Everyone loves to get away when spring and summer roll around.
But while we may dream of lazing on sunny beaches in the Mediterranean or visiting another European city to soak up the culture, getting out of the country isn't always an option.
However, having limited funds doesn't have to stop you from enjoying a few days of relaxation. Minibreaks within the UK are a great way to escape with the family while sticking to a budget.
Here, our money expert and savings whizz Ricky Willis shares his top tips for inexpensive holidays, from savvy booking to thrifty picnics, and plenty of fun!
"Book an apartment or a cottage instead of a hotel," says Ricky. "Sites like airbnb.co.uk, cottages.com and hoseasons.co.uk have some unique properties. Go for a larger property and you can take another family along with you, too. That way you can split the cost and you might even get some free babysitting out of it!"
No passport required
Ricky says, "Make the most of having no hand-luggage limit (and taking the car) by packing board games and bikes to keep everyone entertained, whatever the weather. You can find and plan nifty cycle routes using the CycleStreets app* and take the kids off on a woodland adventure or down to the seafront. On your bike!"
"For a hassle-free break, download the Google Trips app*," says Ricky. "It will help you find kid-friendly attractions, plan days out and pick out the cheapest public transport options with just a few taps on your smartphone screen. Download the TrailTale app*, too, for free self-guided audio city tours."
Want to save money on eating out?
"TripAdvisor is a great tool for searching out local restaurants and cafés," advises Ricky. "There is a ‘cheap eats’ section for every area, letting you know where you can eat well on a budget, plus you can add gluten-free and veggie filters to help find the right menu for you."
Or, save on food and enjoy more of the great outdoors by taking a mini picnic with you.
Ricky says, "Sandwiches and sausage rolls are all you need to keep everyone happy on the go. Plus, if you’ve got a slow cooker at home, pack it in the car – they’re brilliant for those evenings when you don’t feel much like cooking, and you can get all of your prep done in the morning."
Close to home
"Cornwall might seem like the dream destination, but it can take a lot of time and money to get there if you live in Leeds," says Ricky. "Instead, why not stick a bit closer to home and venture out in your own county or the one next door?" He explains: "You may have lived in West Yorkshire all your life, but never ventured to the beautiful Yorkshire Dales and you’re bound to find tons of exciting things to do on your own doorstep."
Ricky also advises a little research. "If you’re thinking of getting away to Bath or Yarmouth, see if there are any selling groups on Facebook for that particular area," he says. "You can join for free and ask the locals for their advice on cheap restaurants and attractions."
*Mobile data charges may apply.