Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Tips for an affordable family holiday (Guest Post)

You've trawled the web looking for the best deals, packed the dog off to kennels and little Laura's already looking forward to writing a story all about it when she gets back to school. Yep, you guessed it, we're talking family holidays.

Despite the leaner times, a healthy number of people are expected to get away from it all this year. Explore Research found that 82%  were 'very likely' or 'quite likely' to holiday overseas in 2013. Unsurprisingly, the study revealed that 55% of respondents were most concerned about the costs associated.

So, how can you make holidays more frugal?

Here are a few tips:

Where to go
Whether you're seeking a relaxing sun-filled break, or a city trip bursting with family activities, it is certainly possible to plan to an enjoyable holiday and keep within budget.
Check out this list of budget family locations for 2013:
·         Some Eastern European destinations, such as those in the Euro could be more appealing, including Bulgaria, Estonia and Slovakia
·         For skiing, how about Slovenia, a trendy destination for winter fun? The Slovenia Tourist Board has a list of resorts in different price ranges.
·         After a beach holiday? Then good auld Spain is recommended by The Lonely Planet. It may not be off the beaten path, but over the years it’s remained affordable and enjoyable for British families seeking sunshine. The Costa del Sol is top of the list for bargain resorts.
·         Think about going long haul? If you kids are a little older and you can tackle a longer flight, places like Cancun, Bali, Vietnam or Sri Lanka may command expensive flights, though dining and accommodation costs are usually great value.

Have plans, will travel?
Arrange your flights as soon as possible as most budget airlines don’t discount their flights at the last minute. Book accommodation either very early, or very late, as prices are often discounted at these times.
Check out the dates you're travelling and make sure they aren't during a big festival or event, when accommodation is likely to be more expensive. Prices can rocket during the school holidays, when most other families like to make a great escape
Shop around for the travel money rate. Rates across providers can vary considerably, so it could be worthwhile doing your research.
How you will get there? Can you take the train or drive instead of flying? Check out Eurostar andRaileurope to try and find some competitive fares. You could also make a ferry journey part of your trip, or choose your holiday based on the cheapest flight available. It pays to be flexible!

Where to stay?
Rather than splash out on a hotel, where you have to pay for expensive ‘extras’ and meals, hire a villa which can accommodate more than one family. By splitting the cost, this approach could work out much cheaper. If you're a small group, then why not camp, home swap or rent an apartment rather than book a hotel? Try Airbnb for accommodation all over the world and for those on a budget.

Spending wisely….
You'll want to spend your hard-earned travel money as economically as you can. When in ‘holiday mode’, it’s easy for expenses to pile up. Many of us like to splash out on holidays, which is why planning parts of your trip in advance could help you cut back on unexpected expenses.
Here are a few money saving tips to keep in mind during when you travel.
·         Research free attractions and museums, or visit the smaller venues that might charge less.
·         Buy a city pass, like the Copenhagen card, that gets you inclusive travel and entrance fees.
·         Can you buy restaurant vouchers in advance? Many restaurants are signed up to daily deal websites and you can book your dates before you go.
·         Limit the number of meals out. Take a picnic so you can enjoy food in novel places, whilst enjoying the views.
·         Try walking, cycling or public transport rather than a hire car.

A family holiday on a budget does not have to be a ‘budget holiday’. As you can see, there are many ways to save money and still do all the things you and your family love.

This guest post was written on behalf of Sainsbury's Bank’s Money Matters blog. The views expressed here are of the author and not of Sainsbury's Bank. Though it may include tips and information on affordable family holidays, it does not constitute advice and should not be used to make any financial decisions. Sainsbury's Bank accepts no responsibility for the opinions of external contributors or any external websites included in this piece. All information provided was correct at date of publication.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Food for family car journeys

Travelling with a young family can be a stressful experience.  Keeping everyone topped up with healthy, nutritious food will go a long way to making sure that a long car journey doesn’t turn into a road trip nightmare.

Hungry kids are fractious kids, so always make sure that you pack adequate food for the journey. Keep things fresh by bringing a cool box or bag and make sure that you have healthy, dry snacks at the ready.

Follow these simple tips, and while we can’t guarantee a peaceful car ride, at least you’ll be well prepared.

Foods to avoid

Sugary treats will buy you a few minutes silence, but a sugar rush followed by a crash won’t do anything to keep the peace in the long run.

Just like us, children have a tendency to feel hungry when they’re bored.  Try to distract little ones with in-car games, like I spy and bingo. If all else fails, go for healthy snacks. Dried fruit satisfies a sweet tooth, but it’s healthy too.

Less mess

Cleaning up smears of food from car seats is no fun. Be sure to pack things that are easy to eat and won’t damage the upholstery if they get dropped.

