Be it a day trip someplace new or weeks on the road, most of us love to travel. But it doesn’t come cheap, especially if you travel as a family. I’ve written this two part post to share the tips that help us afford to travel.

Best value or budget doesn’t always mean the cheapest. Sometimes its worth paying a little more to save money down the line or for extra comfort and convenience. Travel is to be enjoyed, not endured.

Without further ado, here are my tips that help me save and budget so that my family can travel as often as possible.

Lubeck, Germany. Exploring on foot, for free.

Prioritize your spending before you even leave home.

Travel is important to us. So we really think carefully about what we need to live a full, happy life and be able to afford to travel.  We are a single income family, so we think long and hard about what really brings us joy. What can be ditched to free up funds for adventuring. Goodbye Sky TV, because I would rather explore the world than watch it. We don’t eat out regularly. And I stopped buying glossy magazines full of clothes that I couldn’t fit into and couldn’t afford anyway. If this stuff is important to other people, no judgment. But if you want to travel, you need to make that a priority.

Shop around.

 Check the price for the same product with different sellers.  Use comparison sites.  For example, I  booked a four night break in the Moselle in Germany in August for five people. I checked out the price for the same holiday with four companies, including  booking direct with the park itself. There was a three hundred pound difference between the highest and lowest quotes. For the same holiday.

Oh, and always read the small print. One quote seemed like gold until I added in the compulsory charges for linen, final clean etc.  But when you have that best price…

Things Helen Loves, Orchids in the Palm House
Some times it’s worth paying the entrance fee. The Orchid House, Edinburgh Royal Botanic Gardens.

Get some added value.

Can you run your booking through a reward scheme? The caveat here being that you NEVER book something just because it does offer a reward or incentive. Find the most cost-effective option first and then see if you can book it via a cash back site like Top Cashback. Find out if the company you are booking with offers any extra reward schemes or incentives. Sometimes you can double up cash back and incentive. Over the years we have had cash discounts as a loyalty bonus , free nights in some nice hotels via reward schemes and hundreds of pounds in cash back. Find the way that works for you and then work it hard.

Things Helen Loves image of family in ice bar
Rare family shot in the Ice Bar, Oslo. Tickets pre-booked as an add on to the ferry booking at a discounted rate.

Tweak your Travel Dates.

Be flexible and consider low season travel. I know flexible isn’t always possible. With four children and a husband in the military, we don’t have much flexibility. But changing your travel dates by even a few days can be a real saver. For example, we visited the beautiful Dutch island of Terschelling and travelling just a few days before the spring season officially began saved us a lot of money. Plus traveling low season means things tend to be quieter, people are less busy and have more time to chat to you. All good!

Terschelling Beaches.

Research will save you money.

It’s also fun and inspiring. When planning a trip ,check out what is on the area. Big events drive up prices…think Edinburgh in the Fringe or Munich during Oktoberfest. If you plan to visit a few cities or sites, research where you’ll stay. Is it better to fan out from one base or book multi stays? Dig into the main sites and if they charge; if so are they value for money? Is it worth picking up a discount card from the tourist office?  A little knowledge ahead of time can create a much smoother experience on so many levels, and it will save you money.

Know before you go, or pay when you stay.

Get researching, get excited.

I hope there was something in here of interest or that might help you save money on your next trip. If you have any tips or money-saving travel hacks please do leave me a message in the comments. It makes my day to hear from you.

Post originally published in 2017, updated and reposted in 2022.

Helen x

Leave a Reply