Thursday, 4 July 2019

How to save money when holidaying with kids

The cheapest way to holiday with kids is not to. How true is that?

When you factor in the extortionate UV swimsuits, the entire pharmacy section of Boots, and enough snacks to feed a small country - not to mention the family suite required by the hotel (if it was up to you, you'd just squash em all in..) and the 2/3/4 extra seats on the plane, and your itemised holiday bill ends up looking as a long as a first-time mum’s hospital bag packing list.
But travelling with kids doesn’t have to smash the budget. You can still make #memories and cut the cost.

Our first tip is to fly midweek if you have pre-school aged kids. Tuesdays and Wednesdays tend to be the cheapest days to fly - just avoid weekends and school holidays like the plague whilst you can. Use comparison sites like Skyscanner or Kayak to find the best deals - you can search 'flex dates' to find the cheapest day to fly.

If you have school-age children, check their inset days. These are often stuck onto the start or end of holidays and flying out on one of these days can save you big bucks. Jo had first-hand experience of this when she flew to Portugal in May half term and saved £300 on flights by leaving on the Friday rather than the Saturday.  

Think about the length of your trip. Going for four, six or nine days rather than seven, 10 or 14 can save you money on flights.

Double up: if you join up with relatives or family friends, the cost per person can be much cheaper, especially if you pool together to rent a big house. Even if you're in a hotel, you'll be able to share babysitting / meals / taxis etc to cut costs.

Look out for flight sales - in January and other times of year depending on the airline, when costs are slashed. If you can be flexible, go for the 'everywhere' option on Skyscanner - it'll flag the cheapest places to go during your dates.

Do your research on a destination before you go. When Lucy hit the States with her kids, she found that kids' museums were free on certain afternoons each week (saving $50+) and booking activities in advance saved money too.

Got little kids? Do as much travelling as possible. Most airlines won’t charge for children under 2 who sit on your knee.

Look for a hotel where kids eat and stay for free. This is more common than you think especially with big brands like Holiday Inn and Marriott.

Take your own car seats. If you’re hiring a car on holiday, you can save around £12 a day by bringing your own. Most airlines will let you put a car seat in the hold for free. We’ve bought cheap car seat bags from Amazon in the past for added protection. (Check airline costs, though. Easyjet, for example, allows two items for free, like a buggy / car seat / travel cot - but not all airlines do.)

Bring toys from home. I don’t know about you, but we always end up buying buckets, spades, lilos, goggles and beach balls from the hotel souvenir shop. Save a bit of money by taking your plastic crap with you or do a pre-holiday stock-up at Poundland.

Take a Tupperware with you and sneak some bread rolls or fruit from the breakfast buffet for the kids to snack on later.

For big money-savers we're considering for future breaks, think laterally about where you're staying. It doesn't always have to be a big hotel: cool hostels now offer family-friendly room options, and house-swapping is a really cheap way to grab a great pad overseas.


1 comment

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