10 tips for budgeting for a family holiday

Going on holiday with your family can be very expensive. Being able to set and stick to a budget is important. Whether you are going all-inclusive or self-catering there are things that you can do. Knowing how to find the best deal on your flights, accommodation and any activities is a part of it. As much as I would love to have fractional jet ownership and fly to our destination in a private plane, that just isn’t going to work on my budget (unless I win the lottery). Setting a budget for your trip means thinking about insurance, food and spending money. You also need to think about all the smaller items that soon add up when you have kids. We know the biggest budget breakers are the unexpected costs. The budgeting tips below will help you consider these usually unexpected costs. All-inclusive is definitely a great option for budgeting, but you will still need to spend some money whilst you are there. If you are travelling on an all-inclusive holiday, make sure you check all of the terms and conditions. Certain destinations have additional restrictions.

Save by spending before you go

Prepurchase kids pester power products

Think about any equipment the kids might want on your trip. Buckets and spades, inflatable toys and swimming accessories bought from shops in the UK will save a lot in tourist price hikes. I know you have to pack it but it will be worth it in the end.

Pack lots of sun cream

Buy your sun cream in the UK. Always cheaper than abroad, purchasing your sun cream before you go saves a small fortune. It doesn’t have to be a named brand. The sun creams from Aldi and Lidl come highly rated. Look at the star rating on the back of the cream and always pack more than you think you will need. This goes for after sun, paracetamol and any other medication. As a tourist, basic medication will be expensive.

Multi trip Insurance

If you are going abroad more than once in a year buy annual insurance. We now have three holidays abroad booked for the next six months, Turkey, Lanzarote and Disneyland Paris. Elizabeth’s pre-existing medical conditions make insurance expensive. Buying annually is a hefty amount but cheaper than three separate trips. especially as they are all within Europe. This applies even if you don’t have medical conditions to declare. Make sure you use a comparison site. Compare the market includes cheap cinema and food offers with all policies now as well.

Minimise your clothes spend

Do you really need all those new clothes? Most people going on holiday feel the need for a whole new wardrobe. I feel less is more when in a hot country. As a woman, a few sarongs and a couple of throw-over tops or dresses will see you through most days. During the evening then you can wear what you might wear during the UK summer. If you do want new clothes, then shops such as Primark have low-cost clothes that are perfect for this. A thriftier option is to check out the local charity shops. This is a great idea as people tend to have a clear out when they buy new.

New to you suitcases

Another top charity shop tip is to ask about suitcases. Lots of shops have donations given to them in suitcases. Being able to pick up a suitcase cheaply will save you quite a lot. Also, look on the local marketplace or freecycle sites as people have clearouts.

Currency conversions

Get your currency at a great exchange rate by checking all the rates online. Also take a variety of cash, card and traveller’s cheques. The pre-loaded cards are a great way of shopping on the go abroad without worrying about all the excess change. These cards allow you to see the balance easily on your phone or computer. Some banks have great currency rates and no charges so it is worth checking with your provider. If you use a pre-loaded card this is a great way to save over the course of a few months.

Phone roaming

Set up roaming on your phone a few days before you fly. Now we are out of the EU you need to make sure you still have this included. Some providers are charging a set amount each day. Others allow you to continue to use your price plan. Check this for all family members to save nasty surprises when you get home.

Taxi, coach or car?

Whilst you have your computer out researching exchange rates and travel insurance check out car hire places too. If you don’t have transfers included, you may want to hire a car. Booking this in advance will save a fortune on costs at the airport. Car hire can be a lot cheaper than transfers and give you extra options throughout your holiday. Don’t forget to check any restrictions and document needs.

Reducing costs whilst you are there

Buy in bulk and not on resort

Find a local supermarket to stock up on items at cheaper prices. Resort shop prices saw us paying three euros for a can of beer. We found the same cans for eighty-five cents in the supermarket. This made a huge difference in our spending. Ice creams are the same. If you have an ice box in your apartment or hotel, use it to store ice creams from a multipack. This saved us a huge amount in comparison to individual ice creams!

Eat local branded items

If you are self-catering eat local produce. Buying English brand products whilst on holiday will cost a lot more than local items. Try and be adventurous (although pack your own tea bags!) and make it a fun experience with the kids. After all, do you really need walkers crisps? Some of my kid’s fondest holiday memories are shopping in local supermarkets and trying new things.

I can’t believe I have written 10 points already as I have so much more wisdom to share. I am going to leave you with one final budgeting tip for when the kids want to take a souvenir home. Search the beach for some lovely shells or rocks to make something with at home. Some googly eyes stuck on a rock they collected from the beach will mean so much more than anything they can find in the gift shops.

I hope your summer is as fun packed as ours will be!