We love our holidays!
...every time one comes and goes, lot's of people ask me
How the hell do I do it? How can I afford it?
Well... I just make sure we do it.
It's a priority before my kids grow up and leave home.
I believe all kids should be taken to other countries. It's the best form of life education while they're still at school as it opens their eyes to the way other people live. They will see different cultures, hear different languages, learn about currencies and exchange rates... the list goes on.
Most of all, it shows them that they can travel more when adults, encouraging them to explore the world even further.
My kids have had a head start already and they all would like to travel more. They've now learned they too can 'work to live' not 'live to work'. Passing on values and giving them drive to get out there and go where ever they want to go.
Get the whole family involved in the planning so they are all interested and motivated for the trip ...and aware of the costs needed.
Do you crave adventure or just time away from your crazy busy life?
We all need to step back out of our lives and do something different for a short time to keep us grounded.
Travel opens our eyes to the lives other people live and gives perspective on what's really important.
I have learned that we don't need a lot of money to be happy. We just need to be smart with what we have and earn. - WORK TO LIVE, NOT LIVE TO WORK.
We go without the unnecessary things.
Eating out often, updating cars, furniture and constant buying of clothes all prevent you going on holidays! I know it's fun to spend your left over pay on nice things for yourself but you're just jeopardising family time.
Isn't it more fun getting on a plane to swing on a hammock under a palm tree??
You will NEED to get your budget on track before you can even think about a holiday. It's the only way to know where your money goes and see what is left over to keep aside for your holidays. No point saving money when your credit card is getting a workout to pay your living expenses.
Don't go into debt for a holiday
unless you can pay it off
before you even get on the plane.
You have to be patient.
You can't decide you want to go on a holiday in 6 months if you just cannot afford it. The cheapest accommodation will be booked out forcing you to spend more. Flights will be filling up and you won't be able to stalk the airlines for a great deal (this takes patience!).
Every one wants to be able to do it straight away but you just need to be patient.
1-2 years is not that long. You will be able to plan it well, budget to save everything you need and you will REALLY appreciate it when it finally arrives.
Be especially patient with the first one. You will have passports and maybe vaccines to get. Your holiday may take 2 years to plan and save for and that's fine. You will have something to keep you focused while waiting.
It cost me about $800
to get my 3 kids passports
and a round of Hepatitis A and Typhoid
to be able to travel to most countries.
Where's the money coming from?
For a family to holiday on a budget, you have to leave the country (Australia anyway). It is actually cheaper to take them overseas than it is to holiday within Australia. Sad but true, so take advantage!
It only takes a little bit of planning, list making and saving. My household costs are covered each week and I know exactly when each one is due, therefore I can put little bits away each pay. Any bonus payments like Tax returns and child supplements are always used for holidays.
This is where the bulk of my holiday money comes from. I receive it after doing my tax return and it stays there until we need to buy flights and accommodation, the large costs. This eliminates these costs and we are left to only save for the other smaller costs while waiting for the time to pass until we go.
Anywhere you can save money throughout the year, add towards the holiday fund. Pay for things as you have saved for them, food, tours/activities and hire car/transport etc. Most of these other costs are needed while you are on holiday so you have right up until that time to put money aside.
Watch it grow
and away you go!
Planning the actual holiday
Step 1 FLIGHTS
I have found the safest time to purchase flights is during the 6 months before the date of travel.
Seats will be released, then wait for the sales. If you're travelling as a couple and willing to fly at weird times you have a better chance of getting a great deal. Most specials will be available for early morning and late night flights.
The best time (cheaper prices) to get flights is during the last 3 months before flight, they are trying to fill seats and will offer much better prices..
Find out which airlines fly to your destination and download their Apps. You'll never miss a sale because you will be able to set up travel alerts on these Apps. As soon as prices drop you will be notified.
If you have planned an overseas holiday 2 years ahead, you will be able to watch the prices in the first year to know when the prices will be cheapest in the following year when you're ready to book your flights.
Jetstar Airways celebrates it's birthday in May and always offers great discounted flights at that time of year. Sometimes flights are as low as $200 per person, return to Bali!
Look for your own preferred budget airline, search when they will be celebrating their birthday to take advantage of great specials. Make sure you note it on your calendar so you don't forget.
Try to take your holidays during the school term (if you have a family to take on holidays). It's cheaper to fly than during school holidays. Even though you're taking the kids out of school for a week or two, the life education they will get travelling is worth it.
STEP 2 ACCOMMODATION
Get in early because so many people are travelling now and the best and cheapest places or rooms might be unavailable. I try to book at least 6 months in advance. Spend some time on Google to find the best location, amenities and best prices.
Don't stop at the first few as there is always cheaper if you delve! Add the word budget to your search. Does it REALLY matter if you can't stay in a 4 or 5 star resort? All you need is a bed, shower and a basic kitchen, even for a family. You will spend most of your time enjoying the country you're in, most likely outdoors anyway.
Check out AGODA. I find them to have the best prices when comparing other booking sites as most of my accommodation bookings have been through these guys.
RESEARCH, RESEARCH and more RESEARCH;
Thanks to Google and Google Earth, we have endless information, can read reviews, get prices and see exactly where hotels are situated in the country. I always zoom in and have a good look at the properties, their size, how they're set out, distance to places and area they are in.
Step 3 FOOD AND ACTIVITIES
Try to keep food costs down by only eating out every other day. Buy some local produce and cook some meals in your accommodation to save a lot of money.
Some tours have a meal included in their cost which is a bonus, it covers two expenses. This is how I can justify a slightly more expensive tour to include in the budget.
Find cheap eats where ever you are; night markets, street stalls and small busy eateries are best. Go where the locals go and where it's busy!
Write a basic itinerary to work out how many days you can fit in cheap tours, free attractions and sightseeing. Figure out which ones are best for everyone and narrow it down to an affordable amount. Find out entry or
tour costs and get a total amount needed for these and add it to the holiday budget list.
Leave most days for wandering around looking at things, free sight seeing and relaxing. You don't need to be spending money the whole time you're there. - It is a holiday after all!
Most children's prices for tours and entry change when they turn 13, sometimes younger so check the age of child entry when planning.
Step 4 TRAVEL INSURANCE AND AIRPORT PARKING
Don't forget these 2 'easy to forget' costs as your holiday approaches.
If you cannot get family, friends or public transport to the airport, you may have to pay for long term airport parking. This is a minor amount of around $100 for 7 days and you'll be glad to go straight to your car on arrival. No waiting or depending on anyone if you have a 5:00am arrival.
The average cost for travel insurance is single $90 and couple $120. Although these costs vary depending on your destination, children travelling with parents are automatically covered at no extra cost.
It is a must and a cost you have to include. For the sake of $100 (and an excess on any claims), you are covered for everything you chose on the policy. You cannot afford the costs if anything was to go wrong.
Pay it and holiday happily.
If you are a casual employee and won't be getting paid
while away from work, don't come unstuck with
no money when you get home from holidays!
Leave your last pay in the bank and use this when you return.
If you have any payments coming out or due while away
you may have to put money aside for these too.