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A lot of my friends and family are often surprised when I tell them that we are taking a family holiday. You see, I’m known as a penny-hoarder or the Queen of Frugal in my circle.
But being money-savvy and frugal doesn’t mean we go without.
My husband and I are frugal with everyday life so we can afford fun experiences as a family, without relying on credit or going without.
Planning a family holiday do require more effort, that’s part of the fun.
We plan our budget and a loose itinerary prior to leaving so that we don’t have any nasty financial surprises during our holiday. It means we don’t feel tense wondering how we are going to afford the activities on the holiday.
So how do we plan a fun family holiday?
Start with your budget
There’s no point going through this process if your holiday aspirations don’t meet your budget.
Questions to ask when setting your family budget
- How long do you want to go away for?
- When do you want to go on holiday?
- Do you have enough time to comfortably save for a holiday between the planning stage and going on your family holiday?
- What can your family comfortably afford to save each pay cheque for this family holiday?
Once you know how much you’re willing to spend on your fun family holiday, then you can decide other details, such as, when you’re travelling, the location, travel, and activities.
How can you save money on your fun family vacation?
The simple answer – scout the internet for fantastic travel, accommodation and activity deals.
Check if your supermarket rewards programs offer deals on travel.
Both my major supermarket rewards programs offer the option to cash points out for airline rewards points that could be put towards flights if needed.
In my case, exchanging the points to flight programs are never really worth it for airfares. However, the Coles Flybuys program also offers bonus points AND special prices on flights, accommodation, car hire, and cruises, or packages that include flights and accommodation.
Other ways to save when making travel bookings online
Before you make any purchases/bookings for your family holiday, use Google Chrome and install the Honey extension.
Honey is an extension that scours the web for discounts applicable to the site you’re on. This is extremely helpful when booking flights, accommodation and activities. Click here to install the Honey Chrome extension ( this is a referral link which gives me a bonus discount on Honey when I make online purchases – thanks for helping me 😉 )
You can also utilise cashback sites such as Top Cash Back, which offers between 6 and 12 percent cashback on purchases made through one of their approved travel vendors. The cashback earned can be paid out into your PayPal account as well, which is handy for beefing up your family holiday budget.
Travelling to your holiday destination
Scout airline websites for special price airfares. Most airlines will allow you to save a price alert for flights to your destination so that you can receive email alerts when flights are within your nominated price range.
Sites that offer email alerts for airfare prices are:
Groupon is my favourite way to snag bargains for my family holiday. Sometimes the entire family holiday is based on a Groupon deal I have found because the price is too good. Just make sure you check the fine print to check when the travel voucher is valid for.
What kind of accommodation do you need?
99 percent of the time, you will need to avoid staying in expensive hotels to avoid breaking your family holiday budget.
Unless you want to lay about a luxury resort and you don’t allocate any spending money to holiday activities, you’ll need to consider self-contained apartments or home-stay options such as Airbnb.
Staying in a self-contained apartment or homestay will also help you save on your food expenses during your holiday.
When searching for accommodation, have a look for somewhere that is close to a local supermarket, close to public transport or close to taxi access (if taxis are an affordable form of transport).
Another benefit of a self-contained apartment is that there are normally parking facilities available so car hire may be an option.
My favourite places for finding affordable, yet comfortable accommodation are:
The reason I love using the above sites to hunt for affordable accommodation is that they have extensive search filters.
These search filters allow me to filter search results by amenities, which helps find affordable accommodation with a kitchen.
Download my 12 page Family Holiday Planning Guide to keep track of what deals you find on each website and compare the best prices.
What holiday activities do you want to do?
When you have decided where you are going and what kind of accommodation you need, you can look at holiday activities.
These sites often have discounts on family passes for theme parks, local zoos, and other local experiences.
You could probably even scout out the local restaurant deals and plan meals around local deals you score.
My favourite thing to do when on holiday is to explore the local markets because there’s such a variety of things to keep the family entertained.
Consider travel insurance in your budget planning
As with flights, accommodation, food, and activities, you need to factor in travel insurance in your budget.
If you can’t afford travel insurance, then you can’t afford to travel.
Travel insurance not only covers medical emergencies on your holiday but also missed flights, additional accommodation expenses or lost and stolen personal goods. Your fun family holiday won’t be fun if you don’t have insurance to cover you for any issues that arise.
There you have it… my top tips for planning a fun family holiday without breaking the family finances. If you want a blueprint for creating a family holiday budget as well as planning for a family holiday, make sure you download my Family Holiday Planning Guide below.