The Crazy Kitchen: 10 Tips for Overseas Travel on a Budget During School Holidays

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Monday 8 August 2016

10 Tips for Overseas Travel on a Budget During School Holidays

10 Tips for Overseas Travel on a Budget During School Holidays

Be as flexible as you can with your dates. If you want to go for a week then setting aside a 3 week window will give you a better chance of finding that bargain. 

Take an extra day off. Whilst I'm not an advocate of taking children out of school for holidays, taking the last day of the summer or Christmas term off is not likely to be detrimental to your child's education, especially if they have an excellent attendance record and are likely to be spending the day watching Polar Express or Frozen for the 10th time anyway. This in turn can lower the cost of your holiday considerably, but beware as you may receive a fine from your local authority!

Be flexible with your departure airport. If you live in the Midlands you have a good choice of airports within an hour or two, but travelling as far as Gatwick or Glasgow and booking an overnight hotel can work out cost effective, and it adds to the adventure (ok, maybe it's an adventure for the kids but it may not seem like much of an adventure to you when you're sitting in the bathroom of a Travelodge drinking wine out of plastic cups waiting for the kids to stop excitedly jumping on the bed!)

Be flexible with your destination. You may have a dream destination in mind, but that dream destination might be well out of your budget. If you're only bothered about getting some summer sunshine then you don't necessarily have to go to Mexico, The Bahamas or Tenerife to do so. By using Skyscanner you can search for flights from everywhere in the UK to every destination, and sort them by price to find the cheapest destination. Once you've found a potential destination then go to the flight operators website to see the full flight details and cost of extras. Bear in mind that you don't need to fly home with the same operator as you fly out with, but if you plan to leave your car at the airport it might be beneficial to fly home to the same airport!

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Do some research. You may find cheap flights to a particular destination, but it might turn out to be the most expensive place to stay, or transfers might cost you an arm and a leg, so before you confirm your flights, have an idea of accommodation and transfer/ car hire costs first. Staying in resorts closest to the airport can be quite a lot cheaper to get a taxi to so it's worth weighing up costs of transfers + accommodation costs for various resorts.

Decide what type of accommodation best suits your needs. If you don't like to lift a finger in the kitchen at all on holiday then all inclusive may be most suited to you, whereas if you're like me, and enjoy eating a leisurely breakfast or lunch in your own surroundings (in your pyjamas or swimwear) then a private villa may be more to your liking. There's not much point in paying for the luxury of all inclusive if you enjoy eating at somewhere different each night and you're not going to take advantage of the free bar. The Sands Beach Resort in Lanzarote is somewhere we've stayed in the past, and are going to again in the near future, which is the best of both worlds. It's a complex of individual villas, each surrounding one of 6 pools, with a main pool and manmade beach area, as well as restaurant, kids club, supermarket and bars with entertainment. Villas have full kitchens and patio areas with bbq, and are perfect if you have children, due to the proximity to the pools, meaning that you can sit on your patio or prepare a meal in the kitchen whilst still being close to the action. Many of them are privately owned and come with extras such as pool toys, games and dvd's.

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Shop around for accommodation. Booking privately with apartment or villa owners can usually save £££'s over the cost of a room booked through an agent. You might think that booking with a tour operator is more secure, but if you book via sites such as Holiday Lettings or Owners Direct you can check out customer reviews as well as seeing how long the owner has been registered with them, to give you peace of mind.

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Shop around for resort transfers/car hire/airport parking/insurance and use a cashback website such as Quidco* to do so. The cost of extras can soon mount up and may make that cheap holiday suddenly become very expensive if you're not prepared for what to expect. If you shop around before you confirm your flights then you know exactly what you'll be paying and it won't come as a nasty surprise. If you use a cashback website at the same time you can earn yourself a few pounds at the same time.

Take hand luggage only. Checked baggage costs are ever increasing and can be as much as £30+ per bag each way. Check out the hand baggage allowances of different airlines as this does vary, and some airlines such as Ryanair allow you to take a cabin sized bag plus a smaller 'handbag'. Bear in mind that the quantity of liquids you take will be restricted if you take hand baggage only so it may be necessary to buy your sun cream and toiletries at the airport once you're through security, or wait until you're in your destination. If you want to get the most out of your hand baggage allowance it might be worth investing in a Cabin Max bag, like these below*. We have a couple of them in different colours, and have used them a few times now. As they're not hard sided like some cabin bags they fit under the seat in front, which takes the stress out of trying to find space in an overhead locker!

Leave the kids at home. Halve your costs and leave the kids at home. Obviously that's a joke as I couldn't think of number 10. We can all dream......

*affiliate links

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