Pitta pockets and wraps might be a better alternative to sandwiches as fillings are less likely to be spilled.

If possible, pull over to an appropriate area for your young passengers to eat. Not only will you reduce the amount of food that ends up on the seats and floor, but the risk of choking is minimised.

To make the trip more enjoyable, plan ahead to stop somewhere nice for lunch. A well-planned break can turn an arduous journey into a memorable family day out.

Make sure that everyone has a chance to stretch their legs too – after all, it’s not just children who get irritated when cooped up for too long.

Slow burn

The best foods for long journeys are ones that release their energy over a long period of time. Cereals like oats and barley as well as pulses are great foods for sustaining even energy levels – good for the kids and ideal for the driver, helping to maintain concentration.

Long lasting energy from oatcakes, wholemeal bread and bean salads are an important part of a healthy road trip meal.


Car sickness can be a major problem for young passengers and fatty foods really won’t help.

Stick instead to raw fresh veggies like carrot sticks, celery, cucumber and peppers. Go for low-fat sandwich, pita or wrap fillings like chicken or tuna and steer clear of mayonnaise.  

Fresh fruit salads or seasonal compotes are a better choice than sticky cakes or pastries.


Good hydration is very important, but avoid giving children fizzy drinks or bottles of juice. They’ll gulp them down and soon need the toilet.

A good solution, especially during the summer months, is to freeze a bottle of water or juice. Kids will love handling the cool container and because they can only sip the melt water, they won’t be able to guzzle the drink too quickly.

Don’t forget to give your car a once-over before you leave home. Inspect oil, coolant and other fluid levels, make sure tyres are fully inflated and check that your car insurance
 offers an appropriate level of cover for the driving you’ll be doing.

Author Bio:
Liam Williams writes for the Sainsbury’s Bank Money Matters blog. In his spare time he enjoys motoring and organic gardening.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Decisions, decisions

It's crunch time for my car.  We have put up with it for the past 11 months since Ollie has been born, but there's only so many journeys I can handle being squashed between two car seats in the back.  Three children and 'normal' cars just don't work.  They may be classed as 5 seaters, but they're certainly not when you factor in the car seats.

Since I've had Ollie, we've had to put Zac's car seat in the front, leaving me sat between Ethan and Ollie.  Now this has caused a few issues:
1 - I have to put up with my husband's driving! (he refuses to sit in the back)
2 - I don't fit very well and can't move once I'm in there
3 - We can't really go anywhere long distance as it's way too uncomfortable, and
4 - Ollie plays up.  It's as if because he can see me, he thinks he should be able to come out.  I spend most journeys trying to pacify him.

We always intended to change our car when I fell pregnant with Ollie; we knew my Peugeot 308 just wouldn't cut it.  But finances dictated and we kept putting it off.  We did look at lots of cars.  My husband got himself a Mazda and when we went to pick it up I fell in love with the Mazda 5.  It has sliding back doors and didn't look too much like a people carrier.  I soon realised why.  There's still not three full car seats in the back, so I would have had to put one of the boys into the third row permanently, which I didn't really want to do.

Around this time, I also decided to become a childminder, so we would definitely need a car with more seats. But what to get?  And how would we afford it?  I have spent so many hours online, looking at different options, yet months have passed and we've still got the same car.  But now it's coming to the point where I've got no choice but to make a decision.  I always buy cars on those three year agreements you get with new car dealers.  I've always found it easier, if something goes wrong I can get it sorted, and I get to drive a nice new car every three years.  Anyway, my three years is almost up.  And the other pressing factor is that my childminding application has been submitted.

I had a phone call from my local Peugeot garage this week so went down to see them and have a look at what was on offer.  I loved one particular car (the 5008 if anyone is interested) but the price tag was way too high.  Even with the discount they offered there was just no way that I could afford it.  I was really disappointed, but I suppose I can't expect them to just give it away (though that would have been nice and would have made me a loyal customer for life!!) It's just so frustrating.  They did make me a really good offer on another car (308 SW).  It's got the option of having 7 seats, though it's more of a temporary 7 seater.  The offer is so good though that everyone is saying I'd be stupid not to take it.  And the more I think about it, the more I'm wondering if it could work.  My husband loves it because it's got a panoramic glass roof (that's how much interest he is taking).

It wouldn't have been my first choice, but it seems like the only way I'm going to get a bigger car, and move all three boys into the back.  It would be so nice to travel as a passenger in the front again!  The more I think about it, the more it's growing on me.  But it's so hard to make a decision about such a big purchase.  I've been reading lots of reviews online, and I haven't read anything yet that's put me off. I found a video on that explained lots about how the seating arrangements work.  I think it may be okay for me.  I might phone to order it tomorrow.  Unless I win the lottery tonight of course ;-)

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