Thursday, 6 March 2014

Ways To Holiday On a Budget

When we go away we always try to do it as cheap as possible and quite often its so much cheaper to do it on your own. Yes as this blog post is being published i am on an expensive few days away with Tilly at Disneyland but, it doesnt always happen like this, it has taken a whole year to save up for it and we only had extra bits added when we had the extra money to do it.

I always have people asking me how i afford to go away so often, and this is how :-

Hotels

We always book way in advance and we go for either Premier Inn or Travelodge, although Premier Inn do have slightly higher standards than other budget hotels. We have been known to stay in youth hostels before because you can stay there for around £40 - £60 for a private family room, often cheaper than a hotel, especially in the heart of a major city. To get a good price on a hotel, you will need to book in advance, quite often a few months. We always stay in a Premier Inn next to Chessington World Of Adventures as its 75% cheaper per night than the official Chessington Hotel. We dont get the View of the Safari animals but we can see them when we are in the park anyway. Tilly thinks that every Premier Inn is a holiday and enjoys pointing them out in her little excited voice. Another Tip for a cheap hotel if you leave it till last minute is to look on hotel websites and pick a mystery hotel. Sometimes you can get a Five star Hotel for less than £40. In the past i have even mystery shopped hotels and got the whole lot for free :)

Hotels that offer breakfast at a charge? well its no problem they may be expensive at £7,99 each but you get a buffet and quite often kids go free so its a good idea to fill up before a big day out and pop some extra bits in your bag for the day ahead

Trains

If you have a family then invest in a family rail card, you will get your money back in a trip or two. #TIP the
best time to get your rail card is usually in June/July time when the daily mail have a special offer on the rail card. It used to be half price, but now its save £10 - still a saving though. With the rail card you will save a 1/3 every time you travel and up to 4 children travel for a third of a child's ticket price, so its so cheap to take them away.

Another way of getting cheap travel is to book upto 3 months in advance. And to go to places that offer very very cheap tickets. Quite often if i am going for a weekend in London i will actually purchase a ticket to somewhere like Cardiff or Birmingham as its so much cheaper to get a ticket and i can often get 2 adults and a child ticket to Cardiff for under £30 return, this means i get to use the High speed Train in Kent that would other wise cost me twice that amount for a weekend away and i just don't use the Paddington to Cardiff part of the ticket. Often as i do travel to Wiltshire alot, i will buy a ticket a couple of months in advance and although its cheap, you really have to stick to a certain train time. So if you miss the train you will end up paying a penalty. But I must say i have never missed the chosen train.

Once on the train, quite often if you travel on a weekend (often starting on friday) then you can upgrade to 1st Class for £5 each. This must be done on the train and you get more leg room, and unlimited free snacks and drinks (tea, coffee, water, squash.) so its well worth paying that few quid more and it is much much quieter, therefore more relaxing.

Again I have done mystery shops involving trains and have had a few free first class trips to places as far as leeds

Buses/Coaches

I used to always Swear by National Express, but then someone invented Megabus! We travelled as far as
bristol for £1 once and it was actually a pretty good journey. Last year Kimmy travelled all the way to Edinburgh for £9. Sometimes you just cant beat it!

We have actually in the past travelled By Eurolines all the way to Paris before, it cost Kim and I £9 each and we travelled over night to get there - spent the night travelling and got to Paris at 6.30 am, spent the day sight seeing and then travelled back to Dover overnight. It was a bargain day out for us. If your looking for a cheap holiday you can buy a Eurolines pass and travel to as many destinations as you like for one payment, or if you want to travel for longer they do a pass for 30 days - a brilliant way to see the world, and again if you travel overnight you can save on accommodation for one night.

Look in newspapers for coach special offers, you may need to collect vouchers but its worth it

Holiday Camps

Even if you book through the £9.50 holidays in the sun, it isnt always cheaper because although the initial
cost of £38 sounds cheap and cheerful, you soon need to add on electricity, gas and park passes to the cost and before you know it your holiday costs over £100. I look on the direct website and compare the prices, you can often get a cheap last minute deal for less than half price and everything is included, even the bedding and you get a better standard of caravan/apartment for the week too. Sometimes going cheap isnt worth it.

Look on food packaging sometimes as holiday parks like Haven have offers, or Butlins always have offers on their parks. We have actually booked to go for 3 nights in September for 4 of us and it is costing £20 each. for that we have all the entertainment passes included too. We will have 4 days and Tilly will love it.

Sadly one place i would recommend everyone avoids in pontins, one time we stayed in Camber Sands and it was dirty, disgusting and the door of the chalet didnt even close properly. They may be budget but once again, it does pay to not go that cheap

Airlines

We always used to travel by Easyjet but then they atarted charging for little things like taking a suitcase abroad with you and sometimes it costs asmuch as the flight itself. We tend to look at other airlines now that have baggage included and once again it doesnt always pay to go budget. Go airline shopping before you book anywhere and always remember you will have airport tax to pay.

What to do when your there

Once you get to your destination, use vouchers for days out, look for BOGOF entry tickets and if you travel by train you can pick up a booklet for 2 for 1 entries to places.

Do research before you go and look for free places to visit, it may only be a local park or a local lido but its free and can give hours of entertainment. In UK and some foreign cities, museums are free, if they are not free to everyone , they are normally free to people under 26. We have found this out on our many adventures.

Once we took a weekend in Cardiff and got a list of all the Dr Who and Torchwood filming destinations and did our own tour for free, having pictures taken in the places. Totally free and fun for Kimmy and Tilly who are massive Dr Who fans

Hopefully this has given you all some ideas of a cheap getaway somewhere and next time you go away remember a holiday is what you make it, not how much you spend when your there.










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