Cheap School Holiday Deals

Finding cheap school holiday deals

  • Jens headshot 2:6:23
  • The Travel Mum

Finding cheap school holiday deals isn’t easy. I get asked for tips on bagging the best deals often and so want to condense all of my advice into one concise post. Although school holiday travel is always going to be more expensive than term time travel (increased demand leads to increased prices), there are some things you can do to get the best family travel deal possible.


Finding Free Child Places 

Free Child Places can really help cut costs if you are looking for cheap school holiday deals. Always compare the price for the best package holiday you can find with DIY options. We will discuss DIY bookings later in this post. Jet2holidays and TUI are great reliable companies that offer free child places in the school holidays. Infants (under 2) get to travel for free, so you can save a lot if you have an infant and a child. Single parents can also benefit, i’ve added a section for you further down this post.

We have a package deals page on our website with some great links for free child place finders. We also have a family deal of the week which you can check out for inspiration.

Be aware that different hotels will have a different upper age limit for what constitutes a child. Many will be under 12 but some go as high as 16.

Villa Holidays for Families

Villa holidays for families can be great when looking for cheap school holiday deals. Especially if you’re a big family or group. You may find you can get a whole villa for the price of a budget hotel once you split the cost. Villas are great as you get more privacy, often your own pool and a kitchen area that will save you money on eating out. For families with more than 2 children it can often be difficult finding ideal room options, a villa means you are all together but can still have your own space.

Villa package holidays

Villa package holidays come with flights, luggage, the villa and often car hire. It can be a great way to book a holiday if you want convenience and everything to be sorted for you. Some of these deals will even include free child places which can help cut costs. With these types of holidays you can also pay a small deposit and spread the cost of the holiday with instalments.


Cheap Holiday deals in August

Check out our post on finding cheap holiday deals in August .


October Half Term Holiday Deals

October Half Term is probably the second most common time that families want to travel. The problem many have is knowing where to go! Weather in Europe is starting to become cooler and wetter. Despite this package prices are often through the roof, again due to the increased demand. If it is warm weather you are after, check out our blog post on “Where is hot in October?!” for some destination inspiration.

City Breaks in the October Half Term

DIY bookings for city breaks can save you a fortune in the school holidays. Beach breaks are far more popular, meaning the demand for flights to amazing city destinations is lower. There are tons of amazing family friendly city destinations. Have picnics in the park, visit beautiful lakes, have fun in theme parks and zoo’s and explore new cultures. We have posts on finding cheap flights and booking cheap accommodation to help you with planning. Our “start your journey” feature was made to make DIY travel booking easier for you. Often you find cheap flights but then cannot find decent accommodation for a reasonable price to match them. Alternatively you find some amazing value accommodation but then can’t find the cheap flights to match. Our platform searches for both simultaneously finding great value options within just 30 seconds.

Some city destination ideas we have written about:

Tips for booking cheap school holiday deals

Consider missing a day of school

 You can often save hundreds of pounds by travelling on the last day of school, or returning on the day the children are due to return back to school. I appreciate different schools will have different levels of leniency when it comes to doing this. We recently saved a family £500 by them flying back two days before school broke up. The new rules regarding issuing fines kick in when 5 consecutive days are missed, therefore missing a day or two shouldn’t be a problem and can save you a fortune.

Book early (or risk waiting for a last minute deal)

When booking a package holiday and taking advance of Free child places, you need to get in there early for school holiday travel. Places are limited and are snapped up quickly. Especially for the most popular resorts and destinations. As you get closer to the school holiday period you will notice less free child places are available, and consequently the holiday prices go up. The other benefit of booking early is that you can spread the cost and only pay a small deposit initially. Sometimes you will see last minute deals for the school holidays, however you will need to be pretty happy to go where the low prices take you. For DIY bookings, you can often get last minute deals to the less popular destinations, especially city breaks.

Avoid the summer school holidays

The half term breaks in April / May / October will be cheaper than travel in the August summer holiday. The shoulder season prices in these periods will save you hundreds of pounds when compared to peak August travel. Why not have your big trip abroad in one of the cheaper months and then do something in the UK during the August school holidays. Camping is a really cheap way to see a new place, and is an exciting thing for kids to do during the summer. We are visiting a Eurocamp this summer which was only £150 for 3 nights in France, for us all!

Choose the right board option

 There isn’t a right or wrong answer as to whether you should go All Inclusive or Self catering. We always make sure we compare all the potential options in order to book the best value trip based on our plans. If we are planning to explore the destination and be away from the hotel all day, All Inclusive would likely be a waste of money. If we plan to stay at the hotel and relax, All Inclusive could be the best option. It is worth noting that not all All Inclusive packages are equal. Some hotels may simply have one buffet restaurant, whereas another may have 10 a la carte restaurants with specialty menus. Some may have limits on which alcoholic drinks are available without incurring an extra charge. Make sure you fully understand what you are paying for, so any extra costs on arrival aren’t a shock.
If you are struggling to find the right deal for you, get in touch. We love to help you find cheap school holiday deals so everyone can get away and make memories, whatever the budget.