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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:
Kitkattt · 26/05/2023 08:30

We always did camping when ours were small. We didn’t bother with seaside locations often either as they were more expensive. The kids just loved a field and cooking outside. We went to one in our town too to save costs and they loved it. A twenty minute drive was totally exciting for them.
maybe ask about if any of your friends have tents as that’s what we did. Just to see if we liked it and when we did we invested in one for ourselves.
mine are grown now but they still have really happy memories of these holidays.

Stabee · 26/05/2023 08:31

We used to go on static caravan holidays with DC that age and overlap one week of our leave. Private sites can be cheaper and those a little off the beaten track. Hoseasons might give you some ideas. Or camping but you need equipment for that.

DutchCowgirl · 26/05/2023 08:36

What about house swapping or house sitting? When i was a kid there was no money for holidays but we used to house-sit the house of an aunt for a week.
We like camping and when we dont have a lot to spent we go to this farm campsite without any facilities with our own tent.

How old are the kids and how long will you be needing child care? Maybe the prospect of going next year can lift you up? Each year we feel like we’re saving loads of money because we need less hours.

NisekoWhistler · 26/05/2023 08:43

Sounds like you need to book one and make it work. Unexpected bills find a way of getting paid. From all that you say you must be able to find a way to make this work, or perhaps you don't want it enough

CoronationKicking · 26/05/2023 09:17

Mate, you've not had a night out in 5 years. Your kids want a holiday, you sound fucking desperate to get away. Just do it! Eat beans and noodles for a week when you get back if you must but seriously.

I've had a quick look at 2 travelodges we've stayed in for cheap breaks. Both Durham and Chester central are £150 for 3 nights for a family room next week.

Both of them have fun walking routes around the cities, cathedrals, museums etc that are free. Buy a treasure trail for £10 online or make your own!

Take brioche, pastries, cereal bars, cup a soups and pot pastas for a cheap dinner. Buy a pack of sausage rolls and a multi pack of crisps for your lunch. Ice creams from the supermarket instead of a cafe.

If you can splash out on one fun day trip then Beamish is awesome (and your pass lasts a whole year so maybe you could go back for Christmas when it's really special) and Chester Zoo is brilliant. You're close enough to the coast from both to have a beach day. Just load up the boot and go with it!

The weather looks cracking. Life is short, just go for it!

EnjoyingTheSilence · 26/05/2023 09:27

It is so tough when it seams that everyone around you has so much but be wary. I used to feel like you with one of my friends, she was able to go shopping all the time, had a lovely car, eating out. It then came out she had massive credit card debts and no real way to pay it back.

Camping can be great fun but it’s not as cheap as it used to be. If you can borrow a tent to start with to see if you like it before you spend all the money.

Can you do day trips and take picnics? Not sure how old the kids are or where you live but I seem to remember an app that told you all the free to do things with kids in your area so whilst you might not have a ‘proper holiday’ you can at least get away from the house and do things with the kids.

It will get better, childcare costs are an absolute nightmare xx

AxolotlOnions · 26/05/2023 10:15

My dad used to take us wild camping when we were young. Easter in France is pretty cheap too as many schools don't have anything more than a long weekend. Try looking for deals after the summer holidays, I booked our Easter holiday last summer and it cost me 250 Euros for an apartment for 2 weeks. Ferry was £170 so that's 2 weeks in France for less than £500 including petrol.

Knightsrest · 26/05/2023 10:18

A weekend out of season, it’s not much but it will be a welcome break.

I have been searching for holiday accommodation. We have to go away in the first week of the summer holidays due to it being the only week everyone can get off, no kids involved either. It’s costing so much more.

About your contemporaries, DH and I are certainly not poor but we have half a dozen friends who are really very wealthy. This isn’t on credit they have just had the right combination of jobs, relationships and luck.

sHREDDIES19 · 26/05/2023 11:05

We don't have holidays abroad, simply too expensive. We holiday in the UK, either camping (which the kids absolutely love) or going to holiday parks. If you book well in advance prices are reasonable. Kids have a great time and that's the main thing really.

Amdecre · 26/05/2023 14:25

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.

I don't think it's necessarily picking apart your income OP, just trying to understand. I agree with pp that many people pay for childcare without family support and in fact I'd have thought £750 bill for 2 kids was pretty low. I was expecting you to say you were on NMW so was surprised when you said you both work in professional jobs. Most of my friends work about 1.5FTE as a couple, in various different splits of hours, in not massively well paid jobs like teaching, nursing and social care, and are paying out on childcare for primary and nursery age kids. Most seem to manage a holiday (which I understand is what you find difficult!). As another poster asked, are you in very low paying professional jobs? Have you looked at going away in school time if you're desperate? Eurocamp is v cheap in off season and I suspect British equivalents like Haven or somewhere like Darwin Forest in the Peak District are too. I agree it's very hard to see everyone around you going away and feeling like you never have any fun yourself. I hope things improve for you soon.

