Raffles and Sugarpuff have been getting their nag on quite a bit lately because it’s been six whole weeks since they’ve been on a holiday.
While I’m thrilled that my tiny travel bugs love visiting new destinations and time on the road, as I’ve mentioned before, they don’t quite understand the logistical nightmare of “travelling everywhere in the whole world ever” at a whim or that the economics involved are more suited to the Jolie-Pitts than the Eats Worlds. In saying that if Ange & Brad happen to be reading and feel like adopting a forty-something Aussie gal into their travelling rainbow family, I’m open to discussion… but I digress.
Raffles, in particular, is champing at the bit as he is desperate to visit Japan this year as part of his mission to become a world-class ninja. But he is also beginning to understand that mummy and daddy don’t have a bottomless pit of cash so has boldly taken matters into his own hands, resolutely saving every cent of his meagre pocket-money.
Using all of his quite impressive entrepreneurial skills he’s also managed to add to his growing stash of cash by bribing bucks out of his poppa and pushing his mother to swear as often as possible so he can add swear jar earnings to his loot. In all honesty this part isn’t too great a challenge for him.
So well is his saving going that, factoring in inflation and his mother’s potty mouth, he should have saved enough money to completely fund our trip by sometime around 2094, give or take a decade.
We’re loving Raffles perseverance and while great holidays are possible on a tight budget, maybe not one as tight as his. And that’s ok, we’re not going to discourage his ninja savings plan but we do have a few sneaky holiday saving tricks up our sleeves to ensure we won’t need to wait another 80 years for our next family break and Raffles can focus all his inexhaustible energy on researching fabulous destinations.
Here are out top 8 tips for family holiday savings;
Time it right
We prefer to travel during the shoulder seasons when flights and hotel rooms are much less expensive. School holidays tend to coincide with peak season so if you have younger children it’s worth considering taking your break during school term… as long as your kid’s teachers are OK with that. As Raffles teacher said, he’s hardly going to fail his HSC if he misses a week of kindergarten! For even cheaper deals you can also travel off-peak but you may need to share your holiday with a typhoon or a blizzard, something we prefer not to do.
Don’t make the mistake of choosing a destination based on the cheapest flights going around. It’s all about what it’s going to cost you on the other side. There’s not much point saving 50 bucks on your flights if you arrive and find out it’s going to cost you the equivalent of 20 bucks for a cup of coffee. Check out exchange rates and do a little research on local costs.
Be in the know
Sign up for travel e-newsletters and to travel Facebook pages so you’ll be the first to know when airlines and accommodation providers offer special deals.
Bag a bargain
You may already subscribe to sites like Living Social that offer discount deals for where you live but we always subscribe to those for the cities we’re planning on visiting to get a few discounts for dining and entry to local attractions.
Finding the right place to stay is the first step to a great holiday. We love a nice resort or hotel as much as the next person but we find apartments are a great option for families as they allow us the option of cooking our own meals and doing our own laundry which can substantially cut holiday costs.
Online resort, hotel and apartment accommodation booking engines like trivago can not only help you find and book your ideal accommodation at the best available rates but offer great reviews based on real user experience.
Shop around! We use skyscanner. Here you can compare the prices of major airlines as well as the budget airlines like Scoot, Jetstar and Tiger that are more up our economic alley. And book your tickets as early as possible as the seat prices vary and generally increase as the seats on a plane fill up. Don’t be afraid of mixing and matching outbound and inbound flights to different airlines, we’re utterly fickle when it comes to airline loyalty
Flights during the middle of the week are usually cheaper than at the weekend so flight costs can be reduced if you travel on a Wednesday or Thursday. If your kids are old enough to handle it and you are prepared to travel at less sociable hours (I’m talking 6am or very late at night here) these flights also tend to come with lower fares.
Found a great deal only to come back and find the price has gone up when you o back to book? Many sites track your movements and once they know you’re interested enough to come back – up go their prices. When shopping around online visit travel sites from an incognito web browser to avoid this happening.
Keep it short and sweet
If you and the kids are beginning to bounce off the walls even a mini-break can be enough to revive the family spirit. If the budget is low consider a two or three-day break somewhere closer to home.
*this post is sponsored by trivago but all opinions are my own and the tips born of personal experience.