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Just a moan about no holiday....for the 8th year

75 replies

rolledup · 26/05/2023 05:53

We've not been able to go away on holiday for 8 years. Just never been able to get time off or afford it. We have no family support for childcare do work round it meaning reduced hours and working opposite so as a daily we get little time off all together. All our immediate friends are going abroad this year and I can't help but feel a bit jealous. I would love a break away but we just can't find spare money or time. Everything costs so much and I'm thankful we can afford our bills but it's pretty much pay goes in and then straight out. I had a look at weekend aways and even those are extortionate. It's hard now as the children talk about why are we not going away, I feel like I'm failing as a parent.

I was with friends at the weekend and they spoke of new furniture, new cars, beauty treatments plus going abroad for two weeks in summer. I am really happy for them but came away feeling rather rubbish. We both work in full time roles in professional settings. We've got degrees, I'm in a senior position yet we have no room for further progression. Our children do not go without and we do manage days out and activities but I really feel for them as when they go back to school after the break they will be either the only ones or some of their very few who won't have been away. We live in a middle class area so surrounded by wealth. We did look at moving but are all settled here.

It's just a moan really. I know how fortunate we are having a safe home and food on the table but the relentless ways can be hard.

OP posts:
Ladylulabelle · 26/05/2023 06:51

Surely you have enough annual leave for a long weekend with both of you off together even if you have to try and cover most of the holidays? Some air bnbs are cheap or as people have already said- caravan holidays can be. Kids love tents / caravans! It doesn’t have to be 2 weeks all inclusive in the Caribbean.

redbrow · 26/05/2023 06:52

I think you have to accept that the choices you have made up to this point will have both desirable and undesirable consequences.
So if the area you live in is expensive, you are likely paying off a mortgage, this is a commitment.
You have 2 children and as you are both working full time you have had considerable child care costs. This won't be forever and will presumably improve as they grow. If your childcare eats up every penny you have then maybe the area you live in is too expensive for you, or the service you use is the very very best you can afford.
However ask yourself this. What do you spend money on that is not essential?
Do you buy new clothes out of habit or for pleasure or do you only replace what is worn out? This is a choice.
Do you use beauty products? Another choice.
Do you have family days out?
Do you have hobbies/ sports etc.?
Do you eat out instead of bringing food from home?
These are all perfectly fine things to do, but they all cost money, and none are essential.
For some people there is a baseline of life and then holidays are on top of this, so either they have the money, or simply don't go that year. They won't change their lifestyle because holidays aren't extremely important to them.
Others choose to lower the baseline and put holidays before trips to the hairdressers or sports accessories for example.
Neither is better than the other but just a question of what you prefer.
If you can only just afford to feed and house your family then holidays are not an option, otherwise it's a question of priorities because going away camping for a few days is only unaffordable if you have spent your money elsewhere.

Sewfrickinamazeballs · 26/05/2023 06:56

I feel you. We earn a pretty decent wage between us, but like you a major blocker is the time off. No grandparents to help, so we split all school holidays between us. We try to have a few days off together but this is split up over the year. Our DD finds the holidays camps overwhelming if she is in them longer than 2-3 days in a row so we tend to only do these a couple of weeks in the year and the take Mondays and Fridays off, occasionally overlapping with each other which is when we have time off together. It sucks.

We also have friends all going away, but they have loads of grandparent input so can take the time off as they have more leave together. As they have help, their childcare bills are lower, whereas the money we spend on a childminder during the week could be spent on a holiday. This is just my group of friends, so not sure it applies more widely. I know I am jealous, but it is what it is.

Spiralcar · 26/05/2023 06:56

How old are the kids? Things will get better as they get more independent. I know it would cost but might life be easier with an after school childminder/club rather than your DH having to work weekends? And for school holidays, my kids had to go to whatever clubs I could find for a couple of weeks at least, to make the holiday allowance work. Some childminders will cover bits of the holiday too. I'm sure you could find one night in a hotel for an adventure! And as pp have said caravans/camping are brill if you're up for it. And there's some great youth hostels in Scotland too. Many of them have private rooms. One advantage of those is that you can use the kitchens and communal areas, so it can be much better than a hotel with young kids.

Stressfordays · 26/05/2023 06:56

If you have a wealthy circle of friends, do any of them have a holiday home/caravan? I have at least 3 friends with caravans and they let me have them cheap/free for a week/weekends (I'm actually off to one today, £100 for the Bank Holiday weekend!). I'm a single parent so do know how you feel, it is so difficult to have a holiday. Look on caravan Facebook sites or at camping holidays. I like the suggestion of sharing an air b&b with friends too!

Zippedydoo123 · 26/05/2023 06:56

I have never had any family support either and childcare was always the killer. Hence no holidays for umpteen years. I haven't been abroad in 16 years and d s is now 18. I do get a lot of me time though now d's is much older and next week he stays at his dad's family so am looking forward to the well earned hush.

CoronationKicking · 26/05/2023 06:59

How old are the kids, what is your budget and where do you live roughly? I'll have a look for you

Lisbeth50 · 26/05/2023 07:01

You can get caravan breaks Monday to Friday or a long weekend quite cheaply. Under £500 if you search around.

Premier Inn or Travelodge for a couple of nights near the seaside or somewhere interesting could be an option.

You can book holidays with companies like Haven or Eurocamp quite a way in advance & pay in monthly installments which can make it more affordable. A £500 break paid for monthly could be only £50 per month.

Tesco clubcard vouchers are great. I always buy our railcard with ours so we get cheaper train travel. You can use them with some holiday companies plus ferries. We've managed to get free cross channel ferries in the past just by using clubcard vouchers

Zippedydoo123 · 26/05/2023 07:01

Please bear in mind that many families live on credit to sustain their holidays and fancy lifestyle. I have no debt no mortgage but I refuse to live on visa cards to go abroad once a year. I personally think these families are just digging a bigger hole for themselves in the long run!

