5 Tips for a Budget-friendly yet Elegant Wedding

5 Tips for a Budget-friendly yet Elegant Wedding

Even if you are not planning on getting married now, chances are you will be in the future, or you will be involved in your daughter or son’s wedding. Your cousin may also consult you on a few tips to use to achieve a dream wedding.

DIY planning can save you thousands. But planning a wedding can be stressful and exhausting. Oftentimes, the bride and groom will hire a wedding coordinator to help relieve some of the burden. Your game here is the ‘Complete guide to planning your dream wedding’ by Editor Carolyn Menyes at Thedailymeal.com.

Here a few tips that you can use to organise your own or child’s elegant wedding at a budget-friendly cost:

DIY Dessert Bar

If you are close with your family members, you should take advantage of their dessert skills, if they have some. A potluck dessert bar can come in handy, saving money that would otherwise be used in ordering your dessert from caterers.

If you have aunties or grandparents that have baking skills, you can use them to share their desserts with your wedding guests. You can ask them if they can make a certain amount of cookies or cupcakes to put at the dessert bar.

Get a small cutting cake for the bride and the groom, then fill the table with some special sweets. One can then use some customised tags that shows who made the sweets or the cake.

5 Tips for a Budget-friendly yet Elegant WeddingHire the dress 

Most people who think about hiring a wedding dress think of it as downgrading the most important moment of their lives. Everyone wants to say ‘I do’ in the perfectly elegant dress and the mention of “hiring a dress” shatters that dream.

However, that should not be the case. You can easily hire a designer dress with all the details and specifications that you want. This will not only ensure you have a dream wedding, but also achieve this dream at a pocket-friendly price.  

Marilyn.nz is a wedding dress hire company with dresses starting at $500 and going up to $1,000. If you cannot afford the hire charge, you could consider taking a small personal loan! 

Buy Used Items

Many times after the wedding, the things needed at the wedding are disposed of by already-married brides. Some of the things may include décor items, candle holders and even chandeliers.

Many physical and online shops sell used wedding items that are in perfect condition that can be reused again at your wedding. These items may also not necessarily be used as some weddings are usually cancelled leaving their wedding items unused, or the previous bride may well have over-purchased!

You can buy these items at a subsidised price that will enable you to have the wedding you have been dreaming of all this time.

Avoid Favours

This is one of the most efficient ways of saving money and time. Instead of giving everyone free rides to and from the wedding, simply let everyone know in advance to cater for their transport so as to save yourself the cost of transportation.

One of the most common misconceptions about a wedding is the use of a limo. Couples should be creative and find other ways of getting to the wedding venue and from without having to hire a limo.

5 Tips for a Budget-friendly yet Elegant WeddingLimit Your Guest List 

This is the most dreaded and crucial part of wedding planning. Dreaded because it’s difficult when it comes to deciding who to invite and not to invite to your wedding. 

The guest list is crucial because you get to reduce the number of people so that you can reduce the cost of the wedding. Remember, the more people you invite, the more food and drink you’ll have to buy to serve them at the reception.

Wedding costs wilvary accordingly. In an article on Cost of Wedding, it says that about 50 per cent of couples spend less than $15,000 on their wedding, while the other half “spend between $19,323 and $32,205.” The honeymoon is usually excluded from the budget.

Be sure to always check with your your accountant or financial advisor before committing fully to any of your wedding plans and taking out a loan. You must carefully read the disclosure statement before considering taking out a loan. Quickloans.co.nz offer loans to New Zealand residents, with repayments terms starting at $20 per week.

 There’s nothing wrong with spending money on your wedding because you only marry once. However, a wedding with a tight budget does not make it any less personal or cheap. It just means the couple chose frugality over debt to save up for their newly-wed life. You can also browse the rest of our site (My Wedding) for more wedding inspirations, tips, and advice.

 

A theme that’s affordable

A theme that’s affordable

A theme that's affordable, that you both wantby Ashlee Sturme

How to pick a theme that’s affordable, yet still what you both want.

I suggested a beach wedding and my honey told me he’d always wanted a garden wedding. Strike one.

I decided to try again. “Honey, let’s have a vintage wedding,” I said cautiously, showing him stunning papers and photos. My honey is a romantic, but traditional and conservative.

I don’t think it’s going to be an easy path  to get my dream wedding image into his head!

