Welcome to the Lylia Rose UK money and lifestyle blog. My name is Victoria Sully. I'm a busy mum of two, wife, full-time blogger and online money-maker who’s always trying to make and save more money. I’m passionate about making money online, healthy living and blogging. I’m a mama on a mission to be healthier and wealthier! Please join me on my journey.
It’s almost half term and to celebrate I've teamed up with Kids Pass, the UK’s No.1 Family Discounts App for your chance to win a FREE Kids Pass annual membership.
The Kids Pass App gives you instant access to 1,000’s of offers, including up to 40% off cinemas nationwide (7 days a week, adult and child), kids eat free at 1000’s of restaurants, up to 65% off family days out, up to 10% off UK family breaks and up to 50% off Eurocamp holidays!
How to save money on days out this February half term with Kids Pass
Are you struggling for ideas for days out this February half term that will keep the whole family happy as well as your bank balance? For just £1 you can sign up for a trial Kids Pass membership and gain instant access to 1000’s of family friendly offers on the Kids Pass app!
This really is the best £1 you’ll spend this half term, as you could potentially save over £90* in just a week…
Planning a trip to the cinema? You’d save on average £10.34 on your cinema tickets
Fancy a meal out? You can cut £15.90 off your food bill
Taking your tot for a sensory day at the aquarium? Average savings of £24.00 on aquarium tickets for the whole family
Off to see furry friends at the zoo? You can save your family £40.00 on zoo tickets
*based on family of four (2 adults, 2 children)
How does it work? You pay £1 for a 30 day trial membership, after this you can cancel or continue your subscription for £3.99 per month. For these 30 days you have full access to all the offers on the Kids Pass app and website.
What does it get me? Instant access to 1,000’s of offers, including up to 40% off cinemas nationwide (7 days a week, adult and child), kids eat free at 1000’s of restaurants, up to 65% off family days out including leading theme parks, and up to 10% off UK family breaks and up to 50% off Eurocamp holidays.
Does one membership cover the whole family? Yes! Your Kids Pass covers the entire household, that’s Mum, Dad, the kids (whether you have one or ten!), Granny and Grandad too!
How do I use it? You can download the free Kids Pass app from all major app stores, which is easy to navigate, or you can use the Kids Pass website to search for offers.
How do I redeem offers? Most of the offers are completely digital meaning that tickets or promo codes can be sent straight to your phone, however some tickets are still paper and will be posted to you via Royal Mail.
What’s the catch? There isn’t one! You can cancel your monthly subscription at any time.
If you’re anything like me then you’re getting well and truly fed up with the cold English winter weather and dreaming of escaping to more luxurious destinations. The January blues have set in and to cheer myself up I’ve booked a couple of family holidays for later in the year. In this blog post I will explore how to make your next family holiday more affordable.
As you may have seen me mention in other blog posts my 2019 goal is to save an emergency fund, which did originally mean that holidays were taking a back seat. But with seasonal affective disorder worse than ever this year and snow potentially still to come, I decided I needed something to look forward to this year so I found a couple of great holiday deals and couldn’t resist. I’m hoping we can really smash our savings target in the first half of the year and treat ourselves to a summer holiday too, if we can find a bargain.
Last year we totally splurged on holidays, with the excuse of not having been abroad for a holiday for six years. We travelled to Fuerteventura for an all-inclusive holiday with no expenses spared. It was fantastic, but £3000 for the four of us. We also went to Center Parcs for a four night August break at a staggering £1200 and a three night Twixmas break at Bluestone for £430.
This year we are being more cautious with our money and I hope to be able to go on three or four holidays for the same price as just our Fuerteventura break, around £3000 for all four of us. This is much less than the £4800 families spend on average on holidays each year. Plus we’ll be going in the school holidays, so prices are usually rocket high! So far I have spent £400 on a 7-night stay at a 5* on the beach caravan park in Cornwall (a total bargain) and £544 for a Twixmas break in Wales (this could have cost us £380 so I’m really annoyed about that one, so read on to see how). I’m hoping we’ll be able to save and book a last minute abroad holiday, or even venture into Europe in our Mazda Bongo!
Here are my tips for saving money on your next family holiday:
Choose an all-inclusive package
If you want to book a holiday abroad then I’d definitely consider looking at all-inclusive deals, particularly if you plan on spending a lot of time at the hotel resort itself. Often with unlimited drinks, snacks, ice-cream and all meals included, this can be a cost-effective way to holiday as a family. It also makes budgeting much easier as everything is provided for you once you are there. You don’t need to worry about finding somewhere to eat each day or paying for meals.
