Guest post by Steph King
Getting out of the house is good for the soul. It not only gets you seeing and trying new things, but also gives you something to look forward to, thus lifting the spirits.
However, the costs associated with a day out can be off-putting. Visiting the attraction itself might only be a small part of the total sum, as food and transport further lighten the pockets. These costs magnify if going as a family. But a small amount of prep can go a long way to ensuring you can have fun without breaking the bank.
Go on foot
If you live in a city, sometimes things are closer than you realise. Check the distance on Google Maps. If it’s under three miles away you can be there within an hour. You can discover new places close to home as you go, and you’ll save on fuel and parking or public transport costs.
Take a picnic with you
For the thrifty day-tripper, forgetting food is a cardinal sin. Just a coffee and cake in a cafe for a family of four can cost upward of £20, whereas for the same price you could have an extravagant picnic with everyone’s favorite tucker packed into one bag.
Also, don’t leave the house without a drink. Even a bottle of water can cost more than £1 when you’re out and about.
Bring outdoor games
Wherever you go, there’s likely to be a park nearby where you can keep everyone entertained for quite some time with a frisbee, a football or a cricket set. It’s a good way to extend whatever it is you’re doing, turning it into a full day out without spending any extra cash. Or, in combination with a picnic and a walk, it can actually be a great day out in its own right.
Book tickets in advance
If travelling further afield by bus or train, it’s nearly always beneficial to book in advance, as this allows you to get their best early-bird rates. If you’re taking the train from London to Bradford, for instance, you can normally book up to 12 weeks in advance, and it’s cheaper if you choose set travel times, rather than flexible ones.
Check for discounts
Does the place you’re going to have special offers if you visit at a particular time? Do they run online deals, advanced booking deals, or season ticket passes (if you’re planning to go again and again)? It takes a bit of planning, but always check these things before you go, and you’ll be surprised by how much you can save.
For the ultimate deal, have a look for the free museums and galleries in the area you’re visiting. This will save the pennies and is a great option if the weather’s not being kind!
It’s easy to keep costs down if you do a bit of planning. And doing so will free up your cash so you can spend it on the things you most enjoy.