Avoid travelling in late July
The busiest travelling dates are usually around late July, just as the schools break up in England. It seems that most want to travel as soon as they can, and late July is always really busy, especially at resorts around Europe. Depending on where you go, you can save a substantial amount of money (sometimes as much as 10%), by going a couple of weeks later in mid to late August instead. Plus, if you hit it right, parents get the August bank holiday included too, so you can gain a day of holiday.
Travel to ‘less trendy’, better value destinations
In the summer you tend to think of the Mediterranean as ‘the place to go’ for a family holiday, given the excellent weather you can expect. However, many of these destinations have short seasons and especially at the deluxe end can be very expensive at the height of the summer.
You can therefore save a lot of money if you consider an alternative destination – maybe the Canaries or Madeira, or coastal Morocco and Malta. Yes, they might not have the ‘trendy factor’ you might find in Halkidiki, Crete, Santorini or Italy – but you’ll still get a great holiday. There is also an added bonus that the Canary Islands very rarely get to 40C in the summer, unlike Greece, Cyprus or Turkey.
In the summer you can also find that long-haul destinations in their ‘off season’ are also good value, especially if you don’t want to travel somewhere too hot. Mauritius is a great example, with daytime temperatures in the low 20’s and prices the same you would find in Greece or Cyprus. Barbados is also outside of the hurricane belt and a good choice for families – and for this year the new addition of Aruba.
Make use of infant ages
If you have a child who is nearly turning 2, and their birthday is in say September, make use of this advantage. You won’t pay for full airfare for them, and many hotels especially in June and September will do special offers for young children.
Make use of free child places
Many tour operators, cruises and hoteliers offer free child places, even in the height of the summer. Yes, there are generally caveats with this, like the room configuration of the room/s or the time of the year you can travel. However, they can make a substantial cost difference, sometimes in the hundreds of pounds.
If a hotel doesn’t offer a full free child place, they might offer other advantages like free meals for children, a free kids club, or free board upgrades for everyone.
All Inclusive or Self Catering?
There is great value in having everything included in your holiday cost, all your food and drink, along with entertainment and possibly kids clubs as well. However, it’s only good value if you think you’re actually going to use it all, and of course, that depends on the age of the children and their attitude towards kids’ clubs and hotel entertainment. It’s best to understand the needs of your holiday first, before committing to something you’re paying for, and nobody takes advantage of.
Consider alternative travel days and times
Although it might not be ideal, consider off-peak travel times and dates during the summer to save a little bit of money. This especially works for places where there are a number of flights available during the day – the Algarve, Southern Spain, Mallorca and some of the Greek Islands. An evening flight outbound will be cheaper than one at lunchtime, and coming back either very late at night or very early in the morning is also great way of saving a little bit of money.
Also, consider what day you’re travelling on. Although weekends are preferred so you can maximise holiday days, they are also much more expensive. Alternatively look at Tuesdays or Wednesdays which are generally cheaper, and can make a large difference to the overall cost of your holiday.
With a family, and when you’re specific on your requirements for a summer holiday is best to book early. Not only are you more likely to get exactly what you want, you’re more likely to get it at the best price too – with continued uncertainty on pricing through this summer. So, if you are looking at family rooms or suites at hotels, larger villas where you can walk to a town, or a specific popular destination or hotel don’t leave it thinking it will be there in the summer, it probably won’t be.