Enjoy your holiday without worrying about the cost! You don’t need to spend a fortune on airfares, accommodation and attractions. Whether you’re planning travels in Australia or overseas now that the border has opened, here are our best tips to save money on travel.
Sign up for airline deals
Sign up for emails from your favourite airlines. You’ll receive first notice about upcoming sales.
If you want to save money on travel, ask for gift cards, vouchers or cash for your birthday, Christmas or other special occasions. Instead of a present, your loved ones can give you the gift of experiences.
Sign up for frequent flyer miles
If you fly a lot, sign up for frequent flyer programs. You can use your accrued points to pay for future travel. You can also accrue rewards points using Woolworths Rewards, FlyBuys and credit cards (just watch out for high annual fees).
Choose an off-peak to travel
Avoid peak times of year to travel like Christmas, summer holidays, Easter and school holidays. These busy periods can double the cost of airfares and accommodations.
Pack only carry on
For short holidays by plane, save yourself baggage fees and just pack a carry-on. Yes, it will mean packing light and packing effectively but just think about the money you save paying for baggage. It also means that you can easily jump on public transit without large luggage weighing you down.
Avoid travelling during school holidays
If you have kids, go on vacations during the school term to get cheaper airfares and accommodation if your school principal doesn’t mind.
Check for special events
If you plan on going to a certain destination, check first that there are no major events on at the time. If there is, you’re likely to face higher accommodation costs, reduced vacancies and more people. Check the Visit NSW website, Queensland Tourism website, Visit Victoria website and other state tourism websites to find out about major sporting, culture or music events.
Avoid credit card surcharge
When booking airline tickets, use BPAY to save on credit card charges. Using BPAY doesn’t incur an additional charge unlike credit cards.
Share a house
During peak school holiday season, rent a large house with friends or family members to reduce accommodation expenses. It can work out cheaper than individually renting hotel rooms.
Choose kids stay and eat free
If you have kids, select accommodation where kids stay and eat free. Novotel hotels offer free accommodation and breakfast for 2 children under 16. Rydges Hotels also lets kids for free and gives them a free buffet breakfast the next morning (conditions apply).
If you’re flying on a low-cost carrier, save money and pack your own snacks. Once you get to your destination, find a supermarket and shop for snacks that you can eat on the go when you’re sightseeing. This saves money in buying snacks and drinks.
Sign up for hotel deals
Sign up for hotel loyalty programs such as Accor and IHG to get savings on accommodation. Sometimes you get can upgrades, early and late checkout, free wifi and other bonuses. You’ll also acccrue points that you can use on future hotel stays.
House swap – ask friends and relatives who live in the region or interstate if you can trade homes for a weekend or longer.
Stay in an AirBnB
Try Airbnb for affordable accommodation. Just makes sure that the place you stay in has good reviews and is legal where you are staying.
Use public transportation
Save money on cabs or renting a car and use public transportation as much as possible. If you’re flying into a location, find out beforehand if there is a public transit option to avoid expensive cab trips with an airport surcharge. For public transit, check if there are weekly passes or tourist passes which can make getting around a lot cheaper.
Enjoy your holiday camping at a holiday park or a national park. If you don’t have camping equipment, see if you can borrow some from friends to try out the camping experience first before you splurge on pricey camping gear. Here’s a list of 50+ camping spots and holiday parks within a 3-hour drive of Newcastle.
Consider alternative accommodation
Think outside the box when it comes to accommodation. YHA offers affordable hostel accommodation for families while National Parks and Wildlife Service have cabins and camping grounds. You can also stay at university accommodation during the summer break. Check out the University Stays website or University Rooms website.
Look for attraction deals
If you’re holidaying in a region, buy an Entertainment Book, use the Shop A Docket App or check out local tourism websites to see if they offer special prices for tourist attractions.
Use your concession cards
Mention you’re a senior citizen, a pensioner or a student and you can sometimes get discounts on attractions and transport.
Use government vouchers
Post-lockdown, state governments are encouraging people to get out and spend money with the accommodation and entertainment sector which have been badly impacted by COVID-19. In NSW, the state government launched Parents NSW Vouchers to thank NSW parents, guardians and carers who provided home learning to their school-enrolled children during 2021.The NSW Government has launched Parents NSW Vouchers to thank parents, guardians and carers who provided home learning to their school-enrolled children during 2021. The 5 x $50 vouchers can be used for entertainment and accommodation iNew South Wales.
Purchase admission ahead of time
If you have your heart set on a certain attraction, see if you can book ahead for a cheaper price. For example, most attractions like Sydney SEA LIFE Aquarium or Sydney’s Taronga Zoo enable you to get a discount if you book ahead rather than purchasing at the door. If you plan to visit more than once a year, calculate whether an annual pass works out cheaper than two or three visits. You can also purchase bundled attraction passes which give you access to a number of attractions like the Merlin Annual Pass.
Check reciprocal memberships
Before you purchase admission to an attraction like a museum or gallery, check to see if you get reciprocal memberships. For example, The MAAS Members program provides an annual membership for individuals, families or duos, offering annual benefits at Powerhouse Museum and Sydney Observatory. However, it also provides free admission to Australian Museum, Questacon, Melbourne Museum, Scienceworks and SparkLab Sciencentre.
Get discounts with your state motoring association
Planning to go to tourist attractions. If you’re a member of a state motoring association like NRMA, RACV or the RACQ offer discounts on attractions across Australia like Luna Park, Sovereign Hill, Gold Coast theme parks and Australia Zoo.
Take advantage of free fun
Google “free fun in…” to find a list of free and low-cost things you can do at your holiday destination. Local tourism authorities or local bloggers have likely put together an extensive list of free and low-cost activities only known to locals. There may be days that admission to certain attractions are discounted or free. We have our own Newy with Kids free fun guide for Newcastle, Lake Macquarie & Hunter.
Avoid touristy spots when you go out for lunch or dinner. You’ll just end up paying more. Instead, choose more out of the way locations and eat where locals do. Look for local markets where you can find food trucks.
Save on expensive airport parking
Save money on expensive airport parking at choosing a cheaper parking lot. At Newcastle Airport, if you are parking for 7 days, choose the Long-Stay -Saver, the budget long-stay parking. It’s 7 days for $100. Save money parking at Sydney Airport by pre-booking online. You can save up to 70% on parking when you pre-book online. The earlier you book, the more you can save. If you’re travelling domestically, the Blu Emu car park at Sydney Airport offers the best value on domestic airport parking. (Due to the reduction in Domestic Flights, the Blu Emu car park remains temporarily closed. Customers are advised to use the P1/P2 or P3 car parks during this period.)
Consider a staycation at home
If you need a holiday but don’t have the funds, consider a staycation. Save money on accommodation but eat out for your meals and go to local attractions. It’s not the same as a holiday but it still gives you a break.
Want more tips on saving money? Check out our article How to Easily Save Money – 101 Tips to Save on Family Expenses.
Started in late 2012 by a local mum, Newy with Kids has grown into a thriving go-to family guide for the Newcastle, Lake Macquarie & Hunter region. Parents visit the Newy with Kids website to find things to do with babies, kids and teens. Whether it’s local attractions, upcoming events, kids eat free, school holiday activities or birthday party ideas, Newy with Kids is the best website for local parents to find local kid-friendly activities and information 24/7.