Contributed by Canna Campbell, Consumer Finance Expert
According to a recent NRMA Blue survey, almost half (48%) of Australian families say the cost-of-living has risen by more than 10 per cent in the last year. To put that into alarming perspective, that’s almost five times the current inflation rate.
The survey showed most Australians holiday as a family once a year, and for a quarter of rural and regional families, holidays come just every two years or less.
Here’s a few tips that might not equate to a 5-star Bora Bora escape, but could save you serious cash when booking a domestic family holiday. Besides, Australia is basically the dream destination for fun-filled, child-friendly holidays.
1. Research and plan – then research and plan again
Most of us have a rough idea of where we’d like to explore in a town or city, but there’s serious money to be saved by planning out exactly what you’ll be doing with your days, preventing additional expenses from creeping in. Booking attractions and even food stops means you’ll know exactly how much you’re up for and avoid expensive spur-of-the-moment pit-stops.
Of all the ways to explore Australia, a road trip might just be one of the best. Here, are seven road trips one should absolutely try in Australia #travel #familytravel https://t.co/hXbVeTjkWx pic.twitter.com/5vnpJEIbUm
— Cheese Traveller (@CheeseTraveller) August 12, 2018
2. Search for discounts
Often the best discounts can be uncovered by joining a credible member benefits program. Programs like NRMA Blue or Qantas Frequent Flyer give you access to holiday-related discounts on those big-ticket items that sometimes break the budget. Think accommodation, transport, attractions, movie tickets and even petrol. Searching around for discounts before you purchase can save you a lot as a family.
3. Book online in advance
Many hotels and attractions offer great discounts if you prepay tickets online. Some offer up to 30% off, so it pays to check online. Booking well in advance also means you’re more likely to be able to cancel or amend your reservation if your plans change.
4. Think free
They say the best things in life are free, so just because you’re on holidays doesn’t mean you have to pay through the nose for every child-friendly activity. Consider free attractions like the beach, local markets, museums and kids parks. Climbing trees, packing a bucket and spade or going for a swim at the beach can cost you nothing. You might just find these relaxed activities combined with a budget-friendly beach holiday destination are the ones most rewarding for the entire family.
5. Pack those snacks
Can you hear those rumbling tummies? Kids get hungry and thirsty at the most inconvenient times – waiting in line for the museum, at the beach, long car trips! And emergency food can get expensive, so it’s always best to be prepared. Carrying snacks not only means less ‘mum I’m hungry’ moments, it also avoids a quick dash to the kiosk for overpriced chips and soft drink. I always carry a water bottle for Rocco, a piece of fresh fruit and a yoghurt pouch to ensure I’m prepared!
6. Take a staycation
Taking a break with the family doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to go away. There is something really special about discovering things in your own town and simply slowing down. Support your local community by trying new restaurants or cafes, visiting the local library, free museums or checking out the local parks. Look for local things to do in an area near you by searching local guides.
Canna Campbell is a Consumer Finance Expert, Founder of Sass Financial and SugarMamma TV. Proud Mum to Rocco, aged 5 and NRMA Blue Ambassador.