With spring in full swing and the weather getting warmer, most people’s thoughts will now be wandering towards the summer months and the booking of that all-important getaway. For individuals from all walks of life, the summer holiday – whether celebrated here in the UK, nearby Europe or some far-flung destination – provides the perfect opportunity to enjoy a well-deserved rest as well as spend some quality time with those closest. As a leading cash for clothes service, we make it our mission to help our customers earn cash from their unwanted clothes so they can enjoy the perks of having money to spend on the little and big luxuries in life. A family holiday being one of them! With the summer holiday more expensive than ever however, it’s not always easy to get the best value for money on your family getaway.
According to recent research gathered by Asda Money, the average family of four can expect to pay £1,212 for their summer holiday. This cost rises further if your children are older, with the total set to hit £1,393 if your kids are aged between 16 and 18. From flights, accommodation and food to clothes, mobile data and holiday activities, there are a lot of expenses to consider with the average family holiday. It’s a well-known fact that the school holidays are one of the priciest times to enjoy a getaway but for most families it’s the only time to travel. The cost of the average holiday is inflated by an extra £200 during peak July or August dates, leaving more than half (56%) of parents worried about the cost of holidaying as a family.
We recently brought you our top ways to save money. Trading in your old clobber with a cash for clothes service like ours was just one of the routes to increasing your savings pot. We’re back to reveal the best ways to make your summer holiday more affordable so you can enjoy your family getaway without the worry of holiday debt.
1. Consider a staycation
Choosing your destination wisely is of course a key part of holidaying within your means. Whilst the cost of the average staycation has risen in recent years, with the right planning, holidaying at home right here in the UK can be a more affordable option. There are a number of UK destinations that provide all you need for the ultimate family break.
The English Riviera is a particular favourite, and if you’re lucky with the weather, you’ll find that resorts like Torquay, Babbacombe Bay, Paignton and Brixham rival many of the destinations found overseas. Southport, Pembrokeshire, Cornwall, Greater Yarmouth and North Tyneside are other destinations that are home to great beaches, excellent shopping facilities, and family friendly activities and entertainment.
2. Don’t be afraid to bargain
Whether you’re choosing to stay in the UK for your holiday or travel overseas, remember, in the travel industry, the price you see doesn’t have to be the price you pay. Negotiation is one thing that the travel sector is built on, so don’t be afraid to bargain when arranging your holiday. There is always room for negotiation, particularly with time sensitive products, a fact that makes booking last minute a real bonus. Tour operators, hotels and travel agents all provide excellent last minute offers. Stay flexible on dates and destinations to embrace the biggest bargains.
3. Book at the right time
As well as choosing where you holiday, selecting when can make a huge difference to the overall cost, especially if you are flying to your chosen holiday destination. Peak times for flying include Saturday morning and Friday night, and these times are peak for a reason. You’ll pay more to fly on Friday and Saturday when compared with other days of the week. Flying out on a Tuesday is generally the most affordable. When you book your flights can also influence the final price you pay. Book your flights too early or too late and you’ll pay a premium in most circumstances. 2 to 14 weeks before departure tends to be the golden window of bargain flight booking according to Skyscanner, however this does vary from destination to destination.
4. Go indirect
With flights, getting the best value for money is important. For those looking to pinch the pennies, opting for an indirect, rather than a direct flight, can help increase affordability. You can save up to 15% on flights by opting for an indirect route. This will mean spending more time flying or waiting at a connecting airport however, which may not be suitable for those travelling with young children.
5. Fly from a different airport
Most travellers opt for the airport that is closest to them as their place of departure but by increasing your reach, you can slash the cost of your holiday by hundreds of pounds. The cost of flying varies from airport to airport, even with the same airline operators. With a simple switch from South West to South East saving up to £200 per person. Which airport is cheapest does depend on your destination – check out the cheapest place to fly from for 5 top holiday destinations – but London airports tend to provide the lowest cost deals.
6. Travel in the school holidays affordably
Yes, really. You can enjoy some bargains during those peak summer holiday seasons. Holidaying during the last week of August or the first week of September right before your kids go back to school can shave between 10 and 15% off other peak season holiday prices.
7. Compare the market
Whether you are booking a package holiday or sorting the flights and accommodation out separately, comparing the market for not just the cheapest but best value offers is important. Like when you search for the best car insurance and home insurance deals, there are comparison websites for all things holiday too. Travelsupermarket and Kayak are just two of the most popular.