All you’ll need is some spending money if you want to go on any excursions or to buy souvenirs. I’ve known friends to find great last minute all-inclusive deals before and not even take any spending money with them. It’s totally possible if you just want to explore the local area. If you’ve young children then a beach and pool will keep them entertained for hours.
An all-inclusive package can be a great way to book a family holiday and then not have to worry about any expenditure whilst you are away. Everything is paid for in advance and you can relax and enjoy your holiday without money worries whilst there. Many hotels will offer a packed lunch if you are going out for the day, so check if this is an option too so you don’t need to spend any money on food at all if you don’t need to. We chose an all-inclusive family holiday in Spring 2018 and barely needed any spending money at all.
I’m hoping we’ll be able to find a great last minute all-inclusive deal in the summer that is much cheaper than what we spent last year.
Where can I find the best all-inclusive packages?
The internet can be overwhelming when searching for a holiday, so it's great to have an online tool that does all the hard work for you. If you're anything like me then you like to rely on Trip Advisor reviews to help you decide on the best hotel to choose. To find the top 10 all-inclusive hotels for a particular destination, based on Trip Advisor reviews and number of bookings, then check out this interactive all-inclusive hotel finder at Loveholidays. Simply add your destination, choose the type of holiday you are looking for (i.e. family) and let it do the hard work for you. You can then see the top 10 hotels as well as a map to show you exactly where they are located.
Book time off work as far in advance as possible
I’m self-employed and work online so it’s really easy for me to go away at any point so long as I have internet connection. My husband, however, is employed and needs to approve his holiday dates. This recently cost us £164 when booking our Bluestone holiday. I looked whilst we were there over Christmas 2018 and the same holiday for 2019 was the same price - £430. Plus we could have saved £50 if we booked whilst there, so it would have only been £380. Unfortunately we needed Ben to book time off work, so we waited until we returned. I went to book the holiday only three weeks after returning and the price had shot up to £569! Crikey! We managed to still get a £25 saving, but at £544 we had to pay £164 more than if we had booked three weeks earlier. Very frustrating!
Return with a loyalty discount
If you go somewhere and you love it, then check for a loyalty discount. Sometimes holiday companies will give you a special returning customer discount if you rebook a holiday with the same company within so many days or weeks. We know we can get a great discount at Bluestone if we rebook whilst we are there, so we’ll know to make use of this next time.
Booking early has lots of great benefits for making a holiday affordable. In our experience with booking a Twixmas break for this year the price shot up £139 in only three weeks! If you see a price and you’re happy with it then I wouldn’t wait too long as often the prices will go up as more rooms get booked.
Spread the cost by booking early
Another advantage of booking early is being able to pay only a small deposit at the time of booking and then spreading the cost over the remaining months until your holiday. If you can’t afford to pay upfront for a holiday, then this is a brilliant way to spread the cost and make it more affordable. Some hotels or resorts will take the deposit and then the final balance on a date such as six weeks before your arrival date. Just make sure you add this date to your calendar and save up the remaining due balance yourself.
Ideally I’d love to save in advance and have enough money to pay upfront for all our family holidays, but it’s not always possible. Booking as far in advance as possible has allowed us to spread the cost and afford to go on some great holidays. We booked our 2018 Fuerteventura holiday 15 months in advance which allowed us to spread the cost into affordable monthly payments.
Check for cashback
Don’t forget to book using a cashback website when possible to save even more! We’ve managed to get £60 cashback for a holiday booking online before as well as cashback on car rental, holiday insurance, flights and hotels.
Check the facilities and location
We made the mistake one year of choosing a cheaper location that was far away from any beaches or activities to save money. Only, it didn’t save us money in the end. The resort had no facilities for the children, so we had to travel every day to entertain ourselves. We ended up spending a fortune and a lot of time travelling in the car each day to keep ourselves amused. It would have been more cost-effective to spend a bit more money on a better resort location with more facilities, especially for the children. Now I will always make sure we are within walking distance to a beach and there’s a park/pool for the children. Just having these things within walking distance means we don’t have to spend money every day on travelling or entry fees to keep the children entertained.
Go during term time
If your children are not school age, or you’re brave enough, then travel during term time. I feel too anxious to take my children out during term time as I know it’s against the school rules, but I know plenty of people who do this and they save hundreds, even thousands on their holiday costs. It really is the best way to make a massive saving.
Don’t go in the summer holidays
The summer holidays are the most expensive time to book a holiday. Instead choose a holiday in spring or autumn to get a much better rate. There are still plenty of places to get some sunshine if that’s what you desire, such as in the Canary Islands. Make the most of the sunshine in the UK in the summer and then jet off when it’s a little cooler here for a cheaper holiday abroad – win-win!
