Tantrums, screaming, fights over what goes in the suitcase….and that’s just the parents.
Travelling with kids presents different challenges, but it doesn’t have to cost the Earth if you plan in advance. For a few tips and tricks on how to keep family holidays civil and on a budget, I’m delighted to welcome my first guest blogger to Mama Travels Earth, Niamh Spence. Niamh is a content writer for Billing Aquadrome holiday park in the Nene Valley, part of the Pure Leisure Group.
A family holiday, especially with little ones, can often be a costly affair and it might seem as though a small budget is impossible to stick to – but it can be done. The key to a fun family holiday that doesn’t leave your bank balance in despair is simply some top notch planning and skilful organisation.
Type ‘planning a family holiday on a budget’ into the Google search bar and there are approximately 143 million results to look through, many of which won’t have the tips and tricks you need in order to plan the perfect holiday for you and your brood. A break from the everyday routine will do the whole family good, and needn’t cost the earth either.
To make sure a family holiday is still enjoyable, whilst leaving finances intact, we take a look at what families can do to keep costs down when planning a holiday:
Plan as much as possible in advance
It goes without saying that once children are involved, spontaneity goes out of the window – last minute bargains aren’t always feasible with children in tow. Booking deals and travel well in advance not only promises better deals for the whole family, but it can also lead to a better trip. Many hotels and holiday parks can be very accommodating with enough notice and are often more than happy to help meet any requirements or additional needs you may have. Plus, with a holiday booked in good time you can relax with sound piece of mind that your trip is sorted and organised.
Know your surroundings
Before you and your family embark on your next adventure it’s worth looking into day trips and local indoor attractions close to your accommodation. If the weather doesn’t quite go to plan it will give you something to distract the kids with and stop boredom (and the temper tantrums that follow) from kicking in.
Again, booking in advance can save you a few pennies on the cost of admission while a little research can provide an insight into what times of day are cheaper. Bear in mind that it might be worth rousing the family early as it could mean cheaper admission than visiting at peak times of the afternoon.
Pack the essentials
Phase two of being a prepared parent when heading off on a family holiday is remembering all the essentials – an important daily task of being a parent too. Airport departure lounges, campsite shops and bars will often be much more expensive than shopping at a supermarket and bringing those must have items with you – just remember you can’t carry liquids past the airport security point in your hand luggage, so stow away what you can in your suitcases being checked in.
You needn’t venture abroad for good culture and a warm climate
Whilst some families crave the Algarve or the south of France, there are many families that have discovered the beauty of holidaying right here in the UK. The coasts of England and Wales can offer beautiful views with plenty of sunshine, and are usually a lot cheaper than heading abroad. Holiday parks, caravan sites and lodges can all provide you with more freedom than a hotel and allow you to spend your time away as a family in the way you would like to – they really are a home from home and most even come with household creature comforts, perfect for making little ones feel comfortable in an unfamiliar place.
Don’t forget to invest in some ‘me’ time
Holidaying as a family can easily become very claustrophobic as you all spend an intense amount of time together and most of this is in a shared space, so it’s important to remember to build in time to allow yourself to relax. Many holiday resorts and parks have on-site childcare facilities and clubs, which are a great way for kids to interact with others whilst giving you an hour or so to yourself. They usually offer a range of activities so there’s something to suit every child, from the sports mad to the crafty creative types.
It’s great to have some time just for you and your partner too, so make sure everyone arrives back home well-rested rather than frayed and stressed.
Time to indulge yourself doesn’t have to be expensive. Many holiday parks and destinations offer facilities or treatments at reduced prices for guests and booking online or in advance can usually secure a good deal. Reward yourself with a well-earned massage, manicure or facial to add the perfect final touch to your family break.
Make travelling fun not a chore
Travelling for a long period of time isn’t the most fun way to spend your time and for children, particularly younger ones, it can be very boring. Keep them entertained with games, books, films or a tablet to help the time go faster – ideal for avoiding the monotonous questions of “Are we there yet?”.
Don’t forget travel sickness tablets to ensure your kids don’t feel queasy on the ride. Packing enough liquids and making sure everyone stays hydrated is another important factor, particularly as children tend to drink only when thirsty so can become dehydrated quickly.
If your holiday involves a long drive that can lead into the night, ensure you have blankets and your children can go to sleep when tired. Naps will help avoid short tempers and make the journey go that much quicker for mum, dad and the children.
Whilst travelling as a family may appear daunting, especially when trying to stick to a budget, it can still be an enjoyable experience for all and one that everyone will return from feeling relaxed after quality time together. Planning is the key to the perfect family holiday, and hunting for the best value deals can still mean entertainment for everyone. Splashing the cash doesn’t ensure a perfect holiday, and budgeting needn’t restrict your activities or your fun as a family.