The school holidays are coming up so it’s time to start thinking about that family getaway.
Sounds awesome, but I have three kids so holidays can get a little pricey. $$$$ It seems that most holiday packages cater for a family of four – 2 adults, 2 kids which makes it tricky when you have more than two children. Many hotels will only accommodate four people per room, so with five in our family we would have no other choice than to pay for a second room. I always see these fabulous family holiday deals advertised only to read the fine print and realize it’s only for four. My kids really want to go on an overseas holiday but unfortunately it usually works out way to expensive.
So depending on your budget there are holiday options out there for large families. I have done a bit of research and put together some holiday tips and ideas for travel both domestic and international. Now I can’t personally vouch for any of these, by that I mean I have never stayed or used the following (that’s right no one offered me a free holiday to spruik their hotel on my blog!) so this is really just the findings of my endless quest to find good, fun, value for money holiday options for larger families like mine.
First up is good old fashioned camping.
CampNow is the brain child of two young guys from Bondi and is a great little website offering complete equipment camping packages, they even deliver and pickup to your door! This is great if you want to take the family camping but don’t own (or want to buy) a tent and all the other camping essentials. The Take the Kids package suits 2 adults and 2 children and contains a 2 room tent, air mattresses, picnic table, 70L esky + the essentials and delivery. Everything is sorted for your family camping adventure. So how much does it cost? This package starts at $369 for 2 nights hire and goes up to $569 for seven nights. You will have to pay a refundable bond of $250 and if you live over 10km from Bondi there is a delivery fee of $50. All in all it’s pretty good and a lot cheaper than buying all the gear.
If your not keen on camping then BIG4 Holiday Parks may be more your style.
BIG4 Holiday Parks provide both camping sites and a variety of accommodation in cabins and villas in various locations that are ideal for large families. Many of the BIG4 Holiday Parks have free facilities from waterparks to kids clubs to playgrounds and swimming pools.
If you are thinking of a Gold Coast holiday the NRMA Treasure Island Holiday Park at Biggera Waters is situated just 10 minutes north of Surfers Paradise and is centrally located between all major theme parks – Dreamworld, Movieworld, Wet n Wild and Seaworld.
If you want to find out more about BIG4 Holiday Parks just visit their website and hit the Find a Park tab!
If your planning a trip overseas here’s some tips for finding the right deal and destination.
TravelOnline is a great place to search for your next family holiday, they offer an extremely competitive range of holiday packages in Australia, the Pacific Islands and South East Asia. They have offered me some tips on how to get the most out of their website when searching for a holiday. Many online travel sites aren’t set up for larger families, so if the group doesn’t fit into the cheapest room type the system simply drops it. TravelOnline.com is able to use an algorithm to calculate the cheapest option, whether that’s 2 rooms or 1 upgraded room type. Their system also calculates the cheapest way to distribute the guests in each room, although it will still allow you the freedom to choose your preferred room type, meaning mum and dad don’t have to share with older children if they prefer not to. It also shows you the price difference between room types so that you can make an informed choice on which room type suits your family. This way you can see when it’s only a little bit extra to have an additional room, a small price to pay for peace and quiet for the whole trip. By setting the number of people travelling (including any children and their ages) from the very beginning, you’ll be able to find the cheapest option for your family.
When it comes to choosing accommodation for your family their are plenty of offering to entice you. Some of the typical package inclusions for families are:
- Kids Stay, Play & Eat Free
- Resort Credits
- FREE Nanny or Babysitting
- Discounts to local attractions
- FREE Transfers
- Complimentary Snorkel Gear
- FREE Tours & Activities
Depending on your requirements or preferences, there are a few things you should look for when choosing accommodation:
- Resorts close to local restaurants/cafes (cheaper than always paying resort prices)
- Self-catering accommodation (to save money on dining out)
- FREE onsite Kids Clubs
- Children stay FREE in existing bedding (be careful to check age restrictions)
- Swimming pools dedicated to children
- WiFi/DVD Players (in case of a rainy day)
The most affordable places for larger families to travel
TravelOnline.com have also kindly put together the following comprehensive guide to the most affordable destinations for larger families.
