25/07/2018 16:31 BST | Updated 25/07/2018 16:31 BST

How To Have A Cheap Staycation As A Family This Summer

The glorious British weather is set to continue so we’re going to make the most of it this year

Dean Mitchell via Getty Images

Schools out for the summer and overnight, holiday prices skyrocket. It doesn’t matter if you are heading abroad or staying in the UK, the price of taking a break shoots up, often to unaffordable highs for many.

Me and my family are staying in the UK this summer. The glorious British weather is set to continue so we’re going to make the most of it and enjoy a staycation to our favourite spot in Norfolk. Holidaying in the UK doesn’t need to break the bank. Here are some ways you can save money and have a cheap staycation over the summer.

A free place to stay

Having friends and family in different parts of the country means you can combine a visit and a holiday. Save a fortune on accommodation costs by staying with someone you know. 

A great alternative to actually staying with friends is to do a house swap. You get all the creature comforts of home, the kids have new toys to play with and everyone gets a free holiday. Set some ground rules – maybe you both leave a fridge full of food and a guide to your local attractions, and away you go!

Don’t have anyone to house swap with? Consider joining a house-sitting website such as Trusted Housesitters. You look after someone’s home while they are away, and potentially also care for their pets, for free, in exchange for accommodation. A win-win solution to a common problem.

Making accommodation affordable

Ask around if any of your friends have a holiday home that they rent out - you may get it at mate’s rates. Sharing a cottage with another family is another easy way to slash the cost of your stay. Alternatively, make a two-week booking and take a week each - often longer bookings are relatively cheaper than short breaks. 

Staying in a hotel? Shop around as prices can vary hugely. Comparison sites are great to give you an idea of price but always check the hotel’s own website first before you book. The larger chains such as Premier Inn or Travel Lodge often save the best deals for direct bookings.

When travelling with small children, call the hotel direct and ask if you are able to put a camp bed in a standard room rather than paying for a larger family room. Some may let you bring your own, others may charge but this still works out cheaper.

From as little as £10 for a pitch per night, camping is the ultimate affordable holiday option. Children love it and you’ll often have lots of extra facilities on site such as swimming pools, tennis courts and children’s entertainment. 

Cheap eats

The easiest way to keep food costs affordable on staycation is to book somewhere with self-catering facilities. Having breakfast at home each day and packing up picnics for lunch rather than eating out for every meal all adds up. Plus, if you remember to order a food delivery for shortly after you arrive, you won’t need to call for a takeaway. Going on staycation has one huge benefit compared to jetting overseas: you can load up the car with things from home. Remember these essentials for easy food savings: cool box for picnics, refillable water bottles, containers for decanting snacks and store cupboard staples so you don’t need to buy full packets of items you might only need a small amount of while you are away (stock cubes, tea bags, coffee, sugar, bin bags, herbs, and clingfilm). 

When we eat out, we never pay full price for a meal. Beforehand, I always check if there are any money off deals through my credit card (usually loaded via the app), my breakdown cover (good for discounts at service station restaurants), the restaurant’s own app and also Tastecard, which often has 2 for 1 deals. 

Activities

If you’ve never tried it, give Geocaching a go - digital treasure hunting for all the family. It’s a fabulous, free way to explore your holiday destination. Visiting local attractions can be pricey for families but with savvy forethought, it need not break the bank. Check Picniq to get discounted tickets to popular tourist attractions; save the two for one vouchers on cereal boxes; and exchange supermarket loyalty points for tickets. 

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