We went on holiday just a few short weeks ago (although it feels like a life ago time now), in order to get the best deal we shop around. You want value for money PLUS child friendly holidays.
- Book early - If you know where you want to go, for how long and when (with a few months to spare) you'll probably bag a great deal.
- Be bendy-flexi. If you could leave on a Friday OR a Saturday OR a Sunday then check which one is cheaper. I would happily lose 1 day of holiday for a saving. I tend to book a Tuesday or a Wednesday as I can shave at least £50-£90 off fares.
- I don't have this issue as we're home educators and as such enjoy some of the cheapest holidays around. However I do see a lot of my friends talking about 'high season' prices. This is where you'll want to maximise your savings and look for free child places, free resort park entries, free breakfast/lunch/dinner deals. You might also notice a nice % discount with the early bookings. On many occasions while speaking to an adviser in store they have also made a call or two to check if there are any 'extras' which can be offered that maybe aren't online. If you have the time, do the research!
- Unless you're really flushed with cash try and book around May and/or October. It might not sounds fabulous going to early or late in the year however it has a few clear perks
- Resorts are less full - getting a seat for the buffet is much easier, child care places haven't been booked up and you won't have to fight for a pool side seat.
- It won't be as hot. Assuming you've booked somewhere known for the sun. This is much better for children, slapping on the sun lotion and keeping cool in the heat is essential - slightly cooler months help that process.
- PRICE - The difference between a May/Oct break and a July/Aug break can be as much as £600!! I may not have children in school now but there are extra holidays in the year apart from the 6 weeks that I used to use when Eldest was attending.
- Do some maths! It costs us as a a family of four for a meal out around £55 pounds in somewhere like Nando's, where there is a good all inclusive (drinks, main and pudding) kids menu. So we take £55 x 7 (normal length of stay) and get £385. We then look at all inclusive prices. Usually these work out just under what we'd have for dinner budgets alone. Self catering is great but I find a lot is spent which isn't needed, on things like snacks at the bar, local nosh while out and about. We like a routine and saving some money, I like not having to cook but knowing that there is a meal just waiting for us. Everyone is happy. So check what is available to you in the package vs. DIY holiday stakes.
Once me and Mr M have spent a little time checking for the cheapest flights, at the best times to suit us I begin my routine of listing.
I'll share the most recent set of holiday lists -
- Passports x 4 (in blue wallet)
- Health Insurance Cards , 2 in date, 1 renewal and 1 new.
- Travel Insurance policy up to date/ In action (check policy for any holes i.e pregnancy, minors, guests)
- Mobile Insurance - up to date, right device information and print out any proof you'll need
- Call Mobile provider in advance and get roaming turned on for the length of time you're away - from experience it saves a LOT of cash if you're an Internet bug like me.
- Print 2 copies of flight information (one for bag and one for delegated family member)
- Email electronic copies to family members
- Check for deals on Euros in advance (order if price is right and delivery/returns are free)
- Donor Cards in order - one for everyone.
- New back pack with good size compartments - for blue wallet.
- Change for - snacks, water, any small travel requirements and for places that charge you 30p to pee.
- Eldest - Main suitcase 1 x shorts, 3 x jeans, 5 x Tee's, 5 x pants
- Hand luggage – 1 x Jumper, 1 x teddy
- Wearing 1 x pants, 1 x socks, 1 x jeans, 1 x tee, 1 x cardigan and 1 x coat
- Mojo – Main suitcase 1 x shorts, 2 x vets, 4 x leggings, 2 x jeans, 1 playsuit, 4 x tops
- Hand luggage 4 x Nappies, 1 slim pack baby wipes, 1 x teddy, 1 x cow cup
- Wearing 1 x vest, 1 x tee, 1 x jeans, 1 x hoody
- Momma – Main suitcase 5 x dress/tunic, 3x Leggings 7 x pants
- Hand luggage 1 x flipflops
- Wearing 1 x pants, 1 x tunic, 1 x leggings
- Mr M – Main Suitcase 1 x shorts, 6 x tees, 5 x pants
- Hand Luggage 1 x hoody
- Wearing 1 x jeans, 1 x tee, 1 x pants, 1 x socks
Important yet forgettable items
- Small first aid kit
- Sanitary Towels/ Tampons
- Extra hair bands, hair grips and head bands
- Multi use salve (burns, cuts, rough skin, lips and various)
- Spare house key
- Soap sample
- Clear nail polish
- Pen, pencil, note pad.
- Card with important numbers on - in case you lose your phone.
So as you can see I have a heap of things I like to do BEFORE the holiday, I like to make things as smooth as possible. You can't plan for all eventualities but you can be as prepared as possible in the run up to the most 'relaxing' (I've heard people describe holidays this way) time of the year.
For some professional Trip Tips head over to Thomas Cook and take the stress out of the before stages of the trip!
Link for Health Insurance care - EHIC
Link for Donor Card - Become a Donor