Cheap holidays – how to make it happen?

Family vacation on budget

Learn how to plan for a family vacation on budget to keep your kids entertained

It’s the time of the year again, when your children are out of school and you are cracking your head to come up with engaging holiday activities to keep them occupied, or risk them driving you up the wall.

With the rising cost of living, and the impending GST, most families are tightening their belt. And the first thing scrapped from many families’ expenditure is the family vacation. However, there are ways to save money and still go for a family trip. We all know how important these yearly trips are for family bonding (and parental sanity). So is it even possible to plan cheap holidays for whole family in Malaysia?

Planning for a vacation is undeniably fun and exciting, but it can be quite stressful staying within a budget. (If you do not have a budget, you need to set one before planning further!) Set up your expenditure budget and begin to change your spending habit a few months in advance in anticipation of your vacation.

If you have planned to go for your vacation in December, start cutting back on spending at least two months in advance. You’ll have more money to spend during your trip if you stop going out for expensive dinners for two months. For a family of three, each time you eat out at a decent restaurant will probably cost you an average of RM50. If you usually eat out once a week, you would have saved RM400 for your trip, which will come in handy for dining out at your holiday destination.

Do Your Bookings Earlier

Look at your budget and find other ways to save. Things you can cut back on are entertainment costs, restaurant meals, clothes and coffees. However, to make the most out of your money, it is always advisable to plan ahead.

Last-minute airline tickets and accommodation at hotels usually take the biggest bite out of your travel budget. Whenever possible, decide on your travel dates at least three months ahead of time. Start checking airline website, group buy websites and travel websites for special promotions on holiday packages.

Even if you don’t get to save a significant amount, as an earlier travel planner, you still get the best picks on destination, accommodation, seats for flight and other tourist attractions. By planning early, it will also give you more time to compare prices.

Register for free newsletters from travel websites to get latest updates on discount deals on airfare, hotel, and rental cars. At iMoney, we are a strong advocate of comparison shopping. To be a smart consumer, always compare before making a financial decision. And any decision involving money is a financial decision.

If you are the type to plan way ahead, for example a year ahead, you can even start putting assign part of your income as your vacation fund. A RM150 contribution to the fund will add up to RM1,800 by the end of the year.

If you are using your credit cards for your vacation, such as booking of airline ticket and hotel, and you are unable to pay off the payment on your card before you leave for your vacation, it is important that you clear the balance within six months.

If all else fails, forget a grand vacation. With today’s fuel prices, it pays to keep road trips short. Explore your backyard by considering a closer-to-home destination, such as an amusement park or a water park. You will be supporting local tourism and will save a tonne in the process, too. Some tourist attractions even offer cheaper rate for Malaysians, such as Aquaria KLCC and Sunway Lagoon Theme Park.

Regardless of the destination, it is the company that matters. Be clear on your objective which is to spend some time resting and relaxing with your family. With a few changes to your spending habits, you will be able to plan for a great vacation that will keep your kids occupied and entertained, without grimacing about the financial costs after that.

Love this article? Learn more tips to save money during this school break. 

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