Friday 14 September 2012

Family holidays on a budget...

As a penny pinching Mummy, deciding where to take your family on holiday can be a difficult decision. Both myself and my husband work full time to cover the costs of living, this means that a holiday, when we can spend precious time together as a family is very important to us!

We want to spend our time away doing things all four of us will enjoy, we're definitely not a 'sit by the pool and relax' family! As long as we can do this, where we actually go doesn't really matter!

So far all our holidays as a family have been in the UK ( Hubby and I did manage to sneak off for a few days in Bruges for our honeymoon 3 years ago though!) The cost of holidaying overseas seems to just mount up. The children's passports alone would cost over £100 and that's not including photo's or postage! And even if we could get a budget self catering apartment the cost of flying has risen dramatically over the last few years. Elizabeth is under two so would be free but for the rest of us we'd be looking at almost £1000 for school holiday dates even on a budget airline! Then there's the cost of food and luggage allowance etc...

For the first few years after Ben arrived we went to centerparcs for a week in September, however when he started school last year, we became restricted to holidaying outside of term time and for 'school holiday' dates even centerparcs had soared out of our budget!

At the beginning of the year, the question on my lips was 'can we actually afford a holiday this year?'

The possibility that the answer could be no really upset me. I really needed something to look forward to, that special family time that made working all the hours god sends and barely seeing my children during the week just so we can afford rent and bills, worthwhile.

Now I know there are plenty of families out there living on and below the poverty line who couldn't dream of affording to take their children away for a few days each year and I don't mean to offend anyone at all. But this time together is precious to us both as a family and for my marriage as I seem to see less and less of hubby with all my commitments at the moment.

One option I considered was a 'staycation' where we all had a week off together but stayed at home and just went on different days out in the local area...

This is a great idea as even though there are plenty of local attractions that we regularly visit there are so many great museums and galleries, not to mention parks and petting farm's in and around Manchester that we just haven't been to yet!

Another possibility was staying with family or friends in another part of the country for a few days to have a change of scene, again this would be low cost but it can also be a bit cheeky to ask, especially as there are four of us now. Although happy to have us for a night or two most of our family and friends just don't have the room for us to stay for any longer!

After doing some research back in February I came across the 'Sun' holiday deals, where you collect tokens from the newspaper then apply to stay in holiday parks throughout the country, including Butlins, Haven, Pontins and Park Resorts, for as little as £9.50 per person!

This is for the 'basic' accommodation, but you can upgrade from just four pound each and even when you add on extras, you are still getting a break away for a lot cheaper than the price to book direct! we decided to break our holidays up this year so we booked a weekend the on the 'Sun' deal to go to Hafen Y Mor in North Wales and a four night break to the Craig Tara Haven In Scotland in August! This way we have had two 'holidays' to look forward to, and even including petrol it has cost us less than £400 in total!!

I'll also be keeping an eye out to see if the Sun bring back their Disneyland Paris offer this year as I would love to be able to take my children there next year as their first trip abroad! Obviously we'd have to finally invest in passports for them, so we would have to factor that in to the cost of any trip...

Now our holiday's are all over for this year, and next year we will be visiting Butlin's in Skegness as a #Butlinsambassador and blogging all about it. I'm really looking forward to it, as are the children (all 3 of them!)


  1. Best way to spend holidays with your loved ones.

  2. I agree a holiday is necessary, I too have done the sun holidays before the days of being tied to school holidays but have found them hard to get the dates you want. I also found that by the time you have added the extras for heating and entertainment then you can get them direct for the same money. Haven camps are good for this and also a company called Break Free holidays (who supply the cheap hols for the mail)
    I still havnt found anything for half term, I think I am being too fussy! so might just have to keep saving for a big holiday next year! As for the passports dont forget that they have gone down in price! Think how much you can put towards that fab holiday by saving £5 adult and £3 kids!!!


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