A hidden gem when it comes to family holidays, Phuket is an affordable and exciting destination. Combining adventure and relaxation, Phuket family holidays offer everything from unique wildlife and exotic culture to vibrant nightlife and interesting cuisine. From water parks and elephant treks to quad biking, cultural shows, speedboat tours and more, there’s something for all ages.
You’d be surprised by the amount of children’s facilities and kids clubs on offer at the resorts. Phuket family holidays offer all the safety and comfort of a full service resort with the unique atmosphere of the bustling local streets on your doorstep. Explore Phuket as a family or take advantage of the babysitting and kids club services and enjoy a well-deserved break.
What to do
- Phuket Fantasea Show
- Splash Jungle Water Park
- White Water Rafting
- Zorbing at Rollerball
- Go Kart at Patong
- Dino Park Mini Golf
- Phuket Zoo
- Tree Top Adventure
- Surf House
- Phuket Upside Down House
- Phuket Butterfly Garden & Insect World
- Phuket Trickeye Museum
- Phuket Aquarium
- The Kids Club Phuket
Where to Stay
Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket: Boasting a beachfront location, this resort offers room types to cater for larger families as well as babysitting services and a great kids club and teen zone. There is also a dedicated children’s pool with onsite waterpark complete with waterslides, lazy river and waterfalls.
Other options: Centara Karon Resort Phuket, Patong Merlin Hotel, Phuket Graceland Resort & Spa, Sunwing Resort & Spa Bangtao Beach.
Bali is an excellent choice for families who want to be able to relax around the pool while still showing the kids the time of their lives. South Kuta and nearby Legian are ideal for staying close to the action while avoiding the unruly party crowds of Kuta itself. The Balinese are incredibly welcoming of children and there are plenty of Western style dining options to suit fussy eaters.
Offering incredible value for money, Bali offers family friendly resorts that cater to families of all sizes and feature an outstanding range of Kid’s Clubs and activities. There are child minding services for younger children while the older kids can enjoy adventure trips and water sports, which leaves plenty of time for mum to grab a massage while dad kicks back with a beer.
What to do
- Canggu Club
- Splash Water Park
- Bali Safari Marine Park
- Ride an elephant at Elephant Safari Park
- Sacred Monkey Forest
- Bali Zoo
- Treetop Adventures
- White Water Rafting
- Bali Bird Park
- Bali Reptile Park
- Bali Butterfly Park
- Lollypop Playland
- Trick Art 3D Gallery
Where to stay
Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali: Enjoying a beachfront location, this resort offers room types to cater for larger families all within the one room. As well as a great kids club and teen zone, there is a dedicated children’s pool for safe water play as well as a great range of beach activities, water sports and even kids cooking classes.
Other options: Bali Dynasty Resort, Hard Rock Hotel Bali, Padma Resort Legian.
With its stunning weather, spectacular beaches, inviting ocean and exciting kids clubs Hawaii is an ideal family holiday destination. Its ancient Polynesian culture is one of many things that make it unique, along with its varied landscapes, including an active volcano!
There are a great range of accommodation options in Hawaii that cater for families of all sizes and offer excellent onside facilities including complimentary activities and child minding services. From the main island of Oahu to the majestic island of Maui, Hawaii welcomes your ohana.
What to Do
- Sea Life Park (featured in ’50 First Dates’ movie from 2004)
- Waikiki Aquarium – Children 3 and under are FREE
- Honolulu Zoo – Kids aged 6-12 years $1, kids under 5 years are FREE
- Dole Plantation – The world’s largest 1.7 mile Mystery Maze
- Surfing lesson
- Kualoa Ranch – Adventure tours such as horseback, ATV rides and ancient hula lessons
- Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve (for great snorkelling) – tours or self-drive options Waimanalo Beach for calm waters
- Rent canoes and kayaks at Kailua Beach
- Visit the man made lagoons of the Leeward Coast and explore Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa
- Whale Watching – November to May, with February being peak season
- Dolphin Watching – most tours are free for children 12 years & under or reduced with adults
- Snorkelling – A year round activity catering for all levels of snorkel experience, including non-swimmers. Reduced prices for children.
- Surfing Lessons – Family surfing & Stand Up Paddleboard lessons available. Group lessons available for children.
