Mum reveals money-saving hacks to help parents save cash on summer holidays

All parents know that summer holidays can be expensive.

Jetting off abroad with your little ones in tow doesn’t come cheap, and with the cost of living crisis raging on, budgeting is more important than ever.

To help holiday-makers save some extra cash this summer, Instagram pum, Emma Stretton, partnered with Little Loans to share her top holiday saving hacks.

Emma, a mum-of-two and savvy-saver living in Manchester, is off on her first abroad holiday in three years this summer with her partner and her kids. As her partner is a teacher, they have no choice but to pay more during the school holidays – which is why they cut back in other areas to save on unnecessary spending before they go and whilst they’re away.

Here are a few things Emma does to stop herself from overspending on holiday:


‘Make a budget and stick to it,’ says Emma. ‘I have the Google drive app on my phone which has my various budgeting spreadsheets in. I’ll make one before we go away with a rough idea of what to spend each day. Whilst there, I keep a note of what we’ve spent in the notes section of my phone and at the end of each day I spend two minutes checking we’re on budget.’

Obviously holidays should be about unwinding, but Emma says coming back to a month of beans on toast is not ideal.

‘So, a quick scan of the budget keeps me on track,’ she adds.


When it comes to luggage, Emma says you should roll rather than fold.

‘You can fit so many more clothes into a case when you roll them,’ she says. ‘Tuck underwear into shoes as well, that’s a great space-saver.

‘The point of this is so that we only have to pay for one case and then take hand luggage. I’m not about to pay through the nose for the sake of an extra pair of shoes, and with my tiny toiletries as well it’s fairly easy to manage with one case.’

Emma adds that she also doubles up evening clothes as beachwear the following day, and they don’t take a lot for the kids because they’re less fussed about their outfits.

At the airport

‘Admittedly, buying glossy mags at WHSmith in the airport is all part of the holiday for me,’ says Emma.

‘The kids, however, would spend a fortune on sweets, toys and Diet Coke if I let them.

‘I’ll load my kindle with new books before we go so there’s no need for the magazines and take snacks in my bag for the boys. I also take their water bottles so they don’t need to buy drinks at the airport; these also come in handy later when we’re away.’

Credit cards

Emma says they usually take some cash on holiday with them for things like tips, and they shop around for the best exchange rate. However, most of their spending will be on their Virgin Credit Card – which she says has one of the best rates when spending abroad.

‘Before you jet off, check what you will be charged for spending on holiday and switch to a better provider if need be,’ Emma adds.

‘Using the credit card also means I can check the app each day and keep a close eye on what we spend. If I get a bit giddy on mojitos and forget to update my budget, it will all be in the app.’

Find a local supermarket

‘When we’re away, we generally always have breakfast in the hotel room and often lunch as well,’ she says.

‘Find a local market that sells basic things like bread and cereal, maybe some cheeses and fresh veg too.

‘I don’t like eating out for every meal anyway and the kids get bored if they’re sat still for too long. This saves money and means we can enjoy our evening meal even more.

‘Buy several large bottles of water and top up the water bottles you bought from home, so you’re not spending loads on drinks either.’

Eating out

When you do go out for food Emma suggests finding local restaurants that are often cheaper than then the hotel.

‘I’ll always have the local beer and my husband has the house wine,’ she says. ‘It’s less expensive and I’ve actually found some of my favourite beers that way.

‘If the kids insist on dessert we’ll just get them ice cream which is often the least expensive option.’

Free stuff

‘This holiday will be the first we’ve ever booked where the hotel has a free kids club,’ says Emma. ‘We’ll also be going to the beach where we only have to pay for sunbeds and, in the evening, will take advantage of the free cheesy entertainment. We won’t be spending money on water parks, days out or boat trips.’

If it was a holiday for just Emma and her partner, she says she would rather go and explore but with kids, it’s just easier to let them enjoy themselves.

‘Also, after three years stuck in the UK, I’m excited for some sun and a break from normal life so lying around a pool all day, spending absolutely nothing but time together, sounds perfect,’ she adds.

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