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5 Steps to Plan and Pay For Overseas Family Holidays

Updated: Sep 12, 2023


Have you ever wondered how people who go on overseas family holidays are able to afford such trips? Or ever found yourself wondering how they plan them, and where they begin in organising a trip abroad that caters to all family members? If you’re anything like I was, the idea of planning an international trip with young kids probably feels overwhelming. Heck, it might even seem completely out of the question… I mean, some days just getting out of the house in time for school dropoff is hard enough. Am I right?!

Not to mention, thinking about how you’re going to cover travel costs such as airfares, accommodation, and spending money on top of everyday bills… Overseas family holidays can quickly seem out of reach (especially when kids are young and living costs are high). But what if I told you that there was a way where international travel could be on the cards for you and your family? What if I said that by following a few simple steps, your experience of planning and paying for an overseas trip could feel easy and stress free?

Would you be interested? If so, keep reading. Because I’m about to share with you the 5 steps we take to plan and pay for our overseas family holidays each year (domestic trips too) - including how we afforded a month-long trip to Europe as a family of four.

Are you ready for it? Let’s get ready to take off ✈️😉

1. Schedule holidays well in advance & commit to making them happen

My Dad used to reference an old army adage when we were kids. He’d tell us:

“Kids, piss poor planning and preparation leads to piss poor results!” Now, I don’t think the British Army said their 7 P’s just like that (the original is a bit more polite), but Dads version works fine here too. Without proper planning, going away on a family holiday can be overwhelming and stressful. That’s why we find scheduling holidays a year or more in advance so powerful. Not only does it help create a stress-free planning experience for you, it also helps you manage the juggles of everyday life. Rather than craving a last minute holiday because you feel burnt out and need a break, when you map out your holidays ahead of time, you give yourself (and your family) something to look forward to… it can create anticipation and excitement on dull and tough days. You can plan future holidays at the end of a trip you’ve just completed, or use the start of each new year to set holiday goals! Get your calendar out for the upcoming year (heck, even calendars for the next two years) and pinpoint time slots where it would work for you to take family adventures away. TIP: you can stretch your annual leave days out by taking holidays on either side of public holidays (that’s a tip my travel-loving sister taught me 👌🏾) Scheduling holidays is wonderful because it creates an exciting future for you to live into, and becomes a goal you get to happily work towards. Making that commitment by setting a date is the first step to following through with an overseas family holiday. The next step is all about getting intentional…

2. Create an intention for your holiday

Knowing that you’re going to go on a family holiday is exciting! But once on your trip, that excitement can quickly turn to frustration and upset if family members have different ideas of what the holiday is all about. Avoid tensions and remove the possibility of family feuds by creating an intention for your holiday. You can do this by asking yourself - and all family members - these questions:

  • What do we want to get out of this holiday?

  • How do we want to feel?

  • How do we want to be with one another?

  • What kind of energy and vibe do we want to create for this getaway?

  • What do we want this trip to be all about? What are we standing for?

Having a clear intention makes a difference because it ensures everyone is on the same page. It makes planning your itinerary easier, and can also help diffuse disagreements (even avoid fights altogether), because what’s there to fight about when you’re all on the same page? For our last overseas family holiday to Europe, we wanted to experience new adventures, be in awe of the different cultures and places we were visiting, and have bucket loads of fun! So, we created the holiday intention of adventure, fun, and wonder! From that space, we could then make sure we brought a sense of all those things to every aspect of our trip. It made flying home feel amazing, because we could look back at our holiday and confidently say we all experienced adventure, fun, and wonder consistently and fulfilled that intention. Can you believe we also didn’t fight once on that holiday either?! I’m not joking… creating an intention works!

3. Know your numbers & Plan your money

Once you’ve created the intention for your holiday and have an idea of what you want to do, you can start researching costs, formulating an itinerary, and calculating how much money you’re going to need to put aside each month to comfortably afford your trip. At this step of the planning process, you may discover that you need to alter your dates. For example, if you need $20,000 for your overseas holiday, and say you schedule your trip for 12 months time, but saving $1,667 each month is unaffordable (calculated by dividing $20,000 needed by 12 months), that’s okay. You can make adjustments! Simply look at what is an affordable amount for you to realistically put aside each month, and you’ll be able to work out a new travel date. For example, if you can comfortably save $500 a month, take the $20,000 savings target and divide it by $500. That gives you a rescheduled departure date of 3.33 years time (or 40 months). If that seems too far away, here are some other tips you can consider:

  1. Adjust your expectations - if a 3 month round the world trip is unattainable, consider adjusting your expectations and looking at a shorter trip to only one country instead. It doesn’t mean that you’ll never be able to afford an around the world adventure - it's just not right for right now - and that’s okay. You can always do that type of holiday later.

