If you are planning a trip to an Australian destination with kids you are in the right place! Create the perfect family getaway with the below family trip planner.
You will find an essential four-step process to start you on your journey. I ask some helpful questions in the guide to help with your decision-making process of where to travel. I provide websites that will help you book your next family holiday, and offer advice on essential items not to forget before you depart.
The four-step pre-vacation guide is beneficial for all types of trips, and I hope it helps eliminate the stress of planning your next holiday.
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Post was updated April 2021
The below is what will be covered in the guide:
- How to decide where to go on vacation.
- Resources that will make your booking process easier.
- Travel planning elements you should consider.
- The essential checklist of what to do and not forget before leaving.
Step 1. Planning Where to go on Vacation
Find below a list of questions to help assist with choosing a destination.
- The first step is to choose what type of experiences you would like to have on your holiday, e.g., relaxation, adventure, sightseeing, shopping, outdoorsy etc. Write down as many as you like and then rank them in order of preference.
- What mode of transport do you prefer when travelling? Do you love road trips, would you prefer to fly, have you imagined travelling via train or cruise ship?
- Would you like to travel interstate or stay somewhere close to home?
- Do you have a budget that you need to follow? Your accommodation and mode of transport are going to be the bulk of your expenses, so if you are searching for a thrifty getaway you may want to choose somewhere within driving distance, and a location that offers a variety of accommodation options.
- How many nights will you be staying?
- Select a list of destinations that meet your criteria. I’d recommend keeping the list to about three as any more can become overwhelming when searching for information.
- Review the destinations against your budget and ask yourself what this type of holiday would offer your family? As I mentioned above your accommodation will consume a large amount of your budget along with travelling to the destination. The following websites may assist you with looking at approximate travel expenses to your desired locations.
Accommodation – Booking.com is an easy-to-use reservation service to find all types of accommodation and other travel deals in Australia and overseas.
Flights – Skyscanner is a free search engine that scans hundreds of airlines to find and compare flight options for you to secure the best deal.
Step 2. Family Trip Planner Resources
Once you have chosen your travel destination the booking process is the next step. For some, this can be a daunting activity if you’re not aware of how or where to start. The best travel offers are normally found online, and below I’m sharing some of the most user-friendly and top websites for making bookings.
1. Flights – Many travel websites allow you to compare flights from different airline companies and select the best offer available. Skyscanner, Expedia, Booking.com and Webjet are to name a few.
You can also book directly through the airline of your choice. Some examples of those that fly within Australia are:
- Virgin Australia
- Qantas Airways
- Tiger Air
2. Accommodation – I tend to check a maximum of three accommodation sites, as it can become overwhelming if you choose more, and typically they all offer the same price which is set by the accommodation venue.
My preferred accommodation sites for price and ease of use are:
- Kayak (Formally Hotels Combined)
Tip: When booking your accommodation, think about the bedding configuration. It’s easy to book a one-room apartment or one hotel room to save money but will you all be comfortable sharing that accommodation for the duration of your stay?
3. Travel insurance – To put is simply travel insurance covers you against any unforeseen circumstances that may occur before or during your travels. Many of your banks and private health insurance companies now offer travel insurance. Cover-More is a company we have purchased through in the past as it is one of Australia’s leading travel insurance and medical assistance providers.
Tip: Ensure you read all the fine print with what is included and for how much when comparing travel insurance.
4. Rental cars – Rental cars compare some of the biggest hire company brands, so you find the right car for the best price.
Tip: Some insurance companies will cover car rental excess which is normally the most cost-effective instead of paying the daily protection rate offered by the rental companies. Shop around to ensure the insurance company will cover the full amount of the excess you’re liable for if the car is damaged.
Step 3. Travel Planning Tips for Australia
The major part of planning your trip has now been completed with the top steps.
The below information is additional planning elements, tips, and advice that you may need depending on your destination.
- Will you require transfers to the airport or from the airport to your place of accommodation? Con-X-ion specialises in the door-to-door airport transfers along with other transportation needs of passengers around Australia.
- When using the parking facilities at the airports, always research online as you may be able to pre-purchase a car parking space for a lower price than you would pay when you arrive.
- Will you require a car seat and/or booster during your travels? You can hire these from the car company though depending on how long you are travelling for it may be worth taking your own to save costs.
- Are you hiring a car for your holiday? Ensure you have your paperwork convenient for your arrival. The rental car companies are normally located within the airport terminals.
- Many rental companies have the option of hiring a GPS if you are in an unfamiliar location and maps are not your style.
- There are many blogs and websites that offer reviews on the best places to eat. I find TripAdvisor to be a valuable resource when it comes to eating out.
