How to slash your summer spending bill – six easy tips for those on a budget | Personal Finance | Finance

With summer around the corner, we know it’s easy to see your fun budget rocket, especially if you have children home from school. MoneyMagpie is all about finding the best deals to save money without compromising on fun, so we’ve come up with ten tips to have a great summer holiday without splashing out this year.

Why Stay in the UK?

The weather might be a smidge unreliable, but the UK has so much to offer that you don’t need to go overseas to enjoy an interesting and relaxing holiday.

Travel is much easier, as you can take the train or drive to your destination, without faffing with airports (and airport security). You can also plan several smaller overnight or long-weekend trips instead of a solid two-week holiday, which will benefit your mental health and ensure you see loads of hidden gems across the country! So, let’s look at how you can have a cheap UK summer holiday with our money-saving tips.

Consider Alternative Accommodation

Hotels are expensive, especially if you’re travelling with a family, so consider alternatives. Yes, you could go the Air BnB route, but the lack of regulation can mean you’re faced with problems on arrival that threaten to ruin your holiday.

Camping is always a cheap option, with pitches starting from around £8 a night. If you don’t have the gear, ask around with your friends and family – someone is bound to have a tent they bought once and is now hiding in the attic!

You could also hire a canal boat to explore the thousands of miles of the UK’s canal networks. It’s a great way to travel to a different place each day while living a more relaxed pace of lifestyle.

Along the same lines, and particularly if you’re a solo traveller or with a partner, consider hiring a campervan or mobile home. You can get a taste of ‘van life’, travel to different destinations, have your accommodation and travel all in one go – saving lots of cash! Of course, you’ll need to factor in hire and petrol costs, but it can be a fantastic way to get away. It’s one step up from camping, which is an attractive option with our often-soggy summers.

Travel Off Peak and Night Trains

If you want to make a big journey, such as from London to Scotland, consider combining your travel and accommodation with a night sleeper train. There aren’t many in the UK – because you can get to most places in a few hours – but the Caledonian Sleeper is a great way to get to and from Scotland while incorporating your accommodation for a night each way.

Check whether you’re eligible for a railcard, as you could save hundreds of pounds on travel this summer if so – especially if you’re travelling as a family. Book ahead on your trains to save cash and travel at off-peak times to nab the best fares.

If you don’t have too far to go, the bus is also a brilliant money-saving option to get to your holiday destination. Book in advance and online to make the most of any discounts for tickets, too.

Go Local

Do you have friends that live in another part of the country? Now is the time to arrange a visit! Now, we don’t all want to host visitors in our homes, so make sure you’re not inviting yourself to stay – research your local accommodation options first.

However, when you visit friends, they will know the very best places to go – and many people will enjoy being a tourist in their hometown, too! It’s so easy to get used to our surroundings that having visitors makes us see things with fresh eyes. Many cities offer residential schemes too, which offer discounts on local attractions – saving a lot of cash on entry fees.

Eating at local establishments and staying in boutique hotels or BnBs will support the local economy but also give you another way to save money, as independent places are often cheaper (or open to negotiation!). It’s always more fun to visit local places instead of chain restaurants and bars too – you’ll experience the true atmosphere of the area.

Find Free Attractions and Things to Do

From free National Trust and English Heritage sites to free museums, there are lots of ways to spend time in cities around the UK without spending lots of money this summer. Many will offer extra deals or activities in the school holidays too, which is great news for keeping kids entertained.

Walking is one of the best ways to see some of the most beautiful parts of the country, and it’s free! You only need basic kit to get started: a waterproof jacket and some sensible walking shoes, along with a water bottle. If you want to go all-out, take a walking holiday that follows one of the big routes in National Parks, staying at YHA hostels overnight on your way.

Keep An Eye Out for Last Minute Deals

If you’re willing to be flexible on where you go for your UK holiday, you could nab some excellent last minute deals. There are websites online, such as, which are great for finding cheap hotels at short notice.

If you enjoy going to the theatre but don’t mind what you see, visit the local theatre’s box office a few hours before a performance – you could snap up some super-cheap tickets as they want to fill seats. This summer, kids can also get free West End tickets if you’re quick!

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