The 10 Best Ways To Save Money On A Family Holiday Blog Header

The 10 Best Ways To Save Money On Family Holidays

Picture this: sandy toes, sunscreen-scented laughter, and the thrill of new adventures. Whole family holidays create memories that last a lifetime, but let’s be honest, they can also put a strain on the wallet. Fear not, budget-conscious globetrotters! We’ve compiled 10 of the best ways to help you slash costs and embark on that dream summer vacation without breaking the bank. From flight hacks to savvy spending secrets, this guide is your roadmap to a fun-filled, guilt-free family getaway. So, pack your bags (without overpacking!), gather your crew, and get ready to discover how to make magical memories and get some quality time together without maxing out your credit card. Buckle up, adventure awaits! Here are our top tips to make the most of your vacation budget on your next family holiday.

Be flexible

The first step if you want to save money is flexibility. Flexibility is the golden key to unlocking significant vacation savings on your next family trip in everything from destination, activities, accommodation, and transport to the insurance and booking policies of the providers you choose. Here are a few of the easiest ways to embrace flexibility and stretch your budget:

  • Be open with travel dates: Consider traveling during the shoulder seasons or weekdays instead of peak periods and weekends. Flights and accommodation often see dramatic price drops outside of high-demand times.
  • Embrace an alternative travel destination: Instead of being fixated on a specific location, research and consider destinations with lower travel costs and explore hidden gems you may not have initially considered.City breaks also tend to cost less in summer with beach resorts being the preferred option. Check out annual comparisons of city break costs on
  • Choose alternative accommodation: Explore options beyond traditional hotel rooms. Consider hostels, a vacation rental, house swaps, or even homestays, which can offer surprisingly comfortable and budget-friendly alternatives.
  • Be open to activities: Don’t limit yourself to expensive tourist traps. Research free or low-cost activities, explore local markets, or simply immerse yourself in the everyday life of your destination.

By adopting a flexible mindset, you open yourself up to a wider range of options and experiences without sacrificing enjoyment, allowing you to explore the world while saving a lot of money.

Get cheaper travel insurance

While the cheapest option might not always be the best, there are ways to find the best prices on travel insurance that meet your needs. Consider comparing quotes from various providers using comparison websites. The average cost of cover taken out via a comparison site can be 40 to 50% lower than if bought directly from an insurer.

Opt for a policy that aligns with your trip details, like a single trip for a short vacation or an annual multi-trip for frequent travellers. You can reduce the cost of the policy by increasing the excess or purchasing single-trip insurance or family cover. Be honest about your medical history and avoid unnecessary add-ons. Some multi-cover policies e.g. include travel insurance cover. Remember, the cheapest time to buy might be closer to your departure date, but always weigh the potential risks against the savings. Always ensure you have a valid EHIC (or GHIC) card for travel within the EU. 

Research free attractions at your destination

Fun days out don’t need to cost the earth. All destinations will have free attractions. Researching free attractions before your holiday can be a fun and budget-friendly way to discover the hidden gems of your destination. Start by browsing the official tourism website and local blogs for listings of free museums, local or national parks, free events, free activities, or historical landmarks. Utilize social media platforms like Facebook groups dedicated to your destination where locals and past travellers share their recommendations. Don’t forget to check the websites of individual attractions, as some may offer free admission on specific days or times. This pre-trip planning will ensure you have a fulfilling itinerary packed with free experiences. A lot of theme parks will have special offers or discounts if you buy certain products or that you can buy with reward points for example Cadbury and Kellogg’s often have offers for Merlin attractions and Tesco Clubcard allows you to swap vouchers to pay for entry to top attractions.

Book at the optimum time

For lower flight prices, the first quarter of the year is often the best time to book. Also, avoid flying out on Fridays (the most popular day) and try unusual trip lengths (not seven or 14 days) to find the best value prices. Finding the “optimum” time to book a holiday involves a delicate balancing act between price, flexibility, and destination. Generally, booking early (around 2-4 months in advance) for international flights and popular destinations can secure early bird discounts and guarantee availability, especially during the school holidays peak season. However, if you’re flexible with dates and less concerned about specific locations, waiting for great deals on last minute breaks closer to the departure date (within 2-6 weeks) can yield significant savings, particularly for less popular destinations and off-season travel which can make a huge difference. Remember, shoulder season (just before or after peak season) often offer a sweet spot, combining lower prices with pleasant weather and fewer crowds. Ultimately, the best booking time depends on your priorities and the specific details of your trip.

Clear your online cookies 

Clearing your cookies before booking a holiday is a popular practice aimed at potentially getting better deals on flights and accommodation. Websites use cookies to track your browsing activity, including your searches and interests. This information can be used to personalize your experience, but some believe it can also lead to price hikes as the website perceives you’re more likely to pay a higher price. While the effectiveness of this practice is debated, and any impact is likely minimal, clearing your cookies is a simple step that can provide peace of mind for budget-conscious travelers. It’s important to remember that other factors, like demand and seasonality, play a larger role in pricing, so don’t expect dramatic savings solely from clearing cookies. You could also use incognito or private browsing.

Check out all-inclusive offers

All-inclusive holidays can be a savvy way to save money because they bundle the major costs of your trip upfront. With flights, accommodation, meals, snacks, drinks (not always alcoholic ones), transfers, and often activities included in a single price, you eliminate the worry of unexpected expenses during your vacation. These costs can quickly add up especially on family travel. If you don’t mind eating primarily in the hotel it’s worth looking to see if you can save by going all-inclusive on holiday, factoring in local costs and exchange rates. This helps avoid the stress of overspending on food and beverages, particularly in expensive resorts. All-inclusive deals can also offer great value for families, as you know beforehand how much you’ll be spending on snacks and entertainment for the kids. For budget-conscious travelers seeking convenience and predictability, all-inclusive holidays can be a financially sound choice.

