October Update

Wow! I can’t believe it is already nearly November – and more than three months since I last dropped by to say hello. I hope everyone with school aged children were able to get away for at least a night or two over the school holidays – and that property owners welcomed lots of families to stay.

My own family made our way to Queensland in an old-fashioned driving holiday up the Newell Highway. I have lot of stories bubbling away waiting to be told. There were many highlights, including when a whale appeared about 200 metres behind where my two children were learning surfing at Rainbow Beach. Goosebumps.

And a missed highlight was not seeing Justin Timberlake, who was at Australia Zoo at the same time as us! We’d seen a VIP group being taken around, but could not work out who it was.

New Premium Partners

We’ve welcomed some great new Premium Partners on-board over the past few months, so please check them out and support them if you are planning a holiday in their area.

They are:

Wittacork Cottages – this lovely farm stay is located near Maleny. Here the mix of a working farm combined with rainforest to explore offers exciting outdoor opportunities for a family holiday.

Truemans Cottages – Located between Rosebud and Rye on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, these are true family friendly holiday homes – bring your dog and stay for a very reasonable price in an area that can be quite expensive.

Solitary Islands Marine Park Resort – Located in the beautiful NSW coastal hamlet of Wooli, this holiday park offers a laid-back, comfortable beachside holiday. Kids are well catered for, but with activities to bring the family together too.

Banjos Bushland Retreat – perfect for large families or a group getaway, featuring lovely accommodation in a secluded bushland environment where families can spend quality time together enjoying the many facilities on offer – and all just a couple of hours from Sydney.

Pemberton Farm Chalets – is a peaceful country farm stay in South-West Western Australia and is a great base to explore the local area, but with heaps of outdoor facilities to keep your kids active and entertained on site as well.

Melbourne Family Apartments – Owned by a family, these two self-contained holiday apartments in Melbourne’s Southbank walk the talk when it comes to family friendly. With heaps of extras that will make parents sigh with relief and truly enjoy their family holiday.

Novotel Karon Beach Resort and Spa – this latest offering by Novotel in the popular holiday island of Phuket, only opened its doors this month. It is is managed by a dad and has been set up with families in mind.

 

How it works

For some of you, this will be the first newsletter, so I thought I’d explain a bit about how Family Friendly Accommodation works and why there are different sorts of listings.

I set up the website in early 2012 as a one-stop-shop for families to find true family friendly holiday accommodation on offer. I do this by offering properties the opportunity to showcase their family friendly credentials to you. You then make your own choice. I do not act as a third party booking website.

Premium Listings – these are paid for by the accommodation owner or manager, with comprehensive information and images of the property inside and out.

Standard Listings – these listings are paid for and are highlighted on the listings pages. The listing links direct to the property website.

Basic listings – these listings are not paid for. They have basic information and most of them will link to the Hotels Combined website page, part of an affiliate program through which I get a small commission if a booking is made.

What all listings have in common is that they provide something special – or have a proven track record – as being loved by families. And at the end of the day, my aim is to help parents plan their holidays. I hope we are helping you and ask that you help me too, by letting accommodations owners and managers saw them on our website.

Aussie family’s French adventure on a road less travelled

Trying to decide on a family holiday that older children will enjoy too can be hard. In this special guest post, Philippa Shelley-Jones, creator of the family tourism app Kid Tracks, tells us about her family cycling trip in Provence.

In early April this year, my family of 5  (husband David, my 18 and 12 year old daughters and 14 year old son), took off on our 8 day family cycling trip, Provence Backroads, run by UTracks, a division of World Expeditions, but without all the frills.

Philippa Shelley-Jones and her family on their Provence Backroads adventure.

Philippa Shelley-Jones and her family on their Provence Backroads cycling adventure.

As we were meeting up with my 18 year old who was (and still is) working in a UK school on a gap year, doing something active outside of the UK for a week seemed like a great way to reconnect before visiting where she was working.

This tour was in the ‘introductory’ category which meant we were travelling an average of about 25km or so a day. It was self-guided, which is what appealed to us. However, it allowed us to cycle in comfort.

For an upfront, all inclusive fee, we were provided with everything we needed, except lunch and drinks. This included:

  • sturdy, geared bikes with panniers, repair kits plus optional helmets.
  • a set of detailed maps for each leg of the journey
  • accommodation in family-run, 2-3 star hotels (The French rating system is different, so I would put them as 3-4 star Aussie)
  • breakfast and a three course dinner either at the hotel or nearby
  • our bags transported for us each day.

