little bit here and there will soon add up to an impressive holiday fund.
Whilst your vacation fund is filling up nicely, it’s time to look at your destination options. Where is cheap, easy to get to and going to be fun for the whole family? There will be some obvious ones to cross off the list (sorry kids, not Florida this year) which should leave you with a few options to pick from. Have a look at prices for flights and accommodation, to see which looks the most cost effective. If they’re all around the same price then put the destinations into a hat and ask the children to pick one out. That way they get to make the choice themselves!
The next thing you need to do is book your travel, which is best done as far in advance as possible. Depending on where you live, and where you’re going, the cheapest option will probably be by plane. Try to book a flight at least 3-4 months in advance to get the best deal on flights. The same applies to most forms of transport, including coaches, buses and trains. The earlier you book them, the cheaper they will be.
So, you know where you’re going, when you’re going and how you’re going to get there. Next up, where are you going to stay? Hotels can vary a lot in price, so it’s best to have a good look around. For example hotels in Dublin may be a lot cheaper than the same hotel booked directly. Find out who offers the best deals and whether there are any coupons available, to help bring the cost down even more. Not everywhere will have deals on, but it’s always worth ringing up a specific hotel and asking, if you can’t find anything online.
By the time you’ve booked your flights and accommodation, your holiday fund should have added up nicely. Most places will let you book now and pay later, giving you a little bit of extra time to add those extra dollars to the pot.
Parents know planning a family holiday on a budget can be tricky, but there are definitely some simple and effective ways to make the most of your money. To summarize, doing research is key – compare prices, review accommodations and read reviews. You can also create an estimate budget for each day and then break it down by meals and activities. Also, plan for your family’s needs ahead of time – determine how many suitcases you will need, rental cars or taxis, hotel taxes, exchange rates etc. Lastly, try to stick to the budget while still allowing enough flexibility to leave room for kid-friendly experiences and impromptu underwater adventures! Parenting can be daunting at times – especially when taking your little ones away from home – but with proper planning and creative thinking you might just find great success in making magical memory moments without busting the bank account.