20 Ways To Make & Save Money For Family Travel
As a family we love travel and we love a bargain. We saved for years for our family gap year and lived frugally while travelling through Asia. I’d love to share with you my top 20 tips for affording more family travel!
1. Decide when to travel, not where. By this I mean have your travel dates set and then search for the where is cheapest to travel to during those dates. This is not only a great money saving tip but it is pretty fun to have an open mind when it comes to destinations- trying something new and exciting can also save you money!
2. Be more flexible with travel dates. Term time trips are often a quarter of the price of school holidays. By travelling in term time we’ve stayed in a tipi for £120 for a week compared to £500 in school breaks; we paid £2000 for a £9000 holiday to Greece and we got a week’s half-board skiing in Bulgaria for £2000 for six people. Travel is intensely educational; try writing to your child’s headteacher to point out the benefits of travel for children, including experiencing other cultures, having ample time to play (essential for development) and family time together. (Or you could try homeschooling!)
3. Save up points on credit cards for airmiles. This can massively reduce your spending on flights, and booking holidays on credit cards give you extra protection.
4. Buy second hand. Do you need a brand new clothes or can you try getting what you need second-hand? Second hand furniture and clothes are often excellent quality and it’s also environmentally friendly to shop this way! Put the savings straight into your travel fund!
5. Ditch the brands. Have a look at what you can switch from branded items to generic in your food and toiletries shop. Items like canned tomatoes often taste exactly the same whether they cost £1 or 30p once you’ve flavoured them- and when I think about where toilet paper goes there’s no way I’m paying out a ton for it! Try this website to compare your supermarket shop and look out for savings.
6. Pick your flight times. As tricky as it might be to fly really early or late with young children, this is when the cheapest flights are. Personally it’s not worth it to me to have stressed-out, over-tired kids if the saving is small, but it might make the difference between going on holiday and not so it’s definitely one to consider. And despite what I thought would be a nightmare trip, our three kids under 7 did amazingly on this 36 hour trip from Bali to the UK!
7. Get out of ‘upgrade’ culture. You don’t have to buy new clothes just because new trends are out (when are there not?!), you don’t need a new car just because it’s old, you don’t need to get the latest phone. If you want to, cool, but don’t feel like any of these things are necessary, and don’t let them stop you from saving to travel if that’s what you are most passionate about.
8. Cut down on alcohol and smoking. This might sound like a killjoy suggestion but it can be a great motivation to get healthier if you have a holiday to look forward to as a reward. You can always indulge a bit on your well-earned holiday!
9. Exercise at home or start running instead of paying out for a gym membership. Plenty of parks have free exercise equipment, and equipment such as treadmills can often be found cheaply on Amazon, second-hand websites and ‘freecycle’ sites. Free weights, which are all you need for a thorough workout (trust me, my husband’s a personal trainer) can be bought in a full set for less than £25. If you think you won’t have the motivation to exercise at home consider joining an exercise group such as a cycle or running club.
10. Choose off-peak times to visit countries. Although the weather might not be boiling hot and sunny, it can often be nice to visit places when it is quieter and not packed with tourists. You’ll also see another side to the destination, not just the pre-packaged highlights that everyone does! Patrick and I visited Rome in February and although it was quite cool and grey, it made walking around the city a lot more comfortable and there were fewer crowds so we had a better quality experience altogether.
11, Set a small amount of money aside every month and don’t touch it- have this as your travel fund. By the time you travel you might have saved enough for a few nights’ accommodation, or an upgrade, or a flight, or a really cool experience- either way putting aside a little, often, will make a difference and you’ll be glad you did it when it comes to booking a trip!
12. Save money on grab ‘n’ go coffees by purchasing a travel mug. Buy quickly making a coffee to take with you on the morning commute you can save around £60 a month or £720 a year (!) on takeaway drinks (that’s based on just getting one a day!) For reference, £720 can get you 3-4 months’ rent in a studio apartment in Bali, or 6 weeks in a 2 bed apartment near the beach.
13. Use coupons. This barely takes any time at all and costs nothing- simply Google coupons and discounts on whatever you are about to buy. You can even install a browser plug-in called ‘Honey’ which will automatically search for discount vouchers for you whenever you shop online- magic! Shops often offer discounts for signing up to their newsletter so do take advantage of these (you can always unsubscribe later!)
14. Get a side hustle. As a writer I’m all about the side hustle- I do web design, SEO consultation, freelance articles and proofreading. Websites such as People Per Hour, Freelancer and Upwork all advertise ‘gig’ (one-off freelance) jobs that you can apply for and do from home for extra cash.
15. Check your utilities provider is giving you the cheapest possible deal- and if not, switch! Websites such as ‘Compare The Market’ and ‘USwitch’ can give you an idea of how much you should be spending based on your household needs, and can recommend which provider will give you the best deal.
16. Have a clear out and sell any unwanted items on second hand sites such as eBay or Gumtree. This has a four-fold benefit- you get less clutter and more space at home, you dispose of an item in an environmentally friendly way, someone else gets something they want at a good price and you get cash in your pocket!
17. If you need to book a crazy bargain but are a few days from payday, borrowing so you don’t have to pay full price (for a short time period) is an option from sites such as Cash Lady .
18. Use vouchers such as Clubcard and Nectar points to exchange for tokens for days out, ferry and even plane tickets. Loyalty schemes with supermarkets can really add up and pay off without you having to do anything!
19. Many holiday companies and attractions are now offering monthly direct debit payment options so you don’t have to shell out a large amount up front. You can pay in instalments on everything from package holidays to Nationals Trust memberships for family days out.
20. Meal prep. I used to waste a lot more food before I started planning what I was going to cook each week and intentionally buying the ingredients for those meals (and snacks of course). By writing a list of exactly what you need for the week you’ll save money on impulse purchases! (Another top tip is don’t shop when you’re hungry as you’re more likely to give in to buying unnecessary snack foods).
So those are my top 20 tips to save more of your cash to spend of making memories with your family. Do check out my friend Alyson’s post on how to save money with Skyscanner; she is a pro at family travel!
Do you have any hot money saving tips? Let me know in the comments!