With dark nights and winter blues kicking in, it’s often at this time of year that we look to book next year’s summer holiday. Let’s face it; nothing cures a dose of SAD quite like trawling the internet for summer escapes. However, having children and travelling as a family can prove costly. If they’re of school age, you’re also restricted to what I like to call ‘rip-off season’. But, with a little bit of knowhow, it is possible to save money and secure the perfect getaway for you and your critters.
As a teacher, I know more than most the impact of company fat cats hiking prices during school holidays. It’s a scandal! Where ever you look you’ll be expected to pay upwards of 50% more for a holiday in August. This will be most noticeable during the first week of August when prices will be at their peak. However, by opting for the last week in August you will save some money. Granted it’s not the mammoth amount you’ve save for being able to go during the first week in September. But still, it’s a slight saving that’s better in your pocket than in there’s.
Also consider travelling during the May-June or October half-term dates too. Not only will these be considerably cheaper than an August holiday, but destinations will usually be much quieter. As a result, you’ll be able to saunter from piazza to piazza without being carried along at a rate of knots by the hustle and bustle of the peak season crowd. Moreover, the slightly more agreeable temperatures during these months are far kinder to young children who may feel oppressed by the peak summer sun.
If you want to cut out the middleman head online and use price comparison sites. Here, you won’t pay for the privilege of a booking agent and the hefty commission they’ll want to strip from you. Just make sure you check that the deals are like-for-like. Some online offers may have reduced your level of comfort by omitting things like a breakfast, but overall you should make considerable savings.
Avoid flying on a Friday, if you can help it, as this is considered to be the most expensive day of the week to travel. By choosing a Tuesday flight, for instance, you could make small savings. Also, as crazy as it sounds, delete your browser history before beginning a new search for flights or holidays. Some companies have been known to increase prices the more times you re-enter their website! Sneaky, but certainly something you can easily get around.
However, getting to know your favourite travel websites could save you money. Most operators offer customers the chance to sign up for newsletters and weekly emails. These will often contain special offers and discount codes so it’s well worth it. Even I can live with them clogging my inbox up if they’re going to save me a few quid. Similarly, look out for third-party companies that specialise in offering discount codes and money off vouchers to the general public. Companies such as Voucherbox are well worth checking out if you know where you want to go and when. See what I mean…
If you’re flying with budget airlines check the size and weight of your luggage. I’ll hold my hand up here and admit I’ve been stung by this. It’s not the greatest start to a holiday to leave the front of the queue to head back to a booth to pay a supplementary amount because you couldn’t leave your hair straighteners at home! Furthermore, a lot of budget flights are now pressurising you to splurge extra on priority check ins and guaranteed seats. Ask yourself: if you arrive in good time at the airport, what are the chances of you NOT sitting together? Exactly!
Obviously by using a combination of these tactics you could save yourself a pretty little sum of money. Kids (and big kids alike) forge such great memories on family holidays. It’d be a shame if the company fat cats got in the way of you creating new memories next summer. If you have any more top money saving family tips please do let us know in the comments below, we’d love to add them.
Next week we’ll take a look at some of the more adventurous family holidays that are out there waiting to be discovered.