Newcastle Photographer and Content Creator, Mandy Charlton, Always on a quest for adventure, often seen on buses, trains and planes. On a quest to be happier and healthier. Lives in Newcastle with her 3 cats, Iris, Maggie and Arthur. Loves good vibes, musicals and cakes. Full time professional wedding photographer in the north east of england alongside content creator on Tiktok, Instagram and Facebook

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Smart mums travel for less this summer

We are on the final countdown, just a few more school days and then my alarm will be switched off for 6 glorious weeks, my summer work schedule is interspersed with glorious getaways and marvellous mini breaks, some of which have been utter bargains, next week, we're going to stay in a luxury lodge in a nature reserve for a night, I persuaded Harriet to join Airbnb which meant that she got £20 of travel credit and so it ended up costing us £20 each for a night away for Looby, Abigail, Harriet and I!  It's proof that you can enjoy travel on a limited budget and I have a few other tips and tricks.  What's more because Harriet signed up, as soon as she's taken her first trip I'll get £20 of travel credit and so our next break will be cheaper too.

I won a gift card earlier in the year from Virgin Experience Days and so I've waited until I could book the most possible travel for my £285, I've managed to book a 2 night stay to Perth and a 2 night stay to Stratford upon Avon but it gets better, our train tickets to Perth were a total of £40.85, that's £30 for first class travel there and £10.85 for our tickets back, we've got a family railcard and it does mean that if you look carefully the bargains are most definitely there, it makes up for the fact that our tickets to Stratford upon Avon cost an eye watering £88 for Abigail and I but as we're not paying for the accommodation it didn't hurt quite so much.

One thing we always do wherever we go is when we arrive at our destination we go straight down to the local tourist information, often if you look for leaflets of the various attractions you can get a few pounds off via vouchers on the back of the leaflets.

Another way to save money is to take a picnic, often the most expensive part of a visitor attraction is the food and I know that some won't let you take a picnic in but I have a fab picnic backpack which isn't too heavy to carry and if I can cut down on the £25 it usually costs for lunch for the girls and I well it's more money to do things later on at other places.

I also recommend the Virgin Red app, loads of discounts including sometimes 20 or 30 percent off train tickets, you can use the codes in conjunction with your railcard and get some really cheap bargains like a return trip to York for less than £10

If you fancy a last minute getaway to London then it's not going to be cheap for train tickets however if you go at weekends or on a bank holiday you can usually get a return for an adult and a child using a railcard for just over £100 which is a lot better than if you look at lots of the scary peak time weekday prices.

If you've left it until the last minute to book your summer holidays you might just be in luck, lots of holiday companies now have summer sales, Sykes Cottages have some amazing special offers on cottages with huge bargains to be had as have Holiday Cottages and dear old Haven Holidays, I've linked to their latest special offers in all 3 cases to save you time and hopefully some extra pennies too.

I still have a week at the end of the summer holidays where I'm hoping to book a lovely cottage in the Lake District but it's quite hard when your weekends are taken up like mine usually are which is why I love Airbnb, it means I can book for 4 or 5 days and in my experience even just going away for a few days feels as good as a two week holiday and if the weather stays link it is outside my window this morning, well we might just be in for the biggest summer of fun yet!

I love Staycations, I think they pump money back into our economy, they support small businesses and some places in the UK are so Mediterranean that you feel like you are visiting far flung shores, my favourite is the Southwest Coast of Scotland which has a similar climate to cornwall thanks to the jetstream.

Whatever you choose to do this summer, I hope it's your best ever, I am going to attempt to blog a couple of times every week but I doubt I'll be able to keep up blogging every day, you can however always keep up with me on social media as I'm never too far away from my phone!

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