Hopefully these tips based on my personal experience will help you to save some money on your next family holiday.
Not only are road trips a great way to save money when travelling, compared to flying - especially when you’re bringing the whole family along on the trip, but they’re far less stressful than standing in lines at airports and then being crushed into tiny seats for hours with kids who are perfectly happy to be more than vocal about the fact that they’re uncomfortable and annoyed.
The other great thing about road trips is that they’re seriously fun when done the right way and a great adventure for children. So if you’ve been considering going on a road trip for your next family trip, or you simply have a long car journey ahead of you and would like to make a small holiday out of it, then in this post there are some top tips for how to prepare for a family road trip, so that you can enjoy it as much as possible.
There’s often more than one way to get to the same place, so choosing your route is the first step to making sure the trip goes as smoothly and stress free as possible. Choosing your route isn’t just about planning the best and quickest way to get there, although that’s definitely part of it, but it’s also about planning for some things to do and see along the way. For example, maybe there’s a lovely town or city on the way to the place you’re going that you’ve always wanted to visit, so maybe now would be the perfect time to make a stop there since you’re passing through. You may also want to consider toilet stops if you have a long journey. Though the motorway might be the most direct route, you could opt for an alternative route with plenty of countryside views that become a part of the journey.
Arrange a vehicle
Depending on how far you’re travelling, you may want to go in your own car, or you may be considering hiring something a little bigger that could make it more comfortable for everyone on a longer journey - especially the kids. Whether you want to hire a people carrier, or even a full-blown RV that has a lot of the home comforts you’re used to, you can find many options online for these. Of course, no matter which rental company you go with, you should make sure they’re reputable and well known, and that they have all their paperwork, safety checks, and things like a solid traders policy in place.
As an adult, it’s a lot easier to keep occupied on a longer road trip since you’re generally going to be happy enjoying the view and playing some good music, but children are going to need a bit more. If you don’t want to be taking the brunt of their boredom, then bringing things like snacks, games, and even movies for them to watch will just make everyone’s time more enjoyable.
If you’re planning to make some stops along the way, then a good camera will definitely come in handy so that you can make some nice family photos and memories together of your fun road trip that you can look back on in years to come. Luckily most of us have a great camera on our smartphones, so just remember to charge it up fully before you leave and that you have enough space to take lots of snaps.
Despite the internet making things like remote working and shopping easier, travelling isn’t something that the majority of us can avoid. However, if you’re clever about it, there are ways to significantly lower your car and travel costs. From obtaining cheaper car insurance to leasing instead of buying, below are some of the simple steps you can take today.
Car insurance can be very expensive for new drivers, but if you don’t take the time to shop around when your policy is up for renewal, you could end up paying way more than you should for your car insurance. When you know you’ve only got a month left on your current policy, head on over to uSwitch or Compare The Market and see how much you could save. Some policy providers will even match or beat quotes to convince you to remain with them, so this is a step worth taking.
Just like you can shop around for car insurance, you can shop around for fuel as well. While the local garage may be the most convenient, travelling just a few miles out of town could end up saving you a lot of money over the cost of the year. You can also look to supermarkets here too. Many will give you discounts on fuel when you spend over a certain amount in-store. It all adds up and you could make a great saving over a whole year.
3. Consider leasing instead of buying
While many people think of buying when they need a car, it can actually work out better to lease. Jaguar Leasing, for example, through Vantage Leasing can be obtained for as little as £200 a month, and there are other car brands available too at lower prices. When you consider how much the finance would be on a new Jaguar, you’ll see how much you could save. On top of this, when you lease a Jaguar or similar car, you aren’t responsible for maintenance or repairs, something else which can cost a lot of money the older the car is.
4. Change the way you drive
We’re taught about fuel economy when we take our driving tests, but few drivers give it much thought once they’ve passed and are out on the roads. But what if we told you that you could save a lot of money if you changed the way you drive? By driving in the correct gear, avoiding over-revving and limiting the amount of weight your car is carrying, you will be saving fuel, which in turn saves money. It’s also good to ensure your car receives regular maintenance, as there are a few car problems (such as not having your tyres inflated to the correct pressure) which can also waste fuel.
Driving is an important part of life for pretty much everyone who doesn’t live in a city centre. However, the tips above should help you to lower your car and travel costs.
Road trips are one of my favourite things to do. I love to get out and explore the UK, especially places close to us in the South West of the UK that are no more than a couple of hours to drive to. We are very lucky to have two cars in our household – my trusty albeit a bit of a squeeze Ford Fiesta and our more recent addition of a 7 seater pop-top Mazda Bongo which we refer to as our campervan. As often as we can when we have a free weekend, which is tricky between us both working full time and running our own businesses, we do like to go and explore new places we haven’t been to. We also love to regularly explore our favourite nearby city of Bristol which has so many activities and new places of interests for us each time we make the journey.
