Planning regular family travel is a big part of being a parent. However, it’s not always the cheapest part!
The kids want to go away for the summer, you want to catch a break after a busy year at work, and you all want to make memories together during your fun time away. But after a while, holidays like these start breaking the bank. They become harder to save for, and as such, become a rarer part of your family life. And that can feel like a missed opportunity when you look back on it.
You may have had plenty of ‘staycations’ and go on day trips all the time, but there’s nothing quite like visiting somewhere full of new culture, cuisine, and experiences. So let’s take a look at how to work out the budget you truly need for a big family holiday; they may not be as pricey as you think.
Get an early breakdown
This is the most important part of the whole planning process. You need to know from the get go where you want to go, how you’re going to get there, how long you’ll be staying, and what the ‘absolute musts’ of the trip will be.
Get together as a family and discuss each of the areas listed above. Make sure you have a real idea of what you want to happen whilst on holiday, as this is the only way you’ll be able to work out the budget you’ll need.
For example, if you want to go to Disney World in the US as a family, this is your chance to add up all the basic costs, such as flights, attraction tickets, and accommodation. Extra costs like food and souvenirs can be worked out later. You can then get online to scout out links like https://www.ocean-florida.co.uk/disney-world/ to see what deals are available, and in which areas you’re most likely to be able to save money.
Don’t forget to also include things like holiday clothing and men’s bathing suits in your budget – they can easily add up and it’s definitely a good idea to think about them at this stage.
Save on a schedule
Now you know what you need to save up for, you can put a saving schedule in place.
As an example, if you need around £1500 to afford the basic costs mentioned above, you now know how long you’ve got to save, and how to divide up the price into weeks and months. If you want to go away in 6 months time, you’ll need to save about £250 each month, which is around £62 a week.
Between two working adults, this isn’t so hard to do. But if you’re on a reduced or low income, you may need more time to collect this cash together. That means you may need to put off the family holiday for a bit longer. While that can be a disappointment, it’s the most practical way to ensure your holiday plans go off without a hitch.
Think about how you’ll get around
The most rudimentary costs are about how you’ll get there and where you’ll stay. But you may also need to consider how you’re going to get around. If you’re travelling somewhere that’s built for intercity travel and with countryside links, renting a car is a good option.
Not only does this ensure you’ve got a safe vehicle to get around in, but it means you can move at your own pace throughout the holiday. And if you’ve got young kids, that’s essential! However, renting a car can be a big upfront cost, especially when you think about all the add-ons you may need to travel safely and comfortably.
You also need to be careful about the condition of the car. It’s best to take photos of the vehicle before you set off to ensure you’re not liable for ‘damages’. If you can prove a car was already scratched or dented, you won’t have to fork out. It’s little things like these that can really save you money whilst you’re away.
Prep your kids on holiday costs
The kids are going to want some pocket money to spend whilst on holiday – it’s a natural part of going on a trip. But if you’re already strapped for cash, you’re not going to have many pennies to spare for them. If they already get a regular allowance, they may have to depend on this, and take time to save up some pocket money to use in shops and tourist attractions.
However, if they don’t get a regular allowance, you’ll have to discuss the money they can use as a family. Maybe they can start doing some chores around the house, and even the neighbourhood, to generate some funds of their own? Washing the neighbour’s car, or pet sitting for the couple down the street are both good ways for kids to drum up some holiday spending money. Make sure they have this expectation early on.
Make it easy to prepare your own food
Being able to prepare your own food can take a big chunk of your family holiday budget needs out of the equation.
Opting for self-catering means you won’t need to pay for food in restaurants every night. And shopping for ingredients is nowhere near as expensive as being waited on at a table. If you can self-cater as much as possible, you could make significant savings on your holiday.
Watch out for data charges
When you head off abroad, your phone is going to adjust the charges involved in using it. And even in 2022, these charges can be astronomical.
Mobile providers are adjusting their tariffs and allowing people to move freely without needing a buffer. However, if you’re a British citizen, these charges are getting more complicated now the UK is out of the EU. Make sure you double check this section of your contract before you travel. You need to know what it’s going to cost you to use data without a free wifi connection, and whether it’ll be cheaper to talk to relatives using your minutes or via the internet.
Think about the value attractions offer
Finally, will it be worth it to pay for all tourist attractions? Probably not!
A good approach is to only ever visit attractions that are either free, or have something everyone in the family can enjoy. Not all attractions will offer a fun time, and sometimes it’s better to get off the beaten track and do something spontaneous.
Putting together a good budget for your next family holiday is going to take a lot of prep work. However, when you know the steps to take, it’s not an impossible plan to make. Using tips like these will make your travel planning easier, and help you turn your family holiday dreams into a reality.