• Budget Family Travel

Budget Family Travel: Having Enough Money for Your Holiday

Booking the family holiday can be one of the biggest outlays for a household in the year.

Some of us think more about trying to save money ‘on’ the holiday and not so much saving ‘for’ the holiday.

In this article, we’re going to cover you on both fronts. We’ll offer some practical saving tips to help you build up some finances before you depart. We’ll also give you advice on how to manage your budget once you arrive.

How do you budget for travelling?

The first part of budget planning for your trip is to get an idea of the headline costs. By doing some preliminary research on the internet you’ll be able to establish rough costs for:

  1. Travel expense – flights, ferry, petrol, train tickets and transport in general.
  2. Accommodation
  3. Entertainment, Meals and Trips
  4. Of course, you’ll need to factor some extra daily spending money; you are on your holidays after all.

A good place to start this research is Google.

Google has invested a lot of resources into travel-related searches recently. A simple search for “things to do in Cork” will bring up a page packed with info.

On the left-hand side, you will see the normal ads and blue links to search results. On righthand-side of the page, you will see rich information to enhance the search results with links to travel guides, accommodation and flight information. You can use these links to get an idea of costs and things to do.

Once you’ve calculated a rough total cost, you’ll now be able to budget more effectively.

How do I save for a family vacation?

Now you know roughly how much you are going to need, set the whole family a target amount to save before the holiday. No harm getting the kids involved. Any early introductions to economics will stand to them in later life.

Chances are you know where you can make the savings already. A little bit of discipline and some group support from the whole family will get you over the line.

Some of the quick wins could include:

  1. School /Work lunches – make your own rather than going to the deli or convenience shop.
  2. Buy a travel mug – having a €3 latte every day equates to about €60 a month or almost €800 a year… on just coffee.
  3. Shop a little smarter –look at the weekly shopping bill and see if there are any opportunities to bulk buy or switch to a cheaper brand
  4. Join email lists- especially for airlines. You could save hundreds of euro off your family flight tickets by booking during a sale period. Every retailer will have special offers at some point. Supermarkets will also send out coupons to their email list.
  5. Put off the treats – while the kids might not be earning and not able to make a monetary contribution, they can create savings by foregoing treats, magazines, cinema visits in exchange for something better on their holiday.
  6. Limit your luggage – we are all guilty of taking things we never wear on holidays. The extra garments are extra weight and extra expense if you are travelling by air. Be ruthless. Don’t bring too many wardrobe options
  7. Save more tomorrow – this concept is discussed in “Nudge”, the book by Richard Thaler. Saving is very much a habit. If you start small to ease yourself in, you can then increase the amount you save gradually to make sure you hit your target eventually.

The key thing is to give yourself time. If you leave it last minute to book, you’ll end up paying top dollar. By giving yourself six-to-nine-months to plan your trip, you’ll give yourself a better chance of catching special offers on flights and give yourself a reasonable runway for saving.

How much money should you take on a trip?

Before you hit the road, you should take some time to make sure you’ll make the most of your holiday.

Even if you have saved, you still need to make sure your spending money goes as far as it can.

The best way to ensure this is to have an idea of cost for some of the activities you and your family might enjoy on your trip.

1 – Google it

Simply perform a Google search for “things to do in <insert place name>” and use the travel guide to get an idea of what is on offer at your destination.

If there is no travel guide it should bring up some articles written about things to do and see in the area.

2 – Ask the experts

It can be daunting when you arrive in a new place and do not know the lie of the land. Thankfully, many have been in your situation before and have documented their experiences. Customer review sites such as TripAdvisor and Lonely Planet are a treasure trove of information about affordable things to do in an area.

3 – Check out hotel blogs

If you’ve booked accommodation to stay in a city, it only makes sense that they provide you with some information to make the most of your stay. This is something the Maldron Hotels put a lot of resources into.

For example, for visitors intending to visit Cork, we have some information in the Explore section of our main site. We then have even more specific information on the South Mall Hotel website, which is in the heart of Cork city.

It’s not just the usual listicle of 7 things to do in a certain city. On each website for our hotels, we have information on shopping trips to Cork, family attractions in Cork and we draw attention to entertainment and events that will be kind to your budget.

If you are looking for inspiration…

We’ve got you covered.

Our Explore Hub would be a good place to start. In addition to lots of great ideas on where you can go for your next trip, we’ve also got a section dedicated to families and travel tips when travelling in Ireland.

Choose your destination

minus 1 night-plus 1 night+


Thank you for signing up to our newsletter.


There has been an error and you have not been signed up to the newsletter. Please try again. If the problem persists, please contact us.