  2. Rethink - if you can only take holidays at a set time (so can’t push back the date), and you know you won’t have enough funds saved in time, could you do your holiday differently? Instead of staying in 5 star resorts, could you be smarter with your money and look at house swap options, or staying with family and friends for periods to cut costs down? Rethink and make adjustments accordingly.

Knowing your numbers is powerful because not only will it help ensure saving for an overseas holiday is comfortable and stress-free, planning ahead with your money like this will give you peace of mind and ensure you don’t plan something that’s out of reach.

The last thing you want is to get yourself into a financial bind where you need to use credit cards or other debts to cover travel costs. Aim to avoid that at all costs to save your future self from a debt hangover!!

4. Put structures in place to support your holiday plans

As we all know, life happens! And when life gets crazy, things like holidays are often the first to get ditched. No matter what life throws at you, give yourself every chance of getting on that plane to enjoy your family holiday by putting structures in place that will support you. What structures am I talking about? Think automated direct debits for regular fortnightly or monthly savings, a separate holidays savings account that you don’t touch, and blocking out time in your calendar (again, well in advance and protecting that time) for researching accommodation options, flights & transport requirements, fun activities and experiences, and making bookings. Mapping out time in your diary will ensure you don’t leave this legwork to the last minute (and give yourself a headache and unwanted stress!) Other structures and supports you may like to consider are things like Duolingo (the app) or language classes. Taking time to learn the language of the country you’re travelling to is fun (and a great learning opportunity for the kids too!). Locking down a great travel money card that offers you ease, convenience, and low (to no fees) for loading and changing currencies (if you’re going to multiple countries) is also handy too. We used the CBA Travel Money Card for our Europe holiday - it was super easy with no fees. But of course, it’s prudent to do your own research and find what works best for your personal financial situation.

5. Book in advance and be prepared to be flexible

Unexpected events and unforeseen costs are bound to pop up when you’re travelling… it just happens. You can plan until the cows come home, but there will always be things that are outside of your control (like cancelled flights or worker strikes) that impact your adventure. And if that happens, no worries!! That’s what makes travel interesting and gives you a good story to tell later. To make lemonade out of lemons, be prepared to go with the flow and take on an adaptive and flexible mindset. Having extra cash stashed away (like a travel rainy day fund) and appropriate travel insurance helps with this too!! We found it came in handy when our flight from Paris to Venice was cancelled the day before departure and we had to find (and pay for) an extra night's accommodation in the City of Love. Thank goodness we had an emergency fund to draw on, and could then claim it all back later.

Rather than viewing the unexpected as huge inconveniences (even though sometimes they are!), mentally preparing yourself ahead of time that unexpected things will likely happen - you can choose to view the unforeseen as learning occasions and cool travel experiences that add to your family’s travel experience and make it memorable! I like to think of it as dancing with the chaos (coz let’s face it, travel can get chaotic sometimes - why not make light of it and dance it out?!) So there you have it - the 5 steps we take for planning and paying for our family holidays (overseas, but also domestic). It may take a little bit of time to set up initially - your designated holiday account and automated regular savings for example - but once you’ve done it that first time, you can set and forget. Knowing you have steps to follow to comfortably afford overseas holidays, you can replicate them again and again. Get ready to enjoy incredible family holidays that are stress-free to organise and amazing to experience together! Just imagine all the core memories you’re going to create for your kids (and your family as a whole too)... the travel experiences you’ll have and the stories you’ll be able to reflect back on and tell in years to come…. Can you imagine it? How good does it feel? 🥰

I can’t wait for you to get started and for the wonderful holiday adventures ahead of you and your family!

Until next time, happy planning your next holiday friends!

Jaleesa x


Did you know that I'm releasing a book soon that teaches Kids about Money? Click the button below to find out more!


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