ASK US WEDNESDAY: “Any tips on affording a family break?”

by Leo Wiles
08 November 2017

Hi Leo. You’ve done a few posts about surviving the holidays with kids and I thought I would write in. This is my first 6 months freelancing and money’s been particularly tight (I’m a mum of one little boy). I would love your tips on how I can afford a family trip on a tight budget. Pat

I hear you Pat. Some days as a single parent it feels like every second word I utter is ‘no’ (the other being NO)! Which earns me the withering response, ‘You’re no fun’ – and it’s true, I’m not.  The crushing sole parental responsibility of three children, three dogs, a cat and five fish do make it hard to be even a slightly cheery Mary Poppins.

Which is why I have saved and planned so hard to take the children on their very first bells-and-whistles holiday (one that won’t find me broke and rocking in a corner at the end of it).

Here’s how I did that as well as a few other tips on how freelance single parents can afford to go on holiday.

Beach retreat One single mum of four I know regularly rents a house for two weeks over Christmas.  She can do it because she pools with two other single mums and they don’t care about the blow up mattresses on the living room floor if their kids get to spend their time on a beach holiday that they couldn’t otherwise afford. They also have a kitty, pool their cash for groceries and use a roster for cooking and cleaning so that everyone over the age of five pitches in. It also means everybody gets a shot at a lie-in or time off by sharing the childcare load too.

Tree change When the pressure’s on, even a change of scenery for two to three nights can make all the difference when your kids have to write that What I Did On Holiday essay in January. If, like me, you can’t face pitching a tent, then try your hand at glamping by booking a cabin or staying at a local motel for a mini break. This works really well when I want to catch up with people, as we book a cabin for each family and at the end of the day when the paper plates are in the bin and the BBQ’s clean, it’s time to sit back, watch the kids play and enjoy a glass of wine together.

Theme park extravaganza Realistically there is no way I could have booked a Gold Coast theme park holiday without a gal pal. Holidaying with another adult means being eligible for the family room rates instead of two suites, and we now have a kitchenette. So instead of wracking up the credit card by eating out, we’ll be taking our own cereal, toast toppings, making packed lunches and drinking vino on the balcony when the kids are asleep. It also helps when you have generous grandparents who offered to purchase the park passes as Christmas gifts, putting more money in my pocket for incidentals like ice blocks along the way. Groupon has us covered with some of the other big tickets items, making them much more affordable.

Care to share your tips on how to have an affordable holiday this summer?

Leo Wiles

Leo Wiles has worked as an editor, journalist and PR for over 20 years before recently retraining as a photographer. These days, she spends her time behind a lens, juggling her own clients with her work at Rachel's List, and her three gorgeous but lively kids.

One response on "ASK US WEDNESDAY: “Any tips on affording a family break?”"

  1. I took to camping with my kids for affordable holidays, borrowing tent etc from friends at first. Years later, the now young adults still pipe up with fond and funny memories 🙂

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