As you know we are huge fans of Center Parcs, but I’m not going to lie to you, every time we go without fail, I get messages from people saying that they would love to go but they just can’t justify the cost and I get it.
Before I started making a success out of Toby&Roo, we would have to scrimp and scrape to get our family to Center Parcs and once we did we tried our best to enjoy every second *without* spending too much cash, so I have a few tips for saving money when you go to Center Parcs and Doing Center Parcs on a budget.
1.) Book basic accommodation.
Booking basic accommodation is one way to save A LOT of money at Center Parcs and if you are going to be out of your lodge then you really can’t go wrong with it. The accommodation doesn’t have any of the luxuries that you get in fancier accommodation and you have to purchase everything (or bring it with you) including toilet roll but do you really care? If you have a young family and you are going to be out and about, does it matter?
2.) Book mid-week term time in Jan/March/Sept.
These times are super cheap in comparison to July/August which, bluntly put is insanely expensive and over crowded. Take your kids out of school if you are able or pay for the weekend which will be a tiny bit more during these periods. We’ve booked a comfort lodge in Sept before for under £300 for 6 people. If you can do mid-week you are rewarded with a quieter village AND an extra night for less money. Bosh.
3.) Take everything with you, especially frozen meals.
Go to Iceland, buy frozen ready meals for the family and bung then straight in the freezer when you arrive. Take your shampoo, body wash, sanitary products, toilet roll, nappies, swim nappies, snacks, sandwich stuﬀ… just take everything you would use on a day to day basis at home with you. Buying from supermarkets and frozen food specialists like Iceland will save you a fortune. The only thing you can’t buy and bring in is ﬁre lighters or kindling. That you have to buy in the Parc Market in accordance with the village rules.
4.) Think through what activities you *really* want to do.
What do you really want to do? We’ve been to Center Parcs before and never booked a single activity, just enjoyed the pool and taking our scooters through the forest. We played in the free play areas, enjoyed the soft play areas and spent hours just enjoying time together. During warmer times the beach is always a great place to go. Set up picnics on the grassy areas by the water and play games.
5.) Have a plan incase the pool is shut.
Yup, every so often the pool gets shut because a child has an accident in it. They usually only shut a zone but if they have to shut the whole thing then have a back up plan. In bad weather this could be back to the lodge to play with some toys that you brought with you, in good weather a walk through the woods foraging.
6.) Take reﬁllable bottles with you.
You can take drinks into the pool and anywhere you need to, get them reﬁlled with water and you aren’t spending a penny.
7.) Avoid the shops.
Just avoid them – every time you set foot in one, I guarantee you will want to buy something, your kids will in the toy and sweet shop for sure, so avoid them. Don’t go in. If you do go in, have a strict idea of how much you want to spend, you will be ﬁne!
8.) Take your own ﬂoats and balls in the pool.
They sell ﬂoats and blow up balls in the pool so if you are of the opinion that your kids might want one, eBay them before you go and you will save yourselves mucho pennies. We have a car style ﬂoat that we used to take for Edith and Toby when they were tiny, and it was so much better than buying one!
9.) Use your Come Back Soon oﬀer
Come back soon is something that everyone gets when they book with Center Parcs and have stayed. You can rebook and be gifted a £25 voucher to spend on food or in the shops and you’re guaranteed the lowest price, so if you book and the price drops, thy will refund you – best to check the price frequently!
That’s it really, you can genuinely go to Center Parcs and avoid spending even a single penny if you plan ahead and organise yourself. It’s not got to be expensive!