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Compare Travel Insurance Media Room › School holidays budgets

school holidays send family budgets soaring

01 December, 2017 By Natali Mansberg

school holidays price soar

New research from reveals that up to 36% of Australian families regularly blow their budgets when travelling during school holidays.

According to nationwide survey results families said they could expect to spend $1,000-$3,000 more during school holidays than they would during off-peak periods.

Natalie Ball, director, says,

“As a parent, it’s impossible to avoid the massive spike in expenses over the school holidays. Airfares and accommodation will generally skyrocket during this period, making it difficult to stick to travel budgets. And those staying at home can expect to pay a fortune on family outings.”

To beat the school break price hike 78% of respondents said they would consider pulling their kids out of school for a mid-term holiday. While schools largely discourage the practice, Ball says that families under the pump may find little alternative.

“Given the great savings parents can make during low travel seasons, it can be far more cost-effective to book holidays at these times. Unfortunately, the pay-off is that kids miss out on valuable class time. Parents need to weigh up their options and determine what is in the best interest for their children.”

Where do prices go up the highest?

Let’s face it, prices soar across the board during the silly season.

“Unfortunately, when demand increases in high season, prices tend to skyrocket. The average hotel room in Sydney throughout the year is around $200, however travellers can expect to pay 33% more over the Xmas and new year break. Similarly in Melbourne, travellers typically look to pay around $170, which snowballs to more than $290 in the school holidays. If you’re really looking to find some thrifty travel deals, it always pays to book early, mid-week and off-season.”

“However, there are new opportunities for bargain hunters prepared to go further afield. With Jetstar now flying directly from Australia to Ho Chi Minh City, and Qantas offering deals for their new direct flight between Perth and London, plus with cheap-as-chips flights to the likes of Hawaii, there are more affordable travel options opening up encouraging Aussies to spread their wings.”

“If you are a cost-conscious traveller, a great tool to use to check on prices is’s Hotel Price Index.  It provides information on where hotel rooms are increasing and decreasing all over the world.”

Hidden gems that don’t have a surge

Ball says “If you’re looking for an ‘economical hidden gem’ in the holidays, it pays to do your research and try to pick a destination away from the crowds. For example, if you’re holidaying to Byron Bay, search for accommodation slightly out of town in Lennox Head. Or instead of searching for accommodation in the heart of Margaret River you could try looking for bargains in Dunsborough.”

Perth may well be a place to bag a bargain. Earlier in 2017 hotel booking website Trivago revealed the average price for a hotel room had dropped to $165 a night, the lowest monthly average in more than five years. Perth is also cheaper than other popularly searched destinations including Cairns ($171), Margaret River ($214) and Surfers Paradise ($285). Bargains can also be found in Darwin ($123), Brisbane ($158), Adelaide ($159) and Canberra ($183).

Global sensation Airbnb shouldn’t be overlooked for family-friendly peak-season savings either.  Ball says, “There's an abundance of options on Airbnb and a huge range in pricing. Certainly being able to book an entire home for the same price as a hotel room is an appealing prospect for budget-focused families.” 

Holiday savings tips

Never miss a deal: Sign up to secret airfare sites like I Know the pilot, get price drop alerts from Skyscanner or daily deals emails with Travelzoo

Use a comparison: Being able to search hundreds of options in seconds can be both, a time and money saver. Just like travel insurance comparison site, there are plenty of accommodation aggregators out there for bargain hunters, such as Expedia and

Go direct: Call the hotel directly to see if they will offer you a competitive rate. Booking with smaller guesthouses may be cheaper than huge resorts too

Be flexible: If you can go on a different date to avoid the crowds your wallet will most certainly thank you for it!

Book a secret hotel: Secret hotel rooms are essentially rooms that are being sold at a reduced price from hotels who don't want the rooms left empty

Do your research: It’s easy to find a cheap holiday, said no one ever! Be prepared to research and compare rates to find a good deal

Seasoned travellers

Whether you’re headed on an international or domestic trip these school holidays, travel insurance could be a saving grace during busy travel periods. Regardless of the season, travelling with children can be challenging. Family holidays can be chaotic and the risk of something going wrong can be costly. If parents are looking for holiday saving tips, they should be sure to pack travel insurance.


Contributor Natali Mansberg

Natali Mansberg

Natali is a former kids magazine writer whose credits include working for the mouse (Mickey that is). An avid traveller, Natali spent part of her childhood in Israel and enjoyed several stints across the globe. Having worked in travel insurance for three years, Natali likes to simplify the fine-print and help Aussies make sense of their insurance policies. She currently lives in Sydney with her husband and one-year old son.

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