Cheap holiday ideas
How to have a MoneySmart holiday
Planning for a holiday can be exciting but it's easy to get
discouraged once the costs start adding up. Here are some
MoneySmart ideas to make your holiday budget go further.
How to get the best travel
Start your holiday planning by using online flight and
accommodation booking sites that offer deals from a variety of
airlines and hotels. They are a great way to shop around and
These sites often release deals via their social media channels
and enewsletters. Make the most of these opportunities by following
them on Twitter or Facebook or signing up to be alerted about their
If you frequently visit the same travel booking sites, consider
joining their rewards or membership program.
Save on flights
Flights are usually one of the biggest travel costs but if you
can be flexible with your dates, or the time of day you fly, you
can save lots of money.
You will also save money on flights if you travel:
- before 8 am or after 8 pm
- on Wednesday (typically the least expensive day to fly in
- on public holidays such as Christmas Day or New Year's Day
- in shoulder or off seasons.
During the off season, not only will the flights be cheaper but
there will be fewer tourists and better deals on accommodation.
When choosing a destination, make sure you look at the local
events happening at the same time you want to go. These can drive
up the cost of flights as well as everything else during your
Save on accommodation
When it comes to hotels, if you find one you like but the deal
on a comparison site isn't within your budget, call the hotel and
see if they can offer you a better deal. They may offer a discount
for staying multiple nights.
You can also save money if you're happy to consider other
accommodation options. Think about booking an apartment or cabin.
They are often less expensive than a hotel room.
Other wallet-friendly ideas include farm stays, youth hostels
and holiday parks. Often venues such as holiday parks have offers
for returning visitors if you book for the same time next year
before you leave.
If you live in a popular area, join a home exchange site. For an
annual fee, you can list your home and gain access to a database of
other members' homes worldwide to arrange a swap. You can save a
lot of money this way, and you'll get a better feel for a place by
living like a local.
Go with a group
To take advantage of group discounts, team up with family or a
few friends and go to the same destination together. For families
or groups, renting an apartment or house can be a lot cheaper than
paying for the same number of beds in a hotel.
Saving for a holiday
It's much better to save as much as you can for your holiday
before you leave, so you don't have to rely as much on your credit
Before you start planning holiday activities, work out your
If you have children, this is also a good time to discuss
budgeting with them by getting them involved in working out how
much activities will cost.
You could set a daily or weekly spending limit and then ask your
children to work out a budget for activities that are priced within
Nothing ruins a holiday more than lost luggage, illness or an
accident. Before you take off, spend a little extra time selecting
the right travel insurance so it's easier and quicker to sort out
problems if something goes wrong.
Find out more about travel insurance.
Australians and travel insurance
Our Australians and travel
insurance infographic explains why
Australians travel, where they go, what is covered and isn't
covered by travel insurance and how to get the best policy for
Cheap things to do on
Here's how to cut costs once you've reached your
Track your spending
Use our app as your holiday budget planner and keep track of
where your money is going.
Visit tourist information centres to get local information packs
or advice on how you can maximise your stay and not spend too
It also pays to be friendly and chat with the locals. They are
likely to tell you about affordable places to eat and give you tips
on free of cheap entertainment options.
Before you leave on your trip, look up the cost of museums,
galleries and public transport to see if you can get daily, weekly
or combination passes for a discounted price.
When you get to your destination, pick up tourist brochures and
magazines. They may have two-for-one deals and discount coupons
such as 'kids eat for free', 'free entry before 6 pm' and other
If you're 60 or older, you can sometimes access cheap tickets,
meals or transport. It doesn't hurt to ask, even if senior
discounts aren't advertised.
Sightseeing on foot
When you're sightseeing, walk to as many places as possible.
Walking is great exercise and it's also a chance for you to see the
city up close and take photos.
You're also more likely to come across free entertainment such
as buskers and street artists.
Save on food
To save on food, rent a house or apartment and do your own
cooking. Not eating out three times a day will save you a bundle
and shopping for the ingredients is a great way to discover the
local markets and experience a place and its cuisine.
Even if you don't have a kitchen at the place you're staying,
you can always head out to the park and have a picnic or BBQ. Then
you can save any leftovers for breakfast the next day.
If you decide to eat out, why not go out for lunch instead of
dinner? Lunch is usually much cheaper than evening meals.
If you are travelling in Australia, you can usually get good,
low cost meals at bowling clubs and RSLs. You can also try visiting
a shopping centre food court near closing time and grab some food
for a fraction of the cost.
Holiday tips from our
Our Facebook page has great tips from our community about how to
save money when planning your next holiday.
Going on a holiday doesn't have to break the
bank. If you plan ahead and do as many free or cheap things as you
can, you'll be able to have a truly affordable holiday with no
travel debt hangover.
Last updated: 24 Oct 2018