Next year is a big year for us, it’s the year Amelie starts school and that means it’s the end of holidaying out of season and that means holidays are going to cost our family much more!
I’m not embarrassed to admit I am genuinely quite upset about this. I live to travel, I love exploring new places and ultimately when we race around life, a holiday is a great chance to reset batteries and reconnect as a family.
I’ve been having a think about how we could holiday differently next year and what our options are… if you’re in a similar boat I hope you find this useful (if you’ve been here I’d also love to know your top tips)!
Holidays in the school holidays
Camping is definitely an option we’re considering. If you’re OK with camping with kids then this could definitely work out as a much more affordable option. We have been glamping before as the girls were still quite young and they absolutely LOVED the adventure and doing something different. You’ll usually find good facilities in bigger campsites from swimming pools to a playground and sometimes entertainment. If camping isn’t your thing you can also find affordable more static options on campsites such as caravans or cabins which still won’t break the bank.
There are lots of ways to house swap. Ask your friends and family if they have holiday homes or do they have family who own a home somewhere different? My parents live in Dorset so we are lucky to have a ‘holiday home’ so see if you can find something where you can find a deal at ‘mates rates’. If you don’t have anyone to call on there are other options, The Money Whisperer says ‘Consider joining a house-sitting website such as Trusted Housesitters. You look after someone’s home while they are away, and potentially also care for their pets, for free in exchange for accommodation. A win-win solution to a common problem.’
Consider having your ‘main’ holiday at Easter / October half term
We have always had our main holiday in May, it’s cooler and cheaper so even when Amelie starts school we’ll try and stick to that school holiday and do something lower key over the Summer months.
Nicola from mummytodex said ‘We’ve always been stuck going in the school holidays, even before kids, as my husband is a teacher. We always have our ‘main’ holiday in the Easter holidays as we find it is a lot cheaper due to schools having different breaks over that period of time plus the weather is a bit cooler. We improvise by going long haul to places such as Thailand or the US where we get guaranteed sunshine at a cheaper price.’
Be savvy with term times
Term times do vary across the country and often you might find inset days just before holidays which can help with flights or lower costs in hotel accommodation. We have found that we have an inset day just before the May half term so will be looking to use this to travel then.
Beth from Twinderelmo says ‘Check term dates across the country. We often break up before the majority of other schools down south so managed to get a bargain week in Dorset before the price tripled. Easter is also a time where term dates vary so it pays to do your research!’
Go last minute
Katy from Katy Kicker says ‘Consider being flexible about your destination – so that you can look for last minute deals’. This can be a real way to save money. It’s not for everyone, I for one am always really worried about leaving things to the last minute, it’s the planner in me – but I always hear so many people say what amazing deals they got by being flexible.
Villa holidays could be another option which work out cheaper than an all-inclusive resort. You can find your own flights and either book directly with the villa or find a deal of lots of websites.
Although the price of package holidays increase in school holiday periods, the flights usually don’t, so book early and you should be able to find cheap flights at almost any time of year. You can find accommodation online and often booking a year in advance can help. Evette from Buzzimummy agrees as she has booked Crete for August 2019 for £1500 for 4. She says ‘If you book in advance you save money that way! It also allows more time to pay in installments too.’
Cut out the middleman by going direct to hotels or through tourist boards so you can book and pay direct. Jodie from Maidenhead Mum says ‘I have saved money on booking UK caravan park breaks by booking direct with private owners. Google makes it pretty easy! Just find the site you like the look of and then do a Google search: type in ‘private owner and the name of holiday park’ and you’ll come up with sites that have privately owned caravans to rent. These tend to be beautiful premium caravans for much less than the equivalent price on the main commercial sites. Some even have toys, books and DVDs included which has been great for my two kids. It feels more like a real home from home!’
What are your tricks for holidaying when little ones are at school?
*Thanks to lots of bloggers mentioned above who have given me some great ideas for this post*