Monday, 24 February 2014

Going on Holiday Abroad- the Thrifty Way!

Holidays most definitely come under the "luxury" heading in the grand scheme of essentials, which is why I haven't been abroad in 3 years. The expense of babies and houses got in the way, and I couldn't justify the cost of jetting off for a sun-soaked week. 

This year, with another baby on the way, and after a thoroughly grey, wet miserable winter, we decided to move a week of sun further up our short-term priority list. However, I made sure we did it the thrifty way, not falling into any classic money-draining traps. Yes, it takes a bit more time and legwork than booking a package holiday, but it's worth it! 

Be flexible on dates
My husband and I both work in education, so we are tied into the more expensive "school holiday" period. If you are in the same line of work, or have kids of school age, you feel my pain on this one! However, you can still be a little flexible with your dates to get the best deal, and flying on a Sunday or at a less-favourable time of day is often cheaper. Check out other departure airports a little further from you too, as the price difference can sometimes offset the initial hassle of getting to the airport. 

Book your own hotel transfer
I can't stress this one enough! When I was shopping around on Thomas Cook's website, they appeared to charge a flat fee of £30 each for return coach transfer between airport to hotel- so £60 for my party. I booked my own return coach transfer using ResortHoppa for £11.12- saving a sizeable £48.88! 

Work your baggage allowance
Baggage allowance always adds up, and will typically heap an extra £100 on top of the price of your holiday (for 2 of you- more if you are a family!) Sometimes you can make a saving here by only taking one "hold" suitcase between you and packing "light". Consider if you can take any heavier items on board in your hand luggage to keep the weight down. 

Cheaper insurance
Often, insurance is added in to the cost of a package holiday, and can be quite expensive. Insurance is so important that you do need it, but I'd recommend shopping around using price comparison websites like Travel Supermarket. The price for my party quoted as part of the package holiday was £71.64, but I ended up buying insurance for £10.83, which had a more comprehensive cover level... a £60.81 saving!

Consider half-board or all-inclusive 
While you may seem to be getting a cheaper deal when you book "room only" or "self catering", consider how much you will really spend on food and drink while you are away. Half-board (breakfast and dinner included) or all-inclusive can actually save you quite a lot in the end. We booked all-inclusive for a total of around £100 more than self catering would have cost- I think between my pregnant self, my over-6-foot husband and my one-year-old constant grazer, it was a wise choice! 

Budget in-flight dining
Another "extra" added to the cost of flights is your in-flight meal. They tend to cost around £20 per person, and in my experience, are never the most gourmet dining experience! Now I always opt out of the in-flight meal if I can, especially if it's a shorter flight (saving around £40!) and bring my own picnic. It's always nicer when you can choose exactly what you want to eat, without paying all the overheads for the airline food. 

BNWT Monsoon baby girl swimming costume 3-6m
So we are going away to Tunisia in April for a week in the sun. Now I can't wait to scour eBay and my favourite local children's second-hand boutique Merry-Go-Round for cute holiday clothes! (This cute baby Monsoon swimsuit is on eBay today!) 

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