Written by: Caroline Meyer

Travelling with the family can be quite expensive. Family holidays can be a lot of fun and make memories that last a lifetime.  There are some ways to make travelling a bit cheaper so that you have more vacations or spend a little longer on a vacation than you would be able to otherwise. 


This is probably something you can do a little easier when the kids are younger and before they start school, but it is also an idea to take them out of school for a week or so to manage an off peak vacation. Most schools will support travel, even in the middle of a school term. This allows you to travel when things are quieter and you can get substantial discounts off flights and accommodations. If you travel to countries in their off season you will often get discounts on tours and merchandise as well. You often don’t even have to book accommodation or tours in advance, but it is advisable if you are travelling with your children. 


While rental vehicles and taxis and other transportation that caters to visitors may be a lot more convenient, it can cost a lot more than using the local transportation. Do your research and look at using buses, trains, boats and other local transportation which are a lot cheaper and also give you a better feel for the country and the people you are visiting. You get to be a bit more immersed in their culture and way of life and can have a more authentic experience than looking out of a rental car window. 


Most places that have a high quantity of tourists visiting will charge you entrance fees. You can enjoy many sights such as architecture etc. from a distance without having to be up close. You can explore the cities by bike or on foot and go for hikes through the local countryside as long as it is safe. This doesn’t cost you more than a bike hire fee or for a taxi to pick you up after your hike. This allows you to see a lot more than you would rushing from one tourist spot to another and will save you a ton on the budget. 


Countries that have a lower cost of living such as those in Asia and Africa can offer amazing experiences that won’t break the bank. Travel to these places is cheaper, the accommodation usually costs less and there are so many different things to learn and discover in places that are no different to Australia. Make sure you do your research before you leave to avoid dangerous areas and also mark places of interest you would like to see when you are there. 


You don’t need to see 5 countries in one week! Plane fare can be extremely costly, especially when you travel with a few kids. Take it slow and spend time in a country getting to know the people and the places and how everyone lives. Enjoy some local cuisine and visit places frequented by locals. You can explore the country a lot more and you don’t feel stressed from all the rushing around. This also gives you a lot more flexibility than when you have to move along to the next place based on your plane tickets. You can stay longer in one place before hopping on the train or bus to the next stop on your list. 


Don’t try and cram a ton of experiences in to one trip. Try and avoid the places where tourists usually congregate as everything tends to be more expensive in these areas. There are usually a lot more ways that you are tempted to spend over your budget in these destinations as well. Yes, go see a few of them, but take a limited amount of spending money with and stick to the budget. You don’t need to see every castle or every temple! Try and avoid buying souvenirs as these usually end up in the back of a cupboard or on a shelf gathering dust after your trip. Rather spend your hard earned money on doing something interesting or trying something new as those memories you can take with you everywhere!  

Where possible, try and eat in the places the locals eat and not in the fancy restaurants that cost an arm and a leg, or better yet, get a self-catering accommodation and go shopping at the local supermarket to cook your own meals. Drinks at restaurants can also be exorbitant and whatever you do, avoid the mini-bar. Carry water bottles that you can refill to avoid spending a lot on purchasing bottled water unless you are in a place where the water is not safe to drink.  You can also look at purchasing your plane tickets with cheaper airlines and taking advantage of early booking and discounts that might be on offer. 

There are many ways to save costs when you travel and still have a wonderful, if not better, time than you would staying in expensive hotels and visiting tourist hot spots. Cost saving will allow for more frequent or longer holidays in the future as well. So avoiding the expensive restaurants and taking a train now and then can really be worth it in the end!