I know I know, we’re not even past Halloween yet. Most people (including myself) haven’t even started to plan for Christmas presents and here I am talking about Summer Holidays! However, it is the perfect time to plan your summer holiday. If you’re hoping to take off somewhere warm, where you’re guaranteed sunshine and beach weather, now is the time to start planning and booking!
Just as a bit of background, I love to travel and I like to plan all aspects of the trip myself. I think I have used a travel agent twice in my life. But I believe this can save you a lot of money and if you start planning your summer holiday now, you will have the chance to pick the best places that are affordable as well. Most people don’t start planning their summer holidays until after the Christmas madness so if you start now, you will have a better chance to find the bargains. Because let’s face the facts, going abroad with two or more kids can get very expensive! Here are some of my tips for reducing the cost of your summer holiday abroad:
- Travel outside peak times.
This is probably only possible for those of us, who don’t have kids in school yet. So if your darlings aren’t in school, go in May or early June. Southern Europe is already warm and you will pay a lot less for everything, including flights and accommodation. Just as an example, we went to Nice last year in April. We booked our flights early December and they cost us around €400 in total (two adults and two kids aged 4 and 2). Compared to this year, we are looking at going to Portugal at the end of June, straight after schools finish and the flights are already around €850 in total.
- Picking your flights.
Travel agents are easy and hassle free, but you pay for it. Taking a couple of hours out of your evening, sitting on the couch tapping away on your laptop to search for flights and accommodation might save you a long penny. Especially if you’re flexible with dates, you can easily save hundreds of euros. Flying mid-week is often cheaper than flights over the weekend. You could take two weeks off from work and go for 11 or 12 days. That will give you a few days to play around with.
- Research, research, research.
Research your accommodation too! Think of what your three main priorities are and go from there. For us it’s usually location, separate sleeping areas for adults and kids with comfy beds, and a balcony/terrace or something like that for sipping wine on once kids are in bed. If you start looking for accommodation early on, you can pick the best places at the best rates. A simple “Self-catering accommodation in X” google search will give you lots and lots to choose from. Just be careful with payments!
- Pick your location.
Where does everyone and their dog go for summer holidays? Algarve in Portugal is a popular destination, so why not try somewhere different in Portugal if that’s where you want to go? If you’re looking for a beach holiday, they have a lot of coastline to cover! Or how about Sardinia instead of Lake Garda in Italy? Flights to these locations, while regular, can be cheaper but other expenses such as food, transportation etc. can be a lot cheaper as well. You can find quite charming little villages and towns if you look a little bit further afield and while saving you some money, you might also enjoy a quieter place!
These are the four main things that we do every year and it has worked for us, so far. This year will be a bit more expensive as we have to travel during the high season but I’m quite confident that our holiday won’t cost us an arm and a leg. I am on it already!
I would love to hear your travel tips too, how do you save money going abroad? Or do you even care, it’s only once a year right? 🙂