A traditional family holiday on the beach is a wonderful way to relax and spend time with loved ones, but coming back to a massive Christmas debt hangover is a sure-fire way to wipe out the happy memories.
According to the RaboDirect Financial Health Barometer, 21 per cent of Australians would give up overseas holidays if they were under financial stress. So how can you enjoy a holiday closer to home to better balance your finances but still celebrate with family? Here are some affordable and fun ideas:
Swapping houses with another family for the holiday season can be an affordable way to get some rest and relaxation without breaking the bank.
Airbnb lets anyone offer their home as accommodation, whether a room or the entire place. It has a range of houses available across Australia, from beachside getaways to inner-city apartments. You can choose your location, as well as the amount you’d like to spend.“21 per cent of Australians would give up overseas holidays if they were under financial stress”
If you’re able to risk a last-minute booking, you can often find great deals on reservation site Wotif, as hotels drop their room rates closer to the date.
There’s nothing like the great outdoors, and with some of the best waterfront locations in Australia, a camping ground can be a great holiday within your budget.
If you need your home comforts and can’t face communal showers in a campground, consider hosting your relatives but having the kids camp out in the garden. They’ll enjoy the adventure and you’ll free up space indoors to accommodate more adults.
Go on a cruise
Cruising may have a luxurious and expensive image, but it can actually be a super budget family holiday, particularly when you find an all-inclusive package with a “kids cruise free” offer.
Everyone heads to the coast, meaning there are often great deals to be found inland. For a large group, a farm stay can work out very affordable, and you can drive yourself there rather than fly, and self-cater to keep meal costs down.
Ski resorts offer rooms at a fraction of the regular price in summer, and you’ll often find spacious, self-catering accommodation where the whole family can pile in. As well as cheaper rooms, you’re also spared the cost of ski hire and lift passes.
If you don’t mind doing a few odd jobs such as watering plants and feeding pets, house sitting could be perfect for your family. Many homeowners appreciate children staying as it means more play opportunities for their pets.
Holiday at home
Many people have never explored their own city. If that’s you, now’s the time to start. Visit your local council website and go to the pages aimed at tourists and visitors. You may find there’s a whole parallel world of tourist attractions out there that locals never experience.
If you want to splash out a bit, or if you have such a large family that there’s going to be some cost regardless, it’s a good idea to save up in advance. A high interest savings account is one option – you can start budgeting a few months ahead and earn interest on your holiday fund.
If you do need to flex the plastic for your family Christmas holiday, look for a credit card with a low interest rate and a generous interest-free payment period. Some cards may include travel insurance, which can also help cut your holiday costs.
What Christmas savings tips can you share?
Have a fantastic Christmas!