THE LUNCHBOX: Budget Days Out over the Summer Holidays
With the kids out of school at the moment, many families are enjoying days out to local tourists attractions or even further afield. We all know that taking the kids out for the day can be a pretty expensive business nowadays – whether you have a car or not. Using the car can actually work out a lot cheaper than using buses and trains, especially if you have two adults and three or four kids.
How Many Kids???
Entry fees for many visitor attractions can seem quite high, so take advantage of any discounts for booking online in advance. A Family Ticket is usually the cheapest option and will usually cover two adults and between 2 and 4 children. You don’t have to be a nuclear family with Mum, Dad and 2.2 kids to use the family option (and where would you get the .2 kid from anyway?) – a couple of friends with their collective children will usually do.
At some point during the day you’ll all need to eat and this can turn out to be a fairly expensive proposition, especially if the tourist attraction you’re visiting has its own cafes and restaurants. We’re talking motorway service station prices here (£3 for a spoonful of instant coffee topped up with boiling water). The food on offer may be unhealthy or unappetising or some of the kids may have special dietary needs that aren’t catered for.
Pack up a Picnic
Why not have a picnic lunch and treat it as a special part of the day. Pack an old fashioned picnic with a rug to lay out the food – the place you visit may well provide outdoor picnic benches that would make the ideal spot. If you involve the kids in the preparation of the picnic beforehand, letting each child choose one of the foods, they’ll probably be much more into this idea than craving to go into the burger bar. The money you spend on a café lunch can be used instead for an ice cream treat later in the afternoon – much more enjoyable for the children than fast food.
Mix it up with Munchies
Kids usually get hungry on the go, so try to make sure you’ve packed a selection of snacks to hand out at opportune times during the day as well. A multipack of crisps from the supermarket is much cheaper than buying from a kiosk and light enough for one of the kids to carry in a rucksack. A selection of cereal bars makes for a healthy munch when little tummies are grumbling and don’t forget to save a little something for each of the kids to enjoy on the trip home.