Overall, it was well organised and we only had the tiniest, occasional issues relating to directions. But we always managed to work it out without too much trouble.

The hotels (with the exception of one which let the side down a bit) were fabulous and run by the friendliest people. The meals were fantastic – we ate some beautiful French food, including WAY too many croissants, pastries and baguettes.

So many gorgeous cafes to choose from - but at least the cycling made up for it.

So many gorgeous cafes to choose from – but at least the cycling made up for it.

Our trip started at a village just outside Avignon, travelling through to Tarascon, Arles, Les Baux-de-Provence and St Remy-de-Provence. Les Baux-de-Provence was definitely the favourite – just gorgeous.

We always ended up with enough time to have a decent look around our destination, either when we got there or the next morning before we set off.

The riding itself was mainly on smaller roads and lanes, including on the original Roman road Via Aurelia, which was pretty cool. Sometimes we were on busy roads, but not for very long and the French drivers were always very considerate – we were like the Von Trapp family in our long line!

Enjoying time together as a family in rural France - magnifique.

Enjoying time together as a family in rural France – magnifique.

Mostly it was not challenging in terms of slope, but getting up to Les Baux-de-Provence – wow! It was straight up! We knew it was coming, as we’d been warned and the map showed the gradient, but let’s just say there was a lot of walking the bikes up despite lots of valiant effort not to give in!

The next day to St Remy-de-Provence was no picnic either – we could see on the map that it was over Les Alpilles but we were not prepared for the steep hills that day! My 18 year old daughter was the only one who did both steep hills that day without stopping. I had my gears set to the easiest and so my legs were pumping at a million miles an hour but I think at one point I might actually have been going backwards!

There were lots of ooohhh and aaahhhh moments as you can imagine. Lots of fields of almond and apricot trees, olives and grapes. Villas and gorgeous villages galore. Castles and abbeys to visit. Pastries to eat…..and pastries to eat….and did I say, pastries to eat?

This holiday provided us with a wonderful family bonding experience. What was great was that everyone in the family could enjoy it on the same level. We laughed a lot and were together all day doing something we could all get something out of.

Philippa said their biking adventure helped their family reconnect.

Philippa said their biking adventure helped their family reconnect.

Not having to worry about our bags, accommodation and meals (except for lunch which was more often than not, you guessed it – pastries) was a real bonus. As was not having a hire car and needing to drive on the wrong side of the road.

It was really relaxing for me in particular, as the family’s driver, shopper, cook, planner, etc, not having to worry about anything the entire time other than reading the map and guiding us (and maybe which pastry to choose for lunch).

I think it was all good value too. About $1,600 per person over 12 (half price for our 12 year old) for pretty much everything – including the pastries and wine.

All in all I would highly recommend it to any family with older children looking to reconnect, but without wanting the fuss of organising accommodation, hire cars, and food preparation.

Kid Tracks is an app developed by Philippa to help children have an interactive experience at many major attractions, currently in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Hobart. As well as learning about where they are visiting, they can gain points and win prizes.

Food, fun and football – our St Kilda ‘staycation’

As any parent of school-aged children knows, sports commitments, birthday parties and play dates means getting away for the weekend is a lot harder than it once was. That is where a ‘staycation’ comes into its own – having a night away in your home town to refresh and re-charge the batteries.

It really is the ultimate holiday solution for a busy family – Dad can travel to and from work if he can’t get extra time off and family members can arrive and leave and different times, working around social and sporting commitments. It is also a great option for families who want to experience a holiday, but have a limited budget.

Novotel Hotels recently invited Family Friendly Accommodation to learn more about their Family& Novotel promise – which is a perfect option for a family staycation.

Along with 3 other families, we stayed at Novotel St Kilda. As any Melbournian knows, St Kilda is a great family friendly location, with bike paths, playgrounds and great places to eat – not to mention the beach and the iconic Luna Park.

Given it was in the depths of winter, a dip in the water was out of the question, so we all headed to Luna Park. And what a perfect time to visit. Queues were short and the kids (Master 11 & Miss 9) got to go on their favourite rides over and over.

St Kilda beach in winter - too cold to swim, but still beautiful and great for a walk with the kids.

St Kilda beach in winter: too cold to swim, but still beautiful and great for a walk with the kids.

It might be a cold Melbourne winter's day at Luna Park - but that means less queues and more rides.

