Top tips for saving for your family holiday 2017

Australia - Tips for family travel

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.

gold coast - Tips for your family holiday
Our most recent trip to the Gold Coast – Aug 2017

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.

Rarotonga - Tips for your family holida
Our first trip to Rarotonga

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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.

Being in the now
Experiences over things

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.

Movie world - tips for your family holiday
Rakeiora hanging out with his favourite superhero

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.

dora - tips for your family holiday
Gold Coast – Sea World 2016

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!

Australia - Tips for family travel
Our latest deal included 7 nights at Sea World Resort and entry to the them parks. Although not part of the deal, this super cool Koala turned out to be a hit

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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.

Raphael - Tips for family travel
Raphael isnt happy with the extra rental car cost.

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.

Batpod - Tips for family travel
No hidden cost here, just Batpod awesomeness

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.

Mooring Fish Cafe - Tips for your family holiday
When you find somewhere good to eat, that is also cheap it is great to let people know about it! Go to Mooring Fish Cafe if you are ever in Rarotonga, great value.


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.

Here are two of our most recent adventures which I have loved Cathedral Cove and Auckland City.

Hot Water Beach - Tips for your family holiday
Our recent adventure to Hot Water Beach right in our back yard

Try Airbnb

Accomodation is one of the major costs for your family adventure.  It is always a good idea to look around and see if there are any alternate options.  Recently we discovered Airbnb, and so far we love it.  We will tell you more after our first trip away using it, but so far the experience has been awesome, great host communication and support from customers service.

Airbnb allows people the opportunity to rent out their homes for you to use.  There are different options so you have to read carefully, from renting an entire home or apartment, to shared facilities or a room in someones home.  The app or website has feedback from other guests, which we love as this is how we choose our accomodation.

This week we are heading away for a snow adventure, and have managed to book an amazing little cottage just outside of Ohakune for $115 a night, which is a pretty amazing price for this time of the year.

There are a few things for new users like verifying your credit card which can trip you up at first, but the support team are happy to help.  Issues can vary from setting up a temporary payment to verify your card, or verifying with your first payment.  This was the option we choose which our host contacted us about initially as it showed at there end a warning which initially hindered our booking being confirmed.  Just something to think about the first time you book.

Once you are booked, hosts send you check in details which can include the exact location of where you are staying (which in most cases won’t be provided when you are looking to book) and also locations of lock boxes or where to pick your keys up from.  We will let you know more soon, but so far it is looking great.  If you’d like to join Airbnb follow this link, and also get credit for your first stay.  Woo hoo!

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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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  1. Great tips! I often think about putting my coffee money straight into a savings account, time to out that one into action! Did you know most good travel insurance policies will cover your rental car excess? Which means you don’t have to fork out for the excess reduction!

  2. I love these tips! I’ve really been trying to make traveling a priority. I’m glad you mentioned opening an experiences account, because I actually have one! I never had a name for it, but I have a separate bank account specifically for travel. That’s awesome that y’all get to travel so much as a family!

  3. Great advice. I love the putting money you would spend on not great habits into the vacation fund. Instead of going out to eat as a family we could do a campfire at home and put the money we would spend into an account. Love it!

  4. These are really great tips. We also have a jar that we put our gold coins in throughout the year. Really starts to add up and comes in handy.

  5. The most refreshing article that I have read in some time, these are some great tips that I surely will keep in mind. already started saving up for the next big outing with the kids.

  6. I always want to travel but can’t make time for a long trip to fully enjoy with the family. After reading some of your points I think i’ll try a bit more to get some free time.

  7. Try tracking your family’s recurring expenses over a period of one month to see what areas you can easily cut back on. For us, we limit spending on mobile phones and car expenses.

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