At this time of year, we often start thinking about where to go and what to do on our next family holiday. Whilst this can be an exciting prospect it can also be financially worrisome as affording travel as a couple can be pretty expensive, but when it comes to taking the kids, costs can quickly spiral out of control if you’re not careful.
This article offers five tips on how to save money on your next family holiday. It’s not a guide on scrimping and saving; it’s practical suggestions for ways you can make your money go further whilst still having a brilliant time.
Indeed, there are some things you should consider splurging on such as a Ninja Shark snorkel mask, as this will provide a free activity that your kids will enjoy for hours. Similarly, investing in a good case would make sense as the last thing you want is the hassle of broken luggage when travelling with children.
This therefore isn’t the cheap and cheerful guide; it’s the “use your money wisely” guide to family travel.
PREPARE FOR YOUR TRIP
There are many things you’ll need to consider before taking a trip with your family; such as travel insurance and making sure that you have any medication you require – as it’s not always available abroad (particularly if you require a subscription).
The major preparatory cost is with regard to ensuring decent travel insurance and vaccinations against specific diseases are in place; as it’s important to remember some of these treatments require several weeks if not months before travelling to be effective. Also, travelling with a baby can be a wonderfully rewarding experience but will require a lot more preparation.
The other aspect to consider is packing light as whilst you may be able to find cheap flights, particularly with low cost airlines, the cost of baggage might end up being more expensive than the flight itself.
FIND CHEAP HOTELS
There are many comparison sites that compare hotel listings from multiple providers, in a similar way to how car insurance price comparison sites find quotes on different insurance policies. The best thing about these sites is that they search through hundreds of properties on multiple websites. As an example, let’s say the ABC Hotel is $89 on Expedia but only $64 on Hotels.com – it will show you the price difference, meaning you can quickly and easily get the same hotel at the lowest possible price.
FIND CHEAP CAR HIRE
Similar to the above, there are a number of car hire comparison websites that will search for the best deal on car hire… and many offer the additional benefit of free cancellation which can be very helpful in the event of a change of plans.
FIND CHEAP FLIGHTS
If you can be flexible with your flight dates then searching for cheap flights via comparison engines that compare hundreds of flights by almost every airline in the world to present you with the cheapest deals for the dates and destinations you are looking for can save you a huge amount of money.
SkyScanner, for instance, allows for very flexible searches You can search for the whole month rather than on a specific date, and you can search for broad destinations such as “France” rather than “Paris”, meaning you can find the best possible deals to the countries your interested in travelling to.
In essence, the more flexible you can be in terms of time and location, the cheaper the flights you will be able to find. The challenge, however, when travelling with a family is that prices tend to go up in the school holidays. If it’s possible to leave just a day or two before the mad rush you will be able to find much cheaper flights.
LEVERAGE TRAVEL TRENDS
It’s important to keep up to date with travel and financial trends. As an example, many people consider Thailand and Laos to be “cheap destinations” but they’re not as cheap as they once were. For instance, the Laos currency is particularly strong at the moment and whilst it’s still a cheap destination, fluctuations like this can affect your wallet if you’re there for a while.
In recent times, many budget travellers have found that Turkey is offering a cheaper experience than travelling around Thailand, Malaysia and even India! Turkey has unfortunately received a lot of bad press in recent years, with terrorist attacks, political instability and social unrest bombarding the headlines.
The reality, however is that Turkey remains a fantastic place to go on holiday. It’s a place where locals tend to get along with each other very well and there is a sense of genuine hospitality that instantly makes you feel welcomed into the local culture – when you step outside of the main tourist resorts.
Whilst there are the occasional demonstrations, on the whole places such as Istanbul and coastal resorts are incredibly safe due to the increased police presence and security measures that are now in place.
Turkey has seen a rapid decline in tourism which means there is low demand and a huge surplus of supply – resulting in hotels practically giving away rooms at rock bottom prices. The majority of the country is an incredibly safe, calm and peaceful place and Turkish people are some of the most sincerely hospitable people around.
Istanbul is the clear capital of tourism and is famous for being one of the most culturally rich places for city break within a few hours flight from the UK. Then, there are the mystical lands filled with natural “fairy chimneys” in the Cappadocia region – or hidden away seaside coves such as Olympos, just a couple of hours from Antalya.
In reality, the package holiday tourist resorts leave much to be desired, and it is best to explore the real Turkey – particularly as a family – due to the authentic level of hospitality… but, if you are interested in more of a traditional tourist resort, the greatest thing about Turkey, at the moment, is that due to the lull in tourism, you’ll be able to reap huge cost savings, particularly on hotels, as Turkey’s tourism infrastructure has always catered for package holidays – meaning there’s a huge supply of hotels with depleted demand.
In summary, the above is not intended to promote Turkey as the best destination for families on a budget – it’s intended to offer a case study that demonstrates how travel trends can be used to squeeze the most out of your budget.
Turkey is just one example of places where travel trends can work in your favour; another trend is to visit Great Britain, as the pound has tumbled due to the brexit situation meaning you can squeeze a lot more out of your trip, financially speaking, than you could have a few years back.