You do know when your baby gets bigger and not so much a baby any more, holidays get more and more expensive to go on, don't you? No?
Well, I hate to break it to you but it turns out that when they hit 12/13/14 with some airlines and holiday companies they're classed as an adult when it comes to holidaying abroad.
Adult appetites. Adult activities. Adult prices.
We all know about booking a holiday on a budget, it is a widespread Top 10 phenomenon across the internet, but what about preparing for a holiday on a budget and entertaining them when you're there? What can you do to save money entertaining a tween when you're thousands of miles from home, away from playing out with friends and something that is classed as cool, other than the pool of course.
Depending on where you're going, it is a hard job keeping a tween entertained all day every day and in clothes they actually like and want to wear without breaking the bank, so here it is...
Buy Holiday Clothes In The Sale The Year Before/Borrow Them...
An essential part of holiday planning is buying suitable clothes for the climate, this can prove expensive, especially if you have more than one body to clothe. Try thinking ahead and buying next years swim wear a size up from this years in the sales at the end of the holiday season. Put it away for next years holiday where the tweens have no idea you got it 75% off 12 months ago, they just see new clothes where you see a bargain. Same goes for summer clothes and accessories, see it, buy it big, store it, use it later on.
Failing that, if you have friends with children of a similar age and size who have just been on holiday, why not do a swap shop. Lets face it, they'll only be wearing it for one week out of the 52
Borrow those all important summer must haves she/he so desperately wants for holiday, from the Smiths down the road. Make an afternoon of it, a tea party clothes show for the girls and their mums or a surf pre holiday water fight for the boys. If you are close to the families your kids are friends with, this could be your answer... and theirs.
Asking For Spending Money As Presents
To save some of your own cash for food and essentials, why not ask Nan & Grandad for some spending money for the sprogs instead of their usual birthday/Christmas presents that they only play with for a week. Put it away in their bank and either give it to them in foreign currency or put it on a Pre Pay debit card like a Caxton FX Currency Card, to make them feel that little bit more grown up. Obviously, it is just to spend ever so wisely on the pointless holiday tat all kids love and parents hate
Save Up Pocket Money By Doing Chores...
Q: How to bribe your kids to do the housework?
A: Holiday spending money.
Kids hate asking for money all the time because they're always told no, so what better way to both eliminate this and teach them the value of money at the same time, than to setup a pocket money chore system for a period before the holiday. Whilst on holiday they can have a budget of a certain amount each day knowing they've earnt every penny and they can spend it on whatever they like and when it's gone, it's gone.
Have your kids got a target amount they want to save? Well why not create and print off a cool savings chart that they colour in each time they earn a little more to put in their holiday fund.
Bring Entertainment With You....
Pack their favourite games, toys and books and bring them with you. There is nothing worse than a whiney tween telling you their bored when you've spent all your hard earned cash paying for them to be privileged enough to be there. Get them to sort out what they want to take a week before going and then whittle it down to what is a sensible amount. Pack some in the suitcase and some in hand luggage and that is holiday and the flight sorted. It is great back up for a rain storm too.
Find Free Things To Do Around The Area...
Before you go, research the area via the tourist board website about what there is to do in the area which is free. Some of the most beautiful parts of a country are often the free trails you find on the tourist information.
Most hotels and holiday companies have reps at the hotel at least once a day. They are there to answer all your questions and know all about the area you are in. If in doubt ask the experts. It is best that you speak to them on the first day as there are lots of markets, museums and street fairs to visit but they are often on specific days so make sure you pre plan if you don't want to miss out.
Warning: Research what parts of the country are safe to roam. Some can be very dangerous and it is not advised to go without a guide or suitable equipment.
Create A Collage Memory Book Of The Holiday...
One way of keeping the kids busy in the evenings is to get them doing a little collage of what they've done that day.
Pack a little box of paint, glue, pens and crafty things together with a large scrap book, big enough to fit several photos on each page and decorate the front page with the family name, date and where the holiday is.
Every day gather small mementos of where you've been and what you did and stick them to each page with an explanation of what they are.
It'll keep them busy for hours and you can have some peace and quiet on the balcony with a glass of vino.
Daily Challenges With Postcards From Home...
If you plan enough in advance you can create a lot of fun indoor activities that don't take up too much room in your suitcase. Simple things that surprise or shock the kids are often the ones that are most effective and the ones that create the most memories..
Why not get Nan, Grandad, Aunt Sally, Uncle Bert or even their friends and teachers to secretly write them a little postcard/letter challenge from home. A little note to say
'Today you will be going to ??, why don't you find me a pretty rock for my garden to bring home. Love Nan'.
Get creative, make them rhyme, think of cool things for them to find, you can even make it look like they've posted it and have it addressed to them. It will get them up and out of the hotel and eager to complete their challenge. You don't have to do them for each day either, just save them for when they're needed.
Go Exploring The Wildlife With A Camera...
Inspire that little photographer in them, get them looking at nature and wildlife on the beach or even on a walk in the woods and taking beautiful photos they will love forever. It is a free way of getting them interested in their surroundings and teaching them something about the country they are visiting too, so win win.
I wouldn't give them your £1000 camera to play with though, unless suitably supervised by you... you don't want any accidents.
Find A Market To Try New Types Of Food For Free...
Markets are a great way of finding local produce to try and buy. Whether you're self catering or not, make sure you visit the local markets and ask the market sellers to try the produce before you buy it, it's free and fun for all to do. Set challenges to try 1 new food a day or even find a gift for Grandma handmade by the person they bought it from (it helps the local economy too if that makes you feel any better about buying tat).
To avoid an overload of 'I want that one mummy' set an amount of money they can spend and only take that with them, once it's gone, it's gone.
Do A Daily Family Selfie Challenge...
This one is easy to do and will make a great addition to your family photo book. Every day, at the happiest point of whatever you're doing, take a family selfie to capture the moment. Try and get in the background what you're doing and don't take life seriously, pull a face, create a shape, do whatever you want just as long as you smile!
Perfect memories for any age.