How to save money when you take your family on holiday

With money becoming tighter with each passing month at the moment, but many of us still attached to getting away from our home for a holiday, I wanted to share some of our money-saving tips that I've refined over the years. Make sure you also grab a copy of my guide to Making the Most of your Family Time on my Free Resources page.


How to save money on accommodation

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Choose somewhere that everyone is going to have something they enjoy doing at some stage during your holiday. Once you've got kids, I like to choose somewhere with plenty for them to do so they're entertained and no necessarily by me. I like to go somewhere different each time so that we get to explore new local attractions. Your holiday destination doesn't have to be far (I'm not the biggest fan of road trip, but kudos to you if you are) as long as it's away from home. Our kids are currently in primary school so when I'm looking for somewhere to go, my must-haves include a pool (for all of use to enjoy), a view (for me to admire when I get a moment of peace), two bedrooms (for a bit of space) and ideally walking distance to a couple of things to do (I'm not a fan of having to get back into the car every time you want to go somewhere).

Do you need a motel room or can you camp or bring the van? Can you manage all sleeping in the same room or will you need a 2 bedroom place? Do you need cooking facilities or not?

Once you've decided what you need start scouring for deals to that location (as early as you can). Check out Air B&B,, local tourism websites eg. Discover Queensland and make sure you like and follow any local resorts or campgrounds that you already know about on Facebook or Instagram so you get notified about any specials that they have coming up. Once you start searching for a particular resort or location (or even an activity) their Facebook and Instagram ads will start to be displayed in your feed and may contains special offers or discount codes.

How to save money on food


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I always pack our breakfasts when we go away on holiday. It means everyone can eat when they're hungry in the mornings - our son. is always up early and is hungry when an hour or so, while my husband likes to sleep in. Of course, it also saves us money because we're not eating out for at least one meal a day. When we've previously stayed at a resort with only a big motel room and no kitchen, I've also packed bowls, plates and cutlery to make sure we can utilise our packed breakfasts.

I recommended you have snacks at your accommodation with you. Whether it's a quick apple to grab on the way out after breakfast or it's some crackers and cheese to enjoy by the pool before heading out for dinner, having some snacks on hand will save you money (and your sanity if your kids become hangry easily). If you're camping or not really leaving where you're staying a lot, you're going to need more snacks. If you'll be out and about most days you'll need less snacks. Find out if you have a fridge (and the size of it) before choosing which snacks to pack. When you're heading out for the day (or even just the morning) pack at least 1 snack for everyone (more for any growing boys in the family) and water bottles for everyone. There are plenty of places to fill up water bottles these days as well.

Eating out - one of the exciting things about holidays away is new places to eat and different things to try. This doesn't have to be expensive. Once you've decided where you're going on holiday, start searching for kids-eat-free nights at local eateries. I also suggest searching for RSL or similar that have kids play areas and finding out if they have a kids-eat-free night and even research the membership benefits. It doesn't take much to join a club (usually less than $5) and you can save at least $10-$20 in one night. There are also some great apps such as Groupon, Eat Club, First Table, and the Entertainment Book as well as some eateries which have their own apps with in-app discounts available. Consider grabbing a quick lunch and taking it to the beach or somewhere else to eat - this can be cheaper than dining in somewhere too - just remember to pack the water bottles.

How to save money on family outings on holidays

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Sometimes our holidays are about going to a resort with awesome pools and we barely leave but other times I set our family up somewhere with plenty of places around us to visit and things to do. As I've mentioned before, once you know where you're going find some local attractions that you'd like to visit and start researching them for discount deals. You can continue using Groupon and the Entertainment Book to search for discounts and again also make sure you're following the attraction on social media as they will advertise their own deals too.

How to relax on holidays

Children enjoying a fun day in the snow at Thredbo in the Snowy Mountains.

As much as I've talked a lot here about planning and researching where you're going to stay, what you're going to do and where you're going to eat while on holidays, it's essential to understand that the best holidays don't have everything planned. Sometimes you just need to wake up and see what everyone feels like doing before you decide the plans for the day. If you've had a late night the night before you can easily have a quiet morning. Holidays are supposed to be relaxing and reinvigorating and if you're in charge (as us mums often are) we have a responsibility to make sure we don't come home from a holiday exhausted! It's important we have some down time - this might be as simple as taking turns taking the kids to the pool or taking turns sleeping in. Have some down time for the kids too - let them make their own fun - just like you would at home.

How to empower your children when going on holiday

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Your children can be involved in the planning of a holiday no matter what age they are. They can help pack their bag, choose a toy or 3 to bring in the car, choose a movie, choose a restaurant and the list goes on. As your children get older they will want more of a say in the activities, destination and meals of a holiday - just like in life, give them that power by making those decisions a family decision - not just yours. They will feel heard, included and happier. This becomes even more important once you have teenagers, but is a great habit to get into earlier.

For toddlers and primary children, start involving them by choosing what to pack for the holiday. If you have older children, let them do their own research on the holiday destination before you go and find out things they'd like to do. If you have even older children, send them out in the afternoon on a recon mission to find a suitable dinner venue. Give them detailed instructions such as getting a photo of the menus and then listing the pros and cons of each place.

Want to know more?

Read more about how to make the most of your precious time as a family here. Book a personal consultation with Kelly to get some successful strategies to make your life easier and more enjoyable.