Holiday tips: how to save a fortune

The debate about term-time holidays has loomed large in the public consciousness lately, with the Supreme Court ultimately enforcing the fines on families for pulling their kids out during the school year.

But with careful planning, it’s still possible to have a fabulous family break during the pricey summer holidays without bankrupting yourself.

The all-year round money-saving experts at Quidco have put together their top tips to save you cash. If you’re new to Quidco, you can also claim a £15 bonus to kickstart your earnings. You’ll be able to cash this out to your bank and paypal to put towards your holiday money.

Leave it as late as you can

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If you’re heading abroad or to a UK camping site, it’s worth choosing a date for your family break at the end of the holiday season. The last week in August and the first week of September are markedly cheaper than the rest of the school break period.

If summer is still too pricey, take your main holiday in the October break. Prices are lower still than summertime, and if you head to the Canaries or Morocco you can stock up on vitamin D before the coming winter – it will still be sunny there.

Vacances en famille en France

If you’re a family of five or less, a cheaper solution to a sunny break for all is to drive to France. The ferries from Dover to Calais or Dunkirk are inexpensive – particularly if you choose to travel overnight – and the cost of camping and other accommodation is considerably lower in France than it is in many UK sunny spots.

Fly by night

It’s not simply ferries where you’ll find bargains travelling at night. Many overnight trains or flights are cheaper than their daytime alternatives. Airports are easier to negotiate at night and with luck your children will sleep through most of the travel.

Travel with sandwiches

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Airplane food has a deservedly terrible reputation: budget airline food, doubly so. You can’t take liquids through airport security but you can pack a picnic of sandwiches for your family to eat on your flight (or train, or coach, or ferry, where you’ll also get to down some drinks). A little forward planning can save you up to £50 on a mediocre meal: money better spent when you get to your destination.

Take the National Express

Coach travel isn’t as much fun or as comfortable as a train or plane, but it makes up for it by being a bargain. If you’re happy with the added journey time, you can nab a coach trip from the UK to France for as little as twenty quid.

National Express offer cashback on all purchases made via Quidco with an introductory £15 sign up offer.

Run on diesel

If you prefer the freedom of a hire car, then consider renting a diesel if you’re travelling on the continent, where it’s the notably cheaper option. Regardless of whether you’re in Europe or the UK, don’t book the car insurance through the rental company – find an online supplier, which will be much cheaper.

Dine out at lunch

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Wherever you’re staying, if you want a slap-up meal out, dine big at lunchtime, when restaurant prices are lower. If you’re out at night, opt for prix fixe, where the set cost keeps things inexpensive.

If you’re in Europe, consider enjoying a supermarket picnic. The Super-U in France, for example, offers exceptional fare at a fraction of UK costs. With the sun out, you can spread out in a park or a beach and enjoy luxury at a fraction of a meal out’s cost.

Drink like a local

If you’re in a foreign country, drink the local wine and beer offerings. They’re cheaper and tastier than any imports. And if there’s a minibar in your hotel room, don’t be tempted by it. Instead stock up on wine and beer from a local store and cool it in the minibar. You’ll save a bomb.

If coffee is your poison and you’re on the continent, drink your cappuccino standing at the bar. Cafes will charge you up to three times as much to sit down and have a coffee.

Sort out independent insurance

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Don’t buy travel insurance through any travel suppliers; it’s cheaper through an independent on-line vendor. And sort out an EHIC card for all of your family members – if you’re off to Europe, it can mean reduced-cost medical expenses should you face any mishaps.

Cashback site Quidco also supply a compare service where you can search for the best prices and earn cashback on any insurance purchases made.

Buy a tent, don’t rent

It may seem obvious, but if you’re camping, invest in a sturdy tent, rather than renting a pre-pitched one. The price of a week’s stay in a pre-pitched tent for a family of four can be around £1000, whereas if you’ve bought your own you’re often paying closer to £10 a night. That tent is an investment that can see you and your family through many inexpensive holidays.


Get money back on your holiday by booking via Quidco (you can claim the £15 welcome bonus on hotel bookings, too), which will save you further money on household names like, and Choose something slightly out of town to get more bang for your buck.

You don’t have to leave the UK

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Close to home, the beauty of the Lake District, Peak District and the Yorkshire Dales is spectacular, though accommodation can be proportionally pricey. Stick to self-catering to keep costs down.

For camping, head to the rolling glory of Snowdonia, or the Pembrokeshire Coast in Wales, the Norfolk Broads, or the Cotswolds.

Scotland is also a remarkable spot for a family stay - the Cairngorms, Loch Lomond, or the Trossachs are wonderful for hiking. The YHA has many inexpensive hostelries you can stay in up there – sunshine won’t necessarily be in high supply.

Save money on everything from your suntan lotion to your entire holiday booking at