Recent research shows that the average cost of a summer holiday is £1212. It’s no wonder that many families are looking to cut down on costs without sacrificing the quality of time away with the kids, as indeed it’s important to do in many different aspects of family life. A good first step is a strict budget, but if you’re new to this, it can be difficult to know where to start. However, there are a few simple things you can do to make sure you have a reasonable plan in place before you start splashing the cash in advance of your big trip away. Before you go, think about what you’ll be spending money on. Examine both what you’ll need to buy before jetting off, and what you might spend money on once you’re at your destination.
Cutting pre-travel costs
Before leaving, typical expenses will include accommodation, travel costs (whether that’s flights or car rental) and travel money. There are ways to save within each of these categories. With travel money, consider what’s the most cost-effective way to fund your family travels. Remember to compare foreign exchange rates, as often those which provide the best ones aren’t the big banks. If you tend to go abroad often, a credit card geared towards frequent flyers might be best. For travel insurance, anyone who’s watched TV in the past ten years knows there’s plenty of price-comparison websites out there to check you’ve got the best deal possible (but do check the fine print to make sure you’ve got the level of coverage you’re after)! For flights or ferries, book early and travel at the cheapest times. For accommodation, self-catering might be a better deal than a fancy hotel, or if you want to get back to nature, camping is an even lower-cost option!
Weaning yourself off the money during your week off
When you’re actually on the holiday, there’s a wide variety of places your hard-earned cash might go. Some of the biggest are excursions and keeping the little ones fed and watered. Save on the cost of excursions and make your travel more individual by taking a guidebook out of the library or using a free online resource like Wikitravel. If there’s a particular activity you’re keen on which is near-impossible to do by yourself, make sure to book early and shop around.
To avoid overspending on food and drink, stick to mains rather than starters, sides, and desserts. If you’re really looking to save the pennies, it might also be worth sacrificing (gasp!) alcohol. It may surprise you, but the average Briton spends £50,000 on alcohol over a lifetime and the money you might spend on a cheeky Sangria you might enjoy more if it goes towards a fun family activity like white-water rafting or bungee jumping.
Sticking to it!
Now comes the tricky part – sticking to it! After you’ve set your budget, you should have a final number written down. Looking at your current account, it’s easy to see how much money you’ll need to set aside – it’s less easy to keep to it! Try creating a visualisation board of where your holiday will be and the kind of activities you’re planning with your family. This will keep your eye on the prize if you’re tempted to overspend. Another idea is to let friends and family know that you’re setting money aside for a holiday. Keeping them in the loop means they know not to encourage you to make expensive financial choices elsewhere, and they can check in to make sure the money is still where it should be!
We’re all going on a summer holiday
Budgeting is an important part of any savvy family trip. It might seem hard to get started, but once you complete it, it will be a weight off your mind. They’ll be no need to worry whether you can really afford that extra ice lolly if you’ve already calculated that you can go ahead and have it!
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