Summer is around the corner, which means many of us are preparing for our annual getaway. But while the kids might be jumping off the walls with excitement there’s every chance you’re stressing about the cost. In between hotel bills, airfares and day-to-day spending money, it’s easy to blow the budget. Fortunately, family holidays don’t have to break the bank. Read on for our top 10 ways to travel cheap with kids.
Travel cheap with kids #1: Try a house swap
Travel cheap with kids #2: Travel during off-peak periods
Where practical, travel during off-peak periods, as this allows you to save money on airfare and accommodation costs. Admittedly this one isn’t always possible, especially if you have children of school age. However, if you’re keen to travel during term time you can always talk to your child’s teacher in advance and ask about the possibility of organizing homework for them during the holiday.
Travel cheap with kids #3: Eat like a local
Holidaymakers are often directed to tourist trap restaurants, but for an authentic and affordable dining experience, head to where the locals eat. Just make sure you follow standard hygiene protocols (i.e. Does the cooking area look clean?). And always choose somewhere busy, even if it means waiting for a table.
Travel cheap with kids #4: Go all-inclusive
If you’re travelling with a young baby and are uncertain about the logistics of venturing out of your resort to dine, investigate all-inclusive options. These packages combine accommodation and food in one, and mean you don’t have to worry about spending an uncertain amount on food while you’re on holiday.
Travel cheap with kids #5: Keep the kids entertained
Pack colouring books, stationary, travel games, playing cards, a bat and ball, and anything else you think will keep your kids entertained. Not only will this save you stress when the kids are going bonkers with boredom, but it will save you money because it prevents impulse purchases when you’ll do anything for five minutes peace.
Taking your baby on holiday? You might need…
Travel cheap with kids #6: Be mindful of budget
It’s easy for costs to balloon when you’re on holiday, but try to keep account of everything spend so you know you’re not going over budget. A good way to do this is to decide on a figure before you leave, then use an app such as YNAB to keep tabs on your expenses.
Travel cheap with kids #7 Think sharecation
Plan your holiday with other families and rent a home or villa together. When you divide the cost among several people, it should be less expensive than a hotel, and you’ll have the added benefit of shared childcare duties and free babysitting, which comes into its own when you and hubby wish to spend a night out alone.
Travel cheap with kids #8 Go self-catering
Book apartment-style accommodation that comes with a decent sized fridge as well as a kitchen area. This gives you the freedom to cook at home, rather than having to splash on expensive dinners out every night.
Travel cheap with kids #9 Take public transport
If you’re in a city with a reliable and safe transport system, ditch taxis and board the buses, trains and trams instead. You’ll be surprised by how much you save!
Travel cheap with kids #10 Stock up on non-perishables
If you’re holidaying in a far-flung place, like a tropical island or a mountain getaway, stock up on snacks such as crackers, biscuits, raisons and cereals. The reason for this is that these ordinarily cheap supermarket items can sometimes be priced at a premium when you’re in a place that has to fly them in. We heard a horror story recently when one JK mum ended up paying Dhs80 for a box of her little one’s favourite breakfast cereal. Ouch!