How to have a family holiday for $500

How to have a family holiday for $500 Supplied image credit: Discovery Parks Narooma Beach

How to have a family holiday for $500. Tips and tricks to make your break and your purse go even further in 2024.

In a world where the cost of living seems to soar higher each year, the idea of a family holiday for $500 might sound like a fantasy however, experts agree that the health benefits of taking a family holiday are wide-reaching.

Dr Sarah Adams, a family therapist, believes a family holiday promotes physical, emotional and social well-being.

“A well-deserved holiday provides an opportunity for families to disconnect from the demands of everyday life and even financial stresses, allowing a time to reconnect with each other and return home feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and closer than ever before,

Dr Adams said.

With careful planning, creativity, and a willingness to think outside the box, there are many ways to create lasting family holiday memories without breaking the bank.

Embrace the staycation

Latest research from Sydney University claims domestic airfares won’t drop significantly until later this year which means for single mum of three, Emily, holidays are all about embracing the staycation to save on costs.

She creates a planner of bucket-list neighbourhood activities and makes the most of discovering hidden gems around her own backyard, visiting local parks and museums or packing a picnic and spending the day exploring nature trails or taking the bikes around the oval.

“I often look for free events and festivals happening in the area such as story time sessions and craft workshops and schedule them across a long-weekend to make three days of holiday-fun without spending a dollar,” Emily said.

Camping adventures

For families who crave a taste of the great outdoors, camping offers an affordable alternative to hotels. Many campsites have access for $25 a night or less off season.

A multi-room cabin with all the mod-cons at holiday parks such as Discovery Parks and Big 4 Holiday Parks deliver family fun in spades. Rates can often be much cheaper than anywhere else, and you’ll find on-site catering such as BBQs and kitchens and childrens’ entertainment such as splash parks, mini golf and giant bouncing pillows, meaning you’ll never need to leave the site.

For a break from the norm, even pitching a tent in your own backyard allows you to disconnect from the routine of everyday life and let the childrens’ imagination soar by roasting marshmallows and telling stories under the stars with no cost of a room-stay.

Budget for accommodation

If camping isn’t your cup of tea, consider hunting down low-price rental accommodation or hotels that cater for families.

The Financial Counsellors Association of NSW which has offices in Orange, recommends sorting household expenses into categories and setting up a holiday fund. Even allocating $50 a month will leave you with two-nights’ accommodation money before Spring comes round.

Keep an eye out for special deals and discounts and consider signing up for newsletters on or Jetstar to get first access to bargains.

Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and negotiate for a lower rate, especially if you’re booking last-minute or holidaying in low season.

Travel expert Dana Brown from Wild Hearted World found said, “I was booking two nights in the Hunter Valley, and I found one on Airbnb at a much lower price, so I checked with the property management company and managed to save.” 

For a no-cost holiday, swapping homes with another family can be a great way forward. Sites like Home Exchange and Aussie House Swap offer some wonderful houses in attractive holiday hotspots around the country.

Flying for free

If travelling interstate is on your wish-list, Deakin University’s Finance Hub suggests packing up the points for free flights. They suggest these four tips:

  1. Use points always – Qantas is a great option for those starting out as it offers more chances to earn;
  2. Plan ahead of time – booking between six-12 months ahead means getting better priced tickets;
  3. Earn points through everyday grocery shopping, and through online shopping;
  4. Keep an eye out for special deals from supermarkets and petrol stations.

Dining on a dime

Instead of feeling that holidays need to be extravagant, eat like a local and get creative with home-cooking and picnic favourites that evoke a feast for the senses without the eye-watering prices.

Emily said she sets a $100 budget for her long weekend staycations, reading up on Coles and Woolworths websites for ideas on how to enjoy a family dinner for $10 and checking out Instagram for lunchbox ideas. 

Planning and flexibility

Wesley Mission’s free financial counselling service which has affiliates in the Central West region, believes the key to a successful low-cost family holiday is to research, save and be flexible with dates, if you can.

Penina Petersen, writer and founder of money-saving website The Savings Room, believes most important aspect of any holiday is spending quality time together as a family, regardless of how much money you spend.

She believes the best way to save big bucks on a family holiday is to stick with the staycation.

This is a relaxing option if your area is less crowded than usual due to others heading away over school holidays. “You just have to plan ahead, create an itinerary and fill your days with free and fun activities”, Penina said.

By focusing on creating meaningful memories rather than material possessions, you can holiday for $500 or less without sacrificing fun or adventure.

Helpful local organisations

NSW Financial Counsellors: Catholic Care, Orange:

1800 067 067

Bridging the Gap Family Services (including financial advice), St Mary’s:

02 9673 1211









  • Supplied image credit: Discovery Narooma Beach

  • Supplied image credit: Discovery Narooma Beach

  • Supplied image credit: Discovery Narooma Beach

  • Supplied image credit: Discovery Jindabyne

  • Supplied image credit: Discovery Jindabyne

  • Supplied image credit: Discovery Jindabyne

  • Supplied image credit: Discovery Jindabyne

  • Supplied image credit: Discovery Jindabyne

  • Supplied image credit: Discovery Jindabyne

Lyndsey Gordon

Mum to a two-year-old, a freelance writer and a communications professional. Lyndsey loves spending time outdoors and having fun with her young daughter.

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