Today’s kids are incredibly cosmopolitan; the habitués of music festivals, five star hotels and glamping rather than camping holidays. Gone are the days of looking forward all year to two weeks at Butlins – these days a foreign summer holiday is expected to be accompanied by peripheral outings at half terms, Easter and even Christmas. It’s an expensive business bringing up mini bon viveurs, but fear not – it is possible to give them a taste of the world without spending a fortune.
Still, you’ll need to consider carefully how you could afford a break – not only by choosing a cheap destination but by paying attention to other financial opportunities available. For example, search for vouchers, coupons and every special offer you can find on money saving websites. Use your imagination too – if your house is full of clutter then you could sell some stuff online for free – everyone has some items they no longer really need that would be better used to fund a break. With a little bit of research and careful planning, you’ll find plenty of holiday opportunities even on a limited budget.
If you sign up for house swapping, you get to stay in a home anywhere in the world, while another home swapper stays in yours. The advantage is that accommodation is free; you only need to fund your travel costs. Experienced home ex changers point out that living like a local gives a much better understanding of the destination, while offering peace of mind that your own home will be looked after rather than left unoccupied. Some contracts even include the exchange of vehicles. If you use a large, well known network you will get an amazing choice of home swaps, with different types of properties from all over the world. A similar scheme is hospitality swapping, where you stay with a host family rather than in their empty house and return the favor by hosting them in your own home.
Holidays in the UK don’t have a particularly glamorous image, but a carefully chosen activity break can be great fun and fairly easy on the wallet. Britain is creative in this area, with a massive range of activities on offer – think theater breaks in the capital, learning to dance, cook, surf or sail, there are ghost hunts, theme parks, farm breaks and cycling holidays. Kids will get a thrill just from being away from home and you get to avoid the cost of international flights.
Family volunteering holidays may sound unconventional but are both emotionally and physically fulfilling and can be a bargain way to help the kids enjoy foreign destinations and different cultures. Projects include animal conservation activities such as protecting turtles in Turkey, construction in the Far East or Africa and working in schools in Nepal or India. Both adults and children will find it a unique experience, will probably learn some valuable skills and will certainly have something different to tell the other kids about when they get back to school!
Hunt For A Bargain
If you really, really must have a traditional foreign holiday, shop around and choose wisely. Out of high season there are excellent deals around the Mediterranean, which is still warm enough in October to enjoy the pool and get a tan. Bigger resorts also have plenty of activities on offer for kids.