10 ways to save money on your next family caravan holiday
Families with children are often limited to when they can go on holiday.
The places they wish to go and the attractions they hope to visit hike up their prices during the summer holidays, making what might seem like a cheaper holiday, a lot more expensive.
We asked bargain-hunting caravanner Nicola Lazenby to share her tips for cut-price breaks for caravan, motorhome and campervan owners with kids.
Nicola caravans with husband Dave, Hannah (5) and Charlotte (2).
Book attraction tickets before you go
When booking your travel, some companies offer discounted attraction tickets. Red Funnel currently offers 25% off its crossings if you book campsites through its site and you have the option to add tickets to attractions.
Use a cashback site to see if you can earn cashback on your tickets. This doesn’t immediately save you money but you can build up quite an amount over time.
Check vouchers or family discounts through attractions' own websites or social media pages. You can often exchange vouchers for fun family days out.
Use vouchers to become members of clubs
You can exchange your Tesco Clubcard vouchers for English Heritage membership – 50p in vouchers gives you £1.50 towards your membership. Access to all sites are then free and parking in its car parks is often free.
Shop around for travel deals
Price up everything as a package – but also separately – sometimes you can save money going direct.
Book through the different Clubs - The Camping and Caravanning Club and the Caravan and Motorhome Club - to gain discounts on sites and ferries.
Don’t be afraid to pricematch if you can find it cheaper elsewhere. Some places, sites and companies will match what you find.
Look at using vouchers or cashback sites for deals on travel and sites.
Take advantage of deals offered on the basis of your age/status or job
Sometimes proving your job role can give you benefits. Discounts are often readily available for the NHS, military and police.
Teachers can register and log in to discountsforteachers.co.uk and search to find deals.
Many professions will have opportunities for saving and can be found with a bit of research.
Choose the best time to travel
If you are not picky, try driving through the night. This can be very beneficial with younger children who will sleep for most of the journey and won't ask to stop for a burger!
Many travel companies have lower prices at times when others may not want to travel including Eurotunnel and cross channel ferry operators. Sometimes travel is a lot cheaper earlier in the morning.
Pack your own food and drink
Make a picnic for each day out and take drinks. This will save lots of money on food outlets and expensive coffee shops. You can’t, however, deny anyone an ice cream!
Consider buying a bucket and spade, fishing net or other items children may want on the beach or during the holiday before you go. Some seaside towns charge more for these basics.
Use public transport
Ever thought about how much you could save by not parking in tourist areas? Work out if taking the bus is cheaper than spending money on a car park for the day. It's a great little adventure for the children.
Sign up to voucher websites
Sign up to a variety of voucher websites to shop around for discounts on attractions. Sometimes the summer offers cannot be beaten.
Some sites also offer discount codes/vouchers which can be used for eating out. Examples can be 2-for-1 offers on food and drink.
Save money on your first night's meal
A tip from my Mum from my caravanning youth. Make your first night's meal before you leave home. Freeze the meal and allow it to thaw in the fridge during the journey. You just need to heat it up when you are ready to eat. No expensive site takeaway for your first night.
Check out KidsPass
Kidspass is a website through which you can benefit from up to 57% off the best family days out. A trial membership costs £1 for 30 days, £2.99 a month or annual for £29.99. Savings can be made on family days out, cinema trips, safari parks and on family holidays. It's definitely worth checking out.
Most importantly of all, don’t forget to research where you are going, before you go. There are many free activities including countryside walks, beach visits and some historical attractions available to visit free of charge. Holidays don’t have to cost the earth. If you go prepared, you can have an amazing time while still keeping an eye on the budget.