Holidays with the kids are priceless. Nothing beats making memories, opening their eyes to new experiences and spending quality time together. But when you've got an extra travel buddy (or two, or three, or four...) in tow, the actual financial cost of even a short getaway can quickly stack up.
Here are some ways to keep your budget in check without compromising your break.
Hit the road
Getting behind the wheel of a car or camper can be a cost-effective way to see the sights - especially if you're staying relatively local. Yes, you have to factor the cost of petrol and the hire (if you're not using your own vehicle), but when you can easily score a campsite at under $60 for a family of five, it can massively cut your accommodation costs. Not to mention that the majority of sites come with cooking facilities, so you can save on dining out, too.
And if you're still not convinced, just think about all of those exorbitantly priced day trips you'll now have the freedom to do yourself.
Think wisely about the weather
Playing in the surf. Hiking through the scenery. Picnicking on the beach. All have the makings of a great holiday itinerary. Nature's playground is a great way to keep everyone entertained for free, but in the rain? Not quite so much fun... A lot of activities are weather dependent, so check for destinations with minimal rainfall in the month you're travelling. Otherwise you might find taking the adventures indoors to the movies/a museum/the all-weather play centre quickly eats into your budget.
Tap into the best deals
When it comes to coordinating your budget with the school holidays, family trips don't tend to have the luxury of being able to take advantage of last-minute, Groupon-style offers. But that's not to say discount apps can't come in handy once you're already in holiday mode.
EatClub can help you pinpoint nearby cheap feeds. The Happiest Hour, somewhere to enjoy that holiday cocktail without breaking the bank. On the road? Wicked Campers comes with a huge catalogue of cheap and free camp grounds, while FuelMap will help to make sure you're filling up for the best price.
Sign kids up as frequent flyers
Your youngsters might not have started taking those fortnightly business trips just yet, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't join a frequent flyer program now to start earning points wherever they can.
Virgin Australia's Velocity scheme is a great shout for families. It's free to join and with its Family Points Pooling scheme, there's also the option to channel your collective onto one particular family member's membership. Think of it as every family trip helping you save for the next one (or that much-needed, kid-free weekend away...)
Get smart on state holidays
Public holidays vary from state to state, so if you're thinking about a break, check it doesn't coincide with any local long weekenders where accommodation prices might sky rocket. Major festivals like Splendour in the Grass, Bluesfest, Falls Festival, and Day on the Green also take place in major tourist hot spots, so check national and local calendars before you book.