Is it just me or does Christmas seem a loooonnnngggg way in the distance! Now I have heard of a species of humans who ACCRUE annual leave and are even FORCED to take holidays because they have TOO MANY?!?!?! But this is a very strange and foreign concept to me. I've always been either in the negative when it comes to annual leave or I can be found on extend unpaid leave. My motto has always been: life is too short to accrue leave!
But sometimes this mandate can place us avid adventurers in a bit of a conundrum. Yes there are years of our lives when we spend all our money gallivanting the globe but there are also, how do I put it....dry spells? You know the years when you undertake a renovation (I'm still contemplating whether or not this is a good idea because I would hate it to distract from travel options) or perhaps you add to your brood or take some time off work and just don't have the kind of cash flow required to jump on a plane to Europe.
I still think, life is too short to accrue annual leave and so we need to think and plan creatively! One of the biggest challenges of being grounded in Australia due to lack of funds for international travel is of course the fact that the cost of living here is really high. You can't just book a last minute weekend away or road trip up north to the Whitsundays, because a) fuel is expensive and b) accommodation is INSANELY expensive. But there are definitely ways to get those holidays feels without breaking the budget and explore some of our own beautiful backyard at the same time. Here are some of my hot tips:
- Plan ahead. If you can plan some weekends away outside of peak holiday periods, you will save a lot of money on accommodation costs and you will have plenty more options to choose from.
- Use Airbnb This accommodation service has really changed the way I travel. I have used it prolifically throughout Europe and at home in Australia and it has proved to not only be reliable and reasonable, but it's a great way to obtain local knowledge of the places you are visiting.
- Couch surf! Couch surfing is a great way to travel for free (you are literally crashing on someone's "couch" or spare bed). It's also a great travelling network - you can accrue friends all around the world.
- Learn to love roughing it! Camping is such a great way to travel - especially as a family. If you're not a natural camper, learn to love it! Borrow gear from friends or family so you can have a bit of a trial run before investing in the complete setup. Kids love nothing better than the adventure of camping, so head to the bush or the beach and enjoy connecting with nature and getting back to basics. If you can foster a love of camping in your family when your kids are young, you will set yourself up for easy, fun, cheap, holidays for the rest of your lives! And if you're not used to roughing it, just choose your destination wisely. Make sure the campground has good facilities like hot water, toilets etc. And what could go wrong?! The Australian Geographic has put together a great list of the 18 best camping spots in the country.
- Take control of your calendar! We all know how busy life can get. Before you know it the months are taken over with birthday parties, christenings, family gatherings and work events. It might all be fun, but you know what it equates to....months of endless busy weekends where you just can't get away. For me it's all about balance and prioritising holiday time. Whether you want to get away with the girls, your partner or your family, take control of your calendar and book out some weekends in advance so it actually happens.
Even if you don't have any massive international trips on the horizon, there is still something really exciting and rewarding about looking at your calendar and knowing you have a romantic weekend away coming up next month and a camping trip with family the month after that. It's great to allow for some spontaneity - if the weather is going to be good, why not hit the open road and chase the sun? But remember if you want to make holidaying part of your lifestyle you need to plan ahead and prioritise!