We can’t be the only family that counts down to their holiday, so I thought I’d count down through my top ten holiday planning tips to help you budget for your annual holiday. Let the holiday chart count down begin!
10. A new entry: Do your research. Do it before you book so you choose the right place. Bookmark useful sites so you can revisit them before you travel to pick up any last-minute tips. We look at holiday provider’s websites, review sites like Trip Advisor, blogs, etc. Consider a shout out on Twitter or Facebook to see if you can get some recommendations.
9. A non-mover at number nine: Book early. Yes, sometimes you can get last-minute deals, but is it really worth the stress. I know a friend who packs the car and starts driving while her husband rings up self catering companies to negotiate a last-minute discount, but I don’t think I could cope with that. I’d prefer to know where I am going so I can research the local area in advance. Booking early often means that you get a good deal or a free child place, plus it will save massively on the stress front.
8. Down one to number eight: plan your day trips. Look around for free or cheap places to visit. When holidaying in this country, we often visit English Heritage or National Trust properties because we have membership cards that get us in free. They can often be used further afield too, as they have reciprocal agreements with other countries’ heritage organisations. Look for deals and voucher codes. Booking online is often cheaper and can save on queuing. Sometimes gift aiding your entry fee for registered charity sites will gain you a free year’s membership, so consider going early in the holiday and then revisiting for free.
7. Our highest new entry: sort out your phone and internet access. If you are going abroad make sure you check with your phone provider that you have the best package for the country you are going to. Phone charges can quickly rack up. If your accommodation doesn’t have wifi, check where you can get it locally on a site like wefi.
6. Up one at number six: Take copies of your key documents like passports and travel insurance. Leave a copy at home with a friend or relative and keep another copy with you, but separate to your original documents. It’s enough of a nightmare if something gets lost or stolen without adding to the hassle by not knowing who to contact or what the details are.
5. Up two to number five: plan for your journey. Make sure you take plenty of snacks and entertainment for your journey. If you take your own food (if none provided), you’ll have control over when it’s served and what it is. Airline work schedules won’t allow for a hungry toddler. Entertainment is key. Older children will usually be happy with some sort of electronic amusement, but for younger children you’ll need more of a range. It’s worth packing things that can span different ages too: paper and pencils can be used by children of almost any age group. Make sure you have all your road trip essentials.
4. A non mover at number four: Fill up on included meals like breakfast. If breakfast is provided, eat well and spend less at lunchtime. If your evening meal is part of the deal too, then better still, perhaps you could manage with a piece of fruit or two for lunch.
3. Up one to number three: Look at booking independent trips. Tours organised by your holiday provider may be just too expensive or not geared up for families. Consider booking with an independent firm, look at public transport or sometimes getting a taxi might make most sense. Taxis can be shared with other families sometimes to reduce the costs.
2. Down one to two: take your own water bottles. Drinks can quickly add up. Water is free and safe to drink in most family holiday destinations (obviously check first). We take an empty bottle through security (when we are flying) and then fill it up from the sinks in the toilets airside. This saves you being ripped off for drinks by the airline or the airport.
1. Up three places, we have a new number one: have picnics. Even when staying in hotels, we’ve often self catered our lunches. Some lightweight plastic plates and a knife (will have to go in the hold luggage) will let you make sandwiches. We’ve squeezed cheese and ham packets into hotel mini-bars to keep them fresh. Eat in your room, on the balcony or find a nice picnic spot. If you like a glass of wine too, pack a corkscrew and buy a local bottle from a store.#
Well that’s it pop pickers, you’ve been reading the holiday charts from Best 4 Mum. I hope you’ve picked up some holiday planning tips.