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15 Ways to Save Money on Travel & Enjoy a Stress-Free Family Holiday

Family travel isn’t for everyone, but for many families, being able to spend time with their kids, away from the regular routines and housework, is priceless. The feeling of exploring somewhere new, escaping the daily grind, leaving your comfort zone, and creating memories with your children is simply indescribable. Yes, it can be stressful at times, but it is totally worth it. 

Whether you fly away for a long weekend or head overseas for a month at a time, there can be a lot of costs involved. None more than factoring in the cost of flights, accommodation and feeding your hungry little adventurers. But this shouldn’t stop you from booking and enjoying a family holiday.

That’s why we at Mum Central have pulled together this valuable travel checklist to help you save money on travel, stress less and enjoy some much-earned time away with your family. Even better? Thanks to our friends at Travel Insurance Direct (TID), we have 3 x $500 eGift Cards to giveaway too!


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Win 1 of 3 $500 eGift Cards to go towards your next holiday –  how exciting is that? Simply scroll down to enter to win, but first, check out these 15 tips on how to save money on travel. 

How to Save Money on Travel
Travel smart and save. Source: Supplied

How to Save Money on Travel: Plan, Pack and Play Smarter! 

First and foremost, you’ll need to figure out a system to save. Perhaps you and your partner agree to put $50 a week into a holiday fund or perhaps collect loose change for several months (this adds up pretty quickly). You’ll also need to set up a budget of how much you can afford and work around this. Going way over budget can lead to a lot of stress when you get home. 

Before you Go: 

1. Sign up for email alerts.

Hands down, this is the easiest way to get cheap flights! Each airline will let you know in advance of any upcoming deals straight to your inbox, saving you from having to search for sales.

2. Go in the low season.

While you may not always get perfect weather, everything is generally going to be cheaper – airfare, hotels and tours. You’ll also beat the crowds (and the two-hour queues at the theme parks), which is a huge bonus. 

How to Save Money on Travel - TID
Booking in the low season means fewer people to share the pools with too! Source: Supplied

3. Book on the right days.

According to travel experts, the best day to book your flights is Sunday (to fly on a Friday). Aim to do so 14 weeks prior. 

4. Become a member.

Airline memberships often come with an annual fee. However, these will also save you money on flights, plus extras like seat selection, baggage and meals on the plane. Even if you are only taking one or two trips each year, the membership fee will pay for itself in no time, especially if you are travelling with kids (and their tonnes of luggage).

mum centralTOP TIP: This isn’t just the case with airlines either. Become a member of all accommodation booking sites that you might use too, as you can collect loyalty points and rewards, ultimately saving you money too! 

6. Consider all accommodation options.

Hotels are great, but when you have children, it can get crowded, squeezing everyone into a studio room with two double beds.  You may be surprised at how affordable self-contained apartments can be and even full homes. Both are ideal alternatives, given you can cook (and save) on eating out every night.  You’ll be thrilled at the amazing deals you can find on sites such as Airbnb and Stayz.

Caravan and Holiday Parks are another great solution, especially if you’re planning a driving holiday/road trip. Many resorts also have special family deals such as Kids Eat Free or Free Kids’ Club. 

7. Plan for transport costs.

This is a big expense that many don’t consider when planning a holiday. Do your research ahead of time to determine if it’s more affordable to hire a car, take public transport or rely on walking or ride share services like Uber. 

How to Save Money on Travel tips
Walking is the cheapest option, but how will the kids fare? Source: Canva

PACKING TIPS: How to Pack Money Smart 

8. Make sure you include a first aid kit (and medicine) in your luggage.

This can really go a long way to help you (especially in a non-English speaking country) and save you from having to visit a chemist for supplies. 

9. BYO water bottle and snacks

Fill up your water bottles each day so you don’t have to buy drinks when you’re out. Also, bring a couple of lunch boxes that you can repack with snacks for each outing. And whatever you do, bring snacks everywhere! 

10. Pack activities to keep them busy

This is especially important when flying, as some airlines will charge you to use their services. Pack colouring books, stickers, iPads, small puzzles – anything to keep their hands and minds busy. 

mum centralTOP TIP:  Bring your own headphones on the flight, as the airline headphones (if they provide them) may be too big for your little one’s ears.  Some airlines charge for headphones so again this will save you unnecessary expense.

How to Save Money on Travel - TID
BYO headphones and devices for a much quieter flight! Source: Canva

11. Two words: Vacuum bags. 

Put your clothes into vacuum bags and suction out the air. Then store them in your suitcase and carry-on. This is especially awesome if you’re heading somewhere cold and have to pack your bulky jumpers and other winter woollies that take up a lot of space in the luggage. 

It also allows you to pack more items for less baggage costs. If you are unsure of what you need to pack, have a look at this handy holiday packing checklist.

