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Make your holiday dreams a reality
Published 14 November 2014 by Hayley Cox
Is there somewhere you’ve always dreamt of visiting? We show you how you can afford your dream holiday without busting your budget. All it takes is some careful planning and small changes to your spending.
We’ve all got places we’d love to go on holiday if money was no object – from visiting Disneyland Paris to hitting the beach in Spain. Sadly many people never manage to make their holiday dreams a reality because of the demands of having a home and family.
To help get you closer to achieving the dream – whether you fancy a trip to the Big Apple or just a family holiday to Devon – we’ve put together this guide. Careful planning and making a few cutbacks can make what seems like a pipedream possible.
Deciding where to go
You might have a clear idea of where you would like to go but if you aren’t sure maybe take some inspiration from the results of a recent dream holiday survey by TripAdvisor. New Zealand was the number one dream holiday destination for people in the UK, closely followed by Australia and the Caribbean.
Top 10 dream holiday destinations:
1. New Zealand
4. United States
If you really want to go somewhere far away like Australia then make it your long term goal, and give yourself three years or even longer to save for it. In the meantime, you could enjoy breaks away in the UK while you save. Alternatively, choose somewhere closer to home. If you haven’t been on a family holiday for a few years then why not save for a week in Cornwall or Spain? You will still have an amazing time with your loved ones and you won’t have to save for as long.
Timing is everything
If New York is your dream destination then choosing to go in November or December could cost hundreds of pounds more than choosing to go in February or March, as travellers flock there to do their Christmas shopping. Meanwhile, if you choose to go to Spain in August then it is likely to cost you a lot more than the same holiday taken in May thanks to the school holidays. Do some research online and if you can avoid peak times/school holidays why not take advantage of the lower prices?
To cook or not to cook
You may be looking forward to having a break from cooking on your holiday but it might actually be worth considering going self-catering as this can cut hundreds of pounds from the cost of your break. If you are going on holiday in the UK then self-catering can be really hassle-free as you can pick up your weekly shop from a supermarket nearby to where you’re staying. You won’t end up spending more than you would do at home and any fussy eaters in the family will be catered for.
Even with foreign holidays it can be worth going self-catering as the supermarkets are likely to cater for your tastes as well as stocking items you may never have tried before. Buying a box of cereal and milk for breakfast and making sandwiches for lunch will help you keep costs down. If you buy your drinks from the supermarket you can keep them cool in your fridge and save yourself the expense of buying drinks from a bar or vendor.
Create a plan
Once you have decided on your destination and when you’d like to travel, you need to find the cheapest deal available. Visit websites such as TravelSupermarket.com and Expedia. Booking early gives you plenty of time to save and you could receive an early booking discount.
The hard work starts once you have booked and you need to calculate how much you need to save each month in order to reach your goal. You can allow yourself to save less in months when you have lots of birthdays, weddings or other expensive commitments planned, but make sure you save more in quieter months to cover the shortfall.
Team work makes the dream work
If you are going on your holidays with your partner or family then it is really important to get them on side and encourage them to make cutbacks in order to save more money. Why not hang a progress chart in your kitchen showing how much you have saved? It will inspire your whole family to budget. If you draw markings on a massive jam jar to show how much you have saved at £50 intervals, the children will enjoy colouring it in as the weeks go by and it will help you stay on track and see what you’ve achieved.
Small changes add up
Here are some ideas to get you started:
If you and the family enjoy a takeaway every week (at £5 a head for a family of four, for example), by changing the habit to just once a month you could save around £60. That’s £720 a year!
Encourage your family to drop spare change in a money box with the target of adding £20 a month as a family. Over 10 months you’d save £200!
Try swapping some of the branded goods in your shopping trolley for supermarket own brands – or maybe switch to a cheaper supermarket if you can. Aim to reduce your weekly food shop by £10 and in 10 months you’d have saved £430!
If you have been wanting to quit smoking for a while (or just to cut down) then now might be the perfect opportunity. You could save the money you would have spent on the habit and be one step closer to achieving your dream.