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Saving money is likely to be near the top of our lists lately and when it comes to a family holiday, pinching the pennies may be necessary. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have an incredible time! With some careful planning and a quick look at our top tips, you are well on your way to planning your best family holiday yet – on a budget!
Flexibility is key when it comes to planning. If you don’t have school-aged children, generally speaking, there are more dates available to you, and holidays tend to be cheaper when booked in advance or at the last minute. If you are not overly fussed on destination, the latter is a great option. For those with children in school, it can be a little tricker as school holidays tend to be more expensive than term-time. Whilst it may be possible for your child to have a week off for a family holiday, not all schools will allow this and will issue fines, so booking your holiday in advance is the safest bet for getting a good deal. If time allows, it is also worth looking at different flights as costs will vary depending on the day of the week and departure time.
Don’t forgetto check the passports of everyone travelling. Having an out-of-date passportor one that does not have the required length of time left (some countriesstipulate you must have at least six months left on your passport from the dateyou return home) can be extremely costly, and this is not something you wouldbe able to claim for using your travel insurance policy. If you or your familydo need a new passport, renewing online is quicker and cheaper than applyingvia post.
Speaking oftravel insurance, we always recommend buying your policy as soon as you havebooked your trip. By doing this you will be saving yourself hundreds, if notthousands, if you need to cancel your holiday, return home early, or requiremedical assistance (provided the reason for doing so is covered). Whilst familysingle trip policies are usually reasonably-priced, a family multi trip policywould be more cost-effective if you or anyone on the policy is planning totravel more than once in a twelve-month period (be aware of duration limits).Just remember to check the activity and destination cover for each holiday youplan.
Accommodation is likely to be the most expensive part of the trip and although an all-inclusive family holiday will help to cut the costs when it comes to dining, don’t overlook self-catering. Airbnb is available in over 190 countries and offers everything from villas to log cabins or you can book directly with a local accommodation provider. Just make sure you do your research and ensure you are booking with a reputable company or person. Local bookings tend to have all the facilities you require for a self-catering holiday and often include a personal touch. If the idea of booking everything for your family holiday has you running for the hills, speak to a travel agent – they will be able to find you a family holiday within your budget – doing the hard work for you.
Once youhave the destination, transport and accommodation sorted it’s time to startsaving money on those days out. Depending on where you are staying and thefacilities available to you, pool and beach days will keep the holiday spendinglow. However, if you are planning to venture out have a look at touristattractions online – more often than not there will be a discount available forfamily bookings, booking in advance or simply booking online (just remember totake your email confirmation with you!). If you and your family plan onvisiting a number of attractions, a city pass or tourist pass is a great optionand most will include fast-tracking and free entry to popular places asstandard. Similarly, package holidayswill offer excursions which are usually cheaper if you pay for them at the timeof booking as opposed to once you’re on your family holiday.
Let’s not forget spending money. If you need to change your money, we recommend doing this before you travel and shopping around will ensure you are getting the best exchange rate. If you are planning to use your debit card or credit card abroad, speak with your bank about extra charges – it may be possible for you to take out a card specifically for use abroad that will not charge you fees when withdrawing money or paying for things in another country.
Most family holidays start with a car journey to the airport, and although you know you need to leave ample time to get to the airport, you should also make sure you book your airport parking well in advance. Airport parking on the day can be extremely costly – so have this one high on your priority list. Some companies offer to pick your car up from the airport and bring it back to you when you land back home but make sure you use a legitimate company as some have been known to just leave cars in lay-bys or, even worse, drive around in them whilst you’re away.
Having ameal or two out whilst you’re on your family holiday is a must, but you don’tneed to be splashing out on dining out every night as the cost will soon mountup. If you have opted for an all-inclusive break, make the most of the food onoffer at the hotel – some places will also put together a packed lunch for youand your family if you ask in advance. For those who have chosen aself-catering holiday, depending on the facilities you have available, thiscould be a great opportunity to get the whole family involved with meals suchas a BBQ or pizza making.
Most importantly, remember that your family holiday is a great opportunity to reconnect and spend some quality time together – we hope you have an amazing trip!
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