- Maui Ocean Centre Aquarium – state of the art aquarium with complimentary educational presentations
- Luau – Give the kids a taste of Hawaiian culture – literally! No visit to Hawaii is complete without experiencing the many and varied options of traditional food and dance.
Where to stay
Trump International Hotel Waikiki Beach Walk: Centrally located on Waikiki, this resort offers a generous child policy with children up to 17 years of age free as well as the complimentary use of cribs. The extensive range of large suites are ideal for bigger families and are complete with fully equipped kitchen and laundry facilities, saving you money. The nanny service will also come in handy.
Other options: Embassy Suites by Hilton Waikiki Beach Walk, Waikiki Shore by Outrigger.
Aina Nalu Lahaina by Outrigger: Conveniently located within walking distance of a variety of beach activities, local attractions and dining options, you can save by not paying resort prices for every meal. The 2 bedroom room types cater up to 6 adults and children, with kids up to 17 years staying for free in existing bedding and feature full kitchen and laundry facilities. The resort also boasts 2 swimming pools, so there’s plenty of room for the kids to splash around.
Other options: Palms at Wailea Maui by Outrigger.
Located just an hour south of Brisbane and with its own international airport, getting to the Gold Coast is easy. Offering iconic beaches, exciting activities and famous theme parks, the Gold Coast has long been a favourite holiday destination for families. Although planning holidays with kids can be a bit of a challenge, there are a great range of Gold Coast family holiday packages that offer an excellent range of discounts and added extras to keep the costs down and the good times rolling.
Aside from the excitement of the thrill rides, you’ll spend lazy days building sand castles, collecting shells and tiring yourselves out in the surf. There are also some fun attractions when you’re ready to get out of the sun including the iconic Timezone arcade, Dracula’s Haunted House, Ripleys Believe It Or Not and the Wax Museum on Cavill Avenue.
What to Do
- Movie World
- Sea World
- Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
- Infinity Attraction
- Tropical Fruit World
- Ripleys Believe it or Not
- Aquaduck Tour
Where to Stay
Sea World Resort: Located right next door to the theme park, the resort offers rooms large enough to accommodation families of up to 8. Boasting all the fantastic facilities you’d expect of a full service resort, you’ll also enjoy the added bonus of entry to the park being included in the nightly rate.
Other options: Breakfree Diamond Beach Resort, Hotel Grand Chancellor Surfers Paradise, Oaks Calypso Plaza Resort.
Situated on the marine park of the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef, Hamilton Island is a haven for family holidays. The island offers an activities program which provides safe and supervised fun including fishing, games, beach visits, art and crafts and more. There’s also a huge range of water sports, go karting, quad biking and more.
A great opportunity for kids to switch off and get outdoors, the incredible marine life of the reef will reveal itself before their eyes. Sink below the water with them and watch them gain their confidence while you all search for Nemo. Hamilton Island also offers a unique wildlife experience which allows you to get up close and personal with a variety of wildlife including kangaroos, koalas, wombats and even crocodiles.
What to Do
- Boat trip out to the Great Barrier Reef
- Free non-motorised water activities
- Go Karts
- Quad Biking
- Putt Putt
- Koala Wildlife Sanctuary
- Day trips to the Great Barrier Reef
- Day trips to Whitehaven Beach
- Kids Club
Where to Stay
Hamilton Island Holiday Homes: Designed to be your home away from home, you’ll have a full sized residence to yourself. Accommodating families of up to 8, these holiday homes feature self-catering full kitchen facilities, saving you money on eating out. Coles also delivers groceries to your door, at regular supermarket prices for a super convenient way to save money on dining. The homes also include the use of a golf buggy for getting around the island and their own exclusive pool, making for quieter and safer swimming.
Other options: Reef View Hotel, Whitsunday Apartments.
Located in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Daydream Island is the ideal tropical island escape for families. Offering easy access via the Hamilton Island Airport and Proserpine Whitsunday Coast Airport, it’s just a short boat ride to your own island hideaway. Offers fantastic value for money, Daydream Island boasts an outstanding range of facilities and activities included in your stay including an outdoor cinema, scavenger hunts, giant chess and 19-hole mini golf.
