The school summer holidays evoke the same sort of mixed emotions in most parents as does Christmas. Both should be happy family occasions, both are preceded by a build-up of excitement – and both are prone to disappointment, or worse.
Another common feature is the tendency for spending to run out of control, creating financial hangovers in January and September.
So, our first survival tip is a simple one.
Whether you are planning a fortnight in the Seychelles, or a series of day trips from home, a proper budget is essential.
Strong nerves for bargain hunters
Such a budget should be realistic. Wishful thinking about how little money will be needed is likely to result in the budget being quickly overspent and then discarded.
This applies to everything from car journeys to flights. Spur of the moment impulse trips, home or abroad, may sound attractive, but they have the potential to cause financial and emotional problems.
On the financial side, items such as rail or plane fares tend to cost less the earlier you book them. Yes, operators sometimes slash prices at the last minute on the basis that an empty seat on a certain day can never be sold again. But you will need very strong nerves to hold out for such bargains on services to your destination of choice. More likely is that you will be offered cut-price tickets to places you don’t actually wish to visit, these being all that is left on sale.