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School holiday price premium

CHOICE crunches the numbers on peak-season holidays

9 April 2015

A CHOICE investigation has found Australians taking vacations during school holidays can expect to pay up to 64%[1] more than for trips taken during the school term.

“It’s not surprising that parents are tempted to pull their kids out of school during the last weeks of term time to avoid the peak period price hike on flights and accommodation,” says CHOICE spokesperson Matt Levey.

“Some peak-season prices are 22% to 42% more expensive for international destinations, and 12% to 64% higher for domestic holidays.”

CHOICE compared the prices of identical vacations taken during the last or first weeks of school term and during school holidays for a family of four, with one week of accommodation and return flights from Sydney.

School holidays meant higher prices for all holidays, with a trip to the Gold Coast showing the highest mark up (64%), followed by Bali (42%), Hawaii (25%), Fiji (22%) and Melbourne (12%).

CHOICE says that while parents may be tempted to pull their kids out of school for holidays, absences from school can have a profound impact on a child’s education.

In addition, recent changes to NSW public school attendance policies mean that vacations taken outside of official school holiday periods will now count as an absence for students.

While NSW is the only state to explicitly prohibit holidays during the school term, most other states and territories specify the need to give the school notice about the impending holiday and get permission for the absence.

If parents absolutely must take their kids out of school for a holiday, there are things that can limit the impact on their learning:

  • Give the school plenty of warning and ensure your dates don't coincide with important school activities or exams.
  • Minimise time off.
  • Set aside active learning time each day with activities such as studying the local history, keeping a weather diary and making graphs out of the temperatures, keeping a travel journal, learning new words or local languages, drawing scenes from the day, writing lists of questions about the things you discover, accessing local museums, libraries and organisations.
  • Talk to your child's teacher about the plan and find out how it might fit into the curriculum or topic areas.
  • If going overseas for an extended period of time, consider enrolment in a local school.


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