Saving for a family holiday isn’t always easy. We have been lucky enough to travel two to three times a year to different locations with our family. So here are our top tips for your family holiday! Hopefully these help you to get out the door and explore the world, or even just your own back yard.
Make it a priority
Our first and most important tip for your family holiday is to make it a priority. Anything you make a priority in your life will at some time become a reality. We spent many years with a lot more disposable income than we have now with two boys, not going anywhere. When Rakeiora was born we really assessed our life and what we thought was important. It is amazing how children can change your view on the world.
Something that became high on our list was to travel and live our life as an adventure. We wanted our boys to have experiences that would become amazing memories. Instead of reading about a place, we wanted them to see it. Since this decision we have ventured out more then we ever had in the first 36 years in my life.
Start saving straight away
As soon as you have made the decision that a holiday is your priority, start putting money away. At first it doesn’t matter how much you save, but it is best to start saving as soon as you can. We decided initially on $50 per fortnight, which meant that we had to make a cut of $50 from some other area.
Once we decided on Rarotonga as our first family holiday we had managed to save a few hundred dollars which helped us to keep our passion alive. It was actually so encouraging to see the fund building up, which made us want to contribute to it more, which we did in the end. We decided to increase how much we were saving. It makes you realise exactly what you perhaps don’t need so much and where that money can be better spent.
Open an experiences account
So what is an experiences account? Really it is a savings account, but for us it’s a change in habit and lifestyle.
My first tip would be to have a look into a really good savings account. One that gives you a good interest rate, but not so much of a hefty withdraw fee. Once you’ve solved that problem it is all about starting to save.
An experience account is making that commitment as above to value experiences over things. It’s pretty simple with the main idea being a change of habit. When it comes to any of our birthdays or special days, we ask family and friends to consider putting money into this account instead. Of course they may not want to, and that’s ok. But we promote our value of experiences over things to each family member and how this will go towards an amazing holiday with our boys.
We also have a few rules that we abide by which also helps to fund the account.
1. Anytime we think about buying a toy or something for us we also consider putting that money in the account instead.
2. Papa has a sweet tooth and has been known to eat a chocolate bar or two, so this money also gets transferred any time he thinks about buying something!
It makes for a pretty amazing habit to break some that aren’t so good. All of the money that we are saving each fortnight goes into this account as well. It’s been amazing for us and helped us to save for some of our trips together as a family.
For a little bit more info check out this link on our Facebook page or click the link below to follow us on Facebook for more information.
Use reward cards
We currently have an Airpoints cards (Air New Zealand), Emirates reward card and we both have credit cards with reward schemes. Each card offers something different, and you need to make sure that you’re not going to get yourself into debt. Currently we are using a Flight Centre credit card, which we chose because we’ve booked nearly every trip with them. So since having this card we’ve switched to making nearly all purchased on this to accumulate the rewards. The fees are not substantial and currently we are making more rewards than the fees.
This card also offers double rewards when booking travel so bonus again for us. Most months we accumlate around $30 worth of rewards, which may not seem like a lot, but when all you are doing is spending money you would normally get nothing for, it starts looking a lot better.
Basically, we’ve decided to give this a go and so far it’s working for us. Why not try and make some money off the money you’re already spending? If you’re not keen to sign up for a credit card, definitely go with the other cards such as Airports.
Look out for deals
We have a list of locations that we plan on visiting and we browse our favourite travel agents often. It can also pay to subscribe to emails from them too. Like I said, we use Flight Centre and they will often match competition, so for us that means keeping an eye on the competition too. Our agent is great and will keep us in the loop on upcoming deals if we ask her to.
Our experience with deals also has meant that we have had to be flexible with when we will travel and also means we are purchasing flights within a short period before we fly out, or alternately well in advance. But hey, if you’re making a good saving then it’s probably worth it.
Deals are great but can be a double edged sword. Often they include super early or late night flights. Sometimes we’ve been able to switch flights for a small increase, so it’s always worth checking out other options you can take too. We have caught some crazy timed flights but we’ve tried to buffer it either side so it’s not so draining!
Know the hidden costs
There are also a few costs that can take you off guard so it is best to keep your eyes peeled for them. The main one we’ve discovered is the rental car insurance excess (lowering your excess tends to always come at a cost). So if you are purchasing through a travel agent make sure to ask if there are any extra costs.
Research things to do, where to go
When it is time to come up with the top things to do, always try to do your research. We often let the travel agent know what we would like to do so they can look into it for us. If we can find a deal online we will book it ourselves, but we will also ask the agent if they can do it or have a better deal.
There is so much choice when you are away overseas, but time isn’t always on your side so knowing what you want to do is important. Unless of course you are away for a long time then awesome! We’ve usually done week trips so we’ve tried to figure out somewhat what we want to do each do so we can get to wherever we want to go. You can always search to see what special events are on at the time of your trip too.
Do a full budget for your holiday
Although I am not a big fan of budgets, I think it is important to have a guide. Holidays have the ability to put you in the red. Having fun does that to you, it puts you in a different state of mind. So for us we just come up with an overall budget of what we think the trip will look like. Basic stuff like how much we are looking to spend on everything – food, shopping, travel, activities etc.
Food is an area we often try to budget out a bit more. We tend to look at the cost of food at the resort or hotel we are staying at and what’s in the surrounding areas. We’ve found it really helpful to stay somewhere that has at least a mini kitchen so you can cook something if you want to. We generally always eat breakfast wherever we’re staying. Personally, we get a bit sick of eating out all the time so it’s good to have something a bit normal like the usual breakfast. We didn’t realise till later from our last Gold Coast trip that Sea World Resort didn’t have any kitchen facilities, which did make it harder. We’ll definitely be making sure we look into this next trip!
We often decide on an amount also that we can spend without asking each other. A holiday is often that, a time when you can live a little out of your means. A budget just helps with the planning.
Consider a family staycation and explore your backyard
So this is a tip that may seem like it is not. I know confusing right! A holiday is all about spending time together and having fun. We recently started exploring our back yard as a family and it has been amazing. Looking around amazing spots in New Zealand has been some of the best times that I have had this year. It also gives you the feeling of going overaseas and living your life as an adventure. So if you just want to get out, maybe think about it. The best thing is that you can do it overnight or make a week of it.
Tips for your family holiday
Ok so those are some of our top tips. We’ll update this post if we need to. So now it is time to prioritise your holiday and get this adventure started!
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