THE FAMILY HOLIDAY PLAN: GETTING TO YOUR DESTINATION

There are many ways to arrive at your holiday destination. Once upon a time, the only way a family could afford a holiday was to load up the car and head out on the road. How many of you remember these long trips? I certainly do! But you don’t necessarily have to drive to your holiday destination anymore! There are all kinds of options today that are affordable and much more enjoyable!

Driving

If you intend on driving, petrol prices will be a huge consideration. At the time of this being written, patrol prices are just over £1.00 per litre. If you’re going to be driving more than 300 miles, depending on the gas mileage of your vehicle, it will probably be cheaper to fly. We suggest that you drive only if you are going to a location that isn’t too far from home.

There can be huge advantages, however, in driving to your destination. You won’t have to worry as much about dates and times. You can just pack up and go. There’s something to be said for seeing the country out the windows of a car.

It can be a learning experience for your children as they get to see the beautiful countryside. This is a good time to foster conversation with your family as well. When there’s not much else to do along the way, tell each other stories, share your thoughts and memories with them. You’ll all learn so much if you do!

Later we can explore specific ways to make car travel on holiday not only bearable, but enjoyable!

Flying

With airlines competing for business today, air travel is becoming a lot more affordable than it once was. Booking your airfares well in advance will save you a lot of money. Booking ahead is important to getting a fair rate.

Family travel usually centers around school holidays, making space at a premium. The farther out you book, the better your chances that you will get the price you want. It’s a question of supply and demand. When demand is high, prices are high. It is suggested you try to plan trips ten months to a year in advance, so you get what you want and don’t feel like you have to settle for what you can get.

You’ll probably find the best deals online at one of the sites we mentioned earlier in this series of articles. They’re easily navigable and you can get instant availability reports along with alternative suggested routes.

When booking airfare online, don’t overlook discount and international airlines—some are not listed on the big travel portal websites, even though they might have a lower fare to your destination. Also be sure to compare rates for alternate airports within a reasonable travelling distance.

You might live half an hour from a major airport, but the smaller airport a couple hours away might have substantially lower fares. Check for alternate airports near your destination, too.

Be flexible about your arrival and departure dates if possible; the major travel portals all have options to search for the cheapest flights within a range of dates. Any one of these alternatives could potentially save you hundreds of pounds.

Many credit card companies offer frequent flier miles when you use their cards for purchases. This is a great way to save on air travel by taking advantage of this service. Use your credit card for almost every purchase you make then cash in at holiday time. It could sometimes mean free airfare for you and your family!

Of course, it could also mean large credit card bills and unpaid balances, so spend wisely. Only use the card for things you would purchase normally – not on extravagant items just to get the mileage.

Don’t throw away your junk mail! Sometimes inside those coupon packages, there will be discounts for air travel. One person almost threw away her Expedia envelope, but decided to go through it just in case there was anything in there she could use. Lo and behold, there was a certificate for £100 off travel with a discount airline. The coupon was good for up to 4 tickets, so each member of her family flew to Florida for just £54 each round trip!

Finally, you can go to a travel agent to book your flight. They are very knowledgeable about the airline business and can often save you tons of cash if you let them know that is your biggest priority. They’ll give you free rate quotes as well, so when you call, you can see if a flight will fit into your budgeted plan.

Here are some valuable tips to help you save on airfare when booking yourself:

  • Airlines usually reload their computers at midnight, so as soon after that as possible is a good time to shop online for low cost seats that folks might have reserved but not paid for.
  • When one airline announces a sale to a particular destination, chances are the others will soon follow suit, so be on the lookout and call or click around.
  • Use the internet to search out last minute bargain weekend fares. Most airlines’ websites have a place where drastically reduced weekend fares are available. Start checking on Wednesday for the weekend ahead.

Trains

Many, many songs have been written about the country’s love for trains and the rail system. Most of them, however, are about hopping a freight train bound for Georgia or some other unseemly way to travel. Train travel isn’t like that anymore.

Today’s trains are luxury vehicles that rival many airplanes. They provide for roomy seats, dining cars, club cars, and even sleeping berths for really long trips. The best part is, these conveniences don’t always come at a premium price.

National Rail, the country’s major train service offers up many, many discount plans for budget savvy travellers. Since it’s a family holiday, we assume you will probably have children along. If these passengers are age 15 or under, they get to travel at half price.

You can also find money saving coupons in mailings and online. All you have to do is look around. And don’t forget to ask for discounts! If you don’t ask, they probably won’t be offered up to you even though they might be available, so take a moment when booking and say, “Can you get that rate any lower?”

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