How to Save a Few Pennies on your Family Holiday

 Family holidays provide working parents with an amazing opportunity to spend an extended period of time with their partner and kids. And even for those of us who stay at home with our children, a holiday can be just what we need to escape the day-to-day routine and share something truly amazing with our family, and get some time to relax for ourselves too! However, they don’t come cheap, and they aren’t always entirely free from stress and chaos, but a really great family holiday will be a memory that stays with you and your children forever, so it’s worth a go! Here are some tips on having the holiday of your lives, without destroying your bank balance in the process.
 1. Accommodation is Key
When travelling, a great way to save those pennies is picking your accommodation wisely. For example, in a country like Italy or Greece where the living costs are low, you can stay in a gorgeous villa providing the whole family with a little more space, and privacy. This way you can also and save a bit of cash by buying local produce and cooking at home rather than eating in restaurants every day night. There are plenty of inexpensive villas in Sicily by the sea owned by locals, and many villas also come with a pool of their own, a real treat for you and the children!


2. Travel with the locals
A lot of tourists spend a large chunk of their spending money simply getting from point A to point B using taxis. However, I recommend taking advantage of the public transport systems and remember to double check what the fares are for the transport tickets; most cities offer great deals if you choose to buy the weekly tickets! Don’t forget that children and seniors will most likely have discounts too. If the public transport is good enough for the locals, it’s good enough for your family! Plus, if they’re using it, it probably means you’ll be arriving at your chosen destination much quicker (and without having to hand over too much cash).  

3. Check the dates
I know that arranging a family trip is not easy when you have to follow school and work calendars, but if you organize yourself in advance, you will most likely pay less! Start looking at dates in advance, and because you will most likely have more flexibility on what days you can take off, try and organize yourself around your children’s holidays; planning ahead means you’ll have something to look forward to as well!

4. Use different sources
When searching for fares and accommodation online, remember to double-check the same deal from another device. Most websites and devices remember when you are searching for specific dates and locations, and sometimes will show you higher prices. So delete your cookies, search from different devices, and then book! It might seem like a litter bit more hassle- but you can make some big savings on airfares by following this advice!

5. Visit Family!
A good way to save up is taking advantage of the holiday to visit friends and family. Not only will you have personal tour guides, but they will also be able to take you to the best places, tell you where you can find the best deals on food, and maybe even let you stay with them for a few days! Even if you’re not visiting them, family and friends are often also good sources of information, if they have already been to the destination they may be able to offer you some advice on what to do, and what to avoid.

6. Don’t buy much before you leave
I know that leaving for a trip is exciting, and that you automatically think you need new clothes or gadgets for the trip, but trust me when I tell you, you don’t. Whatever type of vacation you’re going on I can guarantee you already have everything you need at home. Look through your wardrobes and drawers; keep that spending money for when you’re there! Do you really need that luminescent yellow t-shirt that is sure to inform everyone that you are definitely not local? The answer is no.

7. Lookup tours
Figuring out what to see, and where the museums are, is never fun; especially when you have to walk around with children that get tired easily. Most cities nowadays have bus tours that take you to the main cultural spots, give you earphones to listen along with, and the kids will love sitting on the second floor of the bus. Enjoy sightseeing while the wind blows through your hair, and you visit all the monuments for the price of one. Often you can book in advance to really get the most out of your trip, and to save on any extra charges you might face buying tickets on the day.

8. Buy locally
Eating out is always nice, but it’s something you can do while you’re home too. Not that you shouldn’t treat yourself at least one of the nights you’re on holiday, but buying locally will save you money in the long run. Make sandwiches for lunch, bring water bottles that you can refill, and bring some snacks from home that you can eat while you adventure around the city!

As a parent you have probably already racked up a lot of experience budgeting and forward planning- both vital when trying to have a great, and not too expensive holiday. Finally- enjoy! And try to only go if you have enough saved to at least have one spurge moment allowing you and the kids to really feel like the holiday is one to remember.
Guest Post by Mary Johnson

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