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What are your best tips for saving money on family holidays? Share to win a £300 Love2Shop voucher, courtesy of Lloyds Bank. NOW CLOSED(321 Posts)
We all know that taking the family away can come with a hefty price tag, but in the cold, dark months everyone could do with having a bit of sunshine to look forward to later in the year. Lloyds Bank would like you to share advice on finding a great family getaway that doesn't break the bank.
Here’s what they said: “Holidays with your family can create memories that last a lifetime, however sometimes your finances can overshadow the time away. Whether it’s early, meticulous planning or a spontaneous last minute break, we would love to hear Mumsnetter’s tips for getting the most value from a family holiday" – Lloyds Bank
We know Mumsnetters are a savvy bunch, so what tips do you have for keeping the cost of your holiday down?
Do you venture off the beaten track when it comes to choosing a destination? Would you plan your own holiday package to find the best individual deals and eliminate unnecessary extras? Maybe you go away with other families to share the cost - or go for self-catering options to control your budget?
Whatever your tips, Lloyds Bank would like to hear them for saving when it comes to booking your family holidays: whether at home or abroad.
Everyone who posts on this thread will be entered into a prize draw and one MNer will win a £300 Love2Shop voucher.
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We go camping - it lets us control the costs and spend money on fun things rather than eating every meal out
Car picnics are a cheap way to do lunch out.
We got National Trust life membership a few years ago, so we always visit at least one NT house or garden to get a free holiday outing.
Bringing water bottles out saves lots on drinks (and means they can't pester for add-ons while buying drinks).
Taking advantage of any strange school holidays to get a cheap deal on accommodation (we went to Scotland at the end of August, when Scottish schools were back but ours weren't).
Self-catering, even for short city breaks. I get fed up with restaurant food anyway, so we only eat out for one meal a day maximum and can make sandwiches for lunch and try local foods and markets. Also you don't have to rely on hotel breakfast times
We like to organise an annual family holiday where me, dw, 2 dd's and their grandparents, aunties, uncles and cousins all book a self catering lodge/house close by.
We take a long weekend and split the cost amongst all the family. Shopping in bulk keeps the costs low, each family contributes something to a big meal on one of the nights and we all play board games.
The kids are all able to play together and we can take their bikes so they have free fun activities. If the weather is good we have a bbq and have fun outdoors letting the kids run wild. It's great getting everyone together, when you work full time you really appreciate your holiday more.
We are very lucky in that we have a lot of family abroad and are generally able to lodge with them during our stay so it means we only have to pay for travel which gives us lovely holidays which we otherwise could not afford.
Dress kids in bright colours at airports and take a picture of your kids everyday (on your phone) for a quick 'refer to' should the worst happen and they get separated from you/lost
Packed lunches and staying in city apartments - avoids travel costs getting to out-of-town resorts, means can buy deli/ready meals/takeaway for dinner even when kids are in bed, and cheap breakfast even if splashing out on food you don't have at home. Second National Trust for lunches rather than service stations an route anywhere (also off-motorway petrol is cheaper and non-motorway routes are more interesting to look at and you can stop for emergency toilet/vomit needs!)
Any place is interesting for a few days, so have a city break wherever there's a good deal! If you can't get your DP to camp, find a friend to go camping with you and kids instead.
Also shared houses with other families can work really well - first night the kids won't sleep for ages but after that parents can each have a night out and hang out, and the kids can play in the morning while parents snooze - but only works if you all have similar ideas about rules for children and how to split money...think carefully!
I have a Metro Bank account which charges no fees on overseas transactions, within Europe.
I like to plan my own holidays so it doesn't help to go away with other families as they always end up wanting to do different things. I tend to book transport and accommodation separately, and I sign up to different flight/hotel chain emails so I can get alerts about when they run sales or release tickets.
We often double it up with a trip to see family (other end of the country). So we save on accommodation for a couple of nights, share meals, get to spend quality time but it feels like a break. Then we continue our holiday in another location, usually self catering but budgeting for meals out. We try to make the most of the beautiful areas we visit - beaches, countryside etc which is all FOC.
Check out deals on Groupon (or other voucher sites) for meals etc.
Also, make sure you're registered with Quidco or TopCashBack and click through from thee before making your holiday booking, travel insurance or airport car parking.
Self catering all the way- never eat out for breakfast. Take your own snacks and drinks on a day out. The small super concentrated squash bottles are great- fill your water bottle with tap water and turn it into squash, saves carrying multiple drinks around all day
We save pound coins all year in one of those tins you have to open with a tin opener as our spending money. We look out for coupons and offers such as merlin attractions on things like cereal packets.
We look early to try and get the best prices and tend to go self-catering. Then meal plan as we would at home. Packed lunches and snacks for days out saves a fortune.
In the UK, I will always look at what there is to do in the area in advance and balance free days out with more pricey ones. We have National Trust membership, so would try to do one day at one of their properties. Also cash in Tesco vouchers for attractions or meals out, or pre-book tickets for places if there's a discount.
Try to go self catering and take picnic lunches on day trips. Eating out is expensive! Also buy holiday clothes in the sale if poss although sizing is tricky.
Camping or self catering
Youth hostels in England do good offers round about now too
Definately go to places of interest rather than holiday destinations - means you actually get to view other cultures and not pay expensive tourist prices for treats like meals out, ice creams etc.
If I'm going somewhere with a half-board catering option, I take it. I fibd it saves a lot of money but still gives me the flexibility of going somewhere lovely for lunch.
We usually go self catering, as I'm a fussy eater. But I've found that in certain places, it can work out cheaper to eat out. Lots of places have kids eat free, and coupons for free breakfast. We take full advantage of these, and it can work out at only a few dollars for a huge breakfast!
We are going to Centre Parcs in Holland, which is far cheaper than the UK equivalent (even factoring in travel costs). It also satisfies my desire to get away from the UK, and being able to self cater means we will save money there too.
If you are going to a holiday park, book a privately owned caravan and buy the entertainment passes when you arrive. Much cheaper than booking direct with one of the big companies.
Self catering - and look carefully at dates because even going a week earlier (assuming you can making allowances for school etc.) can reduce the cost. Take packed lunches when out and your own snacks and drinks. Look for vouchers for attractions in the area you are going to. If going abroad be aware of phone charges so you don't have any nasty surprises.
Stay in apartments with kitchens rather than hotels. It means you can cook your own meals.
Packed lunches, or buy a baguette, cheese and yoghurt, take a thermos or ice packs dependent on season. Take your own water bottles.
If staying in a hotel abroad, never have the hotel breakfast, but either go and bring it back in fresh, or go out.
Check your currency conversion rates frequently. Buy with discretion.
And if off the beaten track check you have small denominations of currency, they may not take cards. Make sure that any money changing you do is reputable, fake currency exists and you could be being set up.
Travel from the airport the way the locals do. Public transport is usually fine.
Check policies on charges for children and oldies. More discounts are possible than you would imagine.
Make sure your insurance is good, and then you can take appropriate chances on flights and accommodation.
Don't waste money on flash suitcases.