June 28, 2016 How I took my family on a luxury family holiday for under $2k
Going on holidays was something my wife and I have always enjoyed.
Especially when it comes to beach locations like Thailand, Bali or Hawaii where we can get away from it all.
We were determined not to give up on that after the birth of our daughter two years ago!
While we knew that family holidays wouldn’t be the same as when we travelled just the two of us, we were more than determined to take all the practical considerations into account to make it happen.
There’s a lot to consider:
- Where to go,
- Where to stay, and
- How to have a great holiday without breaking the bank.
Well, what if I told you that you can enjoy a luxury family holiday for under $2k?!
My family and I did just that and this is my practical guide for doing it yourself.
Step 1: Sharing is caring: Don’t travel alone
For us, the thought of travelling with good friends was a unique opportunity too good to pass up.
Being able to have our kids (all aged under 3) share a holiday and have a ball together was enough incentive for us to take the plunge. However, as the planning of our holiday unfolded, I soon realised there were many other benefits.
Share the best accommodation for less
Imagine you’re keen to stay at a 5-star resort with your family. Whilst it may be within your means to afford such accommodation, imagine how much further your dollar could stretch if you had the collective spending power of two or three other families?
The most luxurious facilities are usually housed in the larger accommodations at luxury resorts and pooling together the budgets of others could see these properties well within your means.
A week’s stay at the Enclave would’ve cost our group of ten almost $5000* for seven nights. Luckily, we saved over $1000 after applying the RACV Members’ 25 percent discount off the accommodation cost.
The Enclave Villa was an excellent choice for us. We liked the self-catering facilities and large dining areas. It amply accommodated the three families, but also featured communal areas with more than enough space for us all to gather.
By sharing the accommodation costs with our friends, each family saved around $1000 for our 7-night stay at the Enclave, compared to the $250-300 per night we would typically have spent on a similar quality one-bedroom apartment.
Share the planning duties
Are you a super-organised when it comes to planning the finer details of your holiday or do you tend to leave things at the last minute and arrive at your destination hoping for the best?
If you’re the latter, you might find this approach of holiday planning quite stressful when you’re travelling with young kids.
However, everyone in your party can save considerable time and stress if you’re able to delegate different tasks before travelling.
For example, different people could oversee the organisation of things such as the airport-hotel transfers, car hire, booking tours or attractions, making restaurant bookings, etc. Not only will you save time and stress, you can also save money.
This was the case when we decided to hire one car that each family could use on an alternate basis.
Noosa’s main strip, Hastings Street and the main beach were a little too far to walk from the resort, so the use of a car proved invaluable for all families. Using a discount available in the Entertainment Guide meant we secured a car hire at a discounted price. Organising this hire car well ahead of our travel dates meant the car was ready with the car seats required when we touched down at the airport.
Share the childcare
Entertaining babies or toddlers can pretty much be a full-time job when you’re on holiday.
They’re usually only able to entertain themselves in very limited bursts of time and even then, will need constant supervision. This is especially true in a new and unfamiliar environment.
This is where having travelling in a large group where the adults outnumber the kids is a great advantage of a group holiday. Having two (or four, or six!) extra pair of eyes watching the children can be a great advantage for both parents and kids.
You and your partner can take advantage of this to plan a date night or just enjoy some quality time together. And the kids enjoy entertainment from someone besides their parents!
Being away from home can also be overwhelming and unsettling for toddlers. Having people around them they’re familiar and comfortable with can provide a great comfort to them.
Share the fun
Holidaying with friends is a great way to share some memorable experiences together.
One of our very well-organised friends designed a cooking rota, which placed each family in charge of a dinner for the rest of the group. In addition to enjoying our meals together in a convivial environment, we managed to eat like kings and keep the kids happy too.
Each of the couples were then allocated a ‘date night’ which not only afforded a well-earned break for each couple, but also provided the chance for the adults to sneak in at least one fine dining experience.
While the rota helped reign in our food spending, sharing meals altogether was also a great bonding experience too.
Another great memory was being able to go swimming with my daughter at the resort’s pool and watching as she and our friends’ two other children build their confidence in the water. It’s these types of milestones and experiences money can’t buy that make travelling in a group worthwhile.
Step 2: Choose the right place
One of the key requirements for my family in choosing our holiday destination was that the flight couldn’t exceed three hours.
Given that our group included four tots under three, this seemed a good idea.
So at our friend’s suggestion, we decided on Noosa. It met our flight requirement and being an established family destination cinched it for us. Noosa’s larger hotels and resorts are situated close to the Main Beach and its main strip offers family-friendly restaurants, cafes and shopping catering to all budgets.
We flew to Noosa landing at Maroochydore Airport which came in at under two and a half hours. The flights themselves cost my family a little under $700 return through Jetstar and flying domestically meant our toddler (aged under two) flew for free in her own seat.
When deciding on where you would like to go on your luxury family holiday, you’ll need to consider what works for you – both financially and practically.
For the right place was a tradeoff between these factors:
- Domestic versus international travel – we choose a more local holiday so we didn’t have to entertain our toddler over a long airplane ride
- Resort versus destination – we choose the resort first, however Noosa is a great place with great shops, food and walking trails
- In season or out – we were slightly out of peak season however the weather forecast was still good and it held up for our trip
Step 3: Choose the right accommodation
We were really pleased with the RACV Noosa Resort. It proved very good value for our group.
In particular, the resort’s main pool area was excellent. Our toddlers happily splashed around for hours at the resort’s main pool until their fingers and toes were all pruny, adjourned for their afternoon naps only to resume splashing around some more.
For adults, there’s a day spa, tennis courts, a games room and bike hire.
The resort also offered a free hourly shuttle bus to and from Hastings Street bus depot which was also a helpful commuting option.
What’s the best accommodation for you? These are the factors which drove our decision to choose the RACV resort:
- Facilities – whiles we were slightly out of the main strip in Noosa, the facilities in the resort were so good that we could stay there without leaving and be happy.
- Space – We had 10 people on our holiday so the number of rooms and size of family spaces was critical.
- Self catering – There were always people cooking so a good size kitchen was a must.
- Transport – Our accommodation has a transport bus to the main strip and we hired a car as well for the convenience.
- Housekeeping – having someone clean up after our kids every day was wonderful.
- Discounts and value for money – having a membership or seeing what’s on offer at some of the better known group-buying sites such as luxury escapes.
A final word…
Before we embarked on our luxury family holiday, we wouldn’t have believed that we could swing it for under $2000.
But we did just that.
Our family stayed at a fully equipped a five-star resort for about $140 per night (just under $1000 for the week). This cost us far less than it would’ve if we paid for a similar accommodation alone.
Travelling within Australia also meant our daughter flew for free so our flights came in just under $700. Additionally, sharing costs such as food, car hire and airport-hotel transfers saved our family hundreds, freeing up some extra cash for holiday spending.
You’ll also create some long-lasting memories.
We were very fortunate to have travelled with our good friends.
If you’re creative with the way you travel and opt for travelling with friends and their children, you can keep costs down and have a truly unforgettable and extremely enjoyable luxury getaway.
*all accommodation calculations are based on RACV Member rates
Want to work out how you can take your family on a holiday every year? Schedule a call or email me to chat about your finances and how you can take control.
Disclaimer: all information contained within this article is of a general nature. It does not take into consideration your personal financial circumstances. Please consult a professional financial adviser (just like us 🙂 ) when making a financial decision.