Here are some money saving tips for you to think about for your next family holiday. We know prices are increasing at home and also when away, whether it be the unfavourable exchange rate, the cost of airport parking, food and drinks while on holiday. We’ve put together a list of our top cost saving tips because, as one of the big supermarkets says ‘Every Little Helps’ and even if it means you have more spending money on holiday because of savings, that helps with the local economy : )
Buy things you can get at home and pack them in your suitcases
Swim toys and floaties etc are definitely worth buying before and taking with you. If you’re in a resort, the gift shop will charge a premium and you can end up paying double for certain things. We often take swim toys and inflatables from home and then donate them to other families if we have no space to bring them back. Suncream is another thing I would recommend taking from home. Most families have a favourite brand, so if you’ve got the space (you can pack the bottles in your shoes), its worth taking it with you so you don’t have to pay the higher prices when you arrive. You will also be able to go straight to the pool once you get there and not have to worry about getting to a shop to buy suncream first. Don’t forget that suncream has an expiry date. On the back of the bottle it will show you how long it lasts once opened, a tip we recently learnt and one worth sharing.
Be prepared at the airport
Reports of large queues and delays at the airport are rife at the moment. When travelling with kids, the airport can be very boring and this makes the kids irritable and hard work for the parents. I like to pack snacks (my daughter is a grazer) and make sure the iPad is fully stocked with her favourite shows. I also make sure i’ve bought my holiday book and magazines for her before getting to the airport. We also take empty water bottles through security and fill them up once airside. It is quite easy to spend £100 at an airport before you’ve even left, without even thinking. Another option is to prebook a lounge, which will give you up to 4 hours and they normally include food and drink. Its a nice place to escape the busy terminal and relax before your flight, my husband always says if you’re not walking in and out of shops you aren’t able to spend money! haha. Some airports even have play areas for kids – a great place to escape and let them burn off some steam before a long flight.
Certain aspects of your holiday are cheaper the earlier you book. Trains, ferries and airport parking gets more expensive the closer to departure. It is always worth booking something (always check out the terms and conditions and make sure you can cancel if you need to) as soon as possible to keep the costs down. A lot of days out / excursions are cheaper if you book a few days in advance rather than the ‘on the day price’. If you’re able to plan your trip and prebook excursions, it can save some money.
Road Trip Tips
If you’re travelling by road, there are a few things that can bring the costs down. Things like filling up at a larger petrol station before leaving, the cost of fuel at services can be inflated and will cost you more. Also stock up on your favourite snacks and treats for the kids before you leave. After a long journey it is easy to just buy buy buy at services, anything for some peace in the car for the rest of the journey. Prices can be a bit more expensive and as with airport prices, you will end up paying more for things you could easily have bought at home. When travelling by car you may have more space so if you’re staying in self catering accommodation, you could even take food / drinks with you – as anything that is on site and makes your life easier while on holiday, will be more expensive.
Take your car seat with you
If you are travelling to a destination where you will be renting a car / driving, it can save you a lot of money to take your own car seat. All car hire companies will have car seats available to rent (you should request this when booking) but they charge a daily rate and it can quickly add up. You also dont know the kind of car seat you will receive or whether or not its been in an accident and /or usage. When flying with a child you can check in a car seat for free, when we fly I put mine in this bright red handy carry bag so its easy to spot on the luggage carousel. Alternatively there are more compact car seats on the market that fold up and can be carried on board – see hifold by mifold – this was great when we travelled during Covid and only took hand luggage to limit other people touching our belongings.
Travelling out of season
If your kids haven’t started school or you’re lucky enough for your school holidays to be slightly different to most schools, you’ll almost always get a better deal. Its no secret that airlines and accommodation providers hike their prices in high season, so if you are able to travel outside of these times – it will be cheaper. If you’re stuck to travelling during school holidays, always look at travelling a few days before / after holidays as sometimes it can dramatically reduce the prices. It’s also worth booking flights when the airlines release seats or during their sales. We specialise in out of season breaks at Holiday Tots – check out some family holiday inspiration. The last week in the summer holidays abroad is often cheaper too.
When using your everyday debit card abroad you are usually charged a fee. This is charged for online / in store purchases as well as ATM withdrawals. I applied for a Monzo account a few years ago (its simple and all done online) which I use when travelling or purchasing something online. I love that it isn’t linked to my current account so if it goes missing or is stolen only the money I’ve loaded into this account is at risk. You can move money from your current account into your Monzo account in the currency you need from the app on your phone. You also get instant notifications for any charges so if your card is stolen you can act immediately and either move your money out or cancel your card. The account I have is free, but they do offer 2 other accounts where a monthly fee is charged so make sure you sign up for the correct account. The chargeable accounts include things like travel insurance which may be beneficial anyway. There are a few other companies offering similar cards so do your research and apply for the account that is the best fit for you.
MoneySavingExpert has some great tips on their website so its definitely worth having read of their tips when you start planning your next holiday.