He screwed his nose up. In my mind, I pictured beautiful layers of lace, soft pink roses and pretty images of yesteryear. Dreamy and romantic, fused with modernisms. He saw something different – I could tell. “It looks….  1800’s. Like old,” he said. “That’s what I want!” I cried. “Well, not old, but classic. Isn’t it gorgeous?” He looked at me like I was crazy. I know this ‘look’ well. It’s part of a series of ‘looks’ that he has perfected just for me.  Like the “No way, you’re absolutely NOT going to do what you’ve just suggested”, and the “I think you’re crazy (but if you sweet talk enough I may come round) look.”

I’m trying so hard to compromise for this wedding. I have a tendency to charge ahead with my ideas – I know what I want and how to achieve it. But I have made a resolution that this is OUR wedding and not just mine. We have to agree and compromise on everything – of course, I am still secretly hoping that he will say, “Honey, whatever you want is fine with me”.

Other girls I’ve talked to either have better persuasion skills or their men didn’t really care. Those who love pink, roses or butterflies, actually get to have pink, rose or butterfly-themed weddings. Do their other halves  happen to love these things too (a match made in heaven) or do they give in to avoid Bridezilla and keep things easy?

Choosing a theme at the beginning of your planning is a great way to coordinate everything, much like you might theme your house so everything flows. It makes planning easier because it eliminates choices. Instead of  debating between the white fur-lined, floor-length gown and a knee-high, pink baby-doll dress, you’ll know which one is better if you’ve decided on a Ruapehu snow-themed wedding.

A theme allows you to harmonise, matching your venue with your flowers, clothing, food and decorations, and your choice will make a personal statement on your special day.

Perhaps you’ve been lusting after a Prince and  Princess theme since you were a little girl; maybe the two of you met while travelling Europe, so you’ve opted for an Italian theme.

You both love music – think rock ‘n roll; he works at the zoo – think animals. The sky is  the limit!

Inspiration can come at the weirdest times. Kate says she chose her theme while sitting on the toilet – her bathmat was grape and gold and it was perfect. She’d initially chosen green and pink, colours on the liquid soap  bottle in her bathroom.

Andrea went all out on a Waikato theme combining black, red and yellow. Her husband was fine with her choices and she said it came together really nicely, apart from the cake, which she admitted looked ‘tacky’. She had the bridesmaid dresses professionally designed and went from there, and it was easy to plan everything else around it.

Justine went for a fun theme of black, white and red. “I’m a Cantabrian and my partner is Maori, so the colours worked well with both of us”. She had no conflict with her fiancé here, “He said he doesn’t care if I have bright pink tablecloths with yellow polka dots” – some girls have all the luck!

Many girls find the theme is set when they choose the season or venue. Romey’s theme matched their destination wedding in Fiji, although she  did personalise it by choosing her own two colours.

A theme can help things look fabulous even when the budget is stretched. Shari found that “It really kind of just fell into place! We didn’t really want a church wedding. We both love the beach and it’s a completely free  venue! We thought it would also make for good decorations for the dinner etc – that would look nice and with free shells/ sand etc. So the beach it was!”

Karen chose a family-theme, and together with her finance, decided to include their baby’s christening into the main ceremony. “Although it may sound quite mad, we want as many kids running amok around the lawn as  possible. Ever heard the saying that laughter is the best medicine? Where would we be without children to help us keep things in perspective! It’s going to be a riot I can tell you!”

On the flipside, there are themes that may cost more than others, but being creative will help keep the budget down. Try Medieval, fantasy, cultural, pirates, favourite movie, birds, flowers, seasons, Elvis, sports, Western  or colour themes.

Some of the girls I spoke with said that they decided on the theme together with their partner, but most suggested to just keep talking. Talk, and talk some more, ensuring you have the same ideas in your minds. When  you’re discussing ideas, sharing pictures and just chatting, you can comfortably compromise and see the other’s point of view. It becomes easier the more you talk, and avoids any shocks and surprises.??I don’t think talking is going to help me convince my honey that vintage chandeliers and pink peony roses in antique glass vases is the wedding of his dreams.

I’ve started a ‘visual’ for him – a journal of dresses, decorations, samples that I like. I’m hoping the scrapbook will help him envision my dream, or simply blind him with its beauty and force him to accept my suggestions. At the very least, its going to be the most beautiful wedding  planning folder ever made!

