As everyone with a family knows, arranging a good family holiday that ticks all the boxes can be a nightmare: a beach for the children, nightlife to amuse the teenager, hmm, somewhere dog-friendly would be nice, and the chance for parents to relax – a definite bonus. But sometimes it seems that getting that elusive holiday to suit everyone means a holiday that’s way over budget.
It need not be so. Here are the top tips and resources to having it all at a bargain price this summer.
Last minute holidays
When it comes to holidays, there are those that plan meticulously, working out how each day will be spent and what each person will be doing (possibly with the aid of a spreadsheet) and those who throw all that to the wind and declare that they will take each day as it comes. It’s actually rather hard to be less-than-organised when you have a lot of people to look after, but in order to save money sometimes it’s a good idea, as last minute bargains can be very, very inexpensive. Benefits: you may discover a good new destination you wouldn’t normally go to. Disadvantages: the exact hotel you prefer may not be available.
It stands to reason that travel within the UK will cost less than flying abroad, but sadly it isn’t always so. However, there are some good companies offering discount rail tickets, and you will always save on regular tickets by booking in advance. Alternatively, pack the whole family into the car and drive to your destination. The UK offers a lot for a holiday: stunning natural scenery, summer weather to rival many European destinations, great culture, and good food. Benefits: potentially less travel time, and definitely no hanging around the airport for hours, discovering what’s great about the UK, smaller carbon footprint, you can bring the dog. Disadvantages: What if it rains?
Staying at home
Wait… that’s not a holiday! But the “Staycation” has become increasingly popular. It involves sleeping in your own bed at night but spending each day doing fun “holiday” things, like booking a day horseback riding, visiting museums and tourist attractions, and even driving to the seaside for the day. Continue the holiday feeling by eating at restaurants in the evening and even for breakfasts, if you want to get up that early. You could plan it all like a traditional holiday, giving yourself a specific start and end date (say, a week) and planning your activities in advance. You should definitely ban “just slipping to the office”. Benefits: You need no language skills, you might find a favourite new restaurant / hobby / place to go right on your doorstep. Disadvantages: You’ll have to make your own bed.
Other ideas to make your hard won holiday money go further are the perennial favourite of camping in the UK or abroad, thus saving money on accommodation, staying with friends who live in, or near, a good holiday destination (you’ll need to be good at networking), trying split-ticketing, or checking for discount airfare tickets.
One thing is certain: There are plenty of ideas and resources out there for anyone looking to bag a great holiday for their whole family this year. What are some of your best tips?