Ten tips to save money on family holidays

Travelling with the family can be expensive. There are extra airline tickets, bigger hotel rooms, and the cost of theme park entry to take into account.

Then, there is the post-holiday therapy. (Or perhaps that's just me…?)

So, how can you save money?


1. Bring a blow-up mattress for hotel rooms. That way, you don't have to pay extra for a rollaway bed, or interconnecting rooms. Make sure you have a battery-operated, or electric, pump.  

2. Pack a soft, empty water bottle, to refill from taps and bubblers. Better still, get one that clips on to the side of your backpack. It's better for the hip pocket and the environment.

3. Order bulky items, like nappies, baby food, and sunscreen online, for delivery to your destination. It's cheaper, and saves space in your luggage.

4. Give each child a daypack, filled with toys, a change of clothes, and snacks. It will teach them to take care of their own things, and you won't need to buy overpriced snacks at your destination.

5. Clear your cache before buying plane tickets online. Sometimes, your computer stores the old quote, so you won't be aware if prices have dropped: they fluctuate frequently.


6. If you forget your phone charger, check the back of the hotel TV: most new models have a USB port. Also, pack a power board with  five sockets, so you need only one adaptor and no one fights over the plugs!

7. Sure, there is free Wi-Fi everywhere these days. But some hotels still charge a fortune for it. If your family has a gaggle of gadgets, buy a standalone Wi-Fi hotspot. 

8. Bring containers full of nutrient-dense pantry food like home-made muesli, nuts, and dates. They're great for an inexpensive breakfast. Head to the markets for fresh fruit.  

9. Hire a smaller car than you require. Inevitably, you will be upgraded to a larger model. Bring your own car seats, because hiring them is expensive. The kids can sit on them on the plane. 

10. Buy small toys for a long journey. Give the kids a new one each hour, if they've been well behaved. Older children will be more than happy with the books, games and movies on their devices.

Another great way of saving money on holidays is travelling with another family.

You can book several self-contained apartments in the same complex, or a sprawling home with two wings.

We did this in Crescent Head, on the NSW North Coast, at the aptly named Rancho Relaxo.

Everyone took turns cooking dinner in the country-style kitchen, followed by board games until the wee hours.

In the morning, the kids collected eggs from the chook pen.

Yes, I am an old hack. But I don't know all the shortcuts.

So if you have any tips and tricks to save money on a family trip, I'd love to hear from you.