When financial planning with clients, we always start with “Okay, tell me what your current goals are?”.
“Holidays” is definitely one of the top 5 popular responses.
Followed by the comment, “but we can’t afford to go on holidays”.
Well….. I disagree. I think that with careful planning and budgeting, holidays are achievable. In fact, I think that they are essential in decreasing stress levels and promoting good health.
Holidays don’t have to be big or expensive. Some of our favourite holidays have been camping during a long weekend.
I wanted to provide my tips and tricks when it comes to planning a holiday and making it affordable. Before you know it, regular holidays will become a well-integrated part of your family’s lifestyle too.
1) Plan Ahead
If you want the special deals and discounted prices, don’t leave it to the last minute. By booking in advance, you give yourself something to look forward to as well. Plus, you also have an ample amount of time to save for the holidays. Yes, you heard me right…SAVE! It’s a strange concept where you pay for your holiday rather than putting it on credit.
My family try to book our holidays for the following year by September. We get the calendar out and start marking out our trips. We try to capitalise on public holidays to decrease the time off from work.
2) Get the deals
As per tip #1, you need to plan ahead to get the good deals. But you can also subscribe to various sites to get some special deals:
- Flight Centre
- Student Flights
- Luxury Escapes
Websites/apps like booking.com allow you to book now and pay later.
I like to use booking.com because it’s so easy to use.
3) Book through a travel agent
This allows you to rely on their expertise and they allow you to pay off the holiday.
You can also obtain a warranty.
They are one point of contact if something is to go wrong, rather than calling the airline/hotels/transfer companies, they will do it all for you.
4) Contradictory to tip #3, Book it yourself.
If you really don’t want the effort of organising the holiday – then go with tip #3. If you are prepared to do the legwork – I suggest that you book it yourself. When I have booked my own holiday, I have found that I have had greater savings. I also like the flexibility of planning and booking my own holidays. It definitely involves more research, but I like that I’m not relying on someone else. It’s your holiday after all! I think that researching about your holiday destination is key to making the most of it.
5) Cook your own meals
If staying in one location for more than a couple of nights, I suggest getting a place with a kitchen and go grocery shopping. I have a family of 5, so it becomes very expensive to feed the whole family on cafe and restaurant meals.
Not only is it good for the wallet, but I also find it’s good for the waistline. My kids still eat weet-bix for breakfast and I still have my morning oats. The total cost $10 for the family for a week Vs at least $10 for 1x breakfast at a cafe. My husband buys the Nescafe coffee sachets for $7 for 10. That’s 70c for a coffee as opposed to $5 per coffee (depending on where you go).
6) Make a budget and stick to it
Avoid the temptation to use the credit card. I plan my spend before I go and allocate money for travel, food, accommodation and spending. Some people I know (this definitely isn’t me….*cough cough*) even keep spreadsheets to monitor their spending.
I know many people who spend years paying back their credit card for a holiday they couldn’t afford. This could cost thousands of extra $$ due to interest charges. Yes, I know you are on holidays, but you will still need to face reality when you return, and you don’t want that reality to be an empty bank account and a large credit card bill.
You can still have a nice holiday without going hell for leather on the spending. If you set an annual holiday budget, then you don’t need to feel guilty when you spend money on travelling.
7) Pick the right times to go
This year, we have been travelling during the last week of school. Of course, I don’t encourage the kids to miss school normally, but the teachers assure me that they are waiting for the clock to tick down in the final weeks and the kids are not missing any crucial content.
As I mentioned in tip #1, capitalise on public holidays to reduce your annual leave.
8) It’s about the memories you create, not how many suitcases you fill.
I’m going to be honest with you, I’m not a materialistic person. So I’m not a fan of going on holidays and spending big money on buying souvenirs and other material items. Holidays for me are about creating memories and experiences, these are my souvenirs.
9) Use RACQ membership
Are you an RACQ member? Did you know you can get all sorts of discounted travel?
Check out the website. I’ve saved hundreds of dollars using my membership discount.
You can also access discount travel insurance.
10) Share costs with a friend
When we travel to Perisher for the snow season, we travel with our family and friends. We hire out a large house and share with up to 12 people.
We gain significant savings by sharing the cost. Plus, the more the merrier! I love having more people to share the fun experience with.
So get out your 2019/2020 calendars and start planning and saving.
If you need help with this, chat to one of our financial advisers today.
Would love to hear your travel tips too and planned holiday destinations.