I know some people don’t have a car, but there’s always the option of hiring a car to explore, so long as you have a full driving licence. I used to have a friend who would always hire a car each weekend to go on a road trip. She didn’t need a car to get to work in the week and always told me it was cheaper for her to take advantage of a local car hire company’s weekend deal every weekend rather than purchase her own car.
She’s probably got the right idea too because I’ve just been checking out the prices of car hire in Bristol on the Discover Car Hire website imagining that I wanted to hire the car from 17:30 next Friday (after work) and return it at 08:00 the following Monday (before work) and the first car that came up, a Fiat 500, is only £2.73 to hire for the 3 days. That’s insanely cheap. I thought my computer must be broken so I changed the dates and I’m still getting these ridiculously low prices. It does tell me that prices are lower than usual for car hire in Bristol and I can currently save around 91%.
Of course this price is without the extra full coverage insurance or any extras, so just the basic car hire. But you might not need any extras. Read on to see how you can save even more money on your car rental road trip.
The benefits of hiring a car for a UK road trip
Of course you can visit cities like Bristol on foot and make use of public transport networks, but there are lots of benefits of hiring a car for your UK road trip. Here are just a few of the advantages:
Go further afield – you can travel to exactly where you want to go and off the beaten track. You are not restricted to tourist hotspots or limited by public transport routes.
Pick your own times – you’re not limited by times or delays and can choose your own timings to build your travel itinerary.
Travel in comfort – there’s no worrying about whether you can get a seat on a train or having to stand on a bus as you’ll have your very own guaranteed seat.
It could be cheaper – hiring a car, especially with the super cheap prices I found online, could be cheaper than having to use taxis, buses and trains, especially if there’s a lot of you.
Top tips to save money when renting a hire car
There are lots more ways you can keep costs down if you want to hire a rental car. Here are some of my top suggestions.
Check if your travel insurance covers car hire
As mentioned, the amazing price above was purely for car hire with no luxurious extras such as air-conditioning, add-ons such as car seats or full coverage insurance. The extra insurance is obviously a great idea as it could protect you in the event of an accident or for any other mishaps such as losing the keys. It’s a good idea to read what’s included in extra car hire insurance to see if it’s worth getting the cover for extra peace of mind. If you have travel insurance then you might already be covered, so check any existing policies.
Take your own child car seats
If you have children then under UK law they must sit on a child car seat or booster seat until they are 12 years old or 135cm tall, whichever comes first. Once over 135cm then they no longer need an additional car seat, but they do still need to wear their seat belt (as do the driver and any other passengers).
When hiring a car it’s usually possible to pay to hire a child car seat as an add-on, but why not save that cash and take your own if possible, or instead invest in a travel child car seat to save money in the long run.
Use your own maps
Some hire cars come with built in GPS, but when you’re getting a really great deal on the car rental price then do check if it’s an extra cost. If so, then ask yourself if you really need it. Most of us have smart phones nowadays with built in maps or sat-nav style apps we can easily download. If you have a sat-nav device then take it with you to keep your car hire costs as low as possible.
Don’t be late
Make sure you return the car on time or you might be charged a fee for returning it late. This could be as much as an entire extra day’s car hire. Be sure to book a return time that you know you can make in plenty of time and stick to it.
Know any mileage limits
Some hire cars come with mileage limits, so check these out and make sure they are more than enough for your planned journey (and return trip) or alternatively book an unlimited mileage option if available. They’ll check your mileage when you return the car and you could be charged for anything that goes over what you’ve agreed to.
When hiring a car you may be expected to return it with either a full tank of fuel (known as full to full) or the same level as when you got the car (called same to same). Make sure you fill up the car to the level it needs to be just before returning it to avoid extra fuel costs on your bill.
Make sure you read and understand everything
Most importantly make sure you read, understand everything and ask questions if you need to. Make sure you know if extras you are offered are free or an additional cost, check all the points above and then you’ll be sure you have no unexpected surprise costs when returning the car.
Hiring a car can be a really cheap way to explore a UK city such as Bristol and it means you can go beyond the places you can only reach on foot and by public transport. By planning inn advance, understanding the car hire process and being a little savvy, you can make sure you keep the costs of car hire to a minimum.
It amazes me how many people I know who still don’t use cashback sites. It’s basically money back for all the things you already buy! Sign up and always check for cashback at Top Cashback and Quidcofor great discounts at major retailers, airlines, car garages, insurances, holidays and more. Or try your luck at Boom25for a 1 in 25 chance of winning your entire spend back.