Over the last few years we’ve taken to holidaying in Europe with TUI UK, usually staying in TUI family friendly hotels which are All Inclusive and cater for all the family, including babies/toddlers as they have creche facilities, bottle warmers, free parent and baby sessions, and kids food/cutlery/crockery in the restaurants. We’ve enjoyed term time holidays saving money and making sure we get as many cheap family holidays before being constrained by school holidays. That’s all change this year as H started school in September!
Like many people, I get to January and start browsing holidays, keen to plan our family escapes for the year. Last year we booked a last minute 19 days to Disney World in Florida, plus escaped at the end of August/early September to Corfu with TUI right before H started school. Again, we picked up a cheap deal because we holidays term-time, outside of school holidays.
This year, we’re having to stick to a school holiday ‘ aka extortionate price’ holiday, and while we may end up booking Disney World in the summer (Easter is super expensive), we’ve also been browsing TUI deals, because it is lovely to get that escape to the sun, to read a book, to swim and eat, and have real family time. H absolutely love the kids club, and we do too as it keeps her out of the sun for part of the day. She’d seriously spend the entire day in the pool if she had the chance! Also, if we waited until the summer holidays B would be 3 and able to join H at the Bamse Club (for ages 3-5) which is run by DBS and mostly UK trained workers, many of which work in UK nurseries out of season. If we went before the summer, she could enjoy the creche which has loads of activities for all ages, but I feel she’d love to be with H doing all the big girl activities with her sister. TUI definitely make holidays with babies easier, and if you have a browse of my flying with a baby tips you should be prepared for the flight too.
School holiday prices are shocking
However, we’ve had a right shock looking at the price of a European holiday in school holidays – in many cases we can go to America for two weeks for the same price or cheaper, if we’re flexible on location. We can definitely do 2 weeks in Disneyland California, or something like the Grand Canyon for similar money (around $5k). I say that and also crave to read a book for a week. It would be nice to have a short flight and chill with a book without too much of a time difference.
Saving money on a European Holiday
I’ve a few tips for saving money on a holiday:
1. Use TUI money off codes or voucher codes
Voucher sites like Codesium have money off when you spend a certain amount – you’ll always spend the minimum, so it’s worth looking.
Right now, there is a discount code SALE for package holidays giving you £100 OFF when you spend £750, £150 OFF when you spend £2000 or £200 OFF when you spend £3000 at TUI. Plus, there are currently 7 more discount codes at Codesium for cruises, tours, package holidays and hotel only stays.
2. Book when there is a deal on the TUI website
TUI sometimes have deals on their websites, or codes for money off too.
3. Free child places
TUI have free child places on many holidays, but not all, so be flexible with location, hotel and dates and you should find one to suit. It’s also easy to find free child places on TUI’s website. Just use the TUI Free child place finder!
4. Be flexible…
- Be flexible on airport.
- Be flexible on date/day – mid-week flights are often slightly cheaper, perhaps as people have to take an extra day off work compared to flying at weekends (I don’t know this, but it’s the only way I can make sense of it).
- Be flexible on time – night time flights are usually cheaper.
- Take advantage of school inset days.
5. Book when you return
TUI often give you a voucher/booklet on your return flight to book another holiday with them and save money. It’s definitely worth using, especially if you’re booking for a year ahead and can get the cheapest flights, free child places and the airport and dates you want!
Choose your filters on the TUI search options carefully and use flexible days and you should be able to find a child friendly option to suit.
Do you have any money saving tips for European holidays?
Our TUI Family holidays in Europe
Time will tell what we end up booking, but here are the links to our previous TUI holidays…
Note, it seems TUI have changed their ‘TUI Family Life’ hotels to be called ‘TUI Blue for Families’
TUI Protur Aparthotel Bonaire Majorca
4*+ parent + baby room, creche, kids club, kids pool with slides water features
TUI Los Zocos, Costa Tiguise, Lanzarote (not a Family Life)
4* family friendly with playpark, kids club, 20 minutes from airport
TUI Magic Life Cala Pada, Ibiza
4*+ family friendly, loads of activities, kids club (multi-lingual leaders)
TUI Blue Kerkyra Golf, Corfu (edge of Corfu Town)
4* on the beach, family friendly, with creche, kids clubs, play ground, mini soft play and small kids pool
We’ve also holidayed at HG Jardin de Menorca which we booked independently (through Expedia), however, it is also now bookable through TUI. I’d thoroughly recommend it, it was our first holiday abroad flying with a toddler, when she was 18 months old. The kids club is hotel run, not TUI run, however, there is a play park and soft play indoor area for kids, and IKEA highchairs – always a good sign. When we went in 2016 there wasn’t any specific kids crockery/cutlery or food, however, H ate very well all week and we never struggled with food for her.
This is a collaborative post sponsored by Codesium.