Kids & Pets

5 clever alternatives to going away these school holidays

Save on price hikes and crowds
Getty images

If you and the kids are looking for fun things to do in the school holidays and want to escape, there are many free school holiday activities to be enjoyed right on your own doorstep.

The key is building a valuable experience for the whole gang. Invest time in planning and the preparation of food and treats to take along with you and this will save you loads of cash on incidental spending.

Top tips for the perfect day trip:

  • Ask everyone to contribute ideas
  • Pack a delicious lunch – chicken drumsticks, fruit, water bottles for all and nuts and snacks
  • Budget an icecream or sweet treat for everyone to manage the demands of kids as they see enticing shops and vendors in your travels
  • Take outdoor activities for parks or beach visits but keep it simple – an inflatable ball is easy to pack and carry
  • Band together with other friends and family where possible to share the load and the laughs
School holiday activity ideas
(Credit: Getty images)

1. Go camping

Camping is an economical way to get everyone outside in nature without the price tag of a hotel or resort stay. If you don’t own a tent or equipment, ask around or browse your local community share sites online. Alternatively, rental companies hire out camping equipment for a fraction of the investment to buy and it wont fill up your storage space for the rest of the year.

2. Take a day trip

A good old-fashioned car trip is literally a breath of fresh air for the whole family. You don’t even need an itinerary! Plan a day to set off with friends and drive in convoy to a destination – perhaps a great park across town in another suburb you’ve heard about. Take your time, remembering to stop plenty of times along the way and take the slow route. If going further afield wind in and out of country towns, play “I Spy” with the kids and linger under trees and in parks to soak up the daylight hours. Do nothing and everything.

3. Do a house swap

As the saying goes, “A change is as good as a holiday!” Plan with another family – whether they’re local or interstate – to do a house swap for the holidays. This will take some planning and coordination but it’s a fun way to experience another neighbourhood without paying for accommodation. Agree on terms of food and housekeeping and enjoy their home as if it was your own. Your holiday can then be as extravagant or as frugal a holiday as your budget allows.

School holiday activities

4. Create a beach holiday at home

Get the jump on the weather and behave like you’re already on holidays for summer! Pack a picnic and your swimming gear and head for your nearest indoor aquatic centre. Many offer great school holiday programs if you need vacation care for your kids but it’s also a great atmosphere to create an island oasis close to home for a day visit.

If the sun is shining but the water is still too cold for swimming, a day at the beach building sandcastles and beachcombing will still provide a welcome escape, without the crowds and sunburn.

5. Day trips on the train

When was the last time you visited the major landmarks in your city? Public transport systems in most states offer capped fares on weekends and public holidays and/or off-peak rates during week days and it’s a great way to play tourist in your own city. Get online and browse itineraries of international travel companies in your city for inspiration, then build your own journey using your local knowledge.


You might also like:

Take a tour of this laid-back holiday house

12 ways to transform your home into a holiday rental

10 ways to bring your holiday home

Related stories