6 Ways to save money when taking children on holiday next year

With the school holidays drawing to a close, many of us are starting to plan our summer holiday for next year already. Here are some easy ways to cut the cost of your next family break.

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A family holiday can be a fantastic opportunity to create lasting memories and strengthen bonds. However, it can also strain your wallet, especially when children are involved.

From accommodation to entertainment and dining, the costs can add up quickly. Fortunately, with careful planning and savvy strategies, you can enjoy a fantastic family holiday without breaking the bank. 

Here are six ways to save money when taking children on holiday:

1. Use Travel Rewards and Discounts

Harnessing travel rewards and discounts can be a game-changer in your quest to save money on family vacations. These perks can come in various forms, from airline miles to hotel loyalty programs and credit card rewards. 

Many travel websites and apps offer special promotions and exclusive offers that can make your journey more affordable. For instance, if you are visiting Universal Studios, you need to watch out for opportunities to get discounted Universal Studios tickets, as this can significantly cut your entertainment expenses while providing an unforgettable experience for your family.

You can use various tips, including signing up for newsletters and following travel-related social media accounts, to stay updated on the latest offers. Additionally, consider investing in a travel rewards credit card that provides cashback, points, or miles that can be redeemed.

2. Travel Off-Peak

Selecting the right time to travel can significantly impact your family holiday budget. Generally, peak travel times often come with inflated prices for flights, accommodations, and attractions.

This sometimes can’t be avoided if you have school-age children however, if your youngsters haven’t yet started school you can take advantage of the savings that can be made by travelling during off-peak seasons.

Travelling during off-peak seasons helps you save on both accommodation and transportation. Moreover, these periods translate to fewer crowds, providing your children with a more relaxed and enjoyable experience.

Even if you have school-aged children and are limited by term times, you could enjoy a mid-week break, which will be cheaper than a full week. Or you could just go away for weekends throughout the year.

Plus, there are some destinations that are less popular during the summer holidays because their weather is less favourable – for example visiting a country where their winter is in our summer. This could mean a cheaper break if you don’t mind choosing a less popular destination.

3. Opt for Self-Catering Accommodation

Accommodation costs can quickly eat into your family holiday budget. Therefore, consider self-catering accommodations like holiday rentals, caravans, lodges or serviced apartments instead of splurging on expensive hotels.

These options typically provide more space (so you don’t have to spend all of your time out of the room doing expensive activities!) along with the convenience of a fully equipped kitchen, allowing you to prepare your meals.

Cooking your meals can be a fun family activity and a significant money-saver. You can shop at grocery stores or local markets, often offering more budget-friendly prices than dining out for every meal. Plus, access to a kitchen means you can accommodate picky eaters or special dietary needs without extra charges.

4. Plan Budget-Friendly Activities

When planning your holiday itinerary, prioritize budget-friendly and suitable activities for children. Many destinations offer free or low-cost attractions that can be just as enjoyable as pricier options.

Preferably, look for parks, playgrounds and nature reserves, which are often free to access and provide endless entertainment for kids. You can also research local museums or cultural sites offering free admission or discounted educational activities on certain days or times.

Moreover, some cities have tourist cards that grant access to different attractions at a reduced price. Taking advantage of these deals can significantly reduce your overall entertainment expenses.

5. Create a Budget and Stick to It

Before embarking on your family vacation, establish a realistic budget and stick to it. Your budget should consider all expenses, including transportation, accommodation, food, activities and souvenirs.

Budgeting for your trip shouldn’t be challenging. You can use budgeting apps or spreadsheets to stay organized and monitor your spending.

It’s also crucial to make a daily spending allowance for non-essential purchases – you’ll probably want to treat your family to the occasional ice cream or send a postcard home. Additionally, the daily budget will help to teach your children about financial responsibility while enjoying the holiday.

Also, you can encourage your kids to start saving for their holiday throughout the year so that they’ve got their own spending money to enjoy when they’re away – another great life lesson for little ones!

6. Pack Wisely

Smart packing not only makes your travelling convenient but also saves money. While overpacking can lead to excess baggage fees, forgetting essential items might force you to purchase them at a premium on your trip.

To avoid these pitfalls, create a thorough packing list well in advance. This list should include any necessary medications, baby supplies and comfort items for your children. 

Moreover, instead of buying new clothes for the trip, encourage your children to wear the clothes they already have. You may want to choose versatile pieces that can be mixed and matched during the vacation.

Also, pack reusable water bottles and snacks to reduce the need for expensive airport or convenience store purchases.

Taking children on holiday doesn’t have to be a financial burden. You can create lasting memories without overspending by making smart choices, being flexible, and planning ahead. Remember to explore off-peak times and destinations, book accommodation with kitchen facilities, seek discounts and deals, plan free or low-cost activities, and pack appropriately. 

Let me know how you’ve managed to cut the cost of your family holiday in the comments below – I’d love to hear what you got up to and how you saved money.

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in Lifestyle Promotion Studies and is trained in Personal Money Management. She loves to ‘get the look for less’ so regularly shares thrifty-living advice, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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