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How to make holiday memories on a budget

Some of the most vivid memories I have are of holidays I took as a child with my parents.  These holidays memories are tinged orange and brown, which must have been the colour of the trailer tent we had and the inside of the touring caravan we moved on too!  

For my childhood holidays were spent  on campsites such as Richardson's Holiday Parks.  They were filled with communal shower rooms and midnight walks to the toilet block in my wellies in the dark with a torch.  Of communal washing up areas where we carried all the washing up and one washed whilst the other dried.

We had lots of freedom and I even remember being washed in a bucket.  I also remember fantastic meals that my mum cooked on a camping stove and BBQ's.  

Days on the beach and sand in the sandwiches   The dingy in a cold sea with a rope attached to it and ice-creams.    These are my holiday memories and they were achieved on a budget.  

Nowadays holidays are expensive and you can spend lots on extras, but this need not be the case if you plan well. 

My top tips are:
  • Always take picnic equipment with you and flasks.  It is much cheaper to pack food than buy it.
  • A day at the beach costs nothing, but do go prepared with chairs, a windbreak, towels and a UV or beach tent if you have one.
  • So not feel you have to have all the latest equipment.  You are only going to use it a couple of years a week, so why not share with family or borrow it from friends.
  • Be prepared for the British weather and take packamac's everywhere and sun cream too.
  • Save your loyalty card points and exchange them for restaurant vouchers making eating out more affordable.
  • Take lots of pictures.
  • Take advantage of any national membership cards you have such as National Trust or English Heritage   
  • Never buy water.  Take a refillable water bottle.  Most places will provide tap water for free,
  • Find the local parks.  As a child we loved going to a new park and the ones on holiday were always better than the ones at home.
  • Find out about local free attractions such as museums.
  • Can you get a visitor pass or citypass for where you are going?  Many offer reduced entry prices to local attractions and travel.
  • Set a daily budget for extras such as ice creams, entry costs and incidentals
  • Go self catering, this way you can cook as you would at home and not spend any extra
  • Take books, board games and colouring pads for wet days.  By being prepared for the weather you are not forced in to spending more just to get out of the weather.
  • Make walks an adventure by Geocaching
  • Take swimming kit for all the family as you can always find a pool if the weather is terrible
  • Take advantage of farmers markets and roadside stalls to get a taste of the local foods.  Not only does this make shopping more interesting, but it is great fun for the children too.  I remember picking plums as a child.
My family holidays were not expensive, but they did fill me will joy and I have lots and lots of happy memories about spending time with my family.  So my main tip to you would be turn off the electronics and get out and enjoy being a family together.

What are your top tips for having a family holiday on a budget?


  1. Great tips. Reading this reminded me of very similar holidays that my Mum took us on. She was so impulsive, that she would often be waiting in her mini, after school on a Friday with the tent in the boot and off we would go for the weekend. Basic holidays = Happy times x

  2. I think you covered anything I can think of! Some brilliant tips, and a lot that we swear by - a day out with 7 kids soon mounts up! :)


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