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Monday, 30 June 2014

Top 10 tips when budgeting for a family holiday

When it comes to family holidays I like to get the absolute most out of our break. We don't have tons of disposable income, but I don't let our lack of funds stop us from having a fantastic holiday. With a little bit of planning and budgeting, you can make the money you have go far on holiday. Here are my top 10 tips for budgeting your family holiday:-

1. Whether we are going to a theme park for the weekend or a on a two week all inclusive holiday, we always pack a cool bag.  A cool bag is your best friend on holiday - you can save money by taking a picnic to the beach, packing it with bottles of water on an excursion or using it to keep snacks cool on the plane. Using a cool bag every day will significantly reduce your frivolous spending which all adds up.

2. If you will be cooking some of your own food during your holiday, pack essentials from your kitchen cupboard at home so you don't need to buy new in resort. Think ketchup, beans, marinades......Just make sure they aren't glass/breakable and pack bottles in a sealed sandwich bag to avoid spillage. You will save at least £20 doing this, however make sure you don't go over your luggage allowance.

3. Nobody likes coming home to a huge phone bill. To avoid unexpected costs, I always book a hotel with free wifi. Alternatively, many caf├ęs now offer wifi for free - look out for these or ask a rep for their locations.

4. It is always nice to enjoy a treat on your last day and end your holiday on a high. Whether this be a special trip, excursion or a last meal in your favourite restaurant, I always like to build this into our holiday budget. Usually, I will buy a 'holiday fund' box (or you could decorate an empty jar) and place it in a prominent place in your house. Every few days empty your change into this box and by the time your holiday comes around you should have enough money to pay for this last holiday treat.

5. Eating out on holiday can be expensive. We always try to eat where the locals eat. We have found if you follow the locals, food is likely to be good and inexpensive so you can make your budget go further.

6. Likewise, use local public transport. Children often travel free and prices can be a steal when compared to taxis. It cost us the equivalent of 40p per day to travel by bus in Mexico.

7. There is nothing worse than running short of money towards the end of your holiday. Work out a daily spending budget using this simple formula. Total spending money/number of days on holiday = maximum daily spending allowance. Don't go over your daily amount and you won't be caught short. If you don't use all of your budget in one day you can always carry it forward to the next day.

8. Help teach teenagers about spending abroad and give them their own pre-paid currency card. They are accepted almost everywhere now and are far safer than them carrying lots of cash around. Plus, if they have their own money, it will hopefully mean they aren't constantly pestering you for cash.

9. Remember 'spending time with children is more important than spending money on them'. Don't feel like you have to get into debt and splash out on theme park tickets and water park trips. In my experience, children are happiest in the pool, at the park, exploring the countryside or at the park and all of these activities are free!

10. If your children have saved their own spending money they are likely to want to spend it straight away on the first thing they see. Help them make the most of their savings and agree on a 24hr rule. If they see something they like, don't buy it straight away and if they would still like to buy it in 24 hours then you can always go back and buy it. Lead by example too and you may think twice about whether you really need a new handbag.

I hope you have enjoyed my top tips for budgeting for your family holiday. I would love to hear any other tips you may have.

This is a competition entry to win a £500 charged global currency card with Caxton FX. 

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