How To Have A Cheap Family Holiday this Summer

Not made any summer plans yet and wondering how you can get away without blowing the budget?  You need a staycation!  Whether you stay at home and go local for your fun and entertainment, or visit another part of the UK, there are plenty of ways to have a fantastic holiday on a budget.


As soon as school's out the price of a family holiday rockets, even for a caravan in Skegness!  But there are still ways to make your holiday affordable.

You can choose to stay at home and make the most of what your local area has to offer, you could try house swapping, or you could ask around friends and family to see who would be up for a visit.

Visiting friends or relatives is ideal, especially if they live an area you love or one where there is plenty to do with the kids.  Even if you treat your hosts to a day or meal out, or buy some of the groceries for the week, you'll effectively be getting free accommodation so will have plenty left over for fun.

The next best thing is a house swap, which could even be with someone you know.  You get all the comforts of home, the kids find some new toys to play with, and everyone gets to enjoy a free holiday.  This is perfect if you have animals to look after too, as your house-sitters will look after the pets too.

It's worth setting a few ground rules well in advance, for example any no-go areas or rooms, and agree to leave a guide to local days out and what's on, as well as a fridge full of food to make things easier for both families.

If there really isn't anyone you could swap or stay with, consider AirBNB.  There are some real bargains to be had.  We stayed in this pretty North Yorkshire cottage last year for less than £50!


Finding activities to keep everyone busy can be a pricey endeavour, but there are plenty of ways to save money on days out and fun for all the family.  And don't overlook the joy of the simple, children don't need expensive days out to have a good time, as Lara taught us when she was two.

Try free activities such as:
  • Hiking/walking
  • Cycling - bring the bikes or scooters so you can explore your local area for free
  • Geocaching - digital treasure hunting
  • Check what free local events are on, such as play rangers in parks, nature events in forests
  • Look up local woodlands and nature reserves, many will have summer activities
  • Hit the beach, lake or local river
  • Go on a nature walk
  • Check whether there are any splash parks or open air pool locally
  • Explore all the local playgrounds and parks you can find

In case of rainy days:
  • Find out what local museums offer
  • Take some craft supplies with you to try these rainy day activities
  • Look online for local cinemas and theatres to see what offers they have
  • Line up some films on your Netflix or Amazon watch list, or take some DVDs with you
  • Look up the local leisure centres and facilities - swimming is always a great fall back
  • Colouring printables are a great standby, our Smart Ink will be working overtime!

Save money on days out by:
  • Using your Tesco Clubcard points to book tickets in advance
  • Buying a Kids Pass membership - often on offer for just £1!
  • Save the 2 for 1 vouchers from cereal boxes and other products
  • Check the site Attractiontix for discounted offers
  • Find cheap open air concerts or theatre performances and take a picnic
  • Join an organisation like the National Trust or English Heritage for endless days out
  • For nature lovers, join the WWT or RSPB

You can spend the summer doing a lot of fun activities as a family without breaking the bank.  Wherever you go, bring your own food and drink with you to save a small fortune over the course of the summer.


Self-catering is always the cheapest way to feed yourselves when on holiday.  Even if you enjoy the odd evening out or a take away, making your own breakfast every morning and taking a picnic lunch will save you £££.

Take as much as you can with you and then top up with small fresh food shops, or book a supermarket delivery for the day you arrive.  Most supermarkets have plenty of special offers on just before and over the school holidays, so you can stock up on typical picnic and snack foods more cheaply.  Tesco tends to be best for this.

Remember to take some essentials from home, such as plastic boxes for packing up picnics, cool bag or box, ice blocks and refillable water bottles.  That way you'll be ready to whip up a delicious picnic for lunch every day.

Further reading:

101 Free Things to Do this Summer
How to Save Money During the School Holidays
5 Fun Ideas for Staycations
Rainy Day Summer Activities
40 Cheap Things to Do this Summer

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