Tis the season to….book a holiday!

In a week when the cost of school holiday travel, charges for school absences and shortening the summer holidays have been in the news, Alex Molton has been holiday planning on a budget.

Sunset over a beach


I don’t know about you, but we aren’t very organised this year. Not that we usually have a plethora of weekend plans and staycations booked by March in most years, but this year we seem to be really struggling to organise ourselves out of a hat.

The cost

As for many families still reeling from inflation, energy and food price hikes and mad mortgage increases, we are having to be really careful with spending and consequently OH won’t let me book anything that might cost money (so anything, really). I’m not going for two weeks all inclusive to Barbados, but a week in Spain or France would be nice – even just to have a beach day, wander around a city for a bit of culture and maybe drag the kids around a museum or cathedral or something. Who knows, maybe we’d even practise our language skills (a bit rusty in my case, admittedly).

Finding something to suit

After what feels like a week of solid Googling I have finally managed to find a flight from an airport we can actually get to (Glasgow is a bit far) which doesn’t involve leaving or returning at 5am and allows us to actually book seats together. I have found an apartment, researched car hire and worked out the airport parking. Then Son#1 pipes up that he might not want to go away in October half term as he has his mocks in November. So back to the drawing board. Right, can’t get much time off at Easter (and we are dog sitting for a friend), can’t find anyone to have the dog for a week in May half term, OH can’t book time off over the summer. Hmm.

Having spent so long finding something we all actually like the sound of and which seems remotely possible I am reticent to let go of my original plan. Then we find out Son#1 has a history trip at the start of Year 11 to visit WWI battlefields in Europe, so now we have to pay for that too.

We have never taken the kids abroad at all (unless Wales counts?) or out of school during term time for a holiday before (and now that Son#1 is doing his GCSEs he wouldn’t be up for it either) so we are stuck with having to arrange something in the small fragments of holiday which we get through the year, when it is exorbitantly expensive for a family of five (or less, for that matter) to go anywhere, even in the UK. Given the current situation for most families I can’t see how people can make it work financially, although to be fair we are pretty debt-adverse in our house.

What is more important?

So, a decision needs to be made; is it more important to balance the books, show children that there is a wider world out there (and hopefully foster an interest in other countries and cultures and empathy towards others); spend time as a family or save for the future? With Son#1 turning 16 next year I am aware that we may not have many other school holiday opportunities to go away as a family, and it won’t be that long before he won’t want to come with us at all. Having led a rather sheltered childhood myself with little opportunity to travel and find out about the world, my instinct is to go for it, though OH may need some persuading.

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