It might be a cold Melbourne winter’s day at Luna Park – but that means less time in the queue and more time for rides.

I still love the Scenic Railway. Operating since 1912, it still offers enough dips to be thrilling, although it was harder on the back & butt than I remember. It also offers amazing views of the local area.

Luna Park is a free entry, pay for rides amusement park, which means it is easy to pop out for lunch in nearby Ackland Street. We stopped at Zenith Bar & Restaurant, which proved a good choice for both us & the kids, with its kids menu (supplied on a colour-in sheet & pencils). We then headed across to the road was award-winning 7 Apples Gelato. What can I say but yum!

Studying the kids menu at Zenith Bar & Restaurant in St Kilda

Studying the kids menu at Zenith Bar & Restaurant in St Kilda….

 

 

...followed by ice-cream from 7 Apples Gelato. Yum!

…followed by ice-cream from 7 Apples Gelato. Yum!

But back to Novotel. How does it add to the family friendly weekend? Well, considering a child to be up to 16 years of age, as opposed to 12, is a great starting point. That means all children aged under 16 stay free when sharing a room with their parents or even their grandparents.

Plenty of room to spread out and relax in the family suite at Novotel St Kilda.

Plenty of room to spread out and relax in the family suite at Novotel St Kilda.

The family suite at the Novotel St Kilda features two separate beds & Miss 9 quickly chose hers.

The family suite at the Novotel St Kilda features two separate beds for the kids & Miss 9 quickly chose hers.

While many of Novotel’s spacious rooms can sleep 2 adults and 2 children, if you have more children or want to spread out, a second room can be booked for the children at 50% off the best unrestricted rate.

Children can also enjoy a free breakfast when eating with their parents – ours eaten amongst some NSW rugby players and Queensland netballers who had stayed prior to their Sunday games

Little kids are looked after with a welcome gift (such as an activity kit or soft toy) and some Novotel properties also have dedicated play areas for small children.

Kids receive a free toy or novelty pack when they stay as a Novotel guest.

Kids receive a free toy or novelty pack when they stay as a Novotel guest.

And to me, one of the best features is a 5pm late check out on Sundays. That means you can arrive early afternoon on Saturday and not have to leave until 5pm the next day. That means no rushing for 10am check-out.

Unfortunately for us, we had to leave by just before midday so we could get our son to his football match on time. But this again shows the benefit of the staycation – Mr 11 changed into his footy gear after we had wandered through the St Kilda Esplanade Market (right across the road from the hotel) – and just half an hour after checking out we arrived at the oval, earlier than expected.

The fact it was the wrong football ground has nothing to do with Novotel and everything to do with his mum, who is not very good with the fine details. But we got to the right oval before kick-off and his team won. A perfect end to a perfect weekend.

To book your family escape, visit this website to find your closest Novotel. For extra peace of mind, as I always recommend when travelling as a family anyway, I would also personally ring the hotel direct to confirm your family booking, including the late Sunday check-out.

 

 

 

Stretching your family holiday dollar further

It seems we are being informed on almost a daily basis that more & more Australians are losing their jobs as companies cut their budgets. In the meantime, costs continue to rise and families have to tighten their belts.

So, can the average Australian family still afford a holiday? I would like to think so. And in saying this, I want people to think outside the square about what they consider to be a holiday.

A holiday can be anything from free camping through to a 5-star resort experience. It can be one night away, through to weeks or months exploring Australia or experiencing life in another country.

No matter what type of holiday your budget buys, it is about spending quality time together as a family outside the home environment. Getting away from the humdrum of daily life can help us focus on each other and bond again.

So, these are my 10 money-saving tips to help you start planning a holiday or weekend away.

1.    Sign up to newsletters

By signing up to airline & other travel e-newsletters, you can get alerts about up-coming sales and last-minute deals.

Last year, I found myself organising a spur-of-the-moment New Zealand holiday after I received an email alert about cheap airfares and purchased them on the spur of the moment after I got an email alert.

Experiencing the sites (and smells) near Rotura, on New Zealand's North Island.

Experiencing the sites (and smells) near Rotorua, on New Zealand’s North Island.

Many airline deals are for flights months in advance, which also means you can purchase the tickets – then spend more time to save up for accommodation.

Then, last winter (off season), we had a weekend away after I saw last minute rates for accommodation in a popular Victorian seaside resort. For $174 a night, we got a 2-bedroom cabin for four of us, including a buffet breakfast.

