Family holiday without blowing the budget

Family holiday without blowing the budget

Whether you would like to expose your children to other cultures, perspectives and experiences, or simply kick back and relax while the kids indulge in supervised water sports, an overseas family holiday can offer many rewards. It can also break the bank.

But it doesn’t have to. It is possible to have a family holiday overseas and keep costs within a reasonable budget – all it takes is some planning ahead, a little flexibility and savvy financial decisions.

Be flexible

Travelling at peak seasons can be up to 30 percent more expensive than at other times of the year, as flights, accommodation, car hire, and even restaurant costs rise accordingly. Leah Squire, owner of online travel agency byokids.com.au, encourages families with children not yet in school, or with kids in kindergarten, to travel outside the school holiday season to avoid paying a premium.

Or simply opt for destinations where the low season coincides with school holidays here. Squire suggests travelling to Europe or the US during the Christmas break rather the more expensive northern hemisphere summer months of July and August. If you would prefer a warmer holiday, she recommends Florida and Los Angeles in the US, and the Caribbean.

Plan ahead

Unless money is no object, don’t leave it to the last minute to book your family holiday, Squire advises. “The earlier you can possibly book, the cheaper it will be,” she says.

“The old myth that if you book flights at the last minute you will get a standby rate is simply not true. There is no such thing as standby rates. The closer you leave it to your departure, the dearer it will be.”

An additional benefit of booking your holiday early is having a time goal in which you can concentrate on saving your spending money.

Opt for an all-inclusive package

The epitome of hassle-free holidays, all-inclusive packages at multinational resorts – such as Club Med – can save you a lot of money by including flights, accommodation, all meals and endless free activities for active youngsters, all in the one price.

“It can seem a bit more expensive upfront but you can save thousands,” says Squire. “At the end of the day, your flights and accommodation aren’t the only costs to worry about – you end up spending a lot once you arrive at your destination, but all-inclusive holidays eliminate that problem.”

Speak to a travel agent or expert to uncover the best packages, bonus-nights deals, kids-eat-free specials and activities.

Choose money options wisely

These days you can arrive in any country in the world with just your regular debit card and credit card and have instant access to cash or credit. However, the cost of such a convenience comes in the form of currency exchange fees and ATM fees. Using a debit card to withdraw money from an ATM overseas can cost you around $5 per transaction.

A travel money card, a popular option now offered by all banks, is a cost-effective alternative. You pay a small fee for the card (Commonwealth Bank, for example, charges $15) but you avoid currency conversion fees and there are no transaction fees on purchases. You can also lock in the exchange rate to avoid any nasty surprises.

“You can load the card with your spending money and have peace of mind because it’s not linked to your bank account, so there is no safety issue,” Squire says.

If you use up all the money on your card, you can easily reload it online from your overseas destination.

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How to make money with a savings account?

Savings accounts make you money by earning interest on your savings. The more money you deposit, the longer you leave it in the account, and the higher the account’s interest rate, the more interest you’ll be paid by the bank or financial institution, and the more your wealth will grow.

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A savings account is a type of bank account in which you earn interest on the money you deposit. This makes it one of the easiest and safest investment tools.

What is a good interest rate for a savings account?

A good rule of thumb to keep in mind with savings accounts is to look for a rate that is higher than the CPI inflation rate. This number is constantly changing, so check the Reserve Bank of Australia’s page. If you aren’t earning interest above this then the value of your money will go backwards over time.

How much money should I have in my savings account?

A good rule of thumb when working out a minimum balance for your savings account is to make sure that you’ll earn more in annual interest on your savings than what you’ll be charged in annual fees.

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An ANZ locked savings account locks your money and prevents you from spending. You may use a standard savings account as the account where your salary is deposited. You can then withdraw funds when needed, but aren’t able to make purchases with it. However, this account may not grow much as the continual withdrawing of funds will limit the interest you can earn.

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Your ANZ locked savings account offers you a base interest rate of 0.1 per cent per annum plus an additional bonus interest of 0.49 per cent per year. The interest is calculated daily and credited to your account on the last working day of the month.

Should I open a Commonwealth locked savings account?

If you have trouble saving money, a Commbank locked savings account could be a potential solution. A locked savings account won’t let you make withdrawals and as such, it can help you grow your savings balance if you keep topping it up. 

The Commonwealth locked savings account advertises high-interest rates and minimal maintenance fees, along with a host of other incentives that will encourage you not to touch the money. 

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Yes. Several large and small banks offer online applications for savings accounts, and there are also online-only financial institutions to consider.

Online-only savings accounts are often less expensive than other savings accounts, though they may not offer the same flexibility, features, or face-to-face service as more traditional savings accounts.

What is a Westpac locked savings account?

The Westpac locked savings account (also known as "Westpac Life") can help customers reach savings goals faster through bonus interest. Customers receive 0.2 per cent standard base interest with a variable bonus rate of 0.35 per cent when the closing balance at the end of the month is higher than the opening balance.

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With a locked savings account in NAB, you can earn bonus interest and learn financial discipline. NAB offers two types of locked savings accounts, each with their own terms and conditions.

The NAB Reward Saver account pays a variable base interest rate of 0.05 per cent per annum and a bonus interest of 0.55 per cent. You’re eligible for the bonus if you make a minimum of one deposit on or before the second last banking day and have no withdrawals in the month.

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How to open a savings account for my child?

Some banks and financial institutions allow parents to open a bank account for their child as soon as it is born, and start depositing funds to go towards the child’s future.

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