Household spending on holidays and travel jumped in January compared with a year earlier, according to analysis by Nationwide Building Society.
A new report based on an analysis of nearly 200 million debit and credit card and direct debit transactions made by Nationwide’s customers in January found that spending on holidays increased by 379%, while spending on airline travel was up by 408% and spending on cruises surged by 899%, however, there was also a 26% month-on-month increase in spending on utilities and bills compared with December.
Now that energy bills have increased and inflation is at a 40-year high, many people will be re-thinking their summer holiday plans in order to boost household finances.
This can be quite tricky, especially if there are kids at home, however, the team at Lendingexpert.co.uk have put together their top tips on ways families can enjoy the summer holidays on a tight budget – without compromising on the fun factor.
Visit the pet store
Many pet stores have fish, guinea pigs, rabbits and birds for sale as pets, but it’s a great place to enjoy animals for free – just explain to the children before you set off that you’re only going to say hello, and they aren’t coming home with you.
Pick your own fruit
Summer in the UK is prime strawberry and raspberry picking time. And in Scotland we are lucky enough to have brambles and gooseberries growing in the wild – free to pick and tasty to eat or preserve.
But for just a few pounds, you can take the whole family and have fun finding the largest, juiciest fruit, and you’ll get to take it all home too for more fun making homemade jam.
If you know people who lives close to the coast or deep in the rolling countryside, suggest a house swap for a few days. You’ll both get a change of scenery and the only cost to you will be getting there.
Have a water fight
A good water fight is so much fun for the kids, and you don’t even need water pistols to do it. A couple of sponges and a bucket will be just as fun.
Camp in your garden
If you don’t have any camping kit, borrow a tent and sleeping bags from a friend who does and set yourself and the kids up in the garden for the night – or until it gets too dark. It will be a massive adventure for them, and you’ll still have your toilets and shower to enjoy as a bonus.
Play outdoor games
Have hours of fun outside in the fresh air playing games like rounders. Get friends, family and neighbours involved for maximum fun.
Go for big walks
Pack a picnic and set off on an adventure, either locally or nearby. Even if you live in a busy town or city, there are bound to be hidden treasures to explore and find a nice place to sit and eat your homemade lunch.
Summer sees a lot of discounted travel tickets for bus and rail journeys, with kids often travelling for free.
Avoid dinner time at restaurants
Most restaurants will hike their prices for dinner, so grab yourself a lunchtime booking to save money if you want to eat out and look out for deals too. Some restaurants let children eat at certain times of the day at bargain prices.
Be flexible about where you go
Being flexible about where you go and what you do means you’re more likely to bag yourself a last-minute bargain on travel and hosting websites. The more flexible you can be – the more likely you’ll find yourself an absolute steal.
Use your loyalty points
Check your loyalty card balance. You could be sitting on free tickets to a popular UK attraction. Dig out your passwords and check what your loyalty cards have earned you.
Make good use of free attractions
Every town and city in the country has free attractions – simply do a Google search for “Free things to do in…” and insert your location. You’ll be surprised at the number of galleries, museums and cathedrals that won’t charge an admission fee.
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Visit public spaces
The UK has loads of beautiful beaches, lovely parks and breathtaking landscapes to explore that won’t cost you a penny – take a picnic and a frisbee for the kids.
David Beard, Personal Finance Expert at Lendingexpert.co.uk, said: “For many families, the summer holidays can wind up costing a small fortune, but with a bit of planning, you can pack the summer holidays full of family-friendly fun things to do that won’t cost a penny. You don’t need to spend money to create core memories the kids will treasure for years to come.
“Most children cherish quality time with their parents over expensive theme parks and attractions. You might feel guilty that you can’t afford to take them abroad and splash out, but ultimately spending time with your kids will mean much more to them”.
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