Saving Money on Your Summer Holiday in The Sun
Travel can be an expensive hobby, yet when you start travelling as a family that’s when expenses can really get out of hand. Unfortunately, whilst you might be happy to go for a nice walk, watch the sunset and curl up with a good book by the pool… children require a lot more activity and keeping busy whilst on holiday, which, often means having to spend even more money. I am glad that I currently travel for myself so any money I need to spend it on me which does work out cheaper most of the time but it can also be expensive travelling alone.
With summer coming up, at a particularly tough time, financially due to the weakened pound against key tourism currencies such as the Euro and US Dollar, it’s now even more important to look into ways to save on your next family holiday in the sun. That said, we are due to have an incredibly hot summer in England, meaning, you might not have to travel all that far to enjoy a family holiday in the sun.
There are some great places in England that are fantastic for kids; whether you want the rustic adventure of places like Cornwall and Wales or the more traditional seaside vibe of Bournemouth, Brighton or Blackpool… all these options will have plenty of things to keep your kids busy, whilst at the same time, can offer something nice for the adults too.
In a similar vein, this hotlist kicks off with the idea of using travel trends in your favour, rather than to your disadvantage.
FOLLOW CHEAP TRAVEL TRENDS
The weakness of the pound is definitely making travel more expensive than a few years ago, particularly in Europe and America but also in places like Thailand and Laos which were once considered very cheap, but the economy of these destination is strong, and this means we are paying a lot more than what we would have paid a few years ago.
That said, there are destinations were you can get a great deal if you’re open to a bit of adventure.
As an example, Turkey has a lot to offer families and is a destination where you’ll get a lot of value from the money you pay. However, as a result of bad press, with terrorist attacks, political instability, and social unrest bombarding the headlines in recent years many people are put off the thought of going to Turkey, yet they are missing out on a great deal.
The truth is that Turkey remains a great place to go on holiday. It’s a place where locals are very welcoming and tend to get along with each other ten times better than people do in the UK. There’s a sense of authentic hospitality that instantly makes you feel welcomed into the local culture – presuming you step outside of the main tourist resorts.
With regard to Turkey’s tourism market, it has seen a rapid decline in tourism particularly since Russian tourists have stopped going to Turkey (one of its largest source markets of inbound tourism) which means there is now low demand and a huge surplus of supply.
The basic economics of this situation means hotels are practically giving away rooms at rock bottom prices in order to survive. In Marmaris, a popular resort with British holidaymakers, for instance there are rooms advertised on travel supermarket and teletext holidays for as little as €10 per night, in a four star hotel!
In summary, Turkey is just one example of a place where travel trends can work in your favour… similarly, tourists have started to go back to Tunisia, which whilst there was an awful tragedy on the beach, that nobody would ever wish to involve their family in — this was an isolated incident, and Tunisia is probably a lot more mindful and ‘safe’ than it was prior to the incident.
It’s all very well getting a good idea, but at the same time, it is of course important to ensure you are taking your family somewhere safe. A great resource for this can be found here.
PREPARE FOR YOUR TRIP
Preparation is key, as the earlier you book your trip, the cheaper it will tend to be as the more availability there will be for flights.
Contrary to popular belief, the majority of airline tickets today are not at their cheapest the day of travel – in fact they are at their most expensive. A decade or so ago, the practice of going standby for a flight, whereby you might have to wait around in the airport for a few hours if not a few days… but, when a flight was particularly empty, the airline would offer you a substantially discounted flight; on the basis they weren’t able to fill the seats and are therefore losing money.
Today, however, things have changed. Today, flight seats are sold in bands, as an example the first band might be Band A which is the cheapest category, then once all the Band A seats have been sold, Band B tickets (higher price) are offered… the day of departure is usually the most expensive time you can buy a ticket.
That said, there are sometimes cheap deals with airlines such as Thomas Cook and Thomson who tend to rely on package flights rather than independent bookers – meaning, if they have space on their flight, they’ll often unload the tickets at rock bottom prices in order to ensure they have a full flight. This means, that sometimes you can get a very good deal a few days beforehand – but this does not tend to apply with airlines like Ryanair or British Airways.
There are other things you’ll need time to prepare for too, such as travel insurance and making sure you have any medication you require, particularly things such as malaria tablets that often require you to start taking them prior to your visit. Interestingly, this is where people spend a lot of money – yet there are often cheaper generic options available that are just as effective, yet cost a fraction of the big branded product… due to the fact they don’t spend all that money on marketing.
The other aspect to consider is packing light as whilst you may be able to find cheap flights, particularly with airlines such as Ryanair or easyJet, the cost of baggage might end up being more expensive than the flight
FIND CHEAP HOTELS
This point is short and sweet, but it’s very important. If you’re booking your holiday independently then be sure to visit comparison sites such as travelsupermarket.com that compare hotel listings from multiple providers. This is often the cheapest way to find a good deal on a hotel, and can save you a lot of money on the same hotel room, just by visiting a different booking agent.
FIND CHEAP FLIGHTS
If you’re looking to travel internationally, then flights can take a large chunk of money from your travel fund. However, if you can be flexible with your flight dates then searching for cheap flights via comparison engines such as skyscanner or momondo that compare hundreds of flights by almost every airline in the world to present you with the cheapest deals for the dates and destinations you are looking for can save you a heap of cash.
SkyScanner allows for more flexibility, for example, you can search for the whole month rather than having to search for a specific date, and you can search for countries such as the whole of France rather than limiting your search to a particular city such as Paris.
Another factor to consider when searching for cheap flights is being flexible with your departure and arrival airports; as an example for people visiting the UK from abroad, many will be searching for flights to London, but it can often be cheaper to fly to Manchester or Glasgow and hop on a train with a cheap advance ticket to London.
The same principle applies if you are travelling abroad. You might want to consider flying into a cheaper hub then getting a low cost domestic flight to your final destination, as this can often work out much cheaper than a through ticket – particularly if you’re thinking of travelling to somewhere exotic like Thailand.
To put this into context, you can get a return flight from London to Bangkok for around $500, then you can get a low cost airline ticket to Chiang Mai in the North or Phuket in the South for as little as $10… yet, if you were to purchase this flight as a through ticket, the cost might be well in excess of $800.
In summary, the more flexible you are with regard to times and departure/arrival location the cheaper flights you will be able to find. The challenge, of course, when travelling with a family is that you tend to be restricted to school holidays – which is when prices are at their highest; for this reason, leaving a day or two before school breaks up can save a considerable amount of money.
* WORKING IN PARTNERSHIP WITH SKYSCANNER