Visiting the Gold Coast on a budget

One of my favourite holiday destinations in Australia is the Gold Coast in Queensland. Monkey and I usually take a holiday there at least once a year. Partly because I used to live in Brisbane, which is only half an hour away and that’s where my heart truly belongs, if I could convince my family all to move up there I would move back in a flash. Sadly for me, they won’t and I no longer want to live quite so far away from them, so my compromise is that I get to holiday there.

Honestly I have to say that when I lived there, I did not appreciate it for all it’s wonderfulness, I probably only went to the Gold Coast a couple of times in the entire 8 years I called Brisbane home, and usually it was for the night life, which there is plenty of. The Gold Coast is so much more than it’s night life though. There is so much to see and do, and for those who just want to relax, well there are plenty of gorgeous beaches to that at.

Monkey and I don’t travel first class though, we could never afford to. I dream about it, but it’s never going to happen. The Gold Coast can be expensive, but we’ve figured out a few things that ensure that we don’t run out of cash while we are there. Right up this is NOT a sponsored post, I just thought you’d like a few tips…

1. I book the entire holiday myself. Travel agents and packages can actually turn out to be quite expensive. I have never found one that worked out to be less expensive than booking myself, usually they end up being hundreds of dollars more than I usually spend

2. We travel at low peak times of the year and always during the school terms. While the kids are at school, the theme parks are empty, which means no long lines and it is also a cheaper time of year to travel. I find August to be a pretty economic time of year to travel to the Gold Coast.

3. When I book our hotels I check ebay for accommodation vouchers. There are 2 ebay sellers that I have used many times without a problem at all, Smart Holidays Away and QLD Gold Coast Holidays. To give you an idea, this is where we stayed last year. I bought 2 vouchers and we stayed 10 days. The apartment had full ocean views and was only a 2 minute walk to the beach. 

4. Getting around on the Gold Coast is pretty easy, and there are a variety of transport options. I usually book a hotel that’s close to everything so we can walk to most places, and for the theme parks and places that are a little further away, I purchase a GO Card which allows me access to all public transport on the Gold Coast and in Brisbane for a discounted price, and if you can manage to travel during off peak times on the public transport system, it’s also cheaper again. 

5. Interested in the theme parks? We always get yearly passes, and not because we plan to go all year, but because it’s a better deal. A one day admission to Sea World or Movie World will set you back $93, for Wet’nWild a one day pass is $63.00. Whereas a VIP Pass for $109.99 will allow you unlimited access to Sea World, Movie World and Wet’n’Wild for your entire holiday. That’s a saving of $139.00! My Fun will also from time to time have buy 2 get 1 free deals on VIP Passes, which means you save even more cash.

And while we’re talking theme park passes…..did you know, you can earn points through programs like Swagbucks and Flybuys and redeem those points for theme park tickets. Which means that you basically get free tickets! This year we are saving up our points for exactly that reason.

6. Eating can be pretty expensive on the Gold Coast, and the food at the theme parks…..well let’s just say an ice cream will cost you around $7. Mostly I will book us an apartment that has a proper kitchen so that I can prepare our meals, because that saves us a lot of money. We pack our lunches for the theme parks each time we go, and we just plan to have one or two special nights that we eat out. When I’m wanting to eat at a restaurant, I will look for a voucher on one of the deals websites such as Cudo or Living Social and use those. 

At Sea World and Movie world the food is expensive, however they do offer a special deal on drinks. If you purchase a drink bottle, which I think cost me $12 last time you get free refills all day long. They will fill the bottle with a soda of your choice or water, that’s a pretty good deal. 

7. Getting to the Gold Coast is probably one of the biggest costs of the entire holiday. Last year I joined Club Jetstar for $39 hoping that it would pay off, and it did. During one of their member sales I managed to purchase flights from Sydney to the Gold Coast return for $7 per person (not including luggage costs). That was awesome! 

If you don’t want to join a club like that though, you can still pick up some pretty cheap flights when the airlines have sales. Sign up for their newsletters so you’ll be notified of any upcoming deals. You can usually pick up flights from $39 depending on where you are travelling from.

8. While we are on the subject of flights….if you are the kinda person who could possibly fit all your stuff into carry on luggage, you can also save yourself some dollars by not paying for luggage when you book your flight.

Got any tips you can share? I’d love to hear from you, comment below and let us all know…..

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