Friday 28 November 2008

Christmas bookings spike due to squeeze on household budgets

The Australian tradition of caravan and camping holidays for families over the Christmas break is making a resurgence due to the squeeze on household budgets experienced in 2008.

Australia’s largest owner and operator of holiday parks, Discovery Holiday Parks, is already experiencing an increase in bookings for December and January across its 40 sites compared to the same time last year.

Compared to the same time in 2007, Christmas bookings for Discovery Holiday Park’s cabins are booked up by 20 per cent are full at some of the more popular parks, including South Australia’s Robe, Victoria’s Warrnambool and New South Wales, Eden and Pambula Beach.

Furthermore, not wanting to sacrifice their holidays, some families are opting to stay closer to home or for longer periods to save on associated travel costs.

Discovery Holiday Parks Chief Executive, Tim Dodds says the financial pressures due to rising interest rates, petrol and food prices is leading holidaymakers to reacquaint themselves with their own backyard.

“According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the cost of living for an average household increased by 5.7% in the last financial year – a figure which hasn’t been seen since 2001. This is having an impact on non-essential spending such as holidays,” Tim said.

“We’re finding a growing number of Australians are choosing to travel closer to home where they can still experience a relaxing and memorable holiday without the expense of traveling interstate or overseas,” he said.

A seven-night trip to Fiji for a Sydney-based family of four costs around $4,500 for flights and apartment-style accommodation. For the same family to travel to Pambula Beach and stay in a cabin at Discovery holiday Parks for seven nights, they would spend approximately $950 including petrol to and from the holiday park.

With six kilometers of white sand beaches and the spectacular beauty of the Sapphire Coast, Pambula Beach provides an equally memorable and more affordable alternative to overseas travel.

“And with value for money becoming even more paramount, self-contained holidays are the emerging winners whereby people can choose to cook for themselves and utilise the resort-style facilities at the holiday park which are all included in the overall accommodation package,” Tim said.

“We are continuously working hard to meet the demand for deluxe-style, affordable, family friendly and memorable holiday experiences for guests of all ages and interests.”

Tips for holidaying on a budget:

# Do your research – ensure you are getting the best value for money and that there are no hidden costs
# Book early to ensure you can get the accommodation you want and not be forced into paying more due to a lack of availability
# Investigate any early bird packages
# Consider your priorities when it comes to choosing a holiday destination – do you need to travel as far to have the best holiday experience possible?
# Use your shopper dockets for discount petrol and try to buy petrol on cheaper days such as Tuesdays
# Consider staying in cabins rather than the expense of towing a caravan which can prove costly in petrol
# Cook your own meals or pack a picnic rather than dining out, leaving it to special occasions only
# Keep the kids entertained on the cheap; take a footy, frisbee, cricket bat, some games

Discovery Holiday Parks are located in some of nation’s most scenic and idyllic locations, the majority of which are major tourism regions with easy access to beaches, national park or local attractions. More than 70 per cent of the parks are in premium waterfront location with a network of no less than four quality parks in each state.

For further information on Discovery Holiday Parks go to the website at

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