I seriously can not remember the last 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. Using Lay-by to Pay Off a Holiday:
Paying off a holiday with lay-by is such a smart idea, and I love it. Many travel companies (I’ll list them below) will now let you ‘lay-by’ a holiday months before you go. This means you have a good period of time to be able to put a few dollars aside from every pay and put it towards a holiday. You’re also motivated to pay for that, because you have outside responsibility, instead of frittering it away on other little purchases over the year, because, seriously, who has thousands of dollars just sitting in an account to pay it all at once without using a credit card (hand goes up!).
Companies that offer Lay-by Options include:
Just make sure you check the fine print thoroughly before booking!
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, you create a profile of your home with images – then send messages to other members who’s 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:
- Home for Exchange
- Aussie House Swap
- House Swap Holidays
3. Set Up a Direct Debit For a Separate ‘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 Acorns. 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 Acorns is that you can also specify an amount to be dedicated from your bank account daily, and put into the investment account. I stopped drinking fancy coffee and instead put that daily $4.50 into my Acorns 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 to 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!
Deal sites include:
- Travel Factory
- Hotels Combined
- Kogan has a really good ‘Discount Travel’ section that is really CHEAP!!!
- Trivago is good if you just have to book a hotel room anywhere in the world.
5. Look at ‘All Inclusive’ 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!
Best place for cheap cruises include:
- Kogan Travel – they have a list of all the cruise lines and where to get the best deals!
- Expedia Cruise Deals – they are one of the biggest of the big travel centres and have regular deals on cruises.
6. Book Your 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 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. 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.
Best Holiday Deal Sites
Bon Voyage is a fairly new website that offers 5-star holidays deals for up to 70% off!
Scoopon is also a great way to snag last minute holiday deals!
Kogan has a really good ‘Discount Travel’ section that is really CHEAP!!!
Trivago is good if you just have to book a hotel room anywhere in the world.