Last week’s blog was about how a holiday can be a need and not a want, especially at this time of year when you’re burnt out, stressed out and ready to throw in the towel In this blog, I’m going to show you how you don’t have to put yourself in debt just to have a decent break. Last week, when Mt Agung’s eruption on the island of Bali was playing havoc with flights due to the volcanic ash cloud, our own family travel plans were thrown into chaos.  Add to the mix a child who has come down with suspected Glandular Fever and suddenly this Mum is going into alternative solution mode.  You see, I had chosen Bali as our family Christmas holiday destination for the following reasons:
  1. It’s cheap to get there with direct flights from Townsville
  2. It’s cheap once you get there ie. Food, accommodation, shopping, travel, tourist stuff etc.
  3. I can afford to eat out every day/night and pay for a nice 4 star hotel without breaking the budget
  4. I get to show my kids that life is not all about Xbox, Ipads and electronics
As this trip was booked and paid for months in advance, I was a little concerned that we might not be able to go.  Now I’m all for holidaying in your own back yard, but the most expensive part of holidaying in Australia is eating.  Most times I book a self-contained unit so I can reduce our meal costs, but being a single mum 330 days of the year, the last thing I want to be doing on my holiday is cooking and cleaning – NO THANKS! So, knowing that holidaying in Oz might be on the cards, I started to do some research to find out how we could still have our annual family holiday on the same budget if we had to.  Of course, my boys wanted to go to the Gold Coast and check out the theme parks, what kid doesn’t, but this Mum was already mentally adding up the cost of such a holiday. After a little research, these are the tips I would like to share with you.
  1. If you do enough google searches on Gold Coast theme parks, you can get surprisingly good rates. Check out sites like where you can save on average $10 – $40 pp for prepaid theme park tickets.  Their destinations are vast, not just for the GC.
  2. To save on meals and snacks, purchase the Entertainment Book for your holiday destination and watch the savings add up. You can preview books at
  3. Quick searches on sites like,, etc. can see savings up to 50% on hotel accommodation. If you’re willing to stay a little further out of town the savings are even greater.
  4. To hire a car, do your research at, this site has all the major and minor car hire companies for you to compare. Don’t forget to utilise car hire discounts available in the Entertainment Book and memberships like RACQ, RACV etc.
  5. Save on travel costs by driving your own car. If you do this, be sure to pack some premade sandwiches, drinks and snacks to avoid spending unnecessarily when you stop for fuel.
  6. If you have a long drive throw in a tent and some pillows, there are free campsites all over Australia. Check out sites like
  7. Have friends at your holiday destination? Call them and talk to them about doing a house swap or bunking with them for a night or two.  Two nights accommodation saved either side of your holiday can free up a few hundred off your budget.
Throughout the year I allocate a small amount of money each week that I don’t even miss to ensure we can have a break at the end of the year.  If you’re not good with money, why not go back to the good old days of opening a Xmas Club account.  This type of account allows you to squirrel little bits of money regularly but the catch is the bank/building society won’t let you get access to it until December.  Even just $35 per week will see a nice little nest egg of over $1,800 to put towards your next holiday. So what are you waiting for, go plan your next holiday and how you’re going to pay for it now.