How to Book a Family Holiday & Beat the School Holiday Travel Rush
Struggling to plan and book a family holiday for the next school break? Do you always find school holiday destinations either booked out or too expensive? Cherry Picked Travel’s travel expert Leanne Mousley has her top tips to help you beat the school holiday rush.
Taking the family on a vacation during school holidays is the most expensive and busy time to go away. Combined with the lack of flights and accommodation available, often times it becomes such a hassle that families end up staying at home.
While we can’t change the fact that many families are stuck with holidaying between school terms, we can give you a few pointers to help make it a little easier.
Here are some helpful tips to help you get ahead of the pack:
Book a family holiday early
Book early. Trust us, there will be no special offers, last minute deals or great bargains for school holidays dates. The only way you will not pay more than you should is to book as early as possible. You’ll get the choice of cheaper flights and best hotel rooms. Otherwise you will find availability difficult and flights at peak prices. If you are looking to take a trip in the December school holidays, you should start booking around March.
Think about a family cruise.
Cruising isn’t influenced by school holiday dates, so pricing is generally the same all year round. However, cruise departures for school holiday dates book out early, so again, get in early. You can book a cruise 12 to 24 months before departure, depending on the cruise line. Cruises generally include all your meals, so it is much easier to stick to a budget.
Family & Group Tours from Brisbane
Another option is a group tour package. These also don’t usually increase in price for school holiday periods, and are great for the family to enjoy a cultural experience with other kids their age, without all the hard work. Consider taking a tour over the Christmas/New Year period as this offers a wonderful, memory-filled experience. There are several quality tour companies that specialise in tours for family groups.
It’s all about timing
If it’s possible, try to depart for your holiday before the public school holidays begin. Often private schools start a week early, and for some destinations this week is a little less expensive, more likely to have availability, and usually less crowded.
It’s really all about timing
For those with younger children, try to travel as much as you can before they reach school age! Take advantage of being able to travel at less expensive and less busy times of the year.
Travelling overseas with younger children can be cheaper than you think
Unfortunately, the further afield you go, the less likely you will be impacted by school holiday demand and pricing. Think international destinations such as China, Japan, Thailand and Canada. Sometimes a week at the Sunshine Coast or Gold Coast is more expensive than a week in Thailand!
Discounts for families & group travel
Consider travelling with a couple of families and renting a house or large apartment. This can often cut down on the accommodation side of the budget. If you have 10 or more people travelling on the same flight, your travel agent may even be able to negotiate a group discount with the airline and more flexible payment terms and fare conditions. Read our articles about flying with kids here and flying with babies here.
Family travel agents are experts
Ask your travel agent for ideas. They will usually know what destinations are already booked out, and where you can holiday within your budget.