Our annual family holiday destination for the past 8 years now has been the Gold Coast. A lot of my friends think it’s a little boring that we go there every year, but we honestly love it. The Gold Coast is the kind of city where you can have a fun-filled holiday packed full of adventure, or you can relax and take it easy and you will still have a great time.
For the 8 years that I lived in Brisbane, which is only a 45 min drive away, I probably only went to the Gold Coast a couple of times, and usually it was for the night life, which there is plenty of. The Gold Coast is so much more than it’s night life though. For many families it’s an affordable destination to take the kids.
Even if I could afford to travel in first class, I doubt I ever would. I am just one of those people who prefers not to pay full price for things that I don’t have to. I’m not going to lie, the Gold Coast can be expensive if you are not careful, but we’ve figured out a few things that ensure that we don’t run out of cash while we are there.
1. I book the entire holiday myself.
Travel agents and packages can actually turn out to be quite expensive. When I first started travelling I would get quotes and they were so much more expensive than the research I had done myself. I haven’t used a travel agent in 8 years. It does mean you’ll spend more time doing research, but if you are willing to put in the time, and you want to save yourself a lot of money, ditch the travel agent.
2. We DO NOT travel DURING peak SEASONS
Travelling during peak seasons, ie Christmas, Easter and school holidays will cost you hundreds of dollars more. You will save hundreds on accommodation and even flights. Not to mention, if you visit the theme parks during off season, there are no lines for the rides, in fact, there are no lines anywhere you go.
3. I check ebay for accommodation vouchers
When I book our hotels I check ebay for accommodation vouchers. I NEVER book a hotel before I do this, because the vouchers save you at least $200 on accommodation.
And if I cannot find a voucher that I can use on ebay, I head to booking.com to find accommodation. Not only can I always find a good deal for accommodation, but I also earn Swagbucks points for shopping with them. I use my swagbucks points to redeem paypal vouchers for spending money on our trip.
4. We use the Public Transport System
Getting around on the Gold Coast is pretty easy, and there are a variety of transport options. I usually book a hotel that’s close to everything so we can walk to most places, and for the theme parks and places that are a little further away, I purchase a GO Card which allows me access to all public transport on the Gold Coast and in Brisbane for a discounted price, and if you can manage to travel during off peak times on the public transport system, it’s also cheaper again.
5. Interested in the theme parks?
The theme parks are one of the most expensive activities you will pay for on the Gold Coast.…..did you know, you can earn points through programs like Swagbucks and Flybuys and redeem those points for theme park tickets. Which means that you basically get free tickets! This year we are saving up our points for exactly that reason.
6. Eating can be pretty expensive on the Gold Coast, and the food at the theme parks…..well let’s just say an ice cream will cost you around $7. Mostly I will book us an apartment that has a proper kitchen so that I can prepare our meals, because that saves us a lot of money. We pack our lunches for the theme parks each time we go, and we just plan to have one or two special nights that we eat out. When I’m wanting to eat at a restaurant, I will look for a voucher on one of the deals websites such as Groupon or Living Social and use those.
7. Getting to the Gold Coast
is probably one of the biggest costs of the entire holiday. Last year I joined Club Jetstar for $39 hoping that it would pay off, and it did. During one of their member sales I managed to purchase flights from Sydney to the Gold Coast return for $7 per person (not including luggage costs). That was awesome!
If you don’t want to join a club like that though, you can still pick up some pretty cheap flights when the airlines have sales. Sign up for their newsletters so you’ll be notified of any upcoming deals. You can usually pick up flights from $39 depending on where you are travelling from.
8. SAVE MONEY ON FLIGHTS
While we are on the subject of flights….if you are the kinda person who could possibly fit all your stuff into carry on luggage, you can also save yourself some dollars by not paying for luggage when you book your flight. If you need a little packing inspiration you can always check out this post.
9. USE LOYALTY PROGRAMS
A lot of my friends and family have a good laugh at me because of this, but they can laugh all they like, it works. I signed up to Swagbucks and Flybuys a long time ago. I save up all of my points and then redeem them before we go on holidays.
With my swagbucks points, I ALWAYS redeem the points for Paypal vouchers. Not only do I get cash when I redeem for a paypal voucher, but because of the currency conversion I end up with MORE CASH!! So if I redeem for a $150 voucher, it usually converts to $180 AUD.
With my Flybuys points, I can redeem for theme park passes or sometimes I like to redeem the points for groceries, so we don’t actually have to pay out of pocket for food while we are there.
Got any tips you can share? I’d love to hear from you, comment below and let us all know….