Otherwise, I can take his ‘look’ a little more seriously or try more of the ‘sweet-talk’ that may help me get my way … caressing his shoulder, whispering sweet nothings in his ear and even talking in ‘male’ language – along  the lines of, ‘honey, a vintage wedding would be $3,000 cheaper than a garden wedding…!”

Budgeting For The Big Day

Budgeting For The Big Day

Budgeting For The Big DayYou are engaged to the person you love and you are excited about planning your dream wedding day… nothing can dampen your spirits, until that is, you begin to discuss your wedding budget.

Wedding planner Maria Kirk from Pazazz Weddings gives her view on why discussing the wedding budget often causes so much distress and how to create a realistic budget for your big day.

It never ceases to amaze me how so many people who love each other and want to spend the rest of their life together can feud over the wedding budget but it doesn’t have to be this way, creating your budget can be a very enjoyable, fun and exciting time for both of you. I would firstly suggest not attempting to devise the budget while you are stressed as this will only create more tension. Try to make this initial talk about the wedding as romantic as possible by cooking a fabulous meal, having a glass of wine and then discussing the budget.

First you must work out how much you can realistically spend on you wedding and then you can easily divide the total budget into sections like this:?:

Ceremony and Reception (40%)

Wedding planner/consultant (10%)

Photography/videography (10%)

Wedding attire (8%)

Floral décor (7%)

Entertainment (7%)

Wedding rings (4%)

Stationary (3%)

Gifts (3%)

Transport and lodging (3%)

Wedding cake (2%)

This will then enable you to work out an estimated cost for each supplier. Once you have this figure you can start to become imaginative. What can you do to keep the cost down further? Could you make the stationary? Could a friend create the table centrepieces?

Why not attend an evening class to learn how to make your own tiara? There are many fun and exciting ways to keep the costs at a minimum so that you can delegate more money to the most important aspects of the day.

Keep the conversation lively and light hearted and you will begin to enjoy the planning of your wedding from day one, instead of arguing with your loved one which is what happens with the majority of brides.

BIO:

* Maria Kirk qualified with a distinction from the Wedding Planner School?

* Pazazz Weddings is based in Kent but operates across Kent, London and the South East?

*Pazazz Weddings offers a range of services from Full Bespoke Wedding Planning to Wedding Day Coordination?

* Maria Kirk is an expert and professional wedding planner

www.pazazzweddingsandevents.co.uk

Saving Money On Your Big Day

Saving Money On Your Big Day

Saving Money On Your Big DayIs it possible to save money while planning your perfect wedding? The answer to this is a resounding yes!

Many couples are unaware of the money saving opportunities available when it comes to planning their big day and unfortunately thousands of newlyweds end over budget and begin married life with horrendous debts.

So, how can you save money during the planning and preparation of your wedding?

Wedding Planner Maria Kirk from Pazazz Weddings has devised a list of 10 ideas to get you started.

1. Realistic Budget Calculations

When it comes to setting a budget many couples are unrealistic about the costs involved. Research online to find average prices and then you will be able to work out a budget for your wedding. You can then discuss how much you can save and if necessary discuss contributions from relatives.

2. Prioritise

If your final budget is more than you can comfortably afford then you should prioritise by marking each item with a number from 1 – 10. 10 being a ‘must have’ and 1 being a ‘can live without.’ Once you are comfortable with your priorities you can begin by booking suppliers or searching for the items with the highest priority first.

3. Hit the Sales

Everyone loves a bargain! You might just find your perfect dress half price in the sales or the wedding favours on a buy one get one free offer. Without a doubt the best time to shop for wedding related items is during the sales.

4. Negotiation

If you are confident and enjoy bartering then you could get an excellent price from suppliers. There are two ways to negotiate with suppliers, quantity and discounts. Quantity negotiation is when you receive a better service for less, for example a photographer may allow you 10 free photographs or the DJ may play for an extra hour. Discount negotiation is harder to achieve but is possible and there are two types of discounts to aim for, quality and financial. Quality discounts are when you receive a higher value item for less and financial discounts are when you receive money off of a purchase.

5. Wedding Fairs

These are fantastic to visit in order to gain ideas and inspiration; however, I would not advise you to sign any contracts on the day. Many suppliers will offer discounts on the day of the fair but how do you know that the price they are offering is not their ‘real’ price? I would simply take some information from them and ask them to hold the price for you. They may not be keen to do this but most suppliers will hold the price for a week after the wedding fair. This will give you enough time to gain other quotations and work out if you are getting a good price or not.

