Thursday, 11 August 2011

Summer Holidays on a Budget.

Summer Holiday – (Summer Holleedai) English, meaning time of year that causes widespread panic, over commitment on credit and general feeling of skintness.

Vacations are being bypassed for staycations for many Britons, with more families especially choosing to holiday in the UK rather than travel abroad. The main motivation for this is cost! Whether you go abroad or stay at home, holidays can be costly unless you are savvy about it. We took a short family break recently, used no credit and thoroughly enjoyed it knowing that we wouldn’t be returning home to anxiously wait for payday to come around again. And here is how....

We promised our 5yr old a trip to Thomasland (Drayton Manor) in Staffordshire.

Drayton Manor itself can be expensive (understatement of the year perhaps) at *£89 for two adults and a child over 2yrs for one day. We used Tesco Clubcard vouchers to book Drayton Manor tickets. £11 in vouchers bought one day entry, so for £33 of vouchers we all got in. Cash cost... £0.

Accommodation. Yes we could have camped but I just don’t do camping. Instead we booked a family room at Tamworth Travelodge (6m from Drayton Manor) for £57 in the January sale. A family room gave us a double bed, a double sofa bed (for Kieran which we didn’t have to pull out as it was fine as a single), and room for a travel cot. We had our own TV (with freeview which means Cbeebies for kids while Mums and Dads wake up properly), kettle etc and our own bathroom with bath/shower etc.

Food. We took all of Taylor’s milk / food etc so it was food for three. Two mornings we ate at nearby Sainsbury’s in the cafe (clean, family friendly). £10.57 for 2 BIG breakfasts, pots of tea and coffee and porridge, fruit and a drink for Kieran. The third morning we had “brekky in a bag” from the Travelodge, juice, cereal & milk, a muffin, and a croissant with jam etc, this was £13.50 for the three of us. More expensive than a cooked breakfast but by then it was throwing it down with rain and we wanted the convenience of eating and leaving. Lunches were bought in Sainsbury with the meal deal 3 for £3, a roll/wrap or sandwich, a packet of crisps (many varieties) or a fruit pack and a drink. We each had one of these on the two days we ate lunch so £18 total. Drinks we took with us everywhere as buying inside attractions bumped costs up and ice creams were bought on the way back from places at garages etc. These miscellaneous food costs amounted to approx £15 for the whole holiday. Our main meals (cringe) were at Burger King (which I won’t visit again but that is another story for another post!) and good old McDonalds and cost a grand total of £35.

Food/Drink/Misc  total... £102

Petrol from North Yorkshire to Derby (and back) and driving about... £50 (Be careful where you fill up, motorway service stations all seems to be hideously more expensive fuel-wise than supermarkets or those further way from the main road).

Entrance into a children’s farm (a full day’s entertainment, Punch and Judy show, food for animals etc)... £16.

The whole holiday, rounded to the nearest pound was £235.

This was our first holiday as a family of four and next year we plan to do something similar, but work to reduce the main cost, which is obviously food! How much we actually spent was cringe-worthy but it was convenience,  and worth it!

Bearing in mind that I made a huge saving on the Drayton Manor tickets, the accommodation was booked in January in the sale (And paid for with money left over and put aside from our Christmas budget) and the majority of the food and petrol was paid for with money put aside since January in money pots and the like.... I think we did pretty well!

Have you got any holiday budget tips to share? Any great ways to cut costs more so people can enjoy their hols without the financial burden? I’d love to hear them if you do, next summer will soon come around again!

*Prices correct when we decided on this holiday

Nicki Cawood, Freelance Writer and Blogger at Curly&Candid

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