Travel More, Spend Less: How to Make Your Next Family Holiday More Affordable

A jar or travel spending money on top of a world map

Everyone dreams of travelling abroad for a fantastic family holiday, but when you consider the costs that can be involved, it’s easy for that dream to feel out of reach. What if there was a way to get more out of your next travel family adventure while spending less money?

Here are some tips on how to make budget-friendly choices while getting more for your money on your next family holiday.

This post is part of our family travel advice series

How to Save Money Before Booking Travel

If you travel in a group, you could split the room and car costs. You can use travel agencies to book all-inclusive packages for your holiday, which might be cheaper than paying for everything separately.

Travel to destinations where the local currency is weaker than your own, and you will get more value for your money. Travelling within your own country will also save you a lot of money.

You could also travel by bus, train, tube, ferry, or boat instead of a plane. Travel during the off-season when most prices are cheaper (if your school will permit). Try to choose a destination that isn’t as popular and where prices will be lower.

Always look for a good deal. You can find your next affordable holiday from EasyJet by subscribing to websites and apps that provide discounts and voucher codes. Choose airports carefully because different airports have different flight prices. Different times of the day, days of the week, and dates have different prices.

a line up of budget airlines at an airport

To compare airline prices, consider using comparison websites. You need not stick to the same airline for your entire journey if a different airline offers a cheaper fare for a particular leg. Alternatively, you could join a frequent flyer program with an airline to accumulate loyalty points and avail of discounts. Flights with layovers could cost less than non-stop flights.

Booking a flight early and at the last minute can be cheaper. Last-minute bookings can be cheaper because airlines want to fill the plane.

Ensure all your luggage complies with airline and country regulations. Otherwise, you will have to pay fines and additional charges. You can even send your bags to the hotel in advance to avoid excess luggage costs on your flight, which is particularly handy if you’ve chosen to fly with a budget airline.

How to Save Money Travelling to Your Destination

You can book parking at an airport hotel, where your car will be kept safe until you return from your holiday. If possible, don’t rush to use airport express services; allow yourselves plenty of time and seek out the cheapest parking rates.

Travelling overnight using a bus, train, tube, ferry, boat, or plane will save money you would have otherwise spent at a hotel for the night. We share more tips on saving money booking your train travel over here.

Pack your own food instead of spending money at the airport or station.

How to Save Money on Driving

Renting a car should be given careful consideration when you’re on holiday. If you think renting a car is necessary for getting around, ensure you’re not paying for things you won’t need, such as a GPS.

You may be tempted to refuse the hefty excess insurance, so why not buy rental car insurance from an insurance broker instead, or see if your credit card covers it so you don’t rush to a rash decision when pushed by the rental companies (and they will push!)?

Don’t pay petrol charges through your rental company. Make sure to fill the car up yourself before returning it, this way you can buy petrol cheaper from places like supermarkets instead of filling stations at the airport.

You can avoid fines, too, by being extra vigilant about how fast you’re allowed to drive (rental companies will impose an administration fee in addition to the fine amount). Plan your route carefully and find alternative roads (let’s call it the scenic route!) to avoid excessive toll fees.

Use public transport when possible to save on car hire costs, and only rent a car for the portion of your trip you really need it; you don’t want to be parking costs and wasting days of rent if you can get about on foot.

How to Make Accommodation Savings

Can you swap houses with someone during your holiday? Make sure to use a vetted agency to assure safety and security.

There are cheaper hotels that provide clean and efficient options, too. You can stay at alternative accommodations, like Airbnb, bed-and-breakfasts, or hostels – many hostels come with private ensuite rooms that are still suitable for families.

How to Save Money on Attractions and Shopping

Arrange your sightseeing and shopping trips yourself where possible. When attractions and shops are grouped close to each other, it will be cheaper to walk instead of taking a bus or taxi. If you prefer not to walk, you can get a travel pass or a city sightseeing pass to use for public transport.

Take advantage of age-related discounts or freebies when visiting attractions if any members of your family are entitled, and look for places that offer free entry, perhaps on particular days of the month or after a certain time in the day.

Utilize websites and apps that offer discounts and vouchers to save money. Read up on local blogs in advance that share these tips and tricks and may offer their readers additional discount codes.

How to Save Money on Food and Beverages

When travelling with family, cooking meals at self-catering accommodations is a great way to cut expenses. Hotel minibars can also be incredibly expensive, so it’s best to avoid them altogether.

If your hotel package doesn’t include breakfast, it’s a good idea to look for a more reasonable alternative, like a cafe or bakery nearby. As a general rule, lunch tends to be the least expensive meal of the day, so feed up at lunch and have a lighter dinner.

If tap water is safe to drink, opt for that instead of buying bottled water, and always carry your own reusable water bottle. In some places, it may be cheaper to stand while eating or drinking. When at a bar, choosing beer on tap or local wine options can often be more budget-friendly than bottled beer.

When you eat out, it’s wise to remember that restaurants near tourist hotspots usually charge more, so why not head just a block or two further away to uncover some hidden gems? Explore nearby cafes and restaurants to relish a reasonably priced and delightful dining encounter.

It’s essential to review your bill carefully to avoid excessive tipping, as the service charge might already be included. You may also be able to use discount apps and voucher codes to save extra money on your dining. The cost of these apps or packages will quickly pay for themselves when you’re feeding a family.

Money and Insurance

When travelling abroad, it’s advisable to keep an eye on the exchange rate and consider acquiring a prepaid card. Avoid using currency exchange branches at airports, and instead, use your debit card to withdraw money from ATMs while trying to minimize the number of withdrawals. Carrying foreign currency with you is okay, but staying vigilant is crucial.

a man using an overseas atm while on holiday to withdraw cash

When you’re on vacation, leveraging your credit card for expenses can prove to be a convenient choice. However, responsible financial management involves promptly paying off the balance. 

To enhance your travel experience, explore different types of credit cards offered by the best national banks for checking accounts, as they may provide enticing rewards for expenditures during your journeys. Different credit cards provide various perks such as no foreign transaction fees, comprehensive travel insurance, and even rewards on travel purchases. Before your trip, review the benefits associated with your existing cards or consider applying for a new card tailored to your travel needs. 

To steer clear of unnecessary bank fees, opt for app-based and free bank accounts when making payments abroad through your smartphone. Remember, it’s advisable to choose the local currency option over your home currency when using your card. This not only promotes financial prudence but also ensures a seamless transaction process.

And crucially, remember to turn your phone’s data roaming off when travelling (check your kids’ devices, too!), and always inform your phone company when you intend to travel abroad.

Using a pre-paid eSim for your destination country will almost always prove far more cost-effective than roaming on your home network (check if your phone can operate with a physical sim and eSim so you can stay connected to home and receive those all-important passcodes still).

Investing in travel insurance at a reasonable cost is always wise.

Also, when getting vaccinations, ensure that you obtain them from a reputable and affordable location for your safety and convenience.

Have you got any more money-saving tips to help you travel more? Let us know in the comments below!

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