6. Online Shopping

You can get some amazing deals by browsing the internet. Try visiting ebay for items, you can choose to select ‘new’ items only and you may just find the shoes you are after or the perfect bridesmaid dress at a fraction of the cost.

7. Hire a Wedding Planner

It is a common misconception that wedding planners are expensive and take over the wedding. We are simply available to help and with a planner negotiating on your behalf you are certain to save money. It is possible to save thousands of pounds when you hire a wedding planner.

8. Gift List

Consider setting up a honeymoon gift list service like the one offered by honeymoney. Guests can transfer money into an account for you to use on your honeymoon. This will make a huge saving and will allow you to experience things on your honeymoon which you may not have been able to afford.

9. The Day of the Week

The day you choose for your wedding can affect the price that supplier’s charge. For example, with venues the most expensive day of the week to marry is on a Saturday and you can save up to 40% by marrying on a weekday.

10. Creative Friends

Do you enjoy making cards? Maybe you could make your own invitations. Have you got a friend that decorates birthday cakes? Maybe she could decorate your wedding cake. Does your mum adore flowers? She could arrange the floral decorations and bouquets. By using talented friends and relatives you will save hundreds… maybe thousands of pounds.

Pazazz Weddings is owned by Maria Kirk. Maria has established herself as a leading wedding planner in London, Kent and the South East and is famed for creating stylish and flawless events. Maria is also a member of the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners which promote professionalism in wedding planning through training, specialised events and seminars. * Maria Kirk qualified with a distinction from the Wedding Planner School. *Maria Kirk is a member of the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners (UKAWP). Pazazz Weddings mainly operates across London and the South East. * Pazazz Weddings offers a range of services from full bespoke planning to wedding day management. At present Pazazz Weddings caters for a range of budgets however, by August 2012 we will solely be planning weddings for luxury and high profile clients

Website: www.pazazz-weddings.co.uk

The Budget – friend or foe?

The Budget – friend or foe?

The Budget – friend or foe?By Ashlee Sturme

Somewhere amongst daydreaming, flicking through magazines and trying on dresses, I figured we needed to put our feet on the ground and work out a budget. I can visualise a hammer crushing my fluffy pink clouds, but a realistic budget is vitally important to keep things in check.

My “dream” wedding comes with an unlimited budget (read second mortgage!) but there’s a small part of me that would be proud to achieve my dream on a shoestring. 

My other half’s dream wedding would involve no costs and no stress (doesn’t the bride’s family pay for the wedding?). It’s a battle of wills – as usual, his level-headed thinking pulls my glossy eyes from those pink fluffy clouds!

Apparently the first step is to set a ‘base figure’ – the ideal amount, not the dream amount. Consider how far away your date is, how much you can save by then, and how the wedding fits into your priorities. For me, moving into a bigger home and my children’s education is more important than one day for a wedding, so that defines my priorities. His priorities are simple – the wedding budget falls after the kids, rates, groceries, power bill and his hobby. We’re a one-income family with little room to move/save, although we have the benefit of time on our side.

So I set my base figure. 

The second step is to prioritise different factors of the day. Work out what’s important to you both – the food at the reception; the childhood-dream dress? Do flowers rank high or low; is transport or accommodation important, or a low priority?

Thirdly, talk to recently married friends who may share their exact budget with you. By finding out how much the flowers, food, DJ cost at weddings you’ve attended, you’ll know roughly what you’re going to get for your money.

Talk to suppliers – obtain quotes, and let them know you’re flexible. Ask about out of season dates and their tips on keeping the budget down.

We drafted our priorities on the back of a bank-statement envelope -how fitting! Photography came first and the rings second – that’s what we’ll have to treasure after the big day. Although I don’t intend spending an outrageous amount on clothing, I do want a dress I really like.

Finally, the reception needs to be great! 

Not necessarily expensive, but great. We agreed that it would be the smaller details that would make the day memorable and special, making up for any budget shortfalls.

My research was fun. I started with some of the biggest costs, getting quotes for marquees, venue hire and photography, and spent a glamorous but tiring day trying on dresses, figuring out what suited. It wasn’t so  exciting sitting down to work on Step 4 – re-evaluation.

The venue, dress, band and photography alone more than doubled the budget! Well, we don’t need flowers, and can’t everyone bring a plate for dinner?

