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TOP TIPS: How to save money on a family day out


Days out with the kids in tow can be an expensive experience. Whether it's a 'big ticket' day out with all the extras or filling the summer with cheap and cheerful days out, cost will be a factor for most of us. This doesn't have to spoil the fun though. 

It takes some planning and a bit of research but I have come up with some ways to save save save and still have fun!

1. Pre book your tickets
Even though Covid restrictions are now no longer in place, most venues and businesses are asking people to pre book their tickets anyway BUT it's worth looking at some bigger companies as often pre booked tickets are cheaper. Some big theme parks offer discount on tickets booked more than 5 days in advance.

2. Discount
Everyone's favourite word! There are often deals running where you can get 2 for 1 tickets or other deals and all you need to do is download an app or collect coupons on everyday products like breakfast cereal or chocolate bars. You can also benefit from introductory offers on discount apps and schemes during the summer - just remember to cancel the subscriptions before they kick in! If you decide to travel by train, booking with National Rail, there are benefits of 2 for 1 entry to lots of attractions which is worth checking out. Many of the big theme parks and attractions are included if booked in advance. 

3. Use supermarket vouchers
You can use Nectar or Clubcard points collected over the year in exchange for tickets that would otherwise cost you a lot. 

4. Car parking
This has to be the biggest hidden cost of a day out. Do your research before you leave home and be prepared. These days many places use cashless payments and you will need to pay via an app or use your card to pay. You might also be able to find cheaper or free parking a short walk away. There are various apps which will help you find free parking in England, you could try AppyParking or Parkopedia.

5. Food
If you are trying to keep the costs down, it might be an idea to pack a picnic. A basic lunch out for a family of four could come in at around £30+ so it will make a big difference to your day out. If you aren't taking a picnic I would always say to pack a bag of snacks as in our family food can be the biggest factor in keeping children happy. It's all about the snacks! If you are planning to eat out, research local restaurant deals before you go. Search locally for restaurants where kids eat free or offering 2 for 1 on adult meals. This will save you lots!

6. Refillable water bottles
Make sure you take refillables with you as this will save you a fortune on buying bottled water not to mention saving on single use plastic!

7. Annual passes/memberships
National Trust and English Heritage have properties all over the country. They have annual membership fees for families which could save you £££ in the long run. You can visit luxury houses, beaches, nature reserves & beauty spots, and enjoy lots of days out around the UK. Merlin Passes give access to some of the countries biggest theme parks and tourist venues. It is a large outlay initially but if this is the sort of thing your family enjoy regularly then it could be a good investment.

8. Upgrade tickets
Lot's of attractions now offer an upgrade on their tickets which can work out really good value for money especially if it's somewhere you might like to go back to. For example the Wonderlab at the Science Museum in London has an upgrade of around £5 per ticket allowing visitors to come back as often as they want for a year. 

9. Travel costs on public transport
It may be a good idea to buy a travel card (there are lots of options) as this could save you money as a family over a year. Some travel cards pay for themselves with just one or two uses. There are various options though so do your research

10. Blue Peter badges
Get the kids to apply for a Blue Peter badge as this entitles the holder to free entry to over 200 attractions around the UK.

Other things to think about...

First Aid
We never want to think about needing any sort of first aid on a day out but save yourself having to pop to a chemist and shell out on things you've already got at home by packing a small bag of essentials. Mine contains: plasters, antiseptic wipes, antiseptic cream, wound spray, antihistamine cream or spray and safety pins - which are always useful in a wardrobe malfunction!

Plan for all eventualities. We discovered a throw back from my own childhood a few years ago, the pac-a-mac, which has been a really useful and easy to carry around extra. If you are travelling by car pack spare clothes and wellies. Be prepared!

Entertainment for the car
Long car journeys can be a drag - for everyone! If you are having a day out somewhere more than an hour from home, definitely consider ways to keep the kids entertained. You can combine some traditional games with use of the trusty technology.

Family days out can be stressful, especially for the organiser. Try and plan ahead and remember, the world won't stop turning if everything doesn't go to plan.

Enjoy the time with your family!


If you can think of any other great money saving tips, let us know!

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