It has been 6 months since we arrived back home from our 3 month holiday in Europe.
Our first money saver was using Air Asia to get from Australia to the UK. You may think “Oh no! I am not using a budget airline to travel to Europe”. But really, I have used QANTAS and Singapore Airlines the only difference was that we paid for extra meals and drinks that we had not pre ordered when booking. Also because the flight was not Non Stop we spent 1 night in Kuala Lumpur (you can get a room at the airport from $29). 1 night stop over is a small price to pay when you are saving $$$’s on airfares.
You may even ask about space on Air Asia? I am 176cm tall/ 5ft9in when I sat in the seats I had about 5cm/2in in front of my knees. And on our trip over I ended up with the window seat, an empty seat next to me and 1 of my children in the aisle seat.
Now I know you are wondering what our airfares cost from the Gold Coast to London.
2 Adults and 2 Children
Gold Coast to Kuala Lumpur $679.60
Kuala Lumpur to London $757.25
So less than $360 each to get to London from the Gold Coast.
It cost the same to return from London.
$2873.70 return for 2 Adults and 2 Children. Hint: go to the Air Asia website and sign up for email alerts and sales.
Tune Hotels is a great place to start when looking for your 1 night accommodation in Kuala Lumpur (hint; stay near the LCCT).
When we landed in London (Stansted Airport) we caught the bus to our hotel. It cost about 15pounds each which is a little steep when there is 4 of you. I had made the mistake of booking a hotel 45 minutes from the centre of London, so our bus ride ended at Gatwick Airport where we then had to find our hotel shuttle bus (we waited an hour with 2 very tired children, 4 large suitcases and 4 carry on bags). What I learned from this mistake was that it is better to pay a little bit more (not much) for a central B&B / hotel / apartment and try somewhere close to Victoria Station so that when you get off the bus from the airport you can walk to your accommodation. (hint: the bus from Stansted to Victoria Station is 9pounds). You can get a room for 4 in a B&B for about 90pounds a night.
If you are trying to budget your holiday the way we did you must remember that not all accommodation is going to be great- if you can live with a small space for sleeping and showering you will do well. You will only be sleeping there. Also, if you get a place that has breakfast included you are saving about 10pounds a day in London.
Pick up an Oyster Card for the tube and buses in the city, 30pounds each and you get 15 pounds credit (Only Adults need this, children are free).
Places to eat in London for families:
STEER clear of MacDonalds and KFC: we had KFC once in London it cost us almost $50AUD.
As you will be out and about find Marks & Spencers (M&S) you can get deals like : gourmet sandwiches, choc or chips & a soft drink for 3pounds. If you are lucky and your B&B lets you use the fridge and microwave you can buy soups, frozen meals etc… from Marks & Spencers.
A really great taxi driver told us to eat at Wetherspoon Pubs. The trick is to eat there after 2pm you can get a fish and chips meal for 2.95pounds. Before 2pm is not that bad the fish and chips will cost 6.95pounds.
A cafe we found to be quite reasonable was Pret A Manger. Remember to carry a bottle of water around with you. We refilled our bottles everywhere from the tap (it tastes just like water at home and none of us got sick).
FREE!!! Fantastic for you and the kids (you can tell them to behave and they can have something for 5 pounds in the Museum shop).
FREE!!! Head to the parks after a couple of hours walking in the city. The kids can run free and chase squirrels. If you head to Kensington Park there is a huge playground with a ship and teepees and musical fun, whats better is it is fully fenced and there is a cafe.
Stay tuned for more…