How to save money on family travel

Whether you’re travelling by car, plane or train, there are lots of ways you can save money on family travel.

Read on to discover how to save money when travelling as a family.

priscilla-du-preez-363211-unsplash.jpgPhoto by Priscilla Du Preez

1.     Take your own food

If you’re going on a long road trip with kids then pack lots of food and snacks from home.  This will save paying the extortionate prices at service stations.  If you’re going by plane then consider taking your own food too instead of paying high prices for flight meals and snacks.

2.     Travel outside of school holidays

This is impossible for some of us who have children in school already, but if you don’t then make use of travelling outside of the school holidays as the prices are so much cheaper, literally hundreds of pounds cheaper!  We had to take a school holiday this year and could have saved over £600 if we were able to go the week before!  Madness.

3.     Choose a less desirable time to travel

Whilst midday on a Saturday might be the most convenient time to travel, it’s not always the cheapest.  Weekend flights, especially, can cost more than weekday flights or flights at less peak hours.

4.     Save on trains with a Railcard

Check out the railcard website to see if you qualify for a railcard.  There are 16-25, 26-30, two together, family, senior and disabled railcards available which can save you a third off rail travel.  If you travel by train a lot then you could make some great savings!

5.     Check out Wowcher for travel deals

One place I am always guilty of forgetting to check, but has loads and loads of travel deals is Wowcher.  They have deals on beach holidays, city breaks, spas cruises, UK holidays and more!

6.     Get cashback on travel

You can book so much of your travel using cashback websites like Top Cashback and Quidco including flights, airport parking, travel insurance and car hire.  Always check on these cashback sites before booking anything as a simple click via their link to book could mean you get a load of cashback.  We usually get a few pounds back on our airport parking and we got £60 cashback when we booked our last package holiday via the Top Cashback First Choice link at no extra cost to us.

7.     Set a budget

Set a realistic budget and stick to it.  A budget for the cost of your holiday and a budget for spending money each day.  If you don’t do this and work out what you can afford and also what want to pay, then there’s a risk you just keep putting things on your bank cards without tracking spending.

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8.     Compare

Make sure you check a few travel sites and comparison sites – don’t just go with the first one you see.  You might find a flight cheaper or a hotel cheaper on a different holiday site as they have different offers.  Once you’ve found the cheapest, remember to check cashback as mentioned above in point 6.  Also make sure you compare travel insurance and then check for cashback in the same way to get the cheapest deal.

9.     Book early or late

Many travel agents offer an early bird discount, which not only saves you money but gives you longer to plan and budget for your holiday if booked early.  Or, if you aren’t too fussy on destinations or knowing months in advance where you are going, then book a very last minute holiday to take advantage of airlines and hotels needing to fill empty spaces last minute or for when they get a cancellation.

10.Try Airbnb

If you are just looking to book accommodation, then it could be much cheaper to book a house or apartment via Airbnb than a hotel in the same area.  You can often get much more for your money too – a whole house as opposed to just a hotel room with no other rooms.

11.Make your own food

I love to eat out when we travel as it’s part of the experience and a treat, but the costs do add up.  Instead why not eat out for one meal a day as a treat, but make the rest?

12.Choose an all-inclusive deal

If you’re going on a package holiday, then it can sometimes only cost a bit extra to upgrade to all-inclusive from self-catering.  If you work out this extra cost divided by three meals a day for each member of your travelling party then sometimes it’s a no-brainer to opt for all-inclusive.  Especially when you consider drinks, ice-creams and snacks all day are included too.

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Photo by Slava Bowman

13.Don’t use the airport carpark

The closer you park to the terminal then the more you have to pay.  We usually book a nearby airport carpark for a fraction of the cost of the actual airport carpark.  They have regular shuttles to the airport so it’s not really an inconvenience at all.  We have used APH several times and recommend them.

14.Check Skyscanner

Find the cheapest trains and also the shortest journeys with the Skyscanner app!  You can book using the app with no booking fees and can even use a railcard which I mentioned in point 4.

15.Use your legs

If you’re visiting a city then taxis and public transport can be quite costly to get around.  Depending on the ages of your children, save money on fares and choose to walk around to see the sights instead.

16.Weigh your suitcases

When flying, you do not want to be hit with excess luggage fees at the airport.  Make sure you have some scales at home to weigh your suitcases to make sure they are within the limits.  If you plan on bringing some souvenirs home with you then make sure you don’t max out your weight allowance on the way out.  Make the most of cabin luggage allowances too if you have a lot of stuff to take.

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17.Live like a local

Ask the locals where their favourite places are to eat or for entertainment.  It’s doubtful the locals will hang out at overly touristy places or that they’ll play their hiked up prices!  Chat to waiters, hotel receptionists and bar staff and ask where they love to go and recommend.

18.Choose to camp

Camping is definitely a much cheaper alternative to staying in a hotel and you can find some great deals.  We recently camped for a night for just £16 for the pitch for the night, whereas we’ve often paid £100-300 for a hotel for one night!  We’ve also been looking at Eurocamp and similar in France and the prices are amazing for a one week holiday compared to a hotel package holiday.

There are so many ways to start saving pennies and pounds when travelling to not spend more than you need to.

Related blog posts

Our 2019 family travel, events and days out bucket list

8 free days out with kids in Gloucestershire

How to pack light for a family road trip

Your ultimate guide of tips when flying with young children and babies

Welcome to the Travel Vixta blog

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