A family holiday is all about getting away from home for a week or two and enjoying yourself. It gives you and the rest a chance to escape work, school, cleaning, cooking, and other responsibilities that manage to drag you down after a while.
But a lot of the time, family holidays are not cheap. There are flights, accommodation, food and drink, and activities you need to think about to make it a holiday to remember. For some families, this just isn’t doable.
It’s not fair that everybody else gets the chance to get away and you don’t though. So instead of staring longingly out the window at passing planes or researching holiday destinations, you’ll not afford in this life nor the next, you can plan a low-cost trip instead.
A low-cost trip is a fantastic way to save money while still getting away from the rigamarole of daily life. There is less travel involved, no potential language barrier, and also the chance to meet like-minded families that can make your holiday one to remember even more. If you’re a family on a budget, a cheap week away within your home country could be the answer you’ve been looking for.
A Well-Rounded Itinerary
When going abroad, there is so much to do that it’s often stressful trying to fit in everything you want to do and see. You almost don’t need to create an itinerary. However, when travelling within your home country, things are a little different.
You can’t just visit parks or go on hikes every day; there needs to be something more to keep your and your children’s attention. To overcome this, look for areas that offer plenty of exciting and affordable activities.
This can involve everything from visiting the local leisure centre (preferably one with water slides) to checking out any fun educational establishments in the area. You also don’t need to do something every day, and if there’s plenty of things to do on the campsite, then you’ll have something for everybody to save any complaints about boredom and wanting to go home.
Even if you’ve got a plan, it’s not always possible to stick to it. You could encounter issues like bad weather, closed attractions, or even a realisation that what was advertised doesn’t quite live up to the hype.
It’s easy to panic in this when this happens. Your itinerary has been thrown entirely out of whack, and you’re stuck with a family of eager beavers wondering why they can’t go and have some fun. So what do you do?
Low-cost family holidays need a level of flexibility to be successful. They need a backup plan that is ready to pull out should things not go your way. Whether it’s replacing your chosen activity for a few hours before heading back and trying again, or sacking it off altogether and doing something completely different, you can save the day by making sure there’s always something else you can do, even if what you first wanted isn’t available. You never know, your backup may be better than what you initially had planned.
Ready for the Worst
When travelling and exploring new places, you don’t have the knowledge you have in your hometown. This means you’re not as aware as the potential danger that could be lurking around the corner, whether it’s neglected play areas or tricky, slippery streets.
Being ready for the worst, whether that’s illness, injury, or a breakdown means you can overcome them without falling into a black hole of panic. It’s important to stay calm and do what you can to ensure things keep running smoothly while also not worrying the rest of the family.
In case of illness or injury, you can prepare by packing a comprehensive First Aid kit that can deal with the smaller problems like cuts, scrapes, headaches, and sickness. Even if the problem is worse than this, you can at least provide some comfort until you manage to get them to a hospital for treatment.
As for breakdowns or power outages, you can reduce downtime by teaching yourself how to fix fundamental car problems. If you’re using a caravan, torches, a camping stove and a diesel generator can get you out of most sticky situations and tide you over until everything gets back to normal. However, if you don’t think you can fix something, don’t try in case you hurt yourself.
Disasters when travelling anywhere are not ideal, but while you hope nothing will go wrong, it’s always best to be prepared to deal with it just in case.
Knowing Where to Hold Back
A low-cost family holiday is supposed to be just that: low cost. This means that as much as you’re tempted to treat the kids to a McDonald’s or a new toy, you shouldn’t. Treating them now after you’ve spent what money you could spare on a nice family trip away means you might not be able to lavish them with the gifts they want when their birthday or Christmas comes around, and while they might not like it, they’ll one day understand it’s for their own good.
The same applies for more exciting but also more expensive activities such as theme parks. These places are pricey enough at the best of times, so it’s probably wise not to go anywhere near a location with the potential for roller coasters.
Knowing When to Go
Going on holiday with kids is almost impossible while they’re still in school, but heading away during half term and summer holidays ramps up the prices quicker than a supercar going from 0 to 60.
If possible, you can save money by arranging a trip outside of school holidays as resorts and campsites are generally cheaper. However, this could be at the hindrance of your child’s education, and you might not be able to get the time off from work, so don’t bank on it as a certainty.
It might not be the white sand beaches of exotic islands, nor the culture-filled city breaks of Europe’s most bubbling and bustling cities. It doesn’t need to be, though. A family holiday isn’t about spending more than you can afford; it’s about spending time with your loved ones, and you don’t need to be in a 5-star resort to do that.