Can a holiday on a tight budget really deliver? It can if you take these steps to book a budget holiday that doesn’t feel cheap at all.
We all know it’s important to take regular holidays to take care of ourselves and those we love. However, what do you do when you need a holiday but there are no savings to dip into and you don’t want to go into serious debt?
The answer is you get clever using budget holiday deals and then you spend wisely when you’re there. Here’s the lowdown on keeping prices low but spirits high on your next family getaway.
Go on a group holiday
Everything is much more fun (and cheaper) when shared, particularly when it comes to a successful budget holiday. So, join forces with friends or family to go on a holiday together!
It’s much easier to negotiate better deals when there are more people going. Group bookings are a great idea. Or try going on holidays with another couple.
For example, it’s only a fraction more to book a two-bedroom apartment, but it means you’ll have separate bedrooms and can enjoy time together when you want to. It will also be almost half the price for accommodation.
Make sure there are kitchen facilities…
If you share groceries and eat at home, then you’ll easily save hundreds of dollars on holidays.
Having simple kitchen facilities also means you’ll be able to grab breakfast on the go and stick to a healthier routine.
If you locate a large grocery shop close by and take prepared packed lunches/snacks with you on days out, then you’ll save even more. You also won’t have to waste precious holiday time finding somewhere to eat.
Choose accommodation with shared BBQ facilities and a common play area for kids and you’re also likely make new friends along the way.
You can also save on drinks if you make sure you BYO when you do go out. Even better, share a bottle of wine (or two) at your holiday location, instead of going to expensive bars.
…Or compromise on accommodation
If the idea of cooking meals all holiday instantly kills your buzz, consider saving money on accommodation instead. Here are a few ways to save enough to let you eat out at every meal:
- Consider listing your house/apartment on websites such as Airbnb for the time you’ll be away. That way your rent is covered and you can spend your money on more enjoyable leisure activities.
- Better yet, stay someone for free by swapping your home using a service like Love Home Swap or Aussie House Swap. You could even do it with a trusted friend so everyone gets a ‘free’ holiday.
- Don’t dismiss camping. If you set up camp at a van park with great facilities, you can live in basic luxury without spending a fortune. Hire or loan the camping equipment and you’ll save even more.
Take advantage of off peak
Go on holidays outside of peak times and if possible, avoid school holidays. Be careful about the hours you choose to travel. In general, it’s a great idea to travel outside of peak (and most expensive) travel times, which are usually 6:30am to 9:30am and 4pm to 7pm.
You’re also more likely to have to pay more when flying on a Monday, Friday or a Sunday because these are usually the days business people fly, or people are going on or returning from short trips away. The cheapest days to fly on average? Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Always do your research and book ahead, or wait for your favourite airline’s pop up airfare sale to ensure you’re securing the best deals.
Make good choices
Lots of small good choices will add up to big savings. Try these:
- When you’re booking flights, make sure you untick all of the pre-ticked options for airlines. Then only re-tick the options you really need.
- Avoid paying extra credit card fees by paying for flights through BPAY and ensuring you have enough cash on hand to pay for anything where credit card fees are applied. For example, pre-pay for accommodation by paying online and pay direct wherever possible.
- Pick out a great restaurant or bar which has a special deal or happy hour so you can still indulge a little on your budget holiday. Why not go out at least one night as a special treat?
- Check how travel friendly your bank is. Many account holders have travel insurance included as a benefit for being a member. Some banks also offer very reasonable access, transfer and withdrawal fees when travelling overseas. Research your options. How does your bank compare?
Nab a great deal
Sign up to receive emails from various travel providers offering deals for flights and accommodation. You could even open an email account that is purely for receiving emails offering loyalty discounts, privileges and competitions. You may even get lucky and win a free holiday!
Book a great budget holiday through a discount website. Borrow a campervan from a friend, or see if you can use a family members holiday house and agree to a ‘services swap’. For example, for a week of accommodation you could offer six months of lawn moving or babysitting. Whatever works!
Like anything, good planning will pay off. Save as much as you can before you go away. Then set a budget and stick to it. Try to keep an eye on your spending and balance your daily budget so you don’t end up short. Most of all have fun!