A family holiday can be many things. It can be thrilling, restful, adventurous, comfortably familiar, or any combination of the above. It is not, however, free. While spending your carefully saved cash on a holiday can be rewarding (and, after a stressful year, necessary), it can be hard to do all the things you want to on a budget. That’s why I’ve put together my tips for a perfect summer holiday, all while keeping your spending in check. |
The Simple Things Are Often the Best
While your inner child may go wild at the idea of a huge theme park or an activity-packed day, take a moment to think back to the best memories of your childhood. More than likely, they’re not whirlwind days on rollercoasters and waterslides, but the simple, childish games that seemed like nothing at the time.
Odds are your kids will be the same: especially if they have siblings or friends, supply them with some essentials and leave them with their own devices. Beach toys are a classic, and you may want to consider giving them each a cheap disposable camera for your walks around town.
Speaking of walks: please don’t forget to go on some! There’s just no substitute for wandering through little Spanish streets, stepping into a café here and there, and soaking up the ambience for yourselves. You might get the chance to go to a fair (not dissimilar to the summer fairs in the UK), all of which are free to enter, and you’ll run across any number of gorgeous parks. In Benalmadena you’ll find the Parque Paloma, there’s the Parque de la Constitucion in Marbella, and one of my personal favourites is Málaga’s Paseo del Parque.
Benalmadena and Marbella are also easy to reach: taxis from Málaga airport go to both resorts, with a 15-minute drive time to Benalmadena coming in at a cost of £25, and taxis from Málaga airport to Marbella take just under 40 minutes and cost about £45.
You may assume that you’ll have to pay admission to see any of the sights, but that’s not true at all: every church in the region, apart from Málaga’s Cathedral, is free to enter and wander around. Some of these churches are real beauties: artistic as well as historical specimens, you’ll be surprised at what you can wander around without paying at all.
If you do have a hankering to see the Cathedral, you’ll find it in the centre of town. Taxis from Málaga airport will have you there in around 20 minutes, and Shuttle Direct will book you a private car for around £20.
The Picasso Museum
This museum is one of the region’s most popular tourist attractions, and I can tell you, it’s well worth a look. Entry is not ordinarily free, but you can get in without having to pay a penny on the last Sunday of every month. If you have some real art buffs in the family then it might be worth factoring this into your dates when you book your holiday, or if anyone has a passing interest and you happen to be around on the last Sunday, you could do a lot worse for a free day’s entertainment.
Like the Cathedral, the Picasso Museum is located in Málaga. Shuttle Direct runs taxis from Málaga airport costing approximately £20 per car for the 20-minute drive.
Another tourist favourite, this castle will charge you to get in during the morning, but after 2pm or on Sundays it’s completely free. A perfect place to visit for any history buffs, kids will have their imaginations sparked by the beautifully preserved castle. A word to the wise, however: if you are aiming for free entry, be sure to prepare for the lack of shade and the heat. I’d recommend a hat, lots of water (most places in Europe do not offer free tap water) and sunscreen as appropriate, particularly if you’re travelling in the summer: early afternoon heat in July or August, in amongst sun-baked castle walls, can be punishing if you don’t come prepared.
Again, Gibralfaro Castle is in Málaga. Taxis from Málaga airport operate as above, reaching the city in around 20 minutes.
If you have someone to babysit the kids and feel like a night out, don’t shy away from the flyers that club reps hand out all day long: in the UK these are typically advertising and nothing more, but on the Costa del Sol they’ll often let you get in for free, frequently with a free drink as well.
I hope you’ll find something useful in there! Remember to keep an eye out for any discount vouchers too, and with a bit of planning you can save yourself a packet.
Lukas Johannes is a driver for Shuttle Direct, the number one provider of shared and private airport transfers all over Europe and northern Africa. If you’re looking for affordable taxis from Malaga airport, Lukas and his colleagues can make sure that you and your luggage get to and from the airport swiftly and safely.
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