This beachside location is booked up in summer, but not as popular in the depths of a cold Victorian winter, when less people want to stay, so deals are offered. Which leads me to my next tip.

2.    Travel off-season

Once your children are at school, you are tied into taking your holidays when everyone else does – and you will pay top price for the privilege!

You will find some really good prices outside the peak holiday seasons. Sure if might not be as warm, but it will be less crowded and you might be able to have a longer stay than if you were paying peak-rate prices.

Holiday off-season - it's cheaper and you can have the whole beach to yourself.

Holiday off-season – it’s cheaper and you can have the whole beach to yourself.

This is especially so in popular holiday destinations, which have with an abundance of accommodation for peak periods, but will offer some amazing rates as they struggle to fill rooms during the off-season.

3.    Stay close to the popular tourist town

So, you want to see all the attractions of the popular tourist town, but find all the accommodation overpriced? Can you stay in a less-popular town close-by? You might find it will save you money.

You may well find some towns cheaper than others in a region, while larger towns and cities can have varying prices depending on where they are located (eg, staying in suburbs rather than the city centre).

4.    Take a city break

If you live close to a major city or regional town, why not become a tourist for the weekend?

I live less than an hour from Melbourne’s CBD, where I have also worked for many years. But travelling in for a weekend and staying the night is a whole other experience.

Discover your home town.

Discover your home town – in this case, Melbourne.

Leave the car at home & catch public transport to save money and discover the local parks and gardens or just wander through the streets. Some cities also provide free public transport for visitors, such as the City Loop tram in Melbourne.

If possible, try to find a package including breakfast. Finding accommodation with a kitchenette can make it even cheaper.

5.    Self-cater

Self-catering is one of the best ways to save money on a holiday.

There is no doubt that eating out as a family can cost a fortune – especially if you are eating 3 meals a day. Often it is these extra costs that can really blow out the budget.

Staying in an apartment or a hotel room with a kitchenette so you do not need to go out for meals all the time will save you heaps.

Self-catering saves money - and saves you from dragging tired children into a cafe or restaurant.

Self-catering saves money – and saves you from dragging tired children into a cafe or restaurant.

To make it extra special, consider allowing for treats – for you and the children. Maybe a pack of Magnum ice-creams in the freezer. My children are allowed to eat Coco Pops when we are on holiday instead of their healthy Weetbix. I will sometimes sneak a bowl of it in too!

6.    Deal direct

In creating my website, I wanted to list properties only and leave all the bookings and negotiations to you, the customer.

That is because many booking websites charge booking fees and/or take commission for bookings made via their websites (even if these fees are hidden in the overall price). This can result in you paying more and/or the property owner receiving less.

In most instances, the days of finding cheaper accommodation on booking websites are gone and the accommodation provider’s own website will provide you with the best deals.

Have a look at what you like, then ring and talk to the owners/managers direct. Ask them what specials they have or what the best rate is they can give you.

Some apartment complexes are managed on behalf of different apartment owners. You might be able to negotiate a good rate depending on the apartment’s location in the complex & its furnishings. There is no harm in asking

7.    Stay in older-style motels & houses.

This leads me to my next point. Generally, the less modern the property, the less you will pay. So, another option is to stay in older style motels. Yes, the decor may not have the latest, ultra-modern look, but most are still comfortable and clean.

You can also try older style holiday houses or apartments through real estate agents or holiday house websites – again, older houses with more dated decor can sometimes be available at quite cheap rates.

8.    Share accommodation

If you are looking at holiday houses, have you considered sharing with friends or relatives?

This can be particularly money-saving in summer, peak-periods. In January, we stayed for a couple of nights with friends in a lovely town-house, sharing the costs for the two nights we were there.

Sharing accommodation with family & friends can get you bigger bang for your accommodation buck.

Sharing accommodation with family & friends can get you bigger bang for your accommodation buck.

In recommending this option, I also suggest you read my tips on travelling with extended family and friends as living with others, even for a short-period of time, can have its challenges.

9.    Travel auction sites

There are a proliferation of websites with daily deals. While I have never used them and am not personally recommending them, friends have successfully booked accommodation through sites, such as Scoopon.

Just be aware of the conditions so you do not get caught with cheap accommodation – but only a very expensive way of getting to it.

Another option which my parents are almost addicted to is travel auctions. Again, this will be of best value if you can travel out of peak seasons, as some have block-out dates over holidays. These properties are usually 3-star rated and you can score some cheap deals by bidding what you are prepared to pay for your stay.