8. Do your research
So you’ve found a great value hotel, time to book, right? Checking reviews online via websites like TripAdvisor is an important last stop before booking. You may find that the hotel that didn’t look so great on the photos excels far beyond the accommodation with the polished pictures. Don’t take ratings provided by travel agents and tour operators at face value. Do some digging to find the hotel that really works for you, your family and your budget.
9. Look beyond the hotel
It’s not just hotels that provide excellent bases for summer holidays. Getting creative with your choice will not only make for a memorable experience but could save you money. Rent a villa or book a family friendly hostel and discover great value.
10. Check the small print
Hang fire on booking just yet, it’s time to read the same print first. One abbreviation you should certainly look out for when taking in that fine print is ‘IT’, which stands for ‘inclusive tour’. This relates to a process in which flights (particularly those to long haul destinations) are sold as a package, usually combined with hotels or other services such as car hire. If your plan was to book these items separately then consider the cost when compared with IT fares. Contrary to popular belief, for a number of destinations IT fares work out cheaper and provide a better way of managing your booking.
11. Cut the unnecessary extras
Whilst considering a package deal for all the things you need is often the way to go, cutting out unnecessary items is an important part of saving on your summer holiday. Priority boarding is one such extra many could do without, particularly as most airlines, including no-frills operators like Ryanair, allocate seats these days.
12. Find the best way to pay
Saving for your holiday and paying for it in cash will often be the best way to pay in regards to your finances, but settling your bill in cash doesn’t provide the best protection. Booking with a credit card, and paying it off with the cash you’ve saved, will ensure your holiday is protected under the Consumer Credit Act. This means that if your airline operator or travel agent goes out of business or the holiday you’re greeted with isn’t as described, you’ll be able to make a claim.
There are disadvantages to paying for your holiday with your credit card however. Many travel companies now charge fees for using your credit card to pay for your booking, with these costs being as much as £300 for a £1,700 family holiday. Deciding whether the protection is worth the extra fees is therefore important.
13. Budget for all the holiday essentials
There’s so much more to consider than just your flights and accommodation when booking your summer holiday so be sure to budget for all the holiday essentials and take care of these costs before you depart. Travel money, travel insurance, sun protection and toiletries, other travel costs (i.e. fuel to get to the airport and airport parking), holiday clothes and swimwear, and car hire or transfers at the other end are all one-off expenses that need to be paid for.
You’ll also incur expenses on a day-to-day basis, with your travel money spent on food and drink, entertainment, excursions and holiday treats. Add rough costs for all of these items together to develop a savings goal. Holiday expenses more than you anticipated? Read our 50 ways to earn extra money and save the funds you need to enjoy a great family holiday this summer.
14. Bring along everyday basics
Travelling with young children involves a lot of extra baggage but you can save money on the everyday items that are required by your children by simply bringing your own. Many airlines have ‘Bring Your Own’ policies when it comes to items like car seats, travel cots and buggies. Check with your operator for what you can and can’t bring along.
15. Book activities in advance…
As we mentioned, going away as a family will incur a long list of expenses, with activities and entertainment often being costly. Booking activities in advance is a great way to harness cut price deals and discounts.
16. …or better yet create your own
There are lots of things you can do on holiday that cost you nothing at all, and for young children in particular the best moments are the most creative. Storytelling, arts and crafts, treasure hunts and walks are all free to enjoy, with any supplies needed able to be brought along from home.
17. Hire a car early too
Activities and entertainment aren’t the only things that can be booked early for a cheaper price. Many families find car hire particularly beneficial. When booked early, you can save as much as £60 when hiring a car at a European holiday destination.
18. Consider an October half term break
October half term is another great time to travel, and better yet, you’ll find that the cost of a family holiday is 25 to 40% lower than the same holiday booked at peak summer prices. There are many destinations that provide great sun and an even better atmosphere from October onwards, with the Canaries, Morocco and Florida the most popular destinations.
19. Go in search of winter sun
As well as enjoying some great destinations during October half term, there are many affordable destinations to be enjoyed in the winter months too. Escape the dark, cold and wet British weather by enjoying winter sun destinations such as Tenerife, Thailand and Malta. You’re certain to get some great deals too!
20. Continue to cut costs when you arrive
There are many things you can do after you arrive to continue to cut costs, and enjoy the best holiday possible. Eating and drinking locally rather than at your hotel (if you haven’t gone all-inclusive that is) will often reveal better quality food and drink at lower price points. Having a big lunch rather than your main meal in the evening will also help save money.
Need a little extra cash? Use our cash for clothes service to boost your bank balance just in time for your summer holiday. There really are some incredible benefits to clothes donation and recycling, get started today by requesting your free Genie collection pack.