Lisbeth50 · 26/05/2023 07:05

You mentioned Scotland. Hoseasons has several Monday to Friday breaks in Scotland this August, so school holidays, for £300-£400. You can yse Tesco vouchers with Hoseasons too.

Zippedydoo123 · 26/05/2023 07:07

Could you do house swaps? I cannot as it isn't a tourist destination where we live.

jeffhasgoodhair · 26/05/2023 07:07

I'm working a few hours a week in a pub on top of full-time because I want to afford a holiday.

Mnusernc · 26/05/2023 07:22

Airbnb in Scotland? If you're English the end of August is cheaper

xPissflapsx · 26/05/2023 07:26

What about camping? It doesn't cost much if you find a little farms campsite

whiteroseredrose · 26/05/2023 07:41

Camping is a cheap way to holiday but unfortunately the initial outlay can be high so you need to go fairly regularly.

It's no fun if your sleeping bag isn't warm enough and your airbed goes down in the night.

If you can book a long way in advance Premier Inn and Travelodge often have family rooms from £50-£100 a night.

Doyoumind · 26/05/2023 07:42

Whatever your circumstances I feel like if you're both in good jobs there must be changes you can make to your spending to pay for something. I've been a single mum for years but having a holiday is important so I'm very careful with my spending on food, clothes etc and I plan cheap holidays well in advance. We camp or stay in the cheapest accommodation I find from hours of searching. I set aside a small amount of money each month specifically for a holiday. It doesn't add up to much but it helps.

Kentkittypie · 26/05/2023 08:01

Op lots of families have no wider support, 2 DC, pay after school and holiday childcare and have 2 professional salaries and do okay. It's not unusual at all.

Is it that your professional salaries are less than £30k and your mortgage is huge? Otherwise it is hard to see why you can only cover the bills and not manage one holiday.

If the first you need to increase your take home if you can. If the later think about moving to a much cheaper housing area. If it's childcare that will reduce soon you might be okay, but otherwise something has to change. You sound defeatist.

Emmacb82 · 26/05/2023 08:05

I think they key is to plan in advance. Have a look for next year now, a lot of companies you can pay a low deposit and then pay the holiday off monthly. We went away for 4 nights at Easter 2 adults 2 kids for £250 in a lodge. Paid it off over a few months which made it affordable

goodkidsmaadhouse · 26/05/2023 08:11

OP look at Scotland end of August when the Scottish schools are back. If you tell us what you can scrape together (£200? £300?) I bet we can find you something. MNers are amazing at finding a niche holiday I’ve found!

FWIW I can think of lots of friends who won’t be going on holiday this year but to not have had a holiday in 8 years does seem rubbish and I’d feel gloomy about it too.

rolledup · 26/05/2023 08:12

I expected some people to pick apart our income. We've been together only 10 years, in that time had two children. We've had redundancy twice a house move and a few unexpected expenses. We save then it gets used.

This month we have one car for a service and mot plus road tax, car needed for work as very rural.

The other car has tax due so that combined is £850.

We had to pay a penalty last year to come out if fixed rate mortgage, that was £1200.

We've never had help from family with childcare. We have no debt at all. Our last night out was 2018!

The children are primary age. They have hobbies which are a bit expensive but they enjoy them.

I'm not being a defeatist, it can just be tiring with no real break away.

Before anyone else comments, we live in a very modest house, the smallest the village has, we do not drink or smoke. Our cars are older and modest. We do not live hand to mouth but the increase in energy and food prices had eaten away any potential for savings that's all. I am aware we are lucky to have what we have. I'm just tired.

OP posts:
User0311 · 26/05/2023 08:16

We are in a similar position. We have 3 children all planned, none of which have ever been abroad yet. For the past 6 years we have been paying 1k plus a month in childcare costs so haven't managed to have a break. It makes me feel terrible, everyone around us going abroad and we haven't managed it in 7 years.

Hollyppp · 26/05/2023 08:22

OP I feel for you, that sucks. 8 year is a long time, I get why you feel frustrated.

HelloDaisy · 26/05/2023 08:22

ZoeQ90 · 26/05/2023 06:15

Would you consider camping? It's not for everyone but can be very cheap and you can get equipment secondhand. Even just one night away and change of scenery can feel like a real break.

We camped for a long time when dc were little as it was cheaper and all we could afford. We went with friends every time and had a fab time.

We all loved it though and still camped when we had more money, just went further instead! Dh and I will probably still camp when dc have left home as it’s so relaxing and I sleep better in my tent than anywhere else..

JustGotToKeepOnKeepingOn · 26/05/2023 08:23

I did camping when DD was small. As a single parent there was wry little money for any holidays. We went to seaside campsites and it was cheap as chips - £75 for a week. We went with other single mums or families and the kids loved it. Everyone mucked in so meals were shared and it eased the load. Parents spent evenings around the campfire, it was always good fun.

Upsizer · 26/05/2023 08:23

You sound like you might both be in the statutory sector? Where they want you to work yourselves all hours and never take leave. Don’t fall for it!!

The first thing you need to do is book the time off. Do it at the beginning of the year. Prioritise a holiday together.

Then yes - find a caravan site or a beach hut style holiday that is cheap but in a different place. Kids love being by the sea. Holidays with kids are shit but they are still holidays.

There are still places you can get for £500 a week which is probably not so bad when you deduct the childcare costs you don’t use. And it’s a break. Might be tricky having left it late although there are still some good deals on Airbnb.

the thing is to prioritise the leave!

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