Here are the ways we save money when going on holiday:
1. We go in school term time. It's usually 50% cheaper for accommodation, not as crowded wherever you go and we figure that a week off school never stopped anyone from becoming a neuro-surgeon.
2. We shop before we go. I do a huge weekly shop just as I would normally before we leave. I go to Aldi so the prices are cheap and when we get to our accommodation we have all our food ready to go. We don't eat out on holiday.
3. We stay at the same place as last time. We have found accommodation on the Gold Coast for around $100 a night. It is a high rise apartment with an indoor pool, games room, gym etc, and it's right across the road from the beach. They remember us from past years and give us good upgrades and service. Why look elsewhere for something new and different when you had a ball last time. If you find good accommodation stick with it.
4. Discount coupons/ cards. We have an Entertainment book and will use that if we go to any theme parks. It gives 15% off entry prices.
5. We always travel with a soft pack esky in the car. It's full of healthy (and cheap) snacks and water bottles. We also take these into theme parks. Yes, I know they don't let you take your own food into Sea World anymore but I tell them I have a food intolerance (Well, I am intolerant to high priced junk food) and away we go.
6.We fill our car with fuel at major towns and not at little townships between - it's cheaper.
7. We still have treats. Although we don't go out for meals we might treat ourselves with high tea at a nice hotel or go for a walk after dinner and have a dessert and coffee somewhere. It's cheaper than a full 3 course meal and it still feels like we are on holiday.
8. Drive don't fly.We tend to take holidays where we can drive our car to get there (cheaper and better for the environment then taking planes)
9. I make a list of all the stuff we can do at each place that doesn't cost money. We alternate money spending and non-money spending days.
10. We never go to the mall on holidays. A mall in Queensland has the same shops as a mall in NSW and we don't need their plastic rubbish any more than we need our own.