A Guide To Smarter School Holiday Travel

Taking a family holiday during the designated school holiday travel period is both the most expensive and busiest time of year to go away. 

  • With every family looking to get away, airlines and hotels capitalize and raise prices.
  • This results in a flow-on effect that sees unrealistic travel times left and minimal accommodation choices.
  • While school holiday times can’t be changed, holidaying smarter can help release the financial burden. 

Thinking outside the box, planning ahead and taking advantage of packages and deals are simple steps families can take in order to travel during the school holidays without spending a small fortune. 

Travelling and school holidays 

When discussing traveling with school-aged children there are many different schools of thought. Some suggest that traveling should be limited to the school holiday periods beginning in March/April, July, September, and December. While others argue that taking children out of school for a holiday is just as valuable as classroom learning experiences. 

For families that aren’t keen to take their children out of school, holidays are not prohibited altogether. While the cost may be more expensive, families will find that flights and accommodation at the very start or end of the holiday period are less expensive. 

However, for those who believe that the exposure to diverse cultures that travel offers is just as important as classroom learning, the holiday options are much more open. Additionally, just because children aren’t in school doesn’t mean that they can’t be participating in school work too. In fact, they can still do school work while also broadening their horizons and cultural perceptions whilst on holidays. 

60% of travel plans are affected by school holidays. With figures like this coming to the surface, it is time to explore ways in which families can travel smarter during the school holidays to limit the negative connotations associated with school holiday travel. 


5 smarter ways to travel during the school holidays 


  • Book early 

Contrary to belief, there are never any special offers or last minute price slashes for school holiday dates. In fact biding time in the hope of a better deal actually ends up costing families more money when it comes to school holiday travel. 

With this in mind, the only way to not pay more than you should for a getaway around school holiday time is to book as early as possible. The later you plan a school holiday trip, the more it will end up costing. 

18% of Aussie families only travel during the school holidays as it’s the only time they can go. Therefore, it is important to look for the best deals possible so that the cost of the trip doesn’t make families miss out on traveling altogether. 

  • Compare destinations 

Sometimes during peak travel season in Australia, flying internationally works out cheaper than domestically. With this in mind, planning an international trip in the September school holidays may be cheaper than a domestic one. This is due to the fact that prices are off-peak.

While the airfares may be more expensive to fly internationally, the actual destination will be less affected by school holiday surcharges, resulting in cost-effective accommodation, activities, and dining. Therefore, researching flight prices and accommodation both internationally and domestically increases the chances of finding more cost-effective options. 

With 54% of people travel with their family, taking the time to compare prices and destinations during school holiday time can pay dividends in terms of cutting down costs. 

If you’re planning to travel far away to a bustling and expensive city like Chicago in the U.S., you need to get your research done early to cut costs.

  • Look for packages

One of the biggest growth areas in travel in Australia is the cruise ship industry. Cruises are great for everyone in the family due to how versatile the destination lists and activities onboard are. 

Another reason for families to go cruising during school holidays is the fact that cruises aren’t influenced by school holiday dates. This means that pricing remains the same all year round so that travellers are always receiving value for their money.  

When families go on holidays there are many expenses. There are obvious ones like flights and accommodation. Then there are incidentals like food and activities that by the end of the trip, add up. With cruises, families can enjoy the onboard activities and the included meals for free while also experiencing the adventure of exploring new places. 

If cruising packages aren’t of interest, there are other options, such as group tour packages. Families can enjoy a cultural experience with included extras that cuts down the price of a trip. 

1 in 9 people specifically avoid school holiday travel and 12% of families don’t travel much as it’s too expensive. However, by looking for packages or even cruising, these families can go on an enjoyable and affordable holiday. 

  • Swap resorts for rentals

The idea of holidaying doesn’t have to be limited to leaving the state or even the country. By simply changing the scenery, families can enjoy all the benefits of rest and relaxation that holidays bring. 

With the rise of house swapping and house renting sites, families can holiday without the expense of resort fees and the likes. Options for rentals include swapping houses with another family in a different area or renting an apartment near the beach. 

Swapping resorts for rentals opens up a multitude of possibilities. Staying in a house can allow for more people to go on holiday together, resulting in another change in the atmosphere. 

  • Kids clubs 

While resorts may initially seem like a more expensive option, they can actually work out in a family’s favor. Typically resorts feature kids clubs where the main priority is to entertain and look after kids. 

This could be a practical investment for families once the cost of entertaining and feeding kids day after day is added up. The kids don’t have to stay in the kids club every day, but the option is there. 

Final remarks

At the end of the day, the choice of whether or not to take children out of school for holidays is up to the discretion of parents. While there are many schools of thought, parents are responsible for the development of their children. 

What is concrete though is the fact that school holiday travel doesn’t have to break the bank. By implementing a few smart tips ranging from early booking and research to alternate destinations and rentals, families can take a much needed holiday without the burden of cost overshadowing their enjoyment. 

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