Having three children, my husband and I love going away as a family. From exploring new cities to camping with the dogs, we like an adventure. But, as we all know, holidays can cost money. Especially the bigger the family gets. So I have put together a blog of my top tips for going more cheaply to some of the most popular holiday destinations for you.
Set in forest locations and featuring swimming pool complexes and family activities, Centerparcs is a fantastic place for family holidays but in the school holidays it can turn out to be quite pricey. There are some ways in which you can bring down the cost. Firstly check out the website for special offers. Booking early can give you some savings, as can booking last minute sometimes. If you have young children or can take advantage of PD days at school then going in term time will always be much cheaper than school holidays.
My favourite tip though is to go to Centerparcs in Europe. We have done this twice now and they are still holidays that our family remembers as amazing memories. Run by separate companies, they are still the same Centerparcs holidays but are in Europe instead; Netherlands, France, Belgium and Germany. We went to Erperheide in Belgium and Limburgse Peel in the Netherlands. We live near the port of Harwich so we drive there and get an overnight ferry to Hook of Holland. The kids love it and it makes travelling all part of the holiday. They go to sleep, wake up and we are there! We then drive to our destination, remembering we have to drive on the other side of the road! The language barrier has never been a problem for our children, they still went to the holiday clubs and enjoyed the entertainment. Why not have a look and compare a similar holiday in the UK and Europe, I’m sure you will find a good saving.
Alternatives to Centerparcs can also be less pricey but a similar experience. Try Landal holidays which has locations in both the UK and Europe, or Forest Holidays. You can use Tesco Clubcard points for some holidays to bring down the cost of the holiday too.
Do you want to visit Lapland and see Santa Claus but don’t have the budget to spend thousands of pounds? We visited the North Pole and did it all for just a few hundred pounds. We went to Rovaniemi, Finland, in November. Rovaniemi is the ‘Official Hometown of Santa Claus’, and you can visit the big man every day of the year in Santa Claus Village – a fact not many people know. It is also free! We knew it wouldn’t be the full on snow experience that Christmas time is but the flights were so much cheaper. We booked our accommodation through booking.com and got a stay at the amazing Lapland Hotels Sky Ounasvaara with a Junior Suite with Sauna. There are ways you can do it more cheaply if you do a bit of research and are willing to be flexible with dates or other things.
If you want to have the full Christmas experience but don’t want to go abroad, then try Lapland UK, in Berkshire. The experience lasts around 3.5 hours and you can get an ’Elf Passport’ to travel along the elven pathways and through a magical door, as well as being able to buy “jingle” currency to spend at the experience. It also includes a 90-minute show, a visit to the Toy Factory and ‘Mother Christmas’ Kitchen with gingerbread decorating classes. Tickets cost £69 per person, excluding booking fees. I have friends who have done this and said it is worth every penny.
Butlin’s breaks very family friendly, with lots to do, from the traditional fairground to the waterworlds. To get the cheapest deals check out their offers page for discounts. There are other ways to get savings on these holidays; for example you can use Tesco Clubcard points to get more money towards a Butlins break.
Another way to find discount deals is through newspaper deals, such as the Sun £9.50 holidays or Breakfree holidays. Collect tokens or code words, printed in papers daily for a certain amount of time and book a cheap holiday park break. Butlin’s is sometimes included in these, as well as other holiday parks such as Park Holidays UK and Pontins.
Here are some handy websites for extra advice about holiday deals.
- Money Saving Expert gives fantastic advice for cheap holidays.
- Kayak – search hundreds of flight+hotel sites at once.
- TravelSupermarket – compare cheap flights
- Holiday Pirates – deals on holidays, flights and hotels
Natasha Sones has an outside family adventure travel blog: www.natashasoneseditorial.com/blog. Follow her blog or her Instagram account: @natashastarseeker if you love family lifestyle articles.