Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Ten Tips for Travelling on a Budget

© Our Seaside Baby
I've travelled a lot in my life and now that I have a little boy I would love him to experience something similar growing up. I've recently written about my desire to travel more this year and my reasons for doing the #take12trips challenge. Now my son is over two he has to play full price or near to the full price on an airplane seat so travelling long haul can raise the cost of any holiday considerably. If for example, we went to Thailand my two year old would cost around £600 on the flight seat alone! Think about what else you could do with that money! However, if you look around and plan carefull, holidays, with or without kids, really do not have to cost a fortune. I've found some really good deals throughout my life. I have to admit I am a bargain hunter and will spend ages looking at comparison websites to find the best deals online. If you do it right you can end up saving a lot of money! I'm sharing my tips about how to travel within a budget.

1. Go Out of Season.
The biggest and probably the most obvious way to get cheaper deals is to go out of season. This isn't great if your kids are at school as flights rise during the school holiday period. However, there are many locations especially within Europe, Asia and North Africa that are in low season for most of the winter months.

2. Stay Local

We tend to think of holidays as going abroad but some of my best holidays have been in the UK. I think the English countryside is like no other and the UK has so much to offer. Devon and Cornwall are some my favourite places with gorgeous coastlines, beautiful beaches and stunning rugged landscapes! Book in advance to find some great deals on self-catering accommodation and cottage rentals.

3. Book in Advance

Where possible try to book in advance. Flights on budget airlines are super cheap from the UK. Once I flew to Italy and back for just £20 including taxes! Many worldwide airlines also offer incredibly cheap saver tickets if you book ahead. Train travel in the UK can cost a fortune if you book at the last minute but if you're organised and book the super saver off peak tickets you can travel across the country for very little.

4. Flight Sales

If you can't book in advance, try to find airlines sales. At this time of year Easyjet, Ryanair, Virgin Atlantic, Monarch all have flight sales and you can find some real bargains.

5. Be Flexible. 

If you can only travel in school holidays or at peak times try to be flexible with times. For example, returning on a Sunday night is usually considerably higher than returning on a Monday or mid-week. Similarly flying out on a Friday is much higher on some modes of transport. Could you fly out mid-week instead? Play around with the dates and see what the cheapest day is. Can you offer any flexibility in the airport you're travelling from or the times of travel. Early morning flights & those late in the evening also tend to be the cheapest although you'll have to weigh these up with how practical they are.

6. Air Miles. 

I've never collected air miles and should have done as I'd probably have several free flights by now. I'm not too sure how it all works but this detailed post from Pommie Travels explains all the different ways to collect air miles if you're from the UK.

7. Look Out for Kids Deals. 

I didn't realise until recently that Eurostar travel is free for children under 4 years. Some airlines offer deals for children and this great post from Travel Sort shows how much child seats cost on various international airlines. Many airlines typically charge 75% of the full adult price for children ages 2-11 but some airlines charge considerably less especially during sales. Search for the best deals.

8. Find the Best Hotel & Flight Deals. 

I have always used flight and hotel comparison sites. My favourite is Kayak for searching for the cheapest flights and Booking.com for hotels. There are many more but these are the ones where I've personally found the best cheapest deals and easy and reliable to use. I've never used airbnb just because I've never found great deals on there but some people swear by it. If you're looking for a cheap holiday try things like the Sun newspaper £9.50 holidays where you need to collect a number of coupons that are then used to qualify for a holiday in the UK or abroad. In some countries you can turn up at the hotel and barter down the price. I've done this in India, Thailand, Egypt and even in Italy all pre-baby. I'm not always entirely confident and tend to just wing it but have had some incredibly cheap hotel stays from bartering. I probably wouldn't do this with a toddler in tow though. Is it cheaper to book a package holiday or more economical booking the flights and hotels separately? Play around with the searches and see what the price difference is.

9. Last Minute Deals. 

If you can't book in advance then try last minute deals. I've done this a few times and have found some real bargains that have worked out cheaper than if I had booked in advance! Sites such as Falcon offer great deals on last minute holidays.

10. Finally Research & Think Outside the Box! 

Researching your travel destination could end up saving you saving a lot of money. For example, many cities offer combination tickets for seeing the main attractions. In many cities there are free openings at museums/art galleries on a particularly day of the month. Arranging your trip around these could save you a lot of money especially if you're a big family. In the UK, if you travel by train into London many of the biggest attractions offer 2 for 1 admission fees. Restaurants have many 2 for 1 offers all over the world or 'kids eat free' deals. If you need vouchers collect them before you go. See where the nearest supermarket is and save on eating out. The internet provides amazing resources for travel. Research the cheapest places and areas to eat. Look online, read guide books, look at Tripadvisor and the Lonely Planet forums for advice and recommendations from travellers and locals. Research the trip well and you could save a lot!

Hope these tips have given you some inspiration for cheaper travel! Would love to hear your recommendations.

Happy Travelling :-)


*This post contains a sponsored link. All words and opinions are my own.
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10 comments

  1. These are all perfect tips for traveling on a budget. Traveling off season is seriously the best - less crowds, cheaper airfare. :]

    // ▲ itsCarmen.com ▲

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  2. Great tips! We book early. Really early. I'll email you today. Thanks for your blog visits!

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  3. Great tips! We haven't left the country in 8 years - but I'm desperate to travel with my kids. Sarah #FabFridayPost

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  4. Excellent post with great tips. I think it's great to make the most of it before they are 2 and pay the full price and also before they start school. It's amazing how much more expensive flights and holidays are during school holidays
    #FabFridayPost

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  5. Great tips - I definitely recommend booking flights & hotels yourself rather than through a travel agent. It's annoying that kids end up costing pretty much the same price as adults!

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  6. Great tips and wow - £20 for a flight, that's amazing! We are lucky to be able to travel in low season at the moment as the girls are pre-school age. We also make the most of travelling in the UK. There are some amazing places to see close to home. You are right, travel doesn't need to be over seas. #myfavouritetrip

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  7. Great tips! Agree with point 2 about the UK! I didn't know that about Eurostar and I used to work for a Eurostar tour operator!! Thanks for hosting #myfavouritetrip :)

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  8. Great tips Polly. Booking in advance is so critical in Europe and I think with kids it is really very difficult to pick up the last minute deals. We do a lot of driving and despite the cost of fuel I think it works out well given the amount of stuff we have to take with us!

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  9. These are such great tips! Thank you for mentioning about airlines sales and the kid deals - I never thought of that before - I know I am insane! lol! So I am so pinning this. I hope you don't mind. :) x #myfavouritetrip

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  10. £20 a flight? That's brilliant. Because T is 1, we still have the benefit of being able to take holidays outside of school time, so these tips will come in handy! Thanks for sharing!
    #myfavouritetrip

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