Family holidays are what memories are made of, but if you’re not careful they can also be what stress is made of. Too often, families fail to plan their holidays ahead of time and end up paying more in travel and accommodation prices than what they need to. This, coupled with the excitement of children and their demands for ice cream, drinks, and snacks, can end up quite distressing on the finances. What was once a great dream holiday can easily spiral into a financial struggle as you try to work out what went wrong with your budget, and how it all got so out of control.
So what are some ways you can save on the family holiday? We’ve done the research and asked around for the best tips and tricks for saving money on holiday. Think an affordable holiday is out of reach? Think again!
1. Sign up for email newsletters
While the number of emails you receive increases every day, it may be worth signing up to your favourite travel website. This way you can be the first to know when a deal or promotion is offered, giving you the highest chance of securing the right dates for the right price.
2. Pair up with other families
Caravan parks often offer group discounts, so always check when you are making your reservation! If they do, ask around and see if any other families want to join you on your holiday fun. Remember, just because you’re staying onsite together, doesn’t mean you have to play together every minute of the day.
3. Book early
Early bird discounts can save you heaps of money, and budget travel tends to book out the quickest. Leave it too late and you might be forced to upgrade your room choice, or drive a more expensive hire car.
4. Cook for yourselves
More often than not, the highest expense whilst travelling is food, especially if you’re eating out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Look for caravan parks with kitchen facilities or accommodation/cabins with a BBQ you can cook on.
5. Look for discounts
Some websites offer fantastic daily deals and discounts for a range of restaurants and activities across the globe. It is worth checking if there are any discounts going on nearby restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues that are nearby. Why pay full price when a discount could be one click away?
6. Consider connecting flights
It may seem like a nuisance, especially if travelling with young children, but choosing flights with connections can be significantly cheaper than flying direct. Weigh up the pros and cons and if you don’t mind the extra time it may take, consider an alternative route.
7. Return your car to the same location
The difference in car rental prices can be staggering if you choose a different location for pickup and dropoff. Quite often, it can double the rental price. If you’re holidaying in two different locations, try to split your car hire and visit two different rental facilities.
8. Stay nearby
If you’ve got a car or there’s good public transport nearby, consider staying just outside of where you want to be. Accommodations on the outskirts of big cities can be significantly cheaper, and you’ll get to enjoy the natural surroundings and tranquility.
9. Be flexible
While this isn’t always possible with kids in school, being flexible with your dates can save you lots of money. Traveling off season is always your best option, but if that’s not feasible, then consider a few days either side of your preferred dates if it is cheaper.
10. Stay local
Who says you have to travel abroad for an excellent family holiday? Sometimes the best family trips can be at a caravan park just an hour down the road, plus you won’t have to stress about flight times and passports. Australia is home to some incredible destinations, so consider your own country before opting for abroad.
11. Do your research
Did you know that booking your holiday at a certain time of day can save you money? Have you considered that Tasmania is the new New Zealand, but much more affordable? The more research you do, the more likely you are to save money.
12. Travel at night
Night trains and flights are usually cheaper than day routes, so consider traveling at night. With enough practice, you’ll soon learn how to fall asleep in an instant, making travel time fly by with no fuss.
Before returning your hire car, ensure you top it up with the right fuel. Most car rental companies expect a full tank on return and if you fail to comply, you could pay the price.
14. Eat a big lunch
Many restaurants and cafes offer great lunch deals, so if you’re going to have a big meal in the day, make it at lunch time. You can then opt for something lighter and cheaper at dinner time.
15. Restrict purchases
You may want to spoil the kids while they’re on holiday, but with every purchase comes added pressure on the wallet. Give each child a limited amount to spend and put them in charge of staying within budget.
16. “Like” your favourite travel sites
Following your favourite travel sites on social media can help you get quick access to the latest deals. Sometimes you might be lucky enough to score a cancellation price at the last minute.
Forget 5 star hotels and expensive apartments and instead opt for a great caravan park or campground. Some parks have amazing facilities, amenities, and locations, and most kids love the “back-to-basics” approach to holidaying. Or for that little bit more, upgrade yourself and stay in a cabin – which will become your home away from home, so all you’ll need to bring is your clothes, toothbrush, and friends!