You've saved all year to afford your family summer holiday but all too often it's those 'added extras', like the cost of getting to the airport, that gobble up your holiday cash and can put a dent in your pocket before you even arrive at your holiday destination.
Soaring petrol prices along with costly airport parking charges can easily boost your holiday bill by more than £200 for a two week break. These extra costs all add to the financial pressure on families, who routinely face massive hikes in holiday prices during school holidays.
And according to research from the travel company, National Express, 86% of us worry we won't have enough cash to enjoy our holiday.
So here's some help to get you to the airport without breaking the bank.
If you always drive to the airport, this summer why not swap 'car' for 'coach' and a get a child seat for just £1 for every full paying adult fare? On selected airport services, National Express is running a special 'take a child for just £1' deal right through the summer holidays until the end of September.
This means you can snap up a £1 child ticket when you buy a full fare adult ticket on selected National Express airport services. Unlike other 'kids deals' which often only go up to children aged 12, you can snap up the £1 rate for kids up to age 16. And another bonus is that children under three travel free.
'Family budgets are feeling the squeeze', says Susanna Holdsworth from National Express, 'so we've developed a service that offers great value and convenience and takes the stress out of getting to the airport'.
They offer a 'round the clock' service and coach departures are timed to coincide with flight times so there's no need to get to the airport five hours earlybecause of anti-social timetables.
While many airports charge premium parking rates the nearer you park to the terminal, with the National Express service you'll get dropped right outside the terminal doors with no extra charge day or night.
A free luggage service is another money saver; while most budget airlines charge passengers for each bag in the hold, National Express let you take two items, per person, free of charge.
But it's safety that's the primary concern for most parents, particularly when travelling on coaches. Duncan Vernon from RoSPA, (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents), says they often receive calls, 'from concerned parents asking about how they can carry their children safely on coaches'.
Travel company National Express has now introduced new safety features on board its familyfriendly coaches. These include 'comfort fit' seat belts for children up to 14 along with booster seats, (which are available free of charge), along with safety fittings for child seats if parents choose to bring their own. And this new initiative has the endorsement and backing of both the Department of Transport and the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency, which is responsible for vehicle road safety tests.
Once you're on board, if keeping the kids entertained often proves a headache why not make sure you pick up a special edition 'I-spy' book before boarding to keep the peace? Produced by National Express these cost £2.50 each with all the profits going to the 'Little Princess Trust'; a charity which helps provide real hair wigs for young people undergoing cancer treatment. To date over two thousand books have been sold.
You can book tickets online through www.nationalexpress.com or at National Express coach stations, travel agents or by calling 08717 818181.
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