- A road trip can be one of the best ways to experience some of Australia’s finest scenery. From short trips to long adventures, it is always best to plan your journey ahead of time so you are aware of rest stops, petrol stations, distances between towns etc.
- Research activities to do while you are away. You may discover discounted tickets by shopping online and booking before you arrive ensures you don’t miss out on something you want to see or do.
My preferred websites for booking experiences are:
- Experience Oz
- Get Your Guide
- Viator Tours
Travel Planning Tips for Overseas
Below is information and tips you will need to consider if travelling overseas.
- If travelling overseas, check the validity date of your passports. They need to be up to date and valid for at least 6months from departure and valid for the duration of your trip.
- VisaCentral can assist to confirm if you require a visa for any countries you are visiting, and applications can be made online. Application and processing fees apply.
- Check for accurate up to date details on health requirements. The IATA Travel Centre can assist with this information.
- The Department of Foreign Affairs website will give you the latest and most up to date information if you are travelling to a different country.
- Check if your mobile phone will work if travelling overseas. Discuss global roaming with your telephone provider.
- If travelling to a country with a foreign currency, you may want to know currency rates. XE Currency App is a free, easy tool to use and has live currency rates for every world currency.
- If you are travelling overseas what type of payment system will you be using? Will you be able to use your credit cards, do you need to arrange travel cards, will you require foreign currency, do you need to increase your credit limit on your credit cards? All questions to discuss with your financial institution.
- Are you travelling to a foreign country where you will need travel vaccinations?
- Advise your bank if you will be making transactions in another country.
Step 4 – Pre-Vacation Checklist
Below are helpful tips and advice to make the lead up to your holiday as stress-free and relaxing as possible.
Three – Two months before
- Arrange someone to look after your pets. The RSPCA can assist with finding a boarding facility for your loved ones that won’t be joining you on the trip.
- Prepare your children in advance for their trip away. As much as some of us enjoy holidays, for children being away from their familiar environment and routine can cause distress. Prepare them for the new experiences they may undertake, new people they may meet and new adventures they may go on.
- Are you travelling to a destination over a peak period? Check if you need to pre-book experiences, attractions, and restaurants.
One month before
- Leave a copy of your passport, travel documents, itinerary with a family member or close friend at home.
- Check the carry-on and checked baggage allowances for your flight so you can prepare the number of suitcases and items you can take with you.
- Make a list of items not to forget.
- Re-direct or stop the mail, junk mail and newspaper
- Schedule any hair and beauty appointments as there is nothing worse than wanting to be ready for your holiday and you are unable to arrange an appointment before leaving.
- Do you need to buy anything new for your trip; travel accessories, luggage, toiletries etc.?
Tip: Travel responsibly by purchasing eco-friendly products before you travel, and travelling with re-usable items.
One week before
- Clean and wash; coming home to a house that is clean means one less job to do on your return and fewer clothes to be washed.
- Ensure bills are up to date and paid
- Use a list for packing.
- Check the weather forecast so you can pack for the elements.
- Advise your neighbour that you will be going away and ask them to put the bins out if necessary.
- Make a copy of important documents that you may be carrying in your hand luggage and place them in your suitcase.
- Fill all medication prescriptions that will be required for the trip.
- Ensure you have enough memory on your electronic devices.
- When cooking a meal, cook an extra-large batch, and freeze this to eat when you arrive home. At the time this may not be high on your priority list, but when you arrive home from your holiday, you will be extremely thankful you did this.
- Complete an online grocery shop for your return. Having groceries delivered will save you going out to get them when you arrive home and will be helpful if you are working upon your return.
Day before Vacation
- Check fridge and pantry for any perishable food and give them away or dispose of them.
- Charge all electronic devices you will be taking.
- Check flight details online to see if there has been changes or delays.
- Water the plants and garden.
- Print out your e-ticket and travel itinerary and have all personal identification with you to be produced at check-in.
- Set out everyone’s clothing for the travel day.
Day of Vacation
- Check the flight online again to see if there has been changes or delays
- Empty bins and remove rubbish from the house.
- Unplug appliances in the house as this saves money while you are away.
- Ensure all doors and windows are locked, and curtains or blinds are closed.
- Wash the dishes.
- Re-direct home phone to your mobile for safety.
Tip: If you are using toiletry bag items or electronic devices right up to leaving or need to take something from the fridge, write a note and put it somewhere, you will see. This will remind you not to leave the item/s.
More Helpful Planning Articles
I hope you enjoyed this guide and find it helpful in planning your perfect family trip. If you would like more tips and advice for travelling with kids read the following articles:
- Tips for flying with kids
- Top tips for a stress-free holiday
- Tips on how to save money when travelling
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