School holidays send family budgets soaring

Travel cost

New research from Compare Travel Insurance has revealed up to 36 per cent of Australian families regularly blow their budgets when travelling during school holidays.

According to nationwide survey results families said they could expect to spend $1,000-$3,000 more during school holidays than they would during off-peak periods.

Compare Travel Insurance Director Natalie Ball said, “As a parent, it’s impossible to avoid the massive spike in expenses over the school holidays. Airfares and accommodation will generally skyrocket during this period, making it difficult to stick to travel budgets. And those staying at home can expect to pay a fortune on family outings.”

To beat the school break price hike, 78 per cent of respondents said they would consider pulling their kids out of school for a mid-term holiday.

While schools largely discourage the practice, Ball says that families under the pump may find little alternative.

“Given the great savings parents can make during low travel seasons, it can be far more cost-effective to book holidays at these times. Unfortunately, the pay-off is that kids miss out on valuable class time. Parents need to weigh up their options and determine what is in the best interest for their children,” she said.

Travel insurance: top class cover

Whether you’re headed on an international or domestic trip these school holidays, travel insurance could be a saving grace during busy travel periods, according to Compare Travel Insurance.

Ball said, “Regardless of the season, travelling with children can be challenging. Family holidays can be chaotic and the risk of something going wrong can be costly. If parents are looking for holiday saving tips, they should be sure to pack travel insurance.”

Savvy savings with domestic cover

Frequently, local travellers underestimate the need for domestic travel insurance under the guise that disasters are less likely at home.

However, those watching their pennies would be wise to invest in a domestic policy.

Ball said, “While you may have access to Medicare within Australian borders, travel insurance benefits extend far beyond health care. Even when travelling locally your escape can go belly-up in more ways than one. Lost luggage, rental car damages, flight delays and cancellations are all risks that could seriously sting when vacationing with kids in tow.”

Ball added last year’s Cyclone Debbie was a prime example of the need for domestic travel insurance.

“After Cyclone Debbie hit, thousands of Australians were left stranded or unable to travel to Queensland. In those circumstances travel insurance would assist you in sorting out accommodation, alternative flights and covering your out-of-pocket expenses. Extra support when travelling with children can certainly help dry the tears.”

A wheel asset

When packing up the kids for a four-wheeled adventure, domestic travel insurance can provide another essential benefit; rental car collision cover.

Ball adds, “Rental car excess is one of the lesser known benefits of travel insurance but it could save you hundreds, if not thousands in the event of an accident in your hire-vehicle.”

While rental car companies will offer you a daily fee to reduce your excess in the event of a collision, Ball warns consumers to think twice before accepting the offer.

“While it may seem more convenient to pay to reduce the excess with the car hire company directly, quite often you’ll be paying 50 per cent more than necessary without much payoff.  Travel insurance will often waive the excess payable in the event of an accident while providing you with a wide range of travel benefits.”

The big one: medical cover

Whether it’s a bout of Bali belly, a ski-slope slip or something more sinister, the price of a medical mishap abroad can wreak havoc upon your family holiday.

Ball says, “Even the most cautious of travellers can’t account for every possible scenario. Children are unpredictable and with foreign destinations come new bugs, different road rules, and potentially hazardous activities. Things don’t always go wrong but when they do, you’ll want the very best emergency support and medical care at your disposal.”

The paralysing fear of a child in trouble overseas is one Liz Carroll, knows all too well. Brisbane mother-of-three Liz, rushed her daughter Nancy to hospital after contracting a mystery infection in Bali last year.

Nancy, who at the time was just three, was declining rapidly.

“I honestly thought she was going to die. I had never ever seen her that sick. I was beside myself,” Liz said to Compare Travel Insurance.

To the Carroll’s relief Nancy responded to treatment and was shortly on the way to recovery. All medical costs including ambulance transport fees and out-of-pocket expenses were covered by travel insurance.

Ball concludes, “The Carroll’s story is a reminder that travel insurance is absolutely a necessity for family holidays. The emotional and monetary cost of the Carroll’s ordeal could have been so much higher without it.”

“Travel insurance is generally a small price to pay to cover medical emergencies, cancellation costs, luggage and more. If you’re looking to avoid a budget blowout, consider investing in travel insurance this term-break.”

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    Latest comments
    1. we sell a lot of air to USA in DEC-JAN school holidays & there are reasonable fares out there but you must:-
      1) get clients to book early like February
      2) check with wholesalers who often have allocations or access to unpublished fares
      3) get clients to consider a stopover – can save them thousands, even after taking account of cost of stopover
      4) be date flexible – sometimes a day or 2 either way from preferred date, can also mean big savings
      5) consider open jaw or double open jaw flight itineraries
      6) for USA, almost always cheaper for clients to fly the likes of Southwest, who make Qantas look like a little tin pot operation, who include 2 or 3 bags with all their airfares

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