I seriously can not remember the last family holiday I had, it seems like so long ago.
With school costs, living costs and a mortgage to pay, my money always goes on all of the important things in life, like eating and paying for a roof over my head.
But we all deserve a nice holiday – so today, I thought I’d share the research I have done on how to afford a family holiday when money is tight! We’d love to hear your advice as well!
1. Use a Discount Site to Nab the Best Holiday Deals
There is a multitude of excellent discount apps that offer excellent holiday deals – but you usually have to get in fast to nab the really super cheap family holidays. Most of them you will need to check regularly or subscribe to when an offer goes live. The best ones include:
- Cudo has fantastic holiday deals all over Australia (because thanks Covid!) – so you can holiday in the state you are stuck in! Cudo has deals on resorts, tours and cruises with limited-time hotel offers.
- Scoopon is very similar and has a good selection of discount holidays.
2. Look at Doing a House Swap
House Swapping is a terrific way to get a holiday for free! There are reputable websites around that you sign up to – find the area you wish to holiday in – and if the people in that home want to holiday where you are – you swap!
It isn’t just in Australia either, this is a great way to go to Europe or a skiing holiday – and staying in a home with kids is a hell of a lot more comfortable than a hotel!
What happens is that you sign up to one of the reputable House Swap websites, create a profile of your home with images – and then send messages to other members whose home looks like a great prospect for a swap!
- Free accommodation costs (you just need to pay your own travel costs)
- All the swaps are set up in a contract to ensure both parties are covered for any potential mishaps.
Websites that do swaps include:
- Aussie House Swap
- House Swap Holidays
- Home for Exchange
3. Set Up a Direct Debit For a Separate ‘Family Holiday Account’
I have set up a direct debit with my bank for things like rates and electricity – so I’m not stung with a huge amount when the actual bill arrives. This same logic can be used to save for a holiday. Just open a separate account – and set up a direct debit for say $50/fortnight, or whatever you want to put aside – and don’t touch it! You’ll find that it very quickly adds up. And if you are really good and add any tax refunds or monetary gains during the year, you’ll be able to afford a great holiday!
Alternatively, download an app called Raiz. It will ’round up to the nearest dollar’ any purchases you make during the year and will invest them in the stock market for you. You can pull your money out at any time. The thing I love most about Raiz is that you can also specify an amount to be dedicated from your bank account daily, and put it into the investment account. I stopped drinking fancy coffee and instead put that daily $4.50 into my Raiz account and it is adding up pretty fast. Well worth a look into!
4. Using Holiday Deal Sites for Cheap Deals
There are SO MANY holiday deal sites now in Australia that it is mind-boggling. Pretty much all through the year, they have different specials that allow you to save big on your potential holiday. If you’re really keen, sign up for a couple, or simply keep an eye on them, and watch for sales to book. You’d want to be pretty flexible to make the most of these deals, in terms of location and timing, but if you are, you can really save a bucket!
Family Holiday deal sites include:
- Wotif is a great site that compares the price of most hotels and flights all around the world.
- Last Minute is another great family holiday discount site to check out.
- Booking.com is one of the more popular discount holiday websites that compare hotel rooms and flights.
- Kogan has a really good ‘Discount Travel’ section that is really CHEAP!!!
- Bravofly is very similar to Booking.com
5. Look at ‘All Inclusive’ Family Holiday Packages
When it comes to holidays, we often budget for the big things only to be totally unprepared for the many ‘little extra’ costs that you accrue on holiday. Things like foods and beverages for example can be a massive cost. Sometimes, they add up to be as much as the entire holiday! The good news is there are all-inclusive resorts all around that allow you to properly budget for your entire holiday. Here are our picks for Australia!
- Paradise Resort – Gold Coast
- Novotel Twin Waters Resort – Sunshine Coast
- Southern Ocean Lodge – Kangaroo Island
Alternatively, you could go on a cruise. There are lots of benefits to a cruise in terms of effort. You only have to pack once and there are almost always kid’s clubs, meaning you get some time alone (if you know what I mean – and I think you do!). Of course, better than that is that food and drinks are included!
6. Book Your Family Holiday REALLY REALLY LATE!
Okay, so this one is tough if you have kids, and there’s a risk involved for sure. Still, if you have some cash tucked away, and know the places to go to save money for family holidays on short notice, waiting for the last-minute holiday specials is a great way to get up to 50% off the cost of your holiday.
There is even a company called ‘Last Minute‘ where you can book discounted holidays!
Last minute can mean literally up to four weeks before you go – but think of the savings! Trawl the internet (we’ve included a list to make it helpful for you), subscribe to their newsletter and be ready with your credit card! Again, cruises come up as the best deal here, as they want to make sure all of those cabins are full before they depart! But even airfares and hotels can be drastically reduced to ensure they’re making the most of their seats and beds.