As the Summer holidays approach, many of us will be a little apprehensive about the potential cost of keeping the kids fed, watered and entertained. If you’re trying to give your little ones a memory-filled Summer without breaking the (already stretched) bank, don’t fear – we’ve compiled a few of the best holiday savers top tips.
Set a budget
We’re all prone to that holiday feeling that causes us to go mad on day 1! Be mindful of the plan for your holiday and set realistic budget expectations for things like excursions, activities or eating out, you’ll be surprised at how just a little bit of planning can really help with holiday savers. It may sound a little too much like “adulting” but it all adds up.
One thing the pandemic taught us is that, as long as the sun is shining, you don’t need to roam far for a great holiday experience – although the end of the pandemic did teach us that we were all desperate for some foreign sun! With 104 UK beaches being awarded Blue Flag status in 2023 there is plenty of high-quality coastal holidaying to be had on our doorstep, factoring in city breaks and destination resorts means there is a wealth of options for flight-free breaks. Save money and decrease your carbon footprint in one go.
Even closer to home
Sometimes it seems mad that for a couple of weeks a year we cram into a hotel room or caravan, sleeping three deep and existing in chaos, all in the name of relaxation! Getting away need not mean getting away from the comforts of home, as long as it’s a break in routine and some quality time together. Research by Trivago in Summer 2022 estimated the average accommodation cost of a night away in the UK at £110 – make that seven nights and by focussing on home-based day trips you’ll have over £700 to spend making memories (plus the advantage of sleeping in your own bed).
Free as a bird?
Not everything costs money. Keep an eye on local news sites and social groups for free events, or get those exploring shoes on and explore your local area. A great resource for this is walkingbritain.co.uk a site where you can pop in a location and it’ll generate a list of walks for all abilities and fitness levels. Keep little ones engaged on your walks with things like scavenger challenges or cloud shape identification (“look that one looks like a fish,” not pointing out the difference between out cumulonimbus and cirrus!). You could take things a stage further with i-spy books – at £3.99 each there is a spotting things activity for almost every Summer occasion. Not up for a walk? There are always bike rides, beaches or local parks and other public spaces, just remember the sun cream and hats!
Eating on the go
Keeping everyone fed is one of the biggest holiday expenses, particularly on long days out. With the average supermarket meal deal being around £4, you’re looking at £16 for a family of four before factoring in snacks and treats. It sounds like a simple solution but packing up your own lunches not only saves money but caters for even the fussiest of eaters – no more dashing around the supermarket to find a sandwich that is (a) white bread (b) doesn’t contain mayo and (c) is on the meal deal!
Transporting a packed lunch is often a key driver for avoiding taking your own food, that and ”I’m on holiday, I’m not making sandwiches.” Investing in an insulated rucksack for around £20 will give you years of cheap lunchtime eating. A great way to keep your cool bag chilled is to substitute ice blocks for frozen drinks, Capri Sun for example, and pop them in with your sandwiches. They will slowly thaw through the morning and (usually) be ready to drink, ice cold, at lunchtime. The big bonus is that you are not lugging around thawed ice blocks all afternoon.
Holidays = ice cream
With ingredient and production costs ever-rising, the UK holiday staple is constantly creeping up in price, a round of 99s could set you back a chilling amount. Supermarkets offer a great alternative if you don’t mind missing out on a Mr Whippy and you can economise further by picking up a box of ice creams. We have seen packs of six Magnums for £4.00 for example – around the cost of a single cone ice cream. The only issue is that if there are only five of you, someone will have to eat two!
Keep an eye on offers and coupons for deals on activities and attractions. If you are out and about the local supermarkets usually have racks of pamphlets advertising local attractions, usually with an entry offer. Eating out – check the websites of restaurants nearby to see if there are any deals available. Money Saving Expert is a great place for finding discounted meals or 2 for 1 offers. Many places will be offering ‘kids eat free’ offers, these are quite often available in supermarket cafes and are a great value way to feed the family.
Home is where the heart is. If you have a garden, Summer is a great time to introduce little ones to tending to the garden so get them weeding! Gardens can offer hours of fun den making or twilight story-telling. Why not try camping out in the garden? Combine it with a barbecue and you have all the “fun” of camping but with proper toilets!
The current economic climate is making everyone think about holiday budgets, so don’t feel bad for looking for savings. Spending less doesn’t mean sacrificing fun. With a bit of planning and creativity, you can still have a summer creating memories with family and friends while keeping your budget in check.