IF you love a Center Parcs holiday but don't want to pay sky-high prices, why not take a look at what is on offer overseas?
My family of five did just that over Easter and we were blown away by how much we got for our money in the Netherlands, compared to a woodland break at home.
As well as the pool with a flume, outdoor rapids and a toddler area, there was a huge soft play included in the price, a petting farm and even a few free activities for families.
We got some activity vouchers thrown in as part of our £680 booking, which included a week in a three-bed premium cottage.
It's worth carefully considering which activities to use these on, as it's not as straightforward as it might first seem.
Despite being told the voucher would be worth €30 (£26) on the pre-arrival info, when we checked in, we were given a slip of paper explaining which activities could be booked using this credit.
Read More on Family Holidays
Why you should always book theme park lodges for a family holiday
Mum reveals clever travel item to make family holidays easier – and loads agree
They were worth anywhere from €19 (£16) to €48 (£42), so you need to weigh up the options to get your money's worth.
In the end, my two older boys and my husband enjoyed a game of laser tag, which would have cost €16 (£14) each, so we certainly felt like we had made the most of the voucher.
Having said that, the extra activities seemed cheaper than you would pay in the UK.
We also opted for a couple of free activities, including a beach litter pick, which was a fun way to spend an hour looking after the environment, and toasting marshmallows over a fire pit as the sun set to mark Earth Hour.
Most read in News Travel
European holiday hotspot with £1.76 lager 'biggest pool in the country'
Inside ‘most beautiful Wetherspoons’ that closed down – ahead of new opening
Inside the lesser-known European island with stunning beaches & 31C temperatures
I flew to a European city & had a spa day for less than £40 – it was cheaper than UK
As this Center Parcs is on the edge of the small seaside town of Zandvoort an Zee, there's two supermarkets within walking distance so you don't have to pay holiday park prices to stock your fridge.
Another trick to make your holiday money go further is to keep an eye on the Too Good To Go app, which offers reduced price food that's coming to the end of its sell-by date.
The Center Parcs supermarket was offering a bag of food most days for just €4.99 (£4).
We bought one and were pleased with how much we got for our money, including a BBQ meat pack, veggie mince, squash, biscuits and snacks.
You needed to be quick to bag a bargain as they generally sold within an hour of going on the app.
There were plenty of reasonably priced takeaways and restaurants by the beach too.
We enjoyed a delicious meal looking out over the sea from a fish and chip truck based just outside the reception of the Center Parcs hotel.
If you're planning on heading abroad, it's worth booking early to get the best deals, as the last-minute prices aren't a patch on the early bird discounts.
We booked in the summer for an Easter break and our package included being able to choose where our accommodation was located, so we plumped for a lodge five minutes from both the beach and the pool and two minutes from the soft play.
If we'd stayed the other side of the park, we'd have been walking at least 15 minutes to get to all the activities we enjoy, which makes a big difference with little ones, especially when you've got your swimming kit to lug about as well.
Our lodge had recently been refurbished and included a £500 microwave convection oven as well as beach hut decor, a massive amount of cutlery and crockery and a big walk-in waterfall shower in the master bedroom.
If you're a bigger party, a five-bedroom place comes with its own indoor sauna and jacuzzi tub that could fit an entire family.
We arrived by ferry from Newcastle and left by train, both very easy options if you're not taking a car, as the holiday park is just five minutes' stroll from a lovely 1880s railway station which still has some of its original decor.
Trains run into Amsterdam every half an hour and take about 30 minutes.
At the time fo writing, Sun Online Travel found week-long stays in UK Center Parcs resorts starting from £1,128 for a family of five.
Read More on The Sun
How game show contestant won £87k but stunned TV bosses refused to pay out
Horror fans left ‘scared s***less’ after watching ‘creepy’ Netflix movie
Meanwhile, this is how you can get an extra day at Center Parcs for less than £50.
And here are some other Center Parcs hacks that could save you as much as £500.
Source: Read Full Article