Ten ways to save on family travel
Holidays make one of the biggest dents in most parents' annual budgets, so anything you can do to reduce your spending on travel and accommodation is worth it.
Here's our starter for 10, culled from Mumsnetters' thrifty travel tips. For gazillions more, head to Mumsnet Talk.
- Book early - 10 or 11 months before you go, ideally. Book flights as soon as they're released and there will still be cheaper seats available; the same applies to trains. Accommodation often has a discount if you're an early booker; so do travel companies. If you don't see a discount mentioned, ask.
- Book late - because in the last few days before a holiday happens, it's going to be cheaper if the seats and accommodation will otherwise be empty. Be ready to leap as soon as you see something that suits - last-minute bookers get great bargains but have less choice.
- Buy annual travel insurance - it's a lot cheaper than pay-as-you-go insurance.
- But don't renew it automatically because you may not be about to travel. So when your policy comes up for renewal, think about when you'll next be travelling - if it's not for a few months, hold off getting a new policy until you actually need it.
- Borrow guidebooks from the library - they usually have very up-to-date titles, and unless you holiday in the same place each year, you won't need them again.
- Share accommodation with another family - a house that sleeps 12 people isn't usually six times more expensive than one that sleeps two. Sharing a holiday house often means you can afford a more luxurious pad while paying less than you would for a more ordinary property.
- Camp - now glamping is so hot it's not necessarily cheaper, but it can be, so shop around. And if you don't own a tent or camping kit, see whether you can borrow it from another family.
- Pre-book everything you'll need at the airport - your Euros or other foreign currency, your parking, your airline baggage... Once you're at the airport, you're a captive market: so before you set off, think through every penny you'll have to hand over while you're there, and go online to do deals and take advantage of better options than buying on the day.
- Contact your mobile network operator before you go abroad and ask for a 'bolt-on' international deal - it's much cheaper than the charges they'll hit you with otherwise.
- Try youth hostels - they're better than ever for families and a lot cheaper than hotels. What's more, you can often choose to make your own meals, which can help save a lot more money while you're away from home.
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Disclaimer: Any content in our family money section is intended as general information only. For specific advice about your personal financial situation, get advice from qualified, regulated professionals.