When you’re jetting off on a family holiday costs can quickly mount up. I know this all too well with a family of five to organise. In previous posts I’ve written about how to get the most out of budget airlines, but there are plenty of other ways to save money. Read on for some money saving tips for travelling with kids, especially now the holiday season is in full swing in the northern hemisphere!
Pre-book airport parking
Anyone else find that sorting out travel arrangements can end up being just as expensive as the holiday itself? I recently discovered a really savvy way to cut costs in this area, and that is to pre-book your airport parking. It’s easy to fall into the habit of leaving this until the last minute, especially with bigger tasks taking priority. By booking ahead you can evade bumped up prices and save yourself a fortune. Plus, you can alleviate some of the unwanted travel stress by knowing you have a parking spot ready and waiting for you when you arrive. After doing some Googling, I stumbled upon Looking4Parking, a price comparison website that scours the cheapest parking options in a matter of seconds.
Bring your own food and drink
We all know how pricey airport food can be – especially with a big family to feed, yet it’s easy to fall into the ‘convenience’ trap when you’re rushing around, plus kids can be a nightmare when they are hungry. So, come armed with home-made lunches to stop temptation from taking over. Equally, you could pack some food for the car journey to the airport to avoid shelling out for overpriced snacks at the service station. This particularly avoids the last minute purchase of fast-food options that are high in sugar.
Look out for group or family discounts
I don’t know about you but my pre-holiday excitement means I love nothing more than to plan out my itinerary well before I travel. So, why not kill two birds with one stone? When you’re researching the go-to hot spots, have a look around the attractions’ websites to see whether they’ve got any offers you can take advantage of. Booking tickets in advance will usually bring good savings. Remember that lots of places will offer group or family discounts so be sure to make the most of these. Some are now offering family tickets that include 3 kids which is very handy. Also have a look out for sightseeing passes – these can provide entry to a long list of places for a discounted rate. Some attractions will also offer free entry or concessions for kids of a certain age.
Consider modes of transport for when you get there
Did you know that catching taxis could actually be cheaper than renting a car for a week? Whilst this won’t be applicable everywhere, in areas with extensive taxi coverage, being chauffeured around could end up being more economical. This is, however, dependent on the length of your visit and is more beneficial if you’re travelling shorter distances. It’s worth doing some research into local taxi services and apps for the areas surrounding your resort. Public transport is, of course, another way to save on spending. We always make use of public transport where possible, great experience for the kids to learn how to get around by themselves. In some countries, kids are allowed to travel free on certain types of transport so do some investigating when planning your trip. Don’t forget to make the most of old-fashioned walking too.
Eat like the locals
Now this is one must-know tip that I love to shout about. Getting to know the locals could save you big bucks. They’ll be able to give you insider’s tips into off-the-beaten-track restaurants and local hangouts. Not only are these hidden gems more likely to serve up delicious, authentic food that the kids will love, you’re likely to get much better value for money. Gaining this kind of knowledge means you can avoid the tourist traps with inflated prices.
One way to know if the place is good is to look for locals eating there or if there is a queue. Don’t forget the famous saying ‘that many people can’t be wrong’! It generally means the food is turned over quickly meaning less chance of getting sick as well.
Weigh your luggage before you leave
I can’t stress this one enough. It’s easy to remember to weigh your luggage on the way there, but not quite as easy to remember on the way back. The last thing you want is to be hit with excess luggage charges, so make sure you consider the weight of items when you’re indulging in holiday buys. If you have a habit of purchasing lots of travel keepsakes for the kids, make sure you reserve extra space for them in your luggage before you jet off away.
Alternatively, we have placed a small suitcase inside a larger one and then when we are heading home we use that for the souvenirs and shopping we have purchased while away. This is particularly good when flying with full service airlines that allow 2 suitcases per person like our upcoming flights with Qantas. Budget airlines are a little more difficult as you are required to pay for each suitcase you check in.
Have you got any tips on how to save money when travelling with the kids? Comments are welcome in the comment box below – I would love to hear your thoughts on how you cut costs for your holidays.
Sal & Co.