LlynTegid · 26/05/2023 16:03

It may not help this year, but if your children have an INSET day on a Monday or Friday it may enable you to have time away outside school holidays, when costs are lower.

Yvetty · 26/05/2023 17:59

I’m sorry to hear things are difficult OP.

Rather than camping (and needing all the stuff that goes with it), have you thought about staying in Youth Hostels? Some of them have family room with en suite facilities - and kitchens, so you can save money by taking your own food to cook.

rolledup · 26/05/2023 19:45

A wee update.

I had a look at air B&Bs, I know they are a causing huge issues in areas as they reduce housing availability to locals in areas but, I found one for three nights in the summer break for under £500. It's near a big city but quite rural so lots of parks/beaches in close proximity.

I've budgeted out food shopping for the next six weeks to allow us to pay for it and we can take food stuffs from home so won't have a huge outlay for when we are there.

It's no where mega exciting but when we told the children and showed them pictures of activities they were overjoyed! I feel so happy.

Thank you to those that gave such good support and advice.

I plan to start a holiday fund that we will put money in monthly for next year. If we budget better day to day we can afford it.

Today feels like a welcome break from the daily grind.

OP posts:
rolledup · 26/05/2023 19:48

Also just to add.

An incredibly generous and kind poster messaged me to offer their property to use cheaply. Thank you for being so lovely. People like you make the world a better place. I really appreciate your generosity but it's too far way for us at this time. You really refilled my belief in good people.

OP posts:
GeriKellmansUpdo · 26/05/2023 20:02

Aw what a nice update. Your children sound lovely. I hope you have a wonderful time.

It's hard when everyone else has more than you. But you are not failing.

Mnusernc · 26/05/2023 20:19

So lovely to hear, have a look for any offers/ clubcard vouchers/ cereal box discounts for stuff whilst you're there. Hope you have a great time x

OnlyFoolsnMothers · 26/05/2023 20:24

Aww what a lovely update OP

EnjoyingTheSilence · 26/05/2023 20:33

Amazing update. Have a lovely time (and what a kind mnetter ❤️)

Calmdown14 · 26/05/2023 20:39

I go on loads of holidays but they are not abroad and they are always cheap!

You need to utilise any in service days or any times where holidays are slightly different. Or bank holidays if you book well in advance. I did May Day weekend (fri to Monday) at a haven site in a lovely caravan for £108 for the three nights. We take our own food so it didn't cost much while we were there.

We also do camping in the summer and cheap premier inns during the colder months. They have some great locations.

I can't stretch to thousands for a week away but we can have a great weekend for under £100.

bellac11 · 26/05/2023 20:45

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!

OP has already explained that she has to split her and her husbands leave to cover the school holidays as they dont have childcare, leaving them scant times when they can both have the same leave off other wise they will run out of leave.

literalviolence · 26/05/2023 20:47

I'm glad you've got a break arranged OP. I think maybe if you can claw back 500 in 6 weeks by altering the food budget, you might normally have a very big budget? You might find tight planning will save a great deal of money.

bellac11 · 26/05/2023 20:47

Calmdown14 · 26/05/2023 20:39

I go on loads of holidays but they are not abroad and they are always cheap!

You need to utilise any in service days or any times where holidays are slightly different. Or bank holidays if you book well in advance. I did May Day weekend (fri to Monday) at a haven site in a lovely caravan for £108 for the three nights. We take our own food so it didn't cost much while we were there.

We also do camping in the summer and cheap premier inns during the colder months. They have some great locations.

I can't stretch to thousands for a week away but we can have a great weekend for under £100.

Yep same here, I am the queen of the long weekend, and I call them 'holidays' much to my colleagues amusement.

So this year I think Im on course for 8 holidays. Cheap and cheerful, airbnbs, took advantage of all the bank holiday weekends, and I have a couple more and then a few week long holidays too

gemloving · 26/05/2023 21:31 not abroad but there are dates in the summer for around £200 for 4 nights. Have a look and have a think x

RedRobyn2021 · 26/05/2023 21:53

Not the same as an all inclusive abroad but have you looked at Butlins?

We went last December with our 2 year old, the room was ropey but the food was actually really good and there was plenty of entertainment included and the pool was really good.

We are looking at going again near the end of this year and it's going to cost between 3 and 400 pounds including the food for 4 days.

It's just nice to get away and have someone else do all the cooking and just spend time together as a family.

Bluffetybluff · 27/05/2023 06:22

Have you thought about house-sitting? where you go & look after someone's house/animals/farm whilst the owners are away.
I've done it in NZ, so could not recommend any UK websites, but it's one way to have a cheap(er) holiday.

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