How to have a 3-day holiday for under $500

Posted: 1 December 2020 12:01 am

That's including transport, accommodation, food and entertainment.

This guide was sponsored by P&O Cruises. Discover the fastest way to slow down while exploring Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific. Learn more.

Dreaming of a quick getaway? Miss the butterflies you get when a holiday is right around the corner?

You won't have to wait long because 2021 is looking like a mighty good time to get your vacation on.

If you're keen to keep more money in your wallet, rest assured you do NOT need to sacrifice comfort to snap up a bargain. Here are our tips for scoring that short Aussie break for under $500.

Choose to cruise

Cruises are the ultimate holiday package. On them, you pay one set price and get everything sorted for you.

That's accommodation; inclusive dining options; access to activities during the day such as pools, water slides and deck games; and live entertainment by night including musicals, comedy shows and nightclubs.

Naturally, transport is included from port to port, so there will be no contest on who calls shotgun or whose turn it is to drive.

Plus, you'll be given free time at your holiday destination or the chance to hop onto a shore excursion to be guided around like a boss.

As cruises can be all-inclusive holidays, you can pay the set price and rest easy knowing you won't have to shell out anything more for your trip.

P&O Cruises has full-size holidays that run for as little as 3 days and start from $348.50 per person. This is based on a four-person room on the Sapphire Coast Food Festival Cruise.

Only the two of you? Prices still make the mark, starting at $449pp on the Sapphire Coast Food Festival Cruise, $474pp on this comedy cruise or $499pp on this 80s themed cruise.

Snorkelling in Port Villa, Vanuatu

Treat your family or your better half

Trips are always more fun with company and what better company is there than your partner, BFF or family unit?

Whether it's a party of two or a family of four, you can save a bundle by sharing a cabin or room. That's because regardless of whether you book a cabin or room for one person or two, you'll still be paying the cost of its maximum occupancy.

Hot tip: cruises often have sales where the third and fourth person in a cabin are discounted or are free.

An excuse for romantic getaway or a family trip? We think so.

Keep your eyes peeled for bonus extras

From free food and drinks to free Wi-Fi and credit, a fantastic way to keep your holiday budget on track is by taking advantage of free extras, which are often thrown in when there's a sale.

Resorts do it with free champagne breakfasts, spa vouchers and day tours. Though you may find you don't use the lot as you may have to travel far for them or they may not be up your alley.

Cruises are a lot better as the freebies are often things you'll use on board (drinks packages) or bonuses with loads of flexibility such as credit. You can use this on virtually everything on the ship from spa treatments and fine dining to cocktails at the bar.

You don't even have to wait for the sales to snap up some of these extras either, with many cruises offering cabin credit on every sailing.

True, the amount of credit depends on the length of your cruise and the type of cabin you book. However, even cruises as short as 3 days can earn you up to $300 in spending money on P&O.

Room service on a cruise.

Book extras early

Whether it's checked luggage on your flight or a drinks package on your cruise, booking those extras early can save you a bundle.

For example, pre-purchasing your drinks package through P&O Cruises can save you up to 24% per person, per day.

On a tight budget? Drinks start from $7 per person, per day, which can definitely keep you under that $500 mark.

Prices mentioned are correct as of the time of publication and may change over time or during sale periods.

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