Splurge vs pennypinch: Summer holiday options for every budget

Are you dreaming of your next vacation with indulgent spa treatments, private infinity pools, personal butlers and luxury yachts? 

Then it’s time to start plumping up your savings account because with a quick search of the net you’ll soon discover your swanky holiday is about to cost you big bucks.

To help you decide whether you should go all out or save on your next vacay, we’ve compiled the ultimate list of ways to splurge and the best pennypinching alternatives.

Tropical island escape

SPLURGE: Where do you find countless luxury resorts sitting beside white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters? The Maldives of course. This island escape is seriously luxurious but seriously expensive at the same time. According to Condé Nast Traveller the best hotel in the Maldives for the A listers is the One&Only Reethi Rah. But with prices starting from $4,200 a night (that’s just for two people!), it’s likely to put a significant hole in your wallet. A Qantas Saver return flight from Sydney to the Maldives starts from $2527 return per person, so your glamorous holiday will cost you a total of $30,254 for two people staying 6 nights. That’s almost a deposit for a house!

PENNYPINCH: For an epic holiday that won’t break the bank look no further than Australia’s very own Whitsundays. Qantas Flexi Saver flights from Sydney to the Whitsundays start from $628 return per person and we discovered the cheapest accommodation options are generally self service apartments, such as those listed on stayz.com.au. At the time of our search for accommodation on Hamilton Island the most wallet-friendly apartment started from $285 a night and could sleep 6 people (so bring the entire family for an epic beachside getaway!). Our penny pinching method was significantly cheaper than the swanky holiday only costing a total of $2,966 for two people staying 6 nights.

Weekend escape

SPLURGE: You don’t have to travel far for a short and sweet holiday where you’ll be pampered and treated like royalty. Australian Traveller magazine crowned the Saffire Freycinet in Tasmania as the greatest luxury lodge of Australia and with prices starting from $1,800 a night it’s definitely a ritzy way to spend the weekend. Qantas Flexi Saver flights from Melbourne to Tasmania start from $558 return per person, so this weekend getaway will cost a couple a total of $11,916 for flights and accommodation.

PENNYPINCH: Ok don’t freak out but we’re about to say the “c” word….camping. But let us reassure you, gone are the days of sanitation shovels and forgoing showers because now there are countless glamping sites scattered across Australia with hot showers, bathroom facilities, laundry amenities and much more. Try the Rosebud Foreshore Reserve camping area, only around 1 hours drive from Melbourne CBD that only costs a mere $35 a night, so this weekend away will cost you just $70, plus petrol! 

Adventure holiday

SPLURGE: While December is a sizzling time of year for Aussies, the first snowflakes are beginning to fall in countries like Canada and the USA making it the perfect season for some adrenaline seeking activities like snowboarding or skiing. But it’s going to cost you, because if you want to stay in some swanky accommodation, the Dunton Hot Springs luxury log cabins in the Colorado Rockies start from $759.72 a night and a Qantas Saver return flight from Perth to Durongo USA starts from $2,957. So 6 days on a ski adventure holiday for two people will cost $10,462.32 and that’s not factoring in the ski and snow pass costs!

PENNYPINCH: You don’t have to travel halfway around the world to get your adrenaline hit, when New Zealand’s adventure hub Queenstown is only a short flight away. Queenstown is home to everything from bungy jumping to canyon swinging that will satisfy all levels of thrill seeking tendencies. Jetstar Saver return flights per person from Sydney to Queenstown start from $698 and holidayhouses.co.nz advertises houses for rent starting from just $90 a night, with a total cost for two people staying 6 nights of $1,936 for flights and accomodation.

*All prices taken on 29 October 2014. Flights and accommodation from 1-7 December 2014. Total prices exclude meals and activities.