We all love a good family day out, but let’s face it, the costs can quickly add up, especially when you factor in transport, tickets and food… not forgetting the continual pleas for snacks and ice-creams! A good family day out doesn’t have to be expensive. The team at See Stay Explore have put together some of their top tips to ensure your day out is budget-friendly, without compromising on fun.

Look For Ticket Offers

If you’re heading to somewhere that’s ticketed, look out for ticket offers and special deals that will help bring the cost down. Start by looking directly on the attraction’s website and social media pages to see if they offer local resident discounts or special pricing for certain dates. Then branch out to Google and money-saving websites for voucher codes. Schemes such as Tesco Clubcard Vouchers can allow you to swap vouchers for entry, often with the benefit of your vouchers being worth two or three times more when used in this way; i.e. £5 Tesco vouchers can give £15 worth off of entry prices. Other great schemes include cereal and snack packets which allow you to gain exclusive access codes to reduce costs further. If you’re local or likely to visit again, consider getting an annual pass that’ll give you access to multiple sites.

Take Advantage Of Inset Days

Those annoying days that your school put in throughout the year can easily be used to your advantage, especially if the majority of other schools are likely to still be in session. Planning a family day out on an off-peak day or season can have significant savings both on things like train travel and entry pricing. This works particularly well if your school holidays are slightly out of sync with the area that you’re travelling into – you can find most school holiday calendars on local council sites a couple of years in advance to help you see when these unexpected cost savers may spring up!

Go With Friends

Why not make a day of it with friends? Whether you choose to stick together or not, many places offer reductions for larger groups which can make planning a trip en masse worthwhile. There’s no rule that says you have to stick together once you’re inside the venue!

Take A Picnic & Supplement It

Eating at an attraction during the summer is often one of the biggest costs and biggest disappointments with small portions and long wait times! Instead, pack a picnic full of things from home (you can add in as many ‘treats’ as you like to make it more exciting!) and supplement it once you’re there with ice cream, candyfloss or a portion of chips mid-afternoon if you feel the need. Not only will you be able to eat on your own time scale and save money but if you’re going to a place with longer queue times you can combine the two and eat in the queue – that’s more time for rides and a great distraction technique – win-win!

Stay Away From The Action

If you’re needing to stay near the attraction, look at various accommodation options in order to get the best deals. Many hotels nearby will offer parking and meal packages that can make it substantially cheaper and you may be able to get a shuttle or local transport to the attraction itself if it’s close enough, these benefits could outweigh the premium you’ll pay for being near the attraction. However, staying 20+ minutes away can make a huge difference to what’s available and ultimately what you’ll end up paying, after all once you’re in the car, what’s an extra ten minutes or so down the road!? Staying a little further out may take you out of the direct tourist area and mean that restaurants and food options are a little more affordable and less busy as well.

Plan, Budget & Then Enjoy It!

Do your research in advance, make a plan and a budget and do your best to stay within that. For example, taking cash or a pre-loaded payment card can help you to stick within a set spend budget for the day. Once you’ve done that, enjoy your hard work! There’s nothing worse than spending your family day out worrying about how much you’re spending, especially if it’s taking away from the enjoyment of the day itself. In our experience, if you’re likely to spend the day worrying then you’re better swapping the big day out for a day out that’s less of a tug on the purse strings such as a day at the beach or at a local park. When you’re paying out for tickets and a ‘big’ day out, you want to enjoy every second… even the grumpy child tantrum-filled ones!

About The Author

See Stay Explore was founded in 2020 and aims to bring local knowledge to your trip planning. After being constantly asked for recommendations and ideas for days out in the South West, established parenting blogger Hayley decided it was time to take the plunge and See Stay Explore was born.