12. Whatever you do, always check the weight before you go! 

There is nothing more stressful than discovering at the airport that your luggage is over the weight limit. It’s either you have to repack in the airport corridor or pay a fee. Both aren’t ideal. Grab a pair of hand-held luggage scales, the cheapest investment ever and will always make sure you’re never caught out shuffling your case contents at the check-in counter (or coughing up on a hefty fine).

SAVING MONEY WHILE ON HOLIDAYS 

13. Find your nearest grocery store.

Food is another hefty cost while on holiday.  Eating out every meal is going to get costly, so we recommend storing some simple snacks and small meals at your accommodation to reduce this cost.

Find a grocery store and purchase bread, cheese,  butter, salami, crackers, chips, fruit and veg, milk, cereal and muffins. Now you’ve got breakfast and lunch sorted, plus a whole lot fo snacks. This reduces the risk of the kids opening the $15 pack of Pringles they found above the minibar too. #DontTouchtheMiniBar!

14. Cutting back on activity costs. 

By far, the biggest expense when you arrive at any destination is activities. You want everyone to have fun, but you won’t want to be forking out thousands of dollars every day in entry fees.

Here’s what we suggest: 

  • Let everyone in the family pick ONE activity that has an entry fee or costs money. This might be a trip to a theme park, a zoo, a day on the slopes, a trek to the reef or hiring a jet ski for an hour. 
  • Then, ask everyone to pick ONE free activity. This could be a hike or a walk, collecting sea glass at a beach, building a snowman (if you’re somewhere snowy) or finding a new playground. 

This ensures everyone gets to pick two fun things to do but also (hopefully) keeps the activity costs down. Of course, if one paid activity per family member is too much, then decide on just one as a family. 

mum centralTOP TIP: Make sure you also schedule downtime in between all your activities. Often lounging around the pool, snuggling in a massive bed that you don’t have to make and playing board games in the hotel room can be just as relaxing and fun for everyone.

How to Save Money on Travel with TID
Walking the beach is free and FUN for everyone.  Source: Supplied

15. Snap, don’t shop. 

Older kids tend to want to buy ALL the cool new things at a cool new destination, often to give as gifts to friends. I swear Gift Shops are my worst nightmare. You can save money on souvenirs by suggesting they take pictures of their trip and make their souvenirs when back at home instead. Or, put a limit on 1 or 2 special holiday gifts per child.   Make sure you check out these top tips on how to survive a family holiday, too. 

Now, let’s talk about travel insurance.

We all know life’s better with a few extra holidays, and our friends over at Travel Insurance Direct (TID) couldn’t agree more.

But let’s face it, things don’t always go exactly as planned (even for well-organised mums!) That’s where TID comes in. With their expertise, cover and top-level service, they can help you stay on track and keep your stress levels nice and low. They take care of the important stuff so you can focus on the holiday fun.  

  • KIDS GO FOR FREE: Your kids under 21 can be added to your plan for free.^
  • TRIP INTERRUPTIONS: Booking cancellations, travel delays and missed connections.
  • OVERSEAS MEDICAL: Unlimited+ cover for overseas medical, hospital & ambulance bills.
  • VALUABLES: Protect your luggage and valuables that you bring on your trip.
  • RENTAL CAR INSURANCE EXCESS: Help cover car hire insurance excess if your rental gets damaged or stolen.

Learn more about what’s covered on your travel insurance policy.  

save money on travel - young boy at airport
Get ready to HOLIDAY! Source: Bigstock

We’ve got an exclusive discount from Travel Insurance Direct to help protect you and your family on your next holiday.  Mum Central readers can SAVE 12%* on Travel Insurance Direct with promo code MUM12. Be quick though – this offer ends on 21 December 2023.  

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Be sure also to enter the competition to be in the running to WIN 1 of 3 $500 eGift Cards to help pay for your next family holiday.  


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Win 1 of 3 $500 eGift Cards to go towards your next holiday! 

Are you ready for a holiday? Our friends at Travel Insurance Direct (TID) are here to make your travel dreams come true. They’re giving three lucky Mum Central readers a $500 eGift Card each. To enter, simply complete the entry form below, and you’re in the running! 

These gift cards can be used across a number of travel providers, including Airbnb, Accor Hotels, Hotels.com, Luxury Escapes and Webjet.  Or you can use it for food and experiences at outlets such as Ticketmaster, Event Cinemas, Endota Spa, RedBalloon, Uber and Uber Eats.  

And if that isn’t enough, you can also use it on a shopping spree at Kmart, Big W, Coles, Woolworths, THE ICONIC, Myer, Dymocks, IKEA, Temple & Webster, Amart and so many more! See the full list in the T&Cs.   Entries close 15 December AEST 11.59 PM.

GOOD LUCK! 


This is a sponsored post for Travel Insurance Direct (TID).

Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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