Keen to take the kids on holiday without hocking an organ or two to pay for it? Dilvin Yasa has got you covered.

Take it from this mum, it’s no secret that travelling during school holidays does more damage to the back pocket than pulling the kids out of school during term, but that doesn’t have to keep you grounded. Whether it’s for next week or the next round of holidays, the following tips could see you shave hundreds (and in some cases, thousands) off your final bill.

1. Swap homes

Not quite up to paying for a tropical resort with a kids club and all-you-can-eat buffet? Consider heading to a home swap site such as Aussie House Swap or HomeExchange.com. You can list your home, search for the perfect holiday destination be it Byron Bay or Palm Springs and simply swap residences with someone keen to check out your neck of the woods. 

READ: The A to Z of travelling on a budget with kids

2. Check out the fine print 

Opting for a hotel with a ‘kids stay and eat free’ policy could save you hundreds. (iStock)

If you’re still hung up on that resort holiday, it’s a good idea to check out whether resorts in your ideal destination are offering special deals such as ‘kids stay and eat for free’. You can sign up to sites such as TravelOnline, speak with your travel agent, or if you have a preferred hotel brand, sign up for their newsletter. You’ll be the first in line to hear about these special offers.

3. Look for a kids club

(Marriott)

Where possible, always opt for an accommodation option which offers kids clubs. They may seem like they’re a more expensive option at first glance, but when you factor in how much money you’ll save on entertaining the little tykes day after day, you’ll come to understand it’s practically an investment plan. Also, don’t ever book accommodation right by a theme park or similar if you’re not planning to take the kids. They’ll carry the scars with them some 30 years later, I promise you this.

4. Self-cater where you can 

Whether you book a hotel room, private rental or a campsite, ensure you have ready access to the most basic of kitchens – preferably with a microwave. Eating out as a family during holidays quickly adds up so if you keep to a ‘one meal out a day’ rule and make the rest yourself, you’ll save a bundle. 

READ: What’s it really like to visit Bali with kids

5. Plan ahead

You might have missed the boat for these school holidays, but moving forward it’s good to know you can often save quite a bit of cash by taking advantage of ‘early bird’ specials. Book well in advance with Club Med, for example, and you can save up to 40 percent off the cost of your holiday, while cruises are infinitely cheaper when booked at least 12 months out. Check out Cruise 1st for 2019/2020 summer sailings now.

6. Use tech wisely

What’s the best month to book your family holiday to get the best deal? Is it cheaper for you to fly out on a Tuesday or a Thursday and does time of day even matter? Let Skyscanner come to the party and sort your dilemmas once and for all. Its Best Time to Book tool will give you the best suggestions according to what you need, helping you save big.

7. Fly by the seat of your pants

(iStock)

Sign up to the mailing lists of various cruise lines you’d like to experience and keep your options (and your mind) open. Many cruise lines will have last-minute sales in order to sell out select sailings and if you’re flexible about dates, destinations and stateroom configurations, you can often get a decent holiday for next to nix.  Don’t forget to sign up to airline mailing lists while you’re at it – particularly helpful if a ship sails from another country. 

8. Consider a staycation 

If you don’t have the time, money or inclination to go away during the school holidays, why not consider playing tourist in your own city for a day or two? The key? Staying in a part of the city you know next to nothing about, for example: if you’re a city slicker Sydneysider, head over to Blacktown in the Western Suburbs, check into the Atura Hotel, book yourself in for trips to Featherdale Wildlife Park, Wet ‘n’ Wild, and a movie at the drive-ins, followed by dinner at Cucina Locale, a revolving restaurant high above the Blacktown Worker’s Club. A change they say, is as good as a holiday and there’s only one way to know for certain. 

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