'Money is tighter than ever. But that won't stop us from having family holidays.'

Sue Ryburn and her husband have always had a passion for travel.

It was one of their shared interests that brought them together, and when they had their daughter, they knew travel would remain their family's biggest priority.

Even amid the current cost-of-living crisis impacting countless households across the globe, there are many families who don't wish to give up on their holidays. Sue feels the same.

"We definitely prioritise family holidays. My husband and I budget for it constantly, and it's always been a goal of ours. We forgo other expenditures instead to add to our travel fund," Sue tells Mamamia

"We have automatically set up our bank accounts so that when our income comes through, it's automatically transferred into different funds – for example, household spending, bills, food, and a holiday fund. We find it so much easier to have it divvied up, so that way it helps us know what we can and can't spend and what's in budget."

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Budgeting is such a well-oiled machine for Sue and her husband, that they always try to plan an overseas trip per year. But that doesn't mean they choose the most expensive destination.


"We recently went to Mexico and absolutely loved it. Our accommodation was more expensive than we usually prefer, but all our spending there was very cheap. We love to pick a destination with that in mind," Sue explains.

"One of our favourite memories was eating from the quesadilla food stall. The tortillas were freshly made, delicious, extremely inexpensive, and my daughter loved them. When we're overseas on holiday, we always save on food too. It can be one of the most costly parts of a trip, and so we like to buy from food stalls or the local supermarket there and make ourselves a mini picnic feast. And it's these local supermarkets where you often get the best cultural experiences as well."

It's bonding as a family that Sue says brings the most joy, along with educating her daughter.

"Experts always talk about free play and how that is educational. She's learning new words, new cultures, maths when counting money, you name it. It's just such a rich and positive experience."

Sue also is the founder of After Story, which sells premium convertible handbags with sustainability in mind. She says getting to test her bags out while travelling is half the fun too.

Sue and her family on holiday in Mexico. Image: Supplied.


Leanne Hall is a family psychologist and child therapist, with around 25 years of experience in this space. 

What she's been seeing lately is a big cultural shift towards Aussie households prioritising family holidays as a source of fulfillment.

"I find with families that when they're getting lost in the daily grind of everything, the planning of a holiday and having something to look forward to can bring a lot of joy," Leanne says to Mamamia. "It's now becoming a priority for many families too, whether their chosen holiday is on a large scale or something more simple and affordable."


The research also correlates. 

Carnival Cruise Line recently surveyed over 500 Aussie parents.

They found that travel is a big priority among many, with 86 per cent preferring to sacrifice expensive clothing, 82 per cent sacrificing a new car and 79 per cent sacrificing home renovations. Respondents said they would funnel the unused expenditures into saving for family trips.

It also showed that some of the top priorities for Aussies going on holidays are to have fun (73.8 per cent), spend quality time with loved ones (56 per cent) and explore a new place or culture (49 per cent).

"Despite the financial stress that many families are currently feeling and all that's happened over recent years, Aussies are refusing to give up their holidays," Leanne explains.

"It is a bit of a surprise when you think of all the things going on at the moment economically, but people now are really seeking that sense of value and purpose. And a lot derive that from travel and spending quality time with loved ones."

So, what's sparked this trend?

For Leanne, she believes it's a combination of things. A big ticket factor of course is likely the aftereffects of a global pandemic. It made us reassess what we value and wish to prioritise. A non-negotiable for many became connection, quality time and recharging one's battery. And an activity that does these things and more is travel.

Plus from a family therapist perspective, Leanne says time off can be really beneficial for the wellbeing of the parents and their kids. 


For Sydney-based parents Matthew and Janyne Chenhal, they know how restorative a family trip can be. 

After losing their family home during the March 2022 floods, and off the back of the cost-of-living crisis, Matthew, Janyne and their two kids were feeling very burnt out. 

But following this stressful period, it made them reassess what's important to them. And so they decided to start factoring travel into their family budget.

The Chenhall family. Image: Supplied.


"The impact of the pandemic and floods, combined with the daily stresses of work, school and managing a household really took a toll on our family's wellbeing. To be honest, we really need a break to reset. So, we have decided that it is important for us to prioritise a holiday as we believe it is necessary as a family to look after our overall health and wellbeing," they tell Mamamia

"We've got a cruise booked at the end of the year and we're very excited."

What's their best budgeting tips for holidays? 

Try to find all-inclusive holiday packages, forgo takeaway meals and restaurant outings in the lead-up to a holiday, watch for spending on groceries and always keep an eye out for specials. Plus, always factor in travel insurance in the budget, for ultimate peace of mind. 

As for Sue, she plans to continue budgeting for travel – even if that means cutting back on spending in other facets of her life.

"For us, travel and a holiday doesn't just have to be overseas. We love going on mini weekends away to visit friends in other towns, do day trips and see what our own backyard has to offer. But having those breaks and trips away creates such special core memories for us as a family."

Feature Image: Supplied. 

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