How To Plan Your Budget Holiday – France

This year we decided that we would organise a great big family holiday (Brothers, Sisters, Neice’s and Nephews) as we really enjoyed our camping trip from last year to Sherwood Forest. Planning a Budget Holiday has had its ups and down, especially trying to accommodate the needs of our children (we have 6 children altogether with 4 being younger).

Ups and downs

There have been so many ups and downs along the way the way, you couldn’t make it up.

Firstly getting the time off work in the holidays so far in advance proved tricky, especially in my OH’s line of work.

School Fines

Then there was the school fine that we had through the post that deterred us from booking off the two days needed to take my stepson and step daughter along with us.

Lastly, my other stepson had a G.C.S.E  exams come through on his timetable that collided with the first day of the holiday!

Chaos ensued and we ended up having to book to arrive later than originally planned just to make sure that everyone could come along with us.

Worth the effort

This has been an absolutely fab holiday, filled with happiness and lots of amazing memories with our Family. I just missed my two eldest daughters who were off doing their own thing!

As we went with my siblings, we were hoping that the holiday matched up to our camping holiday from last year. The kids didn’t stop talking about it for weeks!

Planning our Trip

My siblings, my partner and myself decided that we would love to do another holiday together, but for longer so that we can relax more and spend more time with the children.

We decided that we liked the look of France and some of us had already stayed on campsites abroad through Al Fresco holidays or Eurocamp and had thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

For booking as a group we got a nice big chunk of a discount, which was taken off the cost of the holiday for each group. I would normally book through a cashback site, but I wanted to discuss the details of the holiday with an actual person to make sure that we had everything that we needed and that we were near our relatives.

As the holiday is in Brittany, we also needed to book a Ferry to travel there on instead of flying. This has by far beat the costs of plane tickets for our family of 6. It may take us longer but we try and incorporate this in to the fun of the holiday.

So here is the breakdown of the holiday for our family:-

  • Caravan/Chalet accommodation & Ferry Crossing – £900
  • Fuel – £140
  • Hotel Room – £70
  • Car Kit – around £5 as we borrowed a few items
  • Travel Insurance – FREE with OH’s bank account
  • Overseas Breakdown – £45

The only other costs are normally associated with all holidays such as new clothing, suncream, towels etc…

Accommodation in Carnac, France

This time we booked the Holiday through Al Fresco as they had the Campsite that we wanted (it looks amazing by the way!). There is so much for the kids to do, Waterpark, Playgrounds, Tennis Courts, Pony Trekking, Mini Farm Yard, Indoor Pool, Kids Clubs plus loads more. These extras are a Godsend when planning a Budget Holiday.

The site is also near the coast and other tourist attractions so we can travel there in our own car which is a big bonus when taking 4 children!

Ferry Crossing to France

The Ferry Crossing was also booked in with the package with Al Fresco and they have been fab. We had to make a major change to our booking and book the ferry the following day. We were really stressed about it but the call centre dealt with it brilliantly and just booked us on for the following morning instead. They did charge a little admin fee but other factors cancelled it out.

Hotel Room for the night before

We booked a hotel room as our Ferry was really early in the morning and managed to get two rooms for a brilliant price through the Premier Inn website.

The room didn’t include breakfast as we get up to early for that. We did however receive some great little perks as we entered our rooms…

European Travel Kit

There are certain items that you need to carry in your car to drive in France.

You can buy the ready made kits for places like Ebay or Amazon, or you can build your own by buying everything separate (also can be done over Ebay and Amazon).

We decided to build our own as we are taking lots of kids and they all need Hi Vis Vests.

I have made a list below of what you will need, which can be purchased as a full kit or separates from Ebay or Amazon:-

  • Hi Vis Vests for every passenger in the car
  • Warning Triangle
  • GB Sticker for the car
  • 2 x Breathaliser kits
  • Headlight reflectors
  • Spare Bulb Kit
  • First Aid Kit

Paperwork for Driving in France

We are also taking a file full of the paperwork that we need such as Car Insurance Certificate, Breakdown Cover Certificate, Travel Itinerary from Al Fresco, Passports, Ehics and Driving Licences.

Unfortunately for some, I dropped my driving licence in the polling station just before setting off so I was unable to drive in France as you MUST carry your licence.

This mistake did have its perks as I was able to sample the local wines whenever I chose to!

Our time in France

I can 100% recommend this type of budget holiday if you are willing to accept that you will be self catering and that travel company may ask you to do some basic cleaning when you leave.

If you are fine with this and just love a laid back atmosphere, then this would be perfect for you.

Camp Site

The campsite that we chose (Les Grande Metarie) was perfect for our family. As mentioned earlier, there was SO much for the kids to do, they could never be bored.

I found it important to choose a site like this when choosing a Budget Holiday as we want to reduce how much we spend whilst actually there.

You can find similar sites through the two companies that I have previously booked with Eurocamp and Al Fresco. There are lots of others though so do shop around.

Each Caravan comes equipped with most things that you will need to enjoy your holiday. Kitchen equipment such as plates, bowls, glasses, cutlery, pans, chopping boards etc, Cleaning Equipment, Indoor dining table outdoor dining table, sun loungers and reclining chairs and a BBQ.

Local Area

We found the roads so much quieter than England, even the motorways (and there are lots of them!)

Vast amounts of countryside, with breathtaking views all made up parts of our trip across from Cherborg to Carnac in Brittany.

From the site, there were amazing local beaches less that 2 miles away with plenty of free parking which was a nice bonus!

We travelled along the coastline and out on to a peninsula (another bonus of taking your own car).

The Sand is soft and white and the sea clear and blue…

The local towns are bursting with character.

 

 

Carnac Stones in the early morning mist.

I can’t deny that this has been one of my favourite holiday destinations and has really opened my eyes to France and the possible future holidays that we could have there.

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