Monday, 28 July 2014

FAMILY TRAVELLER’S TOP TIPS FOR A HASSLE-FREE FAMILY HOLIDAY

With the holy grail of holidays looming – the great summer escape – many parents will be looking forward to family time together with some trepidation, not least because of the big expense associated with getting away from it all. Here, editor of Family Traveller Magazine and mum-of-two Jane Anderson, offers her top five tips for getting the best value out of your summer break, with minimal fuss.



1.    Try a holiday house-swap – “Renting a private home is much cheaper than staying in hotels, but why not go one step further and try a home exchange? Your only accommodation cost will be the agency's annual subscription and many home swappers also exchange cars, which slashes costs even further. Swap with a family that has children of a similar age and you have a ready-made family-friendly holiday home. The only downside is the housework - you’ll have to make sure your own house is presentable before you set off! Try homelink.org.ukintervac-homeexchange.com or homeexchange.com.”

2.    Consider an all-inclusive – “Take the hassle, and hidden costs, out of holidaying with kids by opting for an all-inclusive break. As well as setting out all of your expenses up-front, you can also take advantage of kids’ clubs and entertainment to keep the family amused. There’s also the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’ll be staying somewhere with family-friendly facilities, and resorts set up specifically with children in mind are often the most safe and secure.”

3.  Travel with family or friends – “Whether it’s a multi-generational getaway with grandparents or friends that have children of a similar age, travelling in a group can cut costs and help share the responsibility, just as long as you can stand a week in each other’s company! Renting a villa for eight or ten will usually work out cheaper per person than a smaller house or apartment, and means you may be able to stretch to somewhere with a private pool. Plus having grandparents or playmates on hand will mean you might even have some time to yourselves!”

4.    Get cash back on your holiday – “A week or two away in the summer can cost thousands of pounds, but by clicking through a cashback site to book you could get hundreds of it back. The major cashback sites feature lots of the big-brand holiday providers such as First Choice, Thompson and Thomas Cook, and as well as holidays, flights and hotels you can get cashback on car hire, insurance and a whole range of holiday-related extras. Try Quidco.com or TopCashBack.co.uk. You could also consider a credit card that gives cashback, to double your money!”

5.    Negotiate! – “To haggle for your holiday you’ll need to actually visit a high street travel agent, or at least speak to them on the phone -  the personal touch is always better. A good travel agent will be able to use their industry knowledge to source deals and prices that you may not have access to, particularly if you’re building your own itinerary. If you’re opting for a package deal, then they may be able to throw in some added extras, such as free child places, attraction passes or car hire.
Jane is the editor of Family Traveller, the one-stop resource for advice and inspiration on family travel. From the UK to far-flung destinations, driving holidays and activity-filled adventures to relaxing beach-side breaks, Family Traveller offers practical advice on travelling with your children from door to destination.