Myself, Bear & Bear’s daddy recently went on a family holiday together (if you follow me on Twitter, you probably already knew this) and we had such a lovely holiday, whilst also being on a budget. We even met up with the wonderful Amy & her little dude and had such a lovely time. Because we have family in different areas of the country, we will take little breaks to visit them but this time, we wanted to go somewhere different and see different things. We stayed in South Cornwall for a week and honestly, we didn’t have any trouble with money or not having anything to do etc. Bearing in mind we also drove (I drove) all the way from Wigan in Manchester to Southern Cornwall and we had an 18 month old in tow, it was challenging. But so worth it. I want to share my tips on holidaying with a toddler whilst on a budget.
1. Look for Bargain Trips. We got our holiday through The Sun newspaper deals (you know, the ones from £9.50). Depending on the time you go, depends how much the total is but it’s bound to be a good saving from not finding the deal. The good thing was, we had months from booking it until our date of arrival too so plenty of time to prepare. I also know that sites like Living Social, Groupon & Wowcher amongst others, also provide budget friendly deals. Just have a look around. It might take a bit of time to find the perfect getaway, but it will be so worth it.
2. Plan your Break. If you have some time before your journey, get online. Have a look at the area you’re staying in, look at what’s nearby. Any attractions? Things you like the look of doing/seeing? Get some prices, find out the times of opening, what it’s like that season. Maybe make a rough itinerary of your trip allocating days for different activities, but make sure it can be mixed up a bit. You may plan to visit the beach but when you get there, the weather might be hit & miss so maybe you could swap that activity for another day when the weather might be nicer, or maybe you just don’t fancy it that day when it comes to it. We also looked for free things to do/areas to visit as well as ones that cost. As I said, we met up with Amy who I’ve been talking to for about 2 years now but never met so we had some lovely times with her and her little one too. It’s about the memories more than money, especially if you have a young toddler.
3. Shop Around. Need some new clothes? Need some holiday appropriate items? Have a look around! We went on holiday at the beginning of September, so all of the summer wear was on sale in stores. This meant that some items of clothing we wanted to pop in our suitcases just in case (let’s face it, British weather isn’t that great 60% of the time) were on offer or end of season sales. One place I did like looking for holiday wear was Love the Sales*. The site gathers information on sales from hundreds of other sites to find you just what you’re looking for rather than having to search every individual site. I managed to get some Jeans from Dorothy Perkins, some leggings & pyjamas from Very & a top from a site I actually hadn’t heard of before. I was so impressed though, and even though I was looking at the time of end of season sales, there was so much choice. It really is worth looking though as you will find so many things you will need. I also really love bargain places like Primark, Home & Bargains and supermarkets for scouting out other items I needed.
4. Budget for Petrol/Food/Necessities First. I found that it made things so much easier by roughly working out how much petrol I might use & making sure we could get food in rather than eating out all of the time and the rest of our money was ours to play with. I looked up how many miles the journey was (a full tank of petrol) times that by the journey down, the journey home & petrol down there and that was a maximum of around £150. I then worked out that a weeks worth of breakfast & teas (with a few dinners thrown in) would be approximately £50 with room for any essentials we might need to top up on=£80. We didn’t ever say ‘no’ to eating out, we just felt it would be better for our pockets & also to keep a bit of routine for bear, that we had meals in the caravan too. We had tea out on 2 evenings & had dinner out twice also along with little snacks like Cornish Ice-Cream & the seafood I was craving so much.
5. Save, Save, Save. If you can of course. But if you’ve got plenty of time before your holiday comes, try and save a little. Maybe even throw a couple items in your shop and it’ll soon build up. For example, if you have 7 months until your holiday and you work out that you can save £100 a month, that’s £700 of holiday spends. It all works out, whether you have less than that or more, that’s not the point, you can make all the memories on very little budget.
I’m definitely going to start hunting for our next holiday with lots of planning ideas to use. As I said before, we visit family a lot so even just visiting them is classed as a holiday. You don’t have to leave the country (though you could find good deals on foreign holidays) but free accomodation is better than nothing haha. One major tip I also have, is to make lots of stops on a journey if possible of course. I think the journey was around a 7hr drive for us. The thing was, my legs needed a rest every so often & the toddler definitely needed a rest to have something to eat, have a nappy change & stretch his legs a little. It did make the journey that bit longer but at least we were’t too grumpy ha!
What are your tips for holidaying on a budget or with a toddler? Do you have any holiday recommendations? I’d love to hear them.