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Wild Camping & Free Holidays

How to Score a Free Holiday: Tips and Tricks for Families

The cost of living crisis is something that has affected us all in one way or another. I know that I haven’t managed to take the family on anything even remotely luxurious since Covid, and while trips to Haven, Butlins and Centre Parcs are wonderful, there’s nothing quite as magical as grabbing your passports and taking to the skies, or getting on the ferry or Eurotunnel and rocking up on foreign shores.

But before we get started, let’s talk about the elephant in the room: the hefty price tag that comes with holidays. From long-haul flights to luxury cruises, the expenses can stack up faster than you can say “boarding pass.” And don’t even get me started on all those extra costs – travel insurance, spending money, wardrobe upgrades – it’s enough to make your wallet weep.

But before you throw in the towel and resign yourself to another year without a trip, hear me out. With a bit of savvy and some insider knowledge, you too can score yourself a free holiday (or heavily discounted at the very least) and escape the daily grind without breaking the bank.

Getting A Free Holiday (YES, It’s Actually Achievable)

Loyalty Programs, Cashback, Competitions & Extras

This is going to play a big part in helping you get the funds you need for your next trip, and while it’s not instantaneous, over the course of the year (or years) you might find yourself a few thousand pounds better off for simply remembering to make your purchases via a cashback program or for those of us with Tesco Clubcard vouchers, you can use these on various outings as well (I really miss when you could exchange the vouchers for 4x rather than the current 2x)!

Cashback Programmes

I can highly recommend TopCashBack & Quidco as my go-to cashback websites. If you sign-up via these links then you will receive a £10-15 sign-up bonus once you’ve started earning over their threshold to release the bonus (£10-15).

Over the last few years I’ve managed to earn a fair chunk that has gone straight back to the family and ultimately paid for one of our trips to Centre Parcs! It’s also helped me in terms of getting my finances in order and helping save for the kids future, setting up ISA’s and savings for them is incredibly lucrative (Scottish Friendly offer £150 cashback if you can afford to put in just £100/mo and they’ll payout after 60 days).

You can take this even further by opting for rewards with variable percentage bonuses to really make the most of your cashback. While a lot of vendors are no longer active participants on these platforms (TUI etc) you can get extra rewards with Virgin, Air B&B, The National Trust and Red Letter Days to make your pennies stretch as far as they can go!

Loyalty Programmes

Whether you shop at Tesco, Sainsbury’s or any of the other supermarkets, pretty much everyone is aware of the loyalty and discount programs that these shops offer. Start collecting those Nectar points, Clubcard vouchers, AVIOS and redeem them for multiple times their value at various vendors to really make them count!


Entering competitions might not be for everyone, but if you’ve got the time, it can be surprisingly rewarding! Some people even make a full-time job out of it, calling themselves “professional compers.” If you’re interested, you can check out Di Coke’s competition blog for tips and inspiration.

I gave comping a go in my younger days and won some pretty random prizes, from a 2nd generation iPod to a guitar signed by Papa Roach and TrustCompany. Sadly, a free holiday never came my way, but who knows – you might get luckier!

Competition Websites To Explore:

Have you ever scored a free holiday? If you have, I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to share your secrets below!

Extras, Beer Money & More

If you’re really struggling for ideas, there are plenty of “beer money” style jobs you can do online that can gradually add up to some extra cash for your holidays. Just be realistic about your earnings, as most of these programs typically max out at between £1-5 per day.

Here’s a list of sites to help you get started.

Reddit – BeerMoneyUK
SWAGBUCKS – £10 Referral Bonus
INBOX Pounds

When all else fails, there’s also turning “Passion into Profit” – If you’ve got a knack for writing and a passion for sharing your experiences, why not start a blog? It’s a creative outlet that can lead to all sorts of perks – including freebies like products, tickets, and even holidays.

Just remember, with great content comes great responsibility – so be prepared to put in the work!

Free Within The UK

The YHA Breaks Programme

Everyone needs a break now and then, and YHA can help make that possible. You can apply for a fully or partially funded two-night trip for your family, with full-board catering and activities provided.

This includes transport for activities and other expenses incurred where applicable.

The application window is currently closed but will re-open from the 10th of September 2024 to the 10th of December 2024. These trips are in high demand and require some planning ahead.

Wild Camping Trips

If your family loves exploring the great outdoors, then wild camping could be just the adventure you’re looking for!

While I haven’t tried it myself yet (unless you include that time I passed out in a bush of nettles riding my bike home from a mates house) – with summer just around the corner and our camping gear collecting dust in the loft, I’m hoping to convince the little ones to drop their tech and join me in venturing into the highlands!

Before you pack your bags, do check your local laws. Wild camping is legal in Scotland but not really elsewhere in the UK. Although you used to be able to camp on Dartmoor commons in England, the ongoing Supreme Court case has left the legality of this practice in question.

If you’re not too worried about the law and can manage to be discreet, then CountryFile have an excellent post on some of the best places to wild camp in the UK.

Remember, it’s always important to respect nature and leave no trace. Happy camping!

If camping isn’t your thing but you don’t mind roughing it, then there’s always a bothie!

Free Holidays & Activities Abroad

Global Giving Initiatives

Why not take your altruistic adventures to the next level by volunteering abroad as a family? While it might not be your typical beach holiday, it’s an opportunity to make a meaningful difference in communities around the world. Plus, you’ll have plenty of time to explore and immerse yourself in the local culture – genuinely something I’d consider when the kids are all old enough!

Helpful Sites:

The Power of Family

Don’t underestimate the power of family and friends. Reach out to loved ones who might have connections or properties abroad (I know, I know, we’re not all that lucky) – but you never know what opportunities might arise. Whether it’s crashing at Aunt Mabel’s house in Turkey or exploring Uncle Bob’s vineyard in France, you might be able to score yourself a free holiday with just a phone call.

Wrapping It Up

So there you have it, folks – a treasure trove of tips for scoring a free holiday. Whether you’re dreaming of sandy beaches or scenic mountain retreats, there’s a budget-friendly option out there waiting for you.

So pack your bags, grab your passport, and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime – all without spending a penny (or saving a few at the very least)!

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