Have you got a holiday booked for this year?
How do you choose your destination?
Do you start with where you want to go and work out whether you can afford it? Or start with the budget and go from there?
Now that both of our kids are at school, we try to restrict our travel to school holiday times. Which is expensive! So to make it as affordable as possible, the best thing we can do is to book as far ahead as we can. But somehow it’s February and we don’t have anything booked yet except for a roadtrip to Dubbo at Easter.
We’re keeping an eye on the dollars this year to make sure we can afford the holiday that we want in Europe next year, so in 2016 we’re exploring Australia. I dare say there will be a lot of roadtrips in our future! I’m even considering joining some friends camping! Eeek! I am SO not a camper.
But perhaps this year will see you jetting off somewhere fabulous. Maybe a mid-year break in the July school holidays? I always enjoy breaking up a long cold winter (although Sydney doesn’t really get that cold!) with a trip somewhere sunny.
July school holidays
To get a sense of the comparative costs of a variety of warm destinations, I’ve compiled the flight and accommodation costs of some wonderful places, ideal for flying away to in the July school holidays. Perhaps one of them will be right for you.
These figures are based on a week’s holiday from Saturday 2 July to Saturday 9 July for 2 adults and 2 kids flying from Sydney.
This is the week that the NSW and VIC school holidays overlap this year, so is likely to be the most popular and therefore expensive time mid-year to travel. Keep in mind that Saturday can be the most expensive day of the week to fly. I’ve used it for this exercise because it’s also the most popular day to travel. But if you can travel mid-week instead, it may save you a considerable amount.
Gold Coast $2,800
The Gold Coast is still a surprisingly affordable option for a mid-year break. Flights and accommodation are not much different now than they would have been a couple of months ago. It might not be beach weather (average 20°c), but if you stay at Oscar’s (below), then the kids can go crazy in the warm waters of the indoor pool.
The cost is based on flying Virgin to Coolangatta and staying in a fully-equipped 2 bedroom 2 bathroom apartment at Oscar on Main in Main Beach (my review here).
Far North Queensland $4,100
If you spend a bit more you can travel a whole lot further into the gorgeous warm winter weather of Cairns, Palm Cove and Port Douglas. With average day time temps of 25°c you will be able to escape the southern Australian winter snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef.
The cost is based on flying Jetstar to Cairns and staying in a 3 bedroom house at The Reef Retreat in Palm Cove.
Central Australia $5,100
I can’t wait to take the kids to Central Australia. They are big enough now to walk through Kings Canyon and appreciate the beauty of Uluru and Kata Tjuta.
Mid-year is a popular time weather-wise too, with average daily temps of 20°c, rather than the 36°c average in summer. MUCH more pleasant for hiking and exploring the beautiful Australian desert.
The cost is based on flying Virgin to Ayers Rock and staying in a hotel room (2 queen beds) at Sails in the Desert.
Once you start looking at international destinations it becomes much more important to get on the airline email lists to try to grab a bargain. I’ve heard you can get sale fares to Bali for only $100-$200 per person each way! At 31°c during the day it is the ideal place for a relaxing beach holiday.
The cost is based on flying Virgin to Denpasar and staying in a family room (1 queen and 2 single beds) at Bali Mandira Beach Resort & Spa in Legian.
When the kids were smaller Fiji was our favourite mid-year holiday spot. Like the other international destinations, book as early as you can and keep an eye out for specials. Mid-year is the dry season so you won’t get any of those pesky cyclones, and the average temperature is 29°c which is just about perfect for splashing in the water with the kids all day.
The cost is based on flying Fiji Airways to Nadi and staying in a 1 bedroom suite with kitchen (1 king and 1 sofa bed) at Radisson Blu Resort (incl breakfast and kids club) (my review here).
Once you start travelling this far I think you need to consider taking the kids out of school so you can avoid the expense of school holiday travel. There is a massive difference in airfares in and out of school holidays, and, when there’s a sale, school holiday periods are always excluded.
But considering you are travelling further than to Fiji, and you can stay in a beachfront apartment for cheaper than a Fiji resort, it’s still a great option. At an average temperature of 28°c during the day, you can enjoy the famous Waikiki Beach in heavenly warm sunshine.
The cost is based on flying Jetstar to Honolulu and staying in a fully-equipped 1 bedroom apartment (1 king and 1 sofa bed) at Waikiki Shore (read about Kirsten & Co’s visit here).
Los Angeles $9,800
Mid-year is definitely not a good time to head to Florida for Disney World (far too hot and humid!), so what about Disneyland near Los Angeles instead? With those typical sunny blue Californian skies and an average temperature of 27°c it is just about the perfect family holiday. There’s lots of Disney information here.
And the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be opening in April, so you can add that to your itinerary. Our experience of the Orlando one is here.
The cost is based on flying Virgin to Los Angeles and staying in a family room (1 queen and 1 set of bunk beds) at Howard Johnson Hotel in Anaheim. Like London below there are cheaper flights, but I chose non-stop flights with an airline that I would happily use.
Now London is a complicated exercise, because everyone has their own airline preferences and the sort of travel conditions they’re prepared to live with to save money. The flights I’ve chosen for this example are definitely not the cheapest available. The cheapest are with Philippine Airlines and include a 20 hour layover in Manila in one direction and 16 hours in the other. I would not be happy with that. So I have chosen flights that I believe would make the journey as painless as possible.
At an average day time temperature of 23°c, it is certainly not the warmest destination on the list, but it is the warmest that London gets.
If you are planning ahead for 2017, make sure you’re ready to book when the earlybird fares are released in about October 2016.
The cost is based on flying British Airways to London Heathrow and staying in a 2 bedroom house in Battersea via Airbnb.
This is the breakdown of flight and accommodation costs that went into the figures used above.
Flight costs were found on Hello World.
Prices are correct as at 9 Feb 2016.
Where do you think you might head in 2016?
Or are you one of these fabulously organised types with everything booked already?