If your willing to travel last minute you can get some amazing deals but personally I like knowing exactly where we are going so I can plan ahead, read tripadvisor and look for deals on attractions in the chosen area. If you book well in advance you can get free child places though that does make a family holiday more affordable. The number is restricted so they do get snapped up. Apparently the cheapest time to book is 11 months before you travel according to this article, so that might be worth bearing in mind.
Consider bringing the grandparents along so you can bring down the cost of accommodation and have some live in babysitters for the week! Plus its wonderful for the whole family to create memories together, I promise my motivations are not entirely financial!!!
At the airport
My boys are quite fond on the words “Can I have?” and this continues wherever we are, they are not great at following my “look with your eyes and not your hands” mantra so want to grab everything in sight, turn it over, see what its about until I feel obligated to buy it! On our one and only foreign trip I did get stung at the duty free. My eldest insisted he needed a massive tub of tic-tacs, the box was so big it literally could have been used by a giant and my youngest decided he MUST sample ALL the different Toblerone in existence. So I can completely relate to this article by Columbus Direct saying that on average each passenger spends £52 at the airport.
In our case what we spent was led by my two beady-eyed boys that were slightly overwhelmed with the contents of the duty free shop (a literal treasure trove of goodies!), we are hoping to book another holiday abroad next year but the highlight for eldest he has already told me is to return to duty free… so this time I will be prepared with a few tactics to divert them away from the shop and further spending.
Try not to get lured into buying unnecessary travel tat, do your children really need an animal shaped travel pillow! If you think they might have a meltdown if they don’t just buy it somewhere cheaper before you get to the airport and are stuck with paying those inflated prices (well they have you there as a captive audience, stuck until your ready to board!).
Keep your children busy so they are not complaining to have a go on the massage seats or venture into the airport arcade. Bring books and mini games from home, anything to stop you spending more at the shops and facilities.
Be aware of the hand luggage restrictions so you do not waste money throwing away drinks you have just bought and opened before boarding. But do take your own snacks to avoid the expensive costs of dining on the plane. Children are always hungry so best to be prepared.
If you’re worried about your luggage costing extra try and make sure you have utilised all your available pocket space and put the heavier things in them! It pays to be as crafty as possible, as those extra costs soon add up...
Wishing you happy (and affordable) holidays wherever you are off to!