How to Book a Cheap Vacation During the School Holidays

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Want to go on a family vacation during the school holidays, but stay within your budget? Here are some tips on how to do just that!

Going on a cheap vacation with the whole family on school holidays can be really hard to manage these days.  However, let me tell you that it is possible. I’ve done it!  All it takes is a little research and planning.  I wanted to let you in on some pointers that have helped me book a fun and cheap vacation for my family.

Book in advance

Planning ahead does pay off if you are determined to go on a cheap family vacation.  The further ahead you plan and book your flights and accommodation, the cheaper it will be. As soon as you figure out the school holiday dates at the beginning of the school year, start thinking about where you’d like to go with your family! Trust me, there’s nothing more exhausting than dealing with the aftermath of telling your children they can’t go on their eagerly anticipated vacation because you didn’t book the flights in advance.

Book directly

I learned that usually if you book directly through a company then you will be getting the cheapest price.  There are a lot of online travel agencies (OTAs) that will pop up in front of the actual company’s website when you search a property or place.  Be aware of this, because they will often up-charge you, adding on a processing fee so that they make some profit from your booking. Don’t fall for it!  Search for the company’s direct website and book through them because they will charge you the actual price.

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Find accommodation deals

Keep your eye out for deals!  Check in every week or so on websites such as for accommodation deals and specials! If you are adamant about searching for deals then you will get one! You can also call hotels or guesthouses directly to ask if they are offering any packages or promotions. It doesn’t hurt!

Cook your own food

When going on vacation, a huge expense you have to take into consideration is food.  If you eat out for every meal, this could consume most of your budget.  The way to significantly decrease food costs is to stock up on groceries on day one of your vacation!  Cook your own meals and maybe just splurge on a few special meals at a restaurant. Better yet, why not book a vacation which includes all you can eat so that you can concentrate on having fun? I used to love going on “home from home” vacations but the novelty has worn off as my girls’ appetites have increased over the years. It can work out cheaper to have it all inclusive. Find out more here.

Do free activities!

Take advantage of your destination’s free fun options!  The beach is always the best because you and your family could spend the whole day there without paying a cent.  You could also have a picnic in the park and let the kids run around.  Other free options are historical sites, museums, hikes, window shopping, and maybe just walking around town.  Do some research about what family-friendly “free fun” activities are available to you at your destination.

Travel midweek when flights are cheaper

A website I like to use to get cheap flights is Skyscanner. You have the ability to set your travel date as “the whole month” so that you can see flight prices for each particular day of the month.  I’ve noticed more often than not, the cheapest flights are midweek.  Another tip is to buy both your arrival and departure tickets as one ways.  Be sure not to select the roundtrip option when searching for the flights.

House Swapping

Doing a house swap is an awesome way to save money and feel like a local at your destination.  A great website to sign up on is Home Exchange. There are thousands of houses around the world to choose from!  How it works is you add your house as a listing on the website, browse for houses in your vacation destination location and send out inquiries to see if the owners are interested in doing a swap, and if so, confirm the exchange.  The whole exchange is free, which saves you a considerable amount of money!

Do you have any money saving tips that helped you go on a cheap vacation? Let me know below.

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