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Summertime – and the living is easy. But how to find an affordable holiday? Browse our tips for trimming costs on your summer .

Take off either side of peak.

If you don’t need to travel in the school holidays, don’t. Peak season for Australian airfares starts early to mid December and ends around 31 January. Flying and holidaying in the month before or after those dates (called the “shoulder”) means the weather’s still magic but the attractions won’t be as chockers and flights/accomm might be cheaper.  

Think outside the beach.

While everyone else is flocking to the coastline, try a farm stay or the NSW/Vic snowfields for hiking, paddling, horse riding and mountain biking.

Find a shoulder overseas.

Look for good deals November to mid December in New Zealand and the European or North American ski fields. Or use our summer to enjoy glamorous, wintry New York, Berlin or London off-peak.

Book in advance.

Wherever you go, whatever time of year, airfares and accommodation are cheaper if you book months ahead. Skyscanner says 13 weeks ahead will yield the cheapest domestic flights, for example.

Do a roadtrip.

Taking flights out of the equation is a major cost smasher especially if you’re a family. And a campervan, tent or cabin will likely be cheaper than a holiday apartment or house. Just book in plenty of time because summer is prime time at budget family spots.

Get onto newsletters.

Airlines, deals purveyors, cruise lines, travel businesses – they all have newsletters that push bargain info to their members first. Gotta be on it to win it.

Airbnb it.

Research conducted by American site Busbud showed that in Sydney the average hotel rate is around 28% higher than an airbnb rental.

House swap or house sit.

Use the proliferation of websites out there (aussiehouseswap, homeexchange, aussiehousesitters, mindahome for starters) to stay in someone’s house and either pay minimal or no rent for weeks or months. But you really will have to book in way, way ahead as the best locations go first, and fast. (Are you seeing a common thread here?)

Explore local supermarkets.

Eating out is fantastic fun but expensive if you’re doing it every meal. Instead, discover what the local supermarkets have to offer (especially if you’re overseas) and make that an adventure, while saving money by preparing your meals yourselves.

Have a staycation.

You know all those tourists you see enjoying the sights and delights of the place where you live? They’re onto something. Do some research and find out what are the cool new things to do in your town or city. Haunted old buildings? Foodie tours? With practically zero travel costs, it’s a cheap way to break out and enjoy summer.