The kids will also love the unique outdoor aquarium Living Reef, one of the world’s largest man-made living coral reef lagoons featuring more than 140 species of marine fish and 83 species of coral. Get up close and personal with lagoon favourites including Pikelet and Pancake the stingrays, Bruce the sickle fin lemon shark and Brutus, a large barramundi. Free educational feeding sessions give guests the opportunity to feed the animals and learn about the marine eco-system.
What to Do
- Boat trip out to the Great Barrier Reef
- Living Reef
- Ranger Program
- Kids Skipper Club
- Aussie themed mini golf course
- Outdoor family cinema
- Giant Chess
- Kids playground
Where to Stay
Daydream Island Resort: Renowned as a family favourite, Daydream Island Resort is located in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and is home to the unique outdoor aquarium of the Living Reef. Interconnecting rooms are available to accommodate up to 8 people, with meal options available specifically for kids. The island also offers and almost endless range of complimentary activities.
Fiji isn’t just a family friendly holiday destination, it’s actually dedicated to providing a fun and safe environment for kids. The friendly, smiling Fijians absolutely love kids and with so many family friendly accommodation options on offer, there is an almost endless range of activities to keep them entertained.
Perhaps one of the best things about Fiji is the complimentary kids clubs offered by the resorts. These offer a supervised and safe environment for your kids to have fun and make new friends while you enjoy a well-deserved break. Aside from the kids clubs, there’s also plenty of cheap and readily available childminding services to give you a rest outside of kids club hours, particularly if mum and dad want to enjoy a night out.
What to do
- Paddle boards
- Snorkelling & Coral Viewing
- Jet Skiing
- Wake Boarding
- Banana Boats
- Kids Club
- Daily Island Excursions
- Village visit
- Putt Putt Mini Golf
- Castaway Island Day Cruise
- Mana Island Day Cruise
- Sailing Cruise
- Kula Eco Park
- Natadola Beach
- Zip lining
- River Rafting
- Kayaking & Canoeing
- Sigataoka Sand Dunes National Park
- Nature & Wildlife Tours
- Arts Village (Pacific Harbour)
- Boat Tours
- Garden of the Sleeping Giant (Nadi)
- Flavours of Fiji Cooking School
- Explore Castaway Island (day tour)
- Visit Cloud9
- Explore nearby Nadi
- Day trip to the Mamanuca Islands
- Visit Kula Eco Park (on the Coral Coast)
- Tour a local village
Where to Stay
Treasure Island Resort: Known for its very affordable family packages and fantastic onsite facilities, Treasure features an outstanding kids club. Children 4 and up experience Fiji in a fun, safe and educational environment with daily supervised activities. The kids will be fascinated by the natural marine reserve, baby turtles and even iguanas! The resort hosts a ‘Fiji day’ once a week giving kids the opportunity to experience a typical day in a local Fijian school. They will also get to enjoy their own ‘lovo’ traditional feast where children prepare their own food, weave their own dishes from coconut leaves and cook the food underground.
Other options: Castaway Island Resort, Mana Island Resort, Malolo Island Resort, Plantation Island Resort.
Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort: One of the most popular family friendly resorts in Fiji, Outrigger offers a FREE kids club open daily. This is a great way to keep the kids entertained while offering a fun and educational insight into Fijian culture and language. Activities include Fijian language lessons, treasure hunts, pool and beach activities, storytelling, coconut hat weaving and more. Having fun and making friends, the kids won’t even notice they’re learning something (shhh) while you kick back and relax.
Other options: Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort, Naviti Resort Fiji, The Warwick Fiji, InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort.
Sheraton Fiji Resort: Having recently been refurbished, the Sheraton is now one of the most well-appointed resorts in Fiji. Catering for families, children under 12 years stay and eat FREE. There’s also a complimentary kids club offering safe and supervised activities including swimming classes, sandcastle building, Fijian language lessons, face painting, movies, table tennis, catamaran joyrides and more. For an additional charge, there’s also a night time kids club or babysitting service.
Other options: Hilton Fiji Beach Resort & Spa, Radisson Blu Resort Fiji, Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa, The Westin Denarau Island Resort.
For more information on these desinations visit travelonline.com
Please note this post is not sponsored, I received no payment or free holidays!