Book a bargain package holiday just for the flights

It’s worth taking a look at package holiday deals to see if they work out cheaper than the cost of a flight on its own. Booking a package holiday specifically to save money on flights can be a gamble, but it can sometimes pay off. The bundled price of a flight and hotel with a travel agent might be cheaper than booking them individually, even if you have no intention of using the included accommodation. There’s no obligation to stay in the hotel or use any associated car rentals and transfers if you have alternate plans. However, this strategy requires careful consideration. Firstly, compare the total package price with separate flight and hotel bookings. Secondly, check the flexibility of the package – can you change the accommodation to a cheaper option or cancel it altogether without incurring high fees? Finally, consider your destination – package deals often work best for popular tourist destinations with high flight demand. Remember, this approach comes with risks, so be sure to weigh the potential savings against the potential drawbacks before committing. It’s also worth keeping in mind that package holidays also come with greater consumer protection under the Package and Linked Travel Arrangements 2018.

Buy cheap travel essentials 

Travel essentials like travel adaptors or beach items are one of those often overlooked travel expenses as they are not things we usually think about every day. These products don’t need to be high-end to do the job. Pick up your travel essentials from discount stores. Avoid spending over the odds purchasing travel-size toiletries. Instead, pick up some empty mini bottles for a fraction of the price and decant what you need into those. 

Stretching your travel budget doesn’t have to mean sacrificing essentials. Here are some tips for acquiring travel essentials without breaking the bank:

  • Utilize discount stores and sales: Look for deals on travel basics like refillable water bottles, reusable shopping bags, travel adapters, and comfortable walking shoes at discount stores or during seasonal sales.
  • Shop second-hand: Consider gently used travel gear and clothing at thrift stores or online marketplaces. You can often find quality items at a fraction of the retail price.
  • Borrow from friends and family members: If possible, borrow essentials like swimsuits, beach towels, or even backpacks from your network instead of purchasing them new.
  • Invest in multi-purpose items: Opt for versatile items like a scarf that doubles as a blanket or a sarong that can be used as a beach cover-up or picnic blanket.
  • Plan outfits strategically: Pack versatile clothing that can be mixed and matched to create multiple outfits, reducing the need for extensive wardrobe changes.

By thinking creatively and strategically, you can equip yourself with everything you need for a comfortable and enjoyable holiday without overspending.

Travel for less with air miles and points

Collect points and air miles using credit cards, supermarket loyalty schemes, or retail portals to travel for less. Points can be accrued not just through travel but through your everyday shopping too! 

Air miles and points can be a great way to save a significant amount of money or even get free travel on your holiday. Here’s how:

  • Redeem for flights: Utilize your points to pay for flights, especially during expensive peak seasons when cash prices soar. This allows you to bypass hefty airfare costs and allocate that budget towards other vacation expenses.
  • Cover travel fees: Use points to cover additional travel fees like baggage check-in or seat selection, maximizing your savings on the overall cost of your trip.
  • Upgrade your experience: Consider using points for luxurious upgrades on flights, such as business class seats, increasing your comfort and enjoyment during the journey.
  • Combine with other deals: Utilize points alongside other cost-saving tactics like booking off-peak travel or budget-friendly accommodation, allowing you to stretch your travel budget even further.

However, remember to research point redemption rates and compare them to cash prices before booking to ensure you’re getting the best value for your points. By strategically using air miles and points, you can unlock significant savings and enhance your holiday experience.


If you don’t ask you definitely don’t get. Negotiate with your tour operator in price per person, or free breakfast not total cost so the discounts appear smaller. See if a deal can be price-matched if not beaten. With some wheeling and dealing you could get a nice discount, upgrade, or other perk. 

Haggling, while not as common in all cultures and sectors of the travel industry, can still be a successful strategy to save money on certain holiday elements, particularly in specific destinations.

Here’s when and how you can consider haggling:

  • Accommodation: In smaller, independent hotels, guesthouses, or homestays, especially in regions where haggling is customary, politely inquiring about a lower price may be acceptable. Be respectful and highlight any potential benefits you offer, like a longer stay or booking outside peak season.
  • Activities: In certain tourist destinations, local vendors or service providers might be open to negotiating prices for things like tours, transportation, or even handcrafted souvenirs. Be polite, be prepared to walk away if negotiations fail, and be mindful of local customs and fair pricing practices.

Remember, haggling should be approached with respect and cultural awareness. It’s not always guaranteed to be successful, and sometimes the best deals are found through research and comparison shopping.

About the author:

Queen of Customer Service Jane Hawkes aka Lady Janey is a leading Consumer Champion specialising in travel. Jane is the author of the consumer blog and the go-to consumer expert for a number of local and national radio stations.

Jane is a new face on our TV screens with appearances on BBC, ITV, GMB and Channel 5 to her credit. Jane also regularly features in the national press and is an Award-Winning UK Money blogger.

Jane is a published author and her book ‘Are You Being Served?’ described as a “delightful and insightful” insight into the world of Customer Service with a lovely foreword by Lorraine Kelly CBE has been published on Amazon. You name it and she’s covered it.

Jane can be contacted via email or on social media as ladyjaney75.

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