There is nothing that makes me happier than getting a bargain or a deal.  I love 70% discounts, getting a service for half price, buy one get one free deals, free items thrown in.  I feel a real sense of accomplishment when I save even a few dollars. I have always enjoyed a bargain but since having children, this need has become more desperate. In fact since my fourth child was born, it has become more of an obsession.  My husband, however is even worse than me when it comes to spending or should I say not spending money.  He will drag the whole family across the city searching for a bargain or spend endless hours trolling the internet for the cheapest bit of computer software which will apparently revolutionise his life (but only if it costs next to nothing). He calls it being financially astute whereas I call it simply being cheap. I blame his frugality on his English genes and his British upbringing.  He was raised believing that spending no money is the best deal ever.  I am more of a realist in the family and as the chief cook, shopper and holiday planner, I do accept that money does need to change hands every now and then.

When it comes to family holidays, I try my best to get the best deal possible.  But not an easy feat, especially when you have four kids.  Most great offers are for 2 adults and 2 children.  I don’t know how many times I have seen a fantastic deal with airfare, accommodation and meals for a family of 4 at a discounted price.  So often I see stay 7 nights, pay for 5, kids stay free, kids eat free. But none of these fabulous offers ever apply to large families.  It seems like the only thing you can do is count the years until your children have grown up and you can afford to go on an exotic holiday without breaking the bank. But unfortunately, even that dream no longer exists as these days, children live at home for as long as they can continue to bleed you dry. So you might as well travel with your kids and enjoy the time together. 

           

There are ways to maximise your dollar when booking a holiday.  Most hotels, villas, resorts offer an online booking service. Sometimes they have special offers and deals. My first port of call whenever I am booking any accommodation is is to go to the hotel’s website and see what they have to offer.  It may be better than anything you may have seen elsewhere and it is generally more reliable, giving you greater peace of mind  

Many people are strong advocates of online booking websites for providing a reliable, easy and efficient service.  I also know from personal experience that you can make significant savings by booking with these services. You are often able to stay in far superior accommodation than you can really afford.  Not bad for a click of the button. My one piece of advice when using online booking websites is to do your research beforehand. See what others are saying about the service.  Reliability and reputation are essential.   Finally if you do make a booking, take pride in your savings and enjoy your family holiday. 

People often think that the best deals are always online but I haven’t always found that to be true.  In fact, some of my best prices have been when I have contacted the hotel and negotiated directly with them.  Sometimes you just get the timing perfectly and for some reason or another, the hotel is willing to negotiate. There is usually no rhyme or reason to this.   Sometimes the hotel is willing to match the price that you are able to get somewhere else.  It is always worth asking as I know that I would always prefer, if possible, to book my accommodation directly with the hotel to avoid potential problems. Also if you need to request extra beds, they can agree to accommodate you or even refuse your request.   Better to know beforehand, especially when it comes to bedding, than after you have arrived especially with a whole bunch of kids in tow.  Trust me, I know firsthand, it’s no fun and ends up being very costly. Also online travel sites don’t usually allow you to make special requests leaving you a bit vulnerable when you turn up and they tell you they can’t accommodate your wishes. Unexpected surprises are hardly ever good when you have tired kids after a long flight. 

 

I wish I could give you the secret to bagging a bargain when it comes to travel but unfortunately with large families, they are far and few between. But don’t lose heart, it is possible.  Keep looking, have faith and you never know what might land your way.  Sandyx