If you want to take your family away on a summer break in the sun but are worried about the cost, then don’t despair. With a bit of careful planning, and some handy money-saving tips, you’ll be able to have the summer holiday you deserve, without blowing the budget.
When it comes to money saving, it’s always worth putting the time into searching out a great deal on a package which includes flights and accommodation as this can seriously save you some dosh. Spain is a great destination for cheap holidays, with a wide variety of package holidays on offer along its famous Costas.
One of the most enticing destinations for cheap package holidays is Benidorm on the Costa Blanca. Attracting more than five million visitors each year, there is so much holiday accommodation on offer here that you’re virtually guaranteed to find something within your budget.
Despite its reputation as a party destination for young Brits, the resort is actually very family-friendly with lots for kids of all ages to see and do. In recent years Magaluf and Ibiza have begun to draw the party crowd away and, while there are still elements of the ‘lads’ holiday’ about the town, the places where these kind of tourists go are easily avoided.
Booking Your Budget Holiday
The first thing to remember is that the internet is your best friend when it comes to searching for the very best holiday deal. Whether you want to book flights and accommodation separately or are looking for a package, online comparison sites and travel agencies will help you find the very cheapest offers out there.
Insider Tip: Clear your computer of cookies before you start or it will suggest holiday deals which it thinks you ‘might like’, which may not always show you the cheapest price available.
Choosing Your Accommodation
As a rule, self catering accommodation tends to be cheaper than hotels, but this is not the end of the story. When considering whether to book a self-catering apartment or hotel it’s worth bearing in mind other factors which might see prices stacking up.
Self-catering saves you money but you will need to buy food once you’re there and supermarkets in Benidorm can be expensive (I would recommend taking the 15-minute bus journey out to Lidel in Albir when you arrive to take advantage of the low prices). Of course, there are plenty of places to eat out in the resort, many of them offering great value for money.
On the other hand, if you find yourself a good, budget child-friendly hotel, then you can go half board and know that breakfast and supper will be taken care of.
Insider Tip: Never go full board or you’ll have to come back to the hotel each day for lunch rather than taking advantage of the cheap cafés along the beach.
The benefit of a child-friendly hotel is that it will often have plenty of things for your little ones to do to keep them entertained, saving you from paying for entertainment elsewhere. From swimming pools and games rooms to kids clubs and babysitting services, everything you need to ensure you and your kids have a great time should be laid on. Be warned though: child care is often an extra you’ll have to pay for.
Look for somewhere close to the beach – without actually paying the premium to be located on the seafront – because no one wants to drag hot kids for too long through the streets to reach the beach.
If possible, try to find a hotel with family rooms so that you don’t need to pay extra for two rooms and, if possible, ask for suites or rooms with balconies so that you can stay up and enjoy a glass of wine together after the kids go to bed.
My advice would be to book online with a reputable agency rather than booking with the hotel directly, as they rarely offer the competitive discounts you will find online.
These are my recommendations for the best budget family hotels in Benidorm:
Hotel Benikaktus – The three-star Hotel Benikaktus offers good deals on its family rooms. Located on Levante beach, there are great views of the Med as well as a swimming pool and terrace (with free sun loungers) in case you don’t want to stray too far for the kids to have a swim. The staff here will prepare a packed lunch for guests looking to save a bit of money and there are snack and drink vending machines on the property.
Sol Pelicanos Ocas – The three-star Sol Pelicanos Ocas may be set a little further away from the beach (although it’s still only a four-minute walk), but the facilities for kids are fantastic. There are five swimming pools (two children’s pools), two buffet restaurants, two snack bars and two poolside bars, family-friendly evening entertainment and a kids club.
There is no doubt that self-catering accommodation in Benidorm is a cheaper option and, if your kids are fussy eaters like mine, it means you’ll know that they are going to get food they like. The other benefit is the amount of space you’ll get as a family. You can put the kids to bed and then enjoy your evening in another part of the apartment, just as you would at home.
Here are my recommendations for the best budget self-catering accommodation in the resort:
Apartamentos Trebol – Just a five-minute walk from Levante Beach, the Apartamentos Trebol are quite basic but each apartment has its own terrace or balcony area as well as a sitting/dining room inside. There’s a communal pool for the kids to play in as well as a playground perfect for wearing out little ones before bedtime.
Apartamentos Viña del Mar – The Apartamentos Viña del Mar is another great option just a short walk from Levante. The apartments all have balconies and spacious sitting rooms and the self-service laundry downstairs is a godsend for those with small children.
Free Fun in the Sun
Whether you want to lie beside a pool while the children play or you want to take them down to the family-friendly beaches to paddle and build sandcastles, remember there are plenty of free activities to fill your holiday with in Benidorm. Don’t be lured into paying more than €60 for a pass to a water park or theme park when, in truth, your little ones will have just as much fun playing in the sand instead.
Levante Beach is a particularly family-friendly beach and the accommodation at this end of the resort tends to be cheaper than that closer to town or in the more high-end Poniente Beach. The beaches along the resort’s entire stretch usually feature playgrounds and showers and there are often plenty of shaded areas where you can enjoy a picnic out of the midday sun.
How to Get to Benidorm
Just a 40-minute drive from Alicante Airport, with its extensive range of budget flights from the UK, Benidorm is extremely accessible to UK tourists. Airlines including Monarch, easyJet, Ryanair and Jet2 all fly regularly to Alicante, with a flight time of around two and a half hours.
One of the best budget ways to get from Alicante to the resort is to book yourselves on a shared group transfer from the airport with Shuttle Direct. You can book online before you leave home and then relax knowing what the charges will be up front (so no more being ripped off at the airport).
About Shuttle Direct:
If you’re looking to save money, it’s important to think about details like airport transfers in advance so that you can find yourself the most economical option. If you don’t want to face crowded Spanish public transport with small children in tow, then consider booking a shared transfer with Shuttle Direct instead.
The leading provider of private and group transfers in Europe and North Africa, a shared transfer with Shuttle Direct is a cost-effective way of getting from the airport to your accommodation.