With the school holidays just around the corner our thoughts are now beginning to turn towards holiday destinations far and near. For families, paying for everyone to get away on a summer holiday is often a big issue – something I am only just beginning to fully appreciate.
When Roo first arrived I was prepared for a serious assault on my wallet: the baby kit, the wear-it-once-and-grow out of it clothes, all those must-have but actually completely unessential items. What I completely overlooked however until just over 6 months ago when Roo turned 2, is the burden adding another airfare onto your holiday budget creates! Suddenly, a £300 trip to Rome for a long weekend becomes £450 and that’s before you throw in the additional costs of a family room, car seat hire (in a bigger hire car) and eating out for two and a half (a bottomless pit, never-ending-pizza-munching half at that)!
A ‘staycation’ isn’t necessarily cheaper either. With the advent of glamping, even camping costs have gone up these days! We recently looked for a last minute break in the UK. Nothing fancy – just a little cottage with two bedrooms in walker friendly countryside. I struggled to find places below £450 for a week and that is outside of the peak school holiday period!
£450 incidentally is the price of return ticket in June from London to Delhi! In India’s peak season it would be a lot more but because our summer is monsoon in India, flights go cheap. Accommodation in Taj Mahal and tourist mecca Agra can be as little as £15 for a room in a 3* hotel for the night and cheap rail fares mean you can escape the hot monsoon temperatures for the cool and beauty of the Himalayan foothills for very little.
I have visited India three times – all of them during the monsoon season and thanks to air conditioning and those magnificent mountains, it really is possible to still have a great visit for a fraction of the cost.
Neither is India the only exotic or long haul destination where timing of holiday can bring costs down and living costs whilst there are a fraction of European prices. We have visited Cuba in May – slightly out of its peak season and experienced gorgeous weather and top notch hotels for a fraction the cost of similar Caribbean holidays and there are many other holiday destinations where not opting for its most popular season can reduce costs.
Extracting maximum value from your family holiday budget is tricky and requires a lot of juggling. To help with the dilemma of what and where you money will buy you, Natwest have come up with a handy little free holiday spending calculator. Listing the prices of basic holiday staples across 25 countries worldwide, you can instantly compare the cost of living in different countries and find those where your budget will stretch the furthest. There is also a holiday calculator allowing you to compare an estimate of total costs in two different countries.
I’ve been playing with the Holiday Spending Calculator and found some fun findings. For instance, in Buenos Aires you can get a bottle of red table wine (probably a tasty little Malbec too) for around £2.85. In Bangkok, it will cost you £16! So head to Argentina and you’ll be five bottles better off for your money – not that I am suggesting you drink that much!
A quick check on hotel costs revealed similarly eye-watering results – spend one night in a three star hotel in San Francisco or spend just over a week in a similar hotel in Thailand’s Chiang Mai! Curious, I checked the flight prices for this month from Heathrow and you can get to both destinations for a similar price, meaning a massive saving on your overall holiday if you pick the trip to Thailand over the USA.
The conclusion? It’s worth considering not only how much it costs to get to a holiday destination but the costs once you get there too. It could be that the difference in total holiday costs between that far-flung adventure holiday and a trip to Paris, or indeed Wales, are really not so different after all.
To celebrate the imminent start of the school summer holidays, Baby Routes has teamed up with Natwest to give one lucky winner a fantastic new Trunki and a guide book to the holiday destination of their choice! All you have to do is leave a comment below sharing your top money saving holiday tip for a chance to win AND enter your details in the widget below.
N.b. Do make sure that after commenting you use the widget below to leave your details and confirm how you have entered so that you can be included in the draw.
The competition ends at midnight on Monday 14th July 2014 and a winner will be randomly selected on Tuesday 15th July. The winner will be contacted via email and then announced online 48 hours after. Please make sure to read the T&C’s on the widget below. Any other questions, please get in touch.