Our 6 Savvy Travel Spending Tips

The moment we were told that Natalia has Down's syndrome has been well documented on this blog, but one of the very first muddled thoughts that I remember running through my head was that we would never travel again... 

I can't tell you what my confused reasoning was, but what surprises me is that so many other parents of children with SEND say exactly the same.

The world is your oyster!

Not only have we come on a long personal journey since those early difficult days, but I am proud to say that Natty and her sister have indeed become little globetrotters. As soon as she had recovered from heart surgery, a trip abroad was a symbol for our new found freedom from worry.

With acceptance, love, a little forward planning and carefully chosen destinations, we have been able to create happy family memories and make international friends wherever we go.

I have to admit though, that with uncertainties about how Brexit would affect the cost, and even 'feel' of holidays, we held off making any travel plans last year. 

However, after a seemingly never-ending Winter, every member of the family plagued by minor ills, our wanderlust and desire for warmth has got the better of us. 

Make memories with our travel savvy spending tips

So alongside recently staying at and reviewing Foxes Academy and Training Hotel for young adults with a learning disability, we are excitedly looking forward to our first ever Airbnb experience in Europe later this Spring. 

This type of accommodation is unique and quirky, the welcome promises to be personal and you can search by facilities and accessibility, family friendliness and so on. But most of all we are saving quite considerably on a comparable holiday staying in a hotel. 

Now we all like a bargain, but we also need to travel safely and consider the extra needs of our children. Some things you can't scrimp on, but other corners can be shaved.

Our Top Savvy Travel Spending Tips

  • Try a home exchange or book direct with the owner

There are lots of companies that offer this kind of holiday. A staycation or local camping trip can also be fun and inexpensive. Most companies allow you to search accommodation according to the level of accessibility that your family needs, and with no middle man, the savings can be considerable.

  • Choose a specialist card for spending abroad

Marstercard's Creation Everyday or the Halifax Clarity are two of the leading cards that offer a money changing service. However a completely new platform called Revolut has taken the financial world by storm. It's an excellent app that allows you to seamlessly transfer in pounds and spend other currencies with your Revolut card at perfect rates. Really simple and easy to use. 

  • Get wise with Eastjet

Everyone knows that school holiday fares can be prohibitively expensive. With Easyjet there is a little known loophole which allows you to book a 'Flexifare'. You can book one of these and switch flights within a couple of weeks of the original booking without incurring any additional cost. This means you can beat the price hikes by booking for term time, then switching across. 

  • Beware of the credit card double-edged sword

There are considerable advantages to booking your holiday using your credit card. Many offer cutback schemes and more importantly you are covered by Section 75 should the travel company go bust. 

However, if you aren't able to pay the amount off in full within the first month you will incur a large amount of interest. 
If you need to finance your holiday, consider low interest loans.

  • Forward planning pays

If your child has additional needs, allergies or a disability it is essential that you plan your trip well in advance. Extra help is available if your give tour operator and airlines notice. You'll also need to make sure that the medical facilities you might need are within reach and perhaps hire or send specialist equipment on ahead. 

One way of saving a few pounds by planning ahead is to check out the sites you wish to visit beforehand. Sometimes booking online will bring savings, as does purchasing advance public transport tickets.

  • Be sure to be insured
Whilst you can shop around for a good deal this is one area that you cannot scrimp on. Never travel without insurance.

Many companies specialise in insuring travellers with longstanding medical conditions but if you are having trouble getting insurance for your child ask to speak to the underwriters. 

Consider taking out extra insurance for expensive items such as wheelchairs. For items you can't live without, it's a price worth paying.

Travel makes the world a smaller place, so get out there and make some memories. And with all these savvy travel spending tips, you might have a little extra in your pocket for some extra ice/sun/clotted cream!

*This was a collaboratively written post. #Ad

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