I get asked a lot about how we can travel a lot, especially as a young family. Travel has always been big on my list and a top priority amongst other things, so I work hard to make it happen.
When I was young I travelled a lot with my mum, both here and abroad. Being a single mum, money was tight, but my mum always found a way to make it happen and it is some of the fondest memories I have.
Now I have my own family, I love being able to retrace our steps and give our kids the experiences I got to share with my mum (we even take our mums on holidays with us a lot haha)
So I thought I’d put together a little blog to share my tips on making travel affordable for families.
First things first, I never book with travel agents or third party holiday sites. Sure they’re good for getting some ideas, gauging prices etc but they’re ALWAYS more expensive. Unless you have the cash to splash and cbf doing it yourself then DIY is always the best way to go!
One of the main things that I think really keeps the cost down is being flexible with where we want to go and when we want to go there. Now I understand this can be hard for people with work and getting time off, not to mention school. But if you can be flexible with at least one of these then you’re likely to save HEAPS.
For example, if you know you can get time off, keep your eye out for flights and deals in that time. I have a subscription with most airlines and you can even set up “Price Watch” with most so you can get notifications if the price goes up or down on your preferred dates.
I also keep an eye out on sales and if something comes up within that time I just pick somewhere we’d be keen to go and book. Also means you get to go places you never thought of before.
Same goes if you’re set on going somewhere if a sale comes up just plan to go then!
Don’t be a snob!
I hear so many people say they won’t fly a particular airline. But let’s be honest, if they are going to get you where you want to go for half the price then sometimes you just have to suck it up.
Trust me I know, cause I whinge about Jetstar ALL THE TIME. Yet we recently got to Queenstown for $1400 RETURN for 5 people. The closest match was $3000+.
This also goes for accommodation. Sometimes you can sacrifice a few amenities for a cheaper price tag. Unless it’s a romantic weekend away where you plan on spending all your time in the hotel anyway, why should it matter?! Get out and about, it’s really just a room to sleep when you’re on holidays!!
I also feel like sometimes people can get particular about where they go.
At the end of the day, if your going five minutes down the road or 5 times zones across – a holiday is a holiday and a lot of the time kids don’t give two shits where they are!
Just go where you can afford and make it special with the people you’re with and the memories you make!
Use Your Points
Points are an amazing way to pay for flights! You can earn points so many different ways and switching your purchasing habits to the retailers that your frequent flyer program uses can get you there really quick!
I use the Qantas Frequent Flyer program, and that way my Jetstar flights I can also earn points! I have written a whole blog on this, find it here.
Compare & Do Your Research
Another thing I do is always go on comparison websites for flights and accommodation. I find out who has the cheapest prices and then go book directly to avoid the fee those comparison sites charge you #sorrynotsorry
Make sure you check across a few too just to be sure! Sometimes they won’t list everyone for whatever reason so I use Webjet and Skyscanner for flights and Booking.com/Agoda and a few others for accommodation. Checking local tourism websites is also another great way to find people you may not have known about!
I find this is a big one to help bring costs down and also be aware of your spending. If you know you’re going away and need things like hire car or will be doing activities, then get them booked in advance. This gives you the chance to compare pricing, Google discount codes (yes I’m that person) and gauge an idea of how much your trips going to cost so you can not have any nasty shocks!
Coupons & Vouchers
I am the queen of discount codes and coupons. Groupon, Scoopon, Catch of the Day – whatever I’m all over it.
Well this is the same when on holidays.
When we went to Queenstown recently we used sites like First Table and Book Me which are NZ equivalents of our Groupon etc. and if you do your research you’ll find sites like this exist in every country! It saves you heaps when booking restaurants and activities, which we all know can add up really quickly!
One thing that has come with a lot of travel is the ability to pack super light and not have to haul 50 items around. Really in the grand scheme of things you don’t need 80% of the stuff you’re packing anyway, and luggage can become exxy, especially when you’re over your limit.
Most domestic holidays we have down to carry on an international we just pay for 2 x checked and have the kids stuff between us.
It also makes life easier with less shit to haul around, you don’t need maxi cabs and everyone is just happier.
Also, most kid stuff is free to travel with so check your airline’s policy and capitalise on that shit!
Don’t be afraid to ask
Brekkie included? Discount for booking multiple? Room upgrades? Extra bed/cot? Seat selection?
Whatever it is, sometimes if you just ask then you’ll be pleasantly surprised. As I’ve always said. The worst thing that someone can say is no, right?
I did want to add to all of this that there are some total NON NEGOTIABLES for me with travel, especially now with kids. Travel insurance is a must, especially when overseas! Because of lord fucking help you when shit goes wrong and you’re out of pocket and stuck in a third world country.