Money is tight for alot of us at the moment, and with the summer coming up, people are talking about going away and things they are doing for the summer. Why not have a Staycation this year and enjoy the things we have around us? We live on the kent coast and we go to london alot for a day out, we have access to the free museums and as we are merlin pass holders, we usually go to the London Eye, Dungeons and sea life centre for free. They are all together in the Southbank and easy to get to.
Here are some fab ideas for a cheap staycation,
- Book into a budget hotel, Travelodge or premier Inn, but other budget hotels are Holiday inn and even use a youth hostel. Youth hostels are not just for youths, they are also for families. You will need to book a small family room and it will be a bit more expensive than staying in a shared room, but it is much better for your family
- When your away look for free days out, visit farms, Go for walks, visit free historical places, or if you cant find anything for free, tour the city or town your visiting. When we went to cardiff, we visited the Tourist information and they gave us a list of places that Dr Who and Torchwood are filmed so we took our list and spent two days exploring and taking loads of pictures of the scenes. For a Dr Who fan in the family, this was great fun.
- Buy a local zoo yearly pass or a pass to a theme park instead of going on holiday. This means you can get plenty of days out through out the year instead of just a few days away on a holiday. We own Merlin passes and although the initial outlay is expensive, we have saved over £1000 per year, with the amounts of times we use it. We pay for a train ticket to london and Tilly will want to go on the London Eye, the Aquarium and then The dungeons, it would of cost us about £50 each to do these if we paid for the entrance. Look online for special offers, 2 for 1 and cheap passes to attractions. Cereal packets also hold special vouchers for days out.
- Book train tickets in advance, we have been known to travel to Birmingham, Swindon or cardiff for less than £20 each way for 4 of us. (when we travel a long way i always buy tilly a ticket to ensure we have a seat for her). Sometimes if i am travelling for a weekend in london, it actually works out cheaper to buy a ticket on the train to a city further away, as long as its booked enough in advance you can save 50%. I will book a ticket to birmingham and it could cost me £20, then this means i can also travel on the high speed train which usually costs more than the slow train. Also look at going somewhere by coach. You can book a very cheap bus ticket for a few pounds sometimes and it just takes a bit longer than a train. Also look at getting yourself a railcard, you will save a few ££s on the cost of a ticket.
- Why not try house swapping? there are families that swap homes with other families, to make sure there are no accommodation costs and families from the seaside will love to stay at a home in the country or the city. Sites like http://www.ukholidayswapshop.co.uk/ or http://www.homelink.org.uk offer homes to swap with.
- Camping - why not give it a go? you can go back to basics with a sleep mat, a tent and a sleeping bag or you can glam it up with a trailer tent, caravan and have a pitch with electric. One time when the older kids were younger, we went camping and kimmy made me buy a small tv as it was saturday night and she wanted to watch Dr Who in the tent - she never really was one for camping!
- Check out the Sun newspaper £950 holidays, or camping for £1. these are great money savers!
- Have time at home without any outside influence, unplug the tv, the phone, switch the computer games off and just have time with your family, get the board games out, reminisce and actually spend time talking together.
Having a staycation is getting more and more popular, especially with larger families and its more affordable with the rise in holidays during school holidays. (dont get me started on the fact you have to pay more to take a holiday in the school break or face a fine if you take your child out of school!) I have booked a little weekend for Tilly at butlins in september and it involves 2 days off school, I had booked the holiday last year and actually forgot that tilly started school ..... so she will only be there a week or two before taking a holiday, but if we did the same weekend in the summer holidays it would be 4 times the amount - something i absolutely refuse to do!
If you have anymore ideas for a staycation please add them in the comments :)