‘Holidays do not have to be expensive to create unforgettable memories and experiences’
So guys, I have got my travel bug back! It has bitten me and now I just want to go everywhere and anywhere! Something I have come to appreciate is the experiences and the memories that have come from my holidays, whether on a budget or in a 5* hotel. I have to admit though, it is easier to do budget holidays without small kids! But it is a good feeling when you come back from holiday to an account that is not empty! On the other hand, sometimes it is good to go for luxury to celebrate key milestones and special occasions.
Here are 5 tips to keep your holiday budget-friendly:
Avoid the summer/peak periods.
Prices for holidays are quite high during the summer and Christmas, as they are considered the peak periods. This is the time when children are out of school for the summer or winter and families travel. I like to travel in early/late june or late September when prices are still reasonable and the temperatures are ‘beach-worthy’ in alot of places. You can save yourself some money by booking outside these periods. If you can’t avoid these peak periods, then try book well in advance. I am talking six months and over in advance to secure the best price.
If you have children, take advantage of travelling when they are young (under 3) because they can sit on your lap during the flight. You are not required to pay for an extra seat, however you may be required to pay a small fee to bring them on the plane, something like £25.
Pay it in instalments
Sometimes, when you want to plan your holiday, you may not have immediate cash lying around. Or maybe you do but need to use it for other things. There are travel providers who give you the option to pay off your holiday in instalments. I love this option because it means you can secure your holiday with a deposit and pay it off gradually. Be mindful that if you don’t pay it off by the given time, you can lose your deposit.
I love British Airways because they have regular sales and allow you to pay for holidays (flights and hotel) in installments until 6 weeks before the flight which is incredibly handy. Also Booking.com gives you the option of paying for the hotel immediately or to paying when you arrive at the hotel which also reduces the immediate cost.
Consider other options
By this I mean, look around carefully for your hotel, and maybe you need to compromise on a few areas. For example, instead of going ‘All inclusive’, why not try ‘Breakfast only’ or ‘Half Board’. It helps with the costs. When I travel, I like to sample local dishes and eat at local restaurants so I rarely go for ‘half-board’ or ‘all-inclusive’.
Instead of a 5* hotel, why not try an excellent 3/4* hotel? Also, check out Airbnb in the area you wish to travel. I am actually staying in an Airbnb when I travel next year, because I have heard so many great things about it. Airbnb is basically renting out a room or an apartment for a short period of time. The rooms/apartments are clean and well maintained. Just read the reviews to make sure that you get the right place.
If you are travelling in a large group, consider a villa rather than separate hotel rooms. It is likely to work out cheaper and you can get more for your money, in terms of space.
Decide on the purpose of the trip.
If you want a beach holiday but can’t afford a hotel with its own beach, they might not be cheap because of the prime location. Find a hotel that is not far from a public beach so you can go there regularly. In Barbados, we were allowed to use a 5* hotel’s private beach even though we weren’t staying there, so it is worth asking.
If you want to go sightseeing, pick two or three things that you really want to do and plan towards it. I say this because it is easy to spend loads of money on activities, but if you travel with a plan of what you want to do, you can resist the impulse spends.
I personally really like going on tours because they are really good with small children and you can get picked up and dropped back to your hotel. If this interests you, check out www.viator.com for affordable half day and full day tours. Also, tripadvisor.com has a list of top ten places to go in different cities around the world so it is worth checking it out.
Better still, get a map from your hotel and find out if there are places within a walkable or commutable distance from where you are staying.
Make use of the mini-fridge.
Find a supermarket close by and make use of the fridge! Yup they usually give you a mini fridge for the mini bar, but why not buy things such as drinks and snacks to keep you going during the day. It will stop you from spending so much money on food while you are on holiday. If you are travelling to a country where water from the taps may not clean, then stock up on juices and bottled water, and sealed snacks.
The key thing is to go with an idea of how much you want your total holiday (including spending money) to cost. If you plan this ahead of time, it will keep you in check while you are on holiday. If you don’t have a plan, you can very easily overspend…trust me! I know this!
You can still enjoy your holiday on a budget, because it is all about creating memories and experiencing the world outside of your usual.