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Monday, 23 March 2015

Saving and Affording Family Travel

Ijmuiden Holland

Ijmuiden Holland

Ijmuiden Holland
Photos of Holland:  Andrew McCloud

We are always planning new experiences and adventures for our children.  We are lucky to live in a tourist area, we have beautiful beaches and stunning scenery right on our doorstep.  But we also believe that it's important to show them new places in the world.

Dave didn't ever travel overseas until he was an adult and I know we both want our children to experience more of the world at an earlier age than that.  I was fortunate that my parents loved travelling so I got to experience lots of different countries and customs with my family and also with school.

We did have a family holiday to Disneyland Paris a few years ago before Izzy was born.  It was lovely and magical and we will definitely travel on the Eurostar again, but to be honest it didn't really feel like being in a different country.  If I went again, I would  spend more time in Paris rather than the theme parks.  

We're not planning to go on an expensive family holiday, we'd prefer to plan our own break.  We also can't fly far due to Danny's heart condition (it could affect his oxygen levels), but we're looking forward to exploring Europe first anyway.  Though a long term goal is to visit Patagonia as a family as we've always been interested in the stories of the Welsh Settlers.   However, even though we're not looking for 5* luxury, travelling as a family of six does add up moneywise, especially as all our passports have expired and I need to apply for Izzy's first passport.  

I keep rushing ahead and dreaming of all the places we can go to, but first I need to stop and save and get the essentials sorted, such as our passports.

Here are some websites we will use to help us save and afford more family travel in 2015:


This is a simple way to save as Nutmeg do all the hardwork for you.  They build a portfolio tailored to your savings or investment goals.  Watch the video to find out more: 

Passport Photographers

When I had to get the other kids passports done, I wasted so much money getting passport photos done in booths that weren't suitable.  If you have them done by professionals such as Jessops then in the unlikely event that the photos are rejected they will do a free retake- saving money in the long run.

Post Office Check and Send

Another way to reduce the chance of your passport being rejected is to use the Post Office Check and Send Service.  

Cheap Transport

Regular readers know that I am a huge fan of the Megabus.  It saves me so much money on my trips to London and I love their routes across Europe prices too (London to Paris from £20).  Book three months in advance to get the best price.  If you'd prefer to travel by ferry, compare crossing prices for the best deal.  Always spend time searching for the cheapest flight too (Bristol to Amsterdam from £79 travelling by KLM).


There are over 4000 Youth Hostels World Wide and are a great way for families to explore new destinations.  Become a member and make the most of the savings by staying in many of the great Youth Hostels in the UK too.  Two great ones in Wales are Poppit Sands, located on the beautiful Pembrokeshire Coastline (if I can say so myself) and the brand new YHA Cardiff Central.  Generator Hostels   also have good deals such as a stay in Paris from 30 per person per night.  The rooms can often fit larger numbers which make them ideal for a big family like us.  

If you're happy to do a house swap then have a look at the unique properties available on airbnb .

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is a must.  We have to pay extra due to Danny's condition but always search around and compare for the best price.  

How to Spend Less

Once you've arrived at the destination then you'll need money for food, drink, local transport and entertainment.  To save money, make the most of all the free sites and activities available.  Lonely Planet make great guides featuring The Top Twenty Free Things To Do In ParisAmsterdam and other great cities. I find the more organised you are when planning activities for the holiday, the more money you are able to save.

What tips do you have for saving and affording family travel? 

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