If you can afford to wait until the last minute to book your time away, there are often good deals to be had on family holidays abroad. In order to make the most of the opportunity, you need a willingness to not be too fussy about where you go, as there’s no guarantee a preferred destination will be available at a discount price.
Tour operators often post last minute deals in their shop windows and some have very short deadlines, whilst others offer deals a month or two in advance. Savings of hundreds of pounds can be made if you’re willing to take the gamble and put off booking in advance. This won’t suit those who are less flexible – for instance if you need to book time off work or you can’t take children out of school during term times. But if you are willing and able, it can be worth the wait.
If you need to book in advance, don’t discount comparison websites. They’ll give you a good overview of what’s available and the kind of price you can expect to pay for the kind of holiday you’re looking for. If you don’t mind doing some of organising yourself, booking flights, accommodation, transport and transfers separately can often yield savings over going for a package deal.
Activity holidays for the family are often best booked as a package, however, especially if your chosen activity is new to you and you need to hire the necessary specialist equipment. Hiring equipment can be more expensive if it’s not part of a holiday deal.
Groups of Friends
Getting together with a family you are friends with and booking a joint holiday can often result in good savings. Sharing larger holiday accommodation can work out cheaper per person than if you were renting alone.
This kind of scheme can work very well for those who like activity holidays, particularly if the children in the group can get involved in the activity at a junior level and entertain themselves. Having friends along for the adventure also makes the holiday even more exciting for kids.
Stretching Your Budget
Planning ahead can work in your favour when it comes to money, helping you stretch the pounds a little further.
Keep an eye on the exchange rate as you plan holidays abroad and change your sterling while the rate is good rather than waiting until the last minute when you may get a lower rate. Even just a penny or two on the rate can mount up when you’re exchanging hundreds of pounds.
If you don’t want to carry cash, maybe preferring credit cards for your holiday spending, make sure your card is designed for use abroad. Poor exchange rates, withdrawal fees and high interest rates can all make your holiday more expensive.
Simple money-saving tips, such as going self-catering and actually doing your own catering instead of eating every meal out at a restaurant or buying food as you go on day trips, can save a small fortune. If you’re willing to do the extra preparation yourself, the money you save can then be spent on extra activities or tours during the holiday.
Being canny with money isn’t second nature to most of us, but the benefits of learning to stretch the budget far outweigh the confusion of the learning curve.