I do feel pressure when reading gorgeous ‘real-life’ wedding stories – I have to remind myself that they don’t have three babes! I’m always inspired by fun and gorgeous weddings that came in under $5000 thanks to some creative planning and help from others.

Once you look a bit closer, it’s often easy to replicate stunning ideas from those expensive weddings at a fraction of the price.

So, our budget was rewritten and quotes discarded. The point of the day is to have fun, share our love, sign that piece of paper and enjoy the company of our loved ones, not head into debt or reduce our quality of living. My budget now sits at 50% more than my base figure, but I intend to make up this difference by sourcing things as we go along – grabbing the veil in a sale, collecting vintage jars over the coming year, and gathering 
together coordinating stationary, so that some costs are absorbed into our daily living budget … and I think I need a part-time job!

Most of the lovely ladies I spoke to said their budgets were in the $5-10,000 range (about the same as mine). Some were being creative, proudly sitting under $5000; others were saving hard for their dream day, envisaging it at over $10,000.

The most important thing to them all was making sure they achieved their priorities, whatever those were. Every couple has something special and important to them, and that’s where most of your time, energy and budget should go! ♥


SOME BUDGET-SAVING TIPS:

• Be honest with suppliers – if their prices are out of your reach, ask how they can help.

• Use Trade Me – dresses, parasols, decorations, fabric, shoes, invites – you’ll likely find them given time.

• Be free – utilise free resources, like toitoi branches, sand and shells, the beach as a venue, a local park for photos.

• Go Green – paperless (electronic) invites; reuse and recycle – party decorations, a friend’s wedding decorations.

• Be flexible – marry out of season, choose a similar but in-season flower, an off-the-rack dress, cheaper but similar fabric, a more casual theme.

• Ask for help – an aunt who bakes; a friend with a garden full of roses; an uncle as a driver; bridesmaids helping to dress the venue. Those closest to you want to help and be involved!

Budget Blasting Tips

Budget Blasting Tips

Budget Blasting TipsBy Lauren Prill

Setting your bridal budget is often fraught with disdain. Considered living on baked beans and toast to save money before the wedding? You wouldn’t be the first! The average Kiwi wedding costs somewhere in the vicinity of $30,000 – a sizeable chunk of cash, equivalent to the ten percent deposit required for the average kiwi home.

I’d be so bold as to say that undoubtedly it will cost you more than you first think. Items add up all too quickly and suddenly you are left justifying every dollar spent.

If only we could target our budgets like the Ab Roller targets abs … in four quick minutes a day our budget worries would be blasted away! Since this isn’t the case, here are some of my tips to lessen the burden without cutting corners on your fairytale wedding…

Cake: There’s sure to be a baker in the family somewhere. DIY is much cheaper than shop brought and I’m sure the family will only be too happy to taste test the practise run cake. Or you could opt for a smaller professional cake and have an undecorated (sheet) cake to be cut and served to the guests. Cupcake trees are very in-vogue and easy to make. Invite the girls over to help ice them while you enjoy a wee catch-up. Many hands make light work!

The Dress: If you’re lucky enough to have a seamstress on close acquaintance, maximise the fortune. Second-hand dress shopping is also an option – before you gasp in horror, just because it’s pre-loved doesn’t mean it won’t be as stunning. These days you can even hire wedding dresses. Wedding dress retailers DO have sales or sometimes offer end-of-lines at reduced prices.???

Stationery: Have a craft day and make your own invites, place names etc, or create a wedding website to alleviate the need for invites altogether. There are lots of free wedding websites out there that allow you to create a site for your day. You can email out invites with the web link and guests can then RSVP on the website, saving money on the invite itself and also postage. Give it an eco-angle – saving paper is good for the planet.

Bridesmaids: If you want to buy their dresses for them, why not sell them afterwards? Not many bridesmaids ever wear their ensembles after your big day, frou frou or otherwise.

Flowers: Keep your floral choices in season and don’t set your wedding date round Valentine’s Day!

Favours: They aren’t compulsory. In fact, if you left them out I don’t think many guests would miss them. If you wish to have them consider incorporating your favours with your place name, for instance a lollipop with the guest’s name tied on to the stick. Simple and effective – two birds with one stone, which is an added bonus!

