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Pirates, it's one of the biggest events of the year in the family planner – the annual holiday! While it's fun when you finally get there, it can be a daunting task to plan it all out. We're here to help!
When booking your annual family holiday two things will determine the outcome:
Your budget plays an important role, but also your timings. If you have a child/children at school, you’ll probably know school holiday dates and inset days nice and early. This comes at an advantage as you’ll be able to look for early-bird bargains. Use those inset days to get away before everyone else. Sometimes one day makes all the difference and you can save a huge amount by leaving a bit earlier.
If you’re not bound to school holiday times, make sure to travel outside of peak times. You can snap up free kids' places throughout the year!
We’re taking a close look and are testing our skills at TUI's free kids' places to help you find the best way to save. AND, we're checking TUI's family-friendly discounts and codes here.
Tour operators have created special packages for families that run under names like "Kids go free" or "free child places". It essentially means, that while two paying adults book a holiday, a child can come at no extra cost. If you are a family of four or more children, any extra kids travelling usually pay the adult cost, depending on their age.
Deep-dive into destinations:
Investigate child-friendly hotels in areas that are considered family-friendly, such as beach-holiday favourites Spain or Greece. These resorts are more likely to offer free child places.
Compare travel agencies and package providers:
Compare packages from various providers to find the best deals and options for your family. Or, follow us and we’ll do the heavy lifting for you. 💪
While you'll usually find the best prices online, it's worth checking in with your local travel agent as they might be of help finding the best room options for you in case you were looking for connected rooms or 2-bedroom apartments. Make sure to double-check their quotes against online prices.
Check your board options:
Sometimes the lowest prices that show on kids-free-places package websites aren't necessarily the best deal for you. Compare a few board options for your chosen destination to get a better feeling for the value.
For example, you might be shown a £500-per-person holiday package to a self-catering place but you might want to consider the all-inclusive package that’s maybe £100 more per person, but saves you all the worry about getting food and drink ready for your family during your holiday.
Check for age restrictions & other T&Cs:
Be aware of age restrictions for free child places. Some deals may have specific age criteria, so make sure your child falls within the eligible range.
Always carefully read the terms and conditions of any free-child-place offer to understand any limitations or restrictions that may apply. Also, remember that the availability of such deals may vary by destination and provider.
Explore loyalty programs:
Check if the travel provider or accommodation has a loyalty program. Accumulating points or benefits through loyalty programs can lead to additional savings on future family holidays.
Look for discount codes:
While free kids' places mean your child gets to travel and stay for free, make sure to check for online discounts you can use on regular travel deals and compare the savings before you book. Usually, the free kids' place is a no-brainer, but sometimes there are big discounts out there, so better to check against your quote rather than paying too much. We've got an overview of TUI's family-friendly codes and discounts here.
We've looked at the UK's biggest travel company, TUI and checked their "free child place finder" online tool. We checked the usability and are guiding you through it so you can make up your own mind.
Let's assume you're looking for your annual summer holiday. The school holidays usually range from the end of July until the end of August, depending on school type and location, they can be longer.
TUI has a dedicated page for their free kids' places, and this year TUI has added more free kids' places than ever for summer 2024.
The page is easy to handle, put in who's travelling (we're taking two adults and one 7-year-old) and we're setting the date for August. The last few weeks for August tend to have slightly cheaper prices as most families want to get away as soon as possible.
You can choose dates until the end of 2025 on there.
Choose July or August on there and the tool will pull in the cheapest rates with free kids places, BUT these can be outside of regular school holiday times.
You'll need to define even more when you want to go in order to find your place for the school holidays.
Make sure you're using the filters on the page as much as possible. You can adjust the times you're looking for so that the tool gives you the best options within a +/- 3- or 7-day period. And also the best-value length (we've seen up to 11 days in our research).
Here's an example where we've combined a free child place with a current online code to maximise the saving:
With filters for departure airport, destination, duration, dates, board, rating and price, it's easy to use TUI's Free Kids' Places website. The only thing to be aware of is that you're not able to display the full price of the holiday from the start of your search.
Prices will be shown as a breakdown of the amount of people you're travelling with. In our case, it's divided by three people and the free-kids-place saving is already part of the price shown. Once you've clicked on the holiday of interest, the full amount shows.
On top of our checks on the free-kids-place website, we're going to check what else TUI has to offer for your next family holiday.
For instance, if you can't find the right free-kids-place destination or hotel for you, check their School Holiday Deals website. Currently, you can save up to £750 on selected holidays for February half term.
Also, if you're a single parent and want to take your child on holiday, make use of the solo breaks code where you can save up to £150.
There's also the option of spreading the cost for your holidays booked with TUI. Some of them you can book with low deposits, some as low as £0. You can read all about it here.
As a side note, Crystal Ski Holidays is a sister brand of TUI and also offers free child places.