Going on holiday abroad is expensive enough without kids. Whilst you may not notice much of a difference in cost when travelling with infants, the price can shoot up dramatically once your little ones need their own hotel bed and airplane seat. If you’re on a tight budget but eager to take the family abroad this year, here are just a few ways in which you can reduce costs.
How far in advance you decide to book your holiday can often have an impact on the price – you can get discounts by booking early or by booking last minute. Given that it’s much harder to be spontaneous with kids, booking early is often the better option when travelling with a family.
Booking early also comes with other benefits. By booking far in advance, you can usually pay for the holiday in small instalments spread out over a longer period. Some airlines may also have individual early bird deals that could involve letting one child travel free or offering discounts on luggage. It’s worth noting that you’re also more likely to get a free upgrade by being an early bird passenger. Sites like My Holiday Guru can help you to compare the best early bird deals around.
Travel on the off-season
June to August is peak season for most travel destinations and is generally the most expensive time to travel. If you choose to go away outside of the months, you can usually get yourself a discount as many hotels and airlines will be offering more competitive deals to compensate for the lower demand. Destinations such as the Canary Islands, Turkey, Cyprus and Tunisia are often still guaranteed the heat during September and May, whilst more northerly destinations may be more of a gamble.
If your kids are in school, travelling out of season may involve taking the kids out of school, which could result in you getting fined in some cases. This is something you should weigh up before booking your trip.
Camping is certain to save you money wherever you go in the world. Campsite fees are a fraction of the cost of a hotel whilst often still containing facilities such as a pool and an on-site restaurant. If staying in a tent isn’t for you, you could still save money by renting a caravan or a yurt in a campsite or even by taking your own caravan. Companies like Canvas Holidays are great for finding camping holiday deals.
Consider a holiday rental
Renting an apartment or a villa could work out cheaper than booking a hotel in some cases, especially if you’ve got a big family. Holiday rentals often come with self-catering facilities – by cooking your own meals, you could save a lot of money. You can even buy your own holiday home at Carolina Designs and rent it out to others when you’re not using it. Rental accommodation may not always be centrally located so bear this in mind when booking.
Book an all-inclusive hotel
You could also save a lot of money by booking an all-inclusive hotel. These deals allow you to get free breakfast, lunch and dinner at the hotel, usually in the form of a buffet. By not having to eat out at restaurants, you can make huge cuts to your holiday spending. Of course, you need to be certain that you’ll enjoy the food at the hotel – for this reason, it’s worth reading reviews in advance.
Be wary that all inclusive may not always include free drinks. Always check this in the description – some hotels have free bars that will save you a lot of money. You’ll usually only have a limited selection of drinks to choose from, but this may be all you need in most cases.
Take your own food on the plane
A lot of families don’t think to take their own pack lunches on the plane – whilst airplanes may forbid liquids, many foods are still allowed, which could prevent the need to shell out on airplane food. Of course, this varies across the world and certain foreign flights may forbid certain items. You can usually check the airline restrictions online.
Eat street food
When it comes to saving money on food, you can also spend less by ditching restaurants and trying street vendors. Most travel resorts will have markets where you can usually taste local flavours for a very cheap price. These foods can still be very wholesome.
Bulk buy bottled water in the shops
In some countries, it may be recommended that you avoid drinking tap water. This means buying bottled water, which can soon get expensive. Rather than buying single bottles of water from shops and restaurants, try to load up on large bottles of water from a local supermarket – you can share these and it will cost you a lot less.
Use buses not taxis
When it comes to public transport costs, you should always compare your options. Taxis tend to usually be the most expensive form of transport – if you’re travelling with a large family, you may have to pay even more for a large taxi. Buses are likely to be cheap and are worth taking when you need to travel long distance. Meanwhile, when it comes to travelling a short distance, you could be better off walking (make sure to bring strollers or infant carriers if your kids are still young so that you have this option).
Look into local sightseeing passes
Some popular tourist destinations may have a local sightseeing pass that allows you discounted prices on all the local attractions. An example of this is the New York CityPASS, in which you can save as much as 42%. These passes tend to be more reliable and better value than independent excursion packages.
Take advantage of free activities
When it comes to finding things to do with the kids abroad, you don’t always have to spend money. Whilst you may have to pay for some of the bigger attractions, there are likely to be other activities you can do that don’t cost a penny.
For example, if you’re by the beach, you could spend a day playing beach games or building sandcastles or simply going on a hike. Cities meanwhile often have parks to take the kids and burn off some energy for free. There may also be organised free walks and free museums in some cities, not to mention churches and temples (these are usually free, unless it’s a major religious building).
Resist using a credit card
A credit card can be an easy way to afford a holiday, but for every expense paid on that card you’ll have to then pay interest in the long run. It’s much better to pay for a holiday with savings – when it comes to spending money, make sure to budget each day so that your money lasts. Try to use your credit card only for emergencies. Using a credit card abroad can sometimes offer you more security (most credit card providers will refund you if you’re scammed) but you need to decide whether this is worth paying more in the long run.