Beverages: Venues that offer a BYO option will undoubtedly save you money. Some venues may charge a corkage fee, but even with this factored in your drinks bill will still be cheaper. Keep an eye out for sales at your local supermarket. Beverages can be bought way in advance and stored in your garage. Any leftovers can be used at your post-wedding function, if you’re having one. Another option is to limit your bar to beer and wine – guests won’t expect top shelf! You could even stop the free bar at 10.30pm and let guests pay their own way from then. Some larger companies like Liquor King offer a sale-and return … if it’s unopened, you can return it.

Venue: Some venues will offer a special rate for functions booked Monday through Thursday. A Saturday is always prime real estate and Friday’s are now the new Saturday! Worth noting, too, is that some venues will charge higher rates over the Christmas season or summer in general.

Beg, Borrow or Steal friends and family you know to have resources or skills you can pool from. For example cars for wedding transport. There may even be a musician or DJ in the realms you can utilise.

Buy, Use then Sell! Trade Me and Ebay are fabulous tools. You can buy your shoes, veil, dress, you name it – use them on your big day, then sell them afterwards! Especially good for flower girl and bridesmaid dresses. We made our feather quill pen, table runners, table names and seating plan board, then sold it all.

Flower girls dresses bought second-hand off a friend then sold for the same price afterwards; cake topper bought, adored then sold; veil – a Jane Yeh bargain buy off Trade Me. Having money come in after the wedding is the icing on the cake!

Saving money in various areas adds up quickly! Was Eva Longoria-Parker’s wedding dress second-hand? I doubt it. We could blame celebrities and their excessive weddings for our desire for the extravagant trimmings but, alas, most of us don’t have the eight figure salary they do!

So be realistic. If all else fails, there is of course the option of eloping, if you think your family will forgive you! Jet away somewhere romantic – think of all the?lobster and French champagne you could splurge on in an idyllic island escape – a wedding and honeymoon all in one, and the cost is still likely to come in under that of a 100-guest reception.

Certainly food for thought as you diligently toss your spare change into the piggy bank … after all, every penny counts!

This editorial is part of the creatively cute weddings ‘Bride to Be’ pack – a starter pack for all ‘Bride’s to Be’! The pack includes a detailed budget along with a wealth of information to ease the stress in preparing for your wedding.

Tips to stretch a honeymoon budget

Tips to stretch a honeymoon budget

Secrets for a Romantic HoneymoonON AVERAGE, the Australian couple spends around $5000 on their honeymoon, which does not include spending money.

That’s a hefty bill to rack up before you have barely started your life as husband and wife. So, how can you keep the cost down without scrimping on style?

Here is Escape Travel’s list of top 5 tips for booking a dream honeymoon, without blowing your budget.

1. Travel during off-peak and look out for deals
 

School holidays and weekends are best avoided when it comes to air travel. These are typically the busiest times to fly. If you are flexible with your travel dates, fly during the week and use frequent flyer points to upgrade if you have any. It also pays to sign up for newsletters from your local travel agent and keep an eye out for deals to take advantage of.

2. Ask guests for the gift of a honeymoon 


The growing trend for newlyweds is to set up a honeymoon registry for their wedding. Couples simply create the registry at their nearest Escape Travel store and wedding guests transfer their desired gift electronically. It is a fantastic way to pool money together to put towards the overall cost of a honeymoon, instead of accumulating plates, cups and cutlery, which are often not required.

3. Think outside the box
 

Five-star camping honeymoons are gaining popularity, especially in Africa where you can sleep under the star in a luxury tent. More couples are joining group tours too, for the ease of an organised itinerary and the social aspect of travelling with like-minded people. Also look into parts of Asia and the South Pacific that are lesser known and not likely to be populated by tourists, such Palau or Boracay in the Philippines, Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia and the beaches of Sri Lanka.

4. Get advice

Travel agents have a wealth of travel knowledge. Speak to them about where to go, when to go and tips on places to stay. They have access to all the cheap travel deals, news on exclusive resorts and more. Packages are great value, with inclusions such as breakfast, airport transfers, taxes and activities. Be sure you take out travel insurance and read the fine print so you know exactly what you are covered for.

5. Watch the dollar

Monitor exchange rates before you leave and change a few hundred dollars every time the Aussie dollar hits a high. It is a good time to travel now because the Aussie dollar is doing well against the US, UK and most other countries. You’ll get the best bang for your buck from countries such as Vietnam, Thailand and Bali.

www.escapetravel.com.au.