10.  Camping

Many Australian families love camping. There are many state and national parks that offer free and cheap camping experiences around Australia. All you need (at the very least) is a tent. Although you can buy accessories galore to make it more comfortable.

There is also a growing trend towards glamping. This can offer a cost-effective solution for basic comfort at a great price. See these static tents at Tathra Beach Family Park are a great example.

Glamping it up at Tathra Beach Family Park in NSW.

Glamping it up at Tathra Beach Family Park in NSW.

If some of these tips have got you thinking, why not create a family holiday fund and set a holiday goal? Even if you can only get away for a couple of nights and can’t travel far, your family will appreciate it.

And in the meantime, enter every holiday competition you see. Remember, someone has to win. Maybe one day it will be you.

August Update

Feeling “blah”

A couple of weeks ago, I told my daughter (Miss 8) that I felt “blah”. I should have  known better as that has now become her favourite phrase, “Mum, I feel blah”.

But the fact is sometimes we do feel like that and 18 months after my website went live, I hit a wall. Trying to turn it into an income-earning business that will allow me to leave paid employment, as opposed to it being an extremely time-consuming hobby, is difficult.

Competition in the on-line travel field is so strong and I am just a small fish amongst a sea of giants from around the world, who have millions of dollars to promote themselves. So, I went through a couple of weeks of feeling disillusioned. I felt sorry for myself – I felt “blah”.

But the beauty of having a passion for what you do, is that you get over it. I believe in what I am doing and how it is, and will continue, to help more families discover the very best in family friendly accommodation.

So, I am re-motivating myself. This weekend, I cleaned up my desk and updated my ‘To Do’ list so I can make a fresh start.

This Thursday, I am off to see Russell Howcroft from the Gruen Transfer (amongst others) speak at the Small Business, Big Marketing event – part of Victoria’s Small Business Festival. I am really looking forward to hearing from such positive and enthusiastic people.

And soon, I aim to have some great new properties to showcase – as well as continue to promote those wonderful property owners and managers who have already come on board and supported me and my vision.

Media coverage

During my recent trip to the Sunshine Coast, I met the lovely Jennifer from Northwind Apartments at Mooloolaba. Jennifer had contacted me earlier this year after she discovered my website during a Google search.

As well as running the apartments, Jennifer is passionate about her community. So, she joined with me in pitching an article to the Sunshine Coast Daily. I was so happy when the paper decided it was a great story for their business section.

I was also asked to write an article for Yahoo about holiday activities for a range of budgets.

And just last week, my latest contribution for Mouths of Mums, planning for a holiday on a budget, was posted with some lovely feedback and comments.

On my own blog, anyone interested in Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit has to read about our visit to Hobbiton earlier this year.

After a weekend away – organised by the lovely blogger, Claire Hewitt, I had a bit of fun talking about our family’s competitive table tennis obsession. If you have any family holiday quirks, leave a comment.

Coming up
I am really excited about speaking at the Australian Regional Tourism Network Convention in October. More about that next month.

And given it is almost September, don’t forget to start thinking about the Christmas school holidays. Get in early and book your flights (or in our case, Spirit of Tasmania) now as the prices will only increase. You should also start your accommodation research now, as you will find many popular places may already be booked out.

 

April update

Our holiday

My husband had accumulated a number of Star Alliance airpoints which were going to start expiring this year, so late last year I booked a family holiday to New Zealand.

We lA visit to the Hobbiton movie set is a must - even for those who are not fans of the movie.eft on 28 March and spent a 10 days in this beautiful country. New Zealand obviously has the benefit of being much more compact than Australia – but don’t think you could see the whole country in 10 days.

We spent our time on the North Island in Rotorua, Hawkes Bay, Taupo and Waitomo. With the weather gods on our side, we got to experience a range of activities, from cultural, natural to the downright fun!

I will be writing about our experiences on the Family Gathering blog, but am also posting random photos, following the adventures of Fred Bear, on our facebook page.

Travel in 2013

The Travel Weekly website recently reported that 44% of Australian travellers intend to increase their travel budget this year. That’s good news for accommodation owners.

The report, carried out by Trip Advisor, also found that 92% of respondents said they looked to the internet to plan their travel.

I was so excited when I recently had a property owner tell me she’d had a number of enquiries from people who had found her through Family Friendly Accommodation.

Do you ask how your customers found you?

Travel mistakes

While in New Zealand, we visited Unison Vineyard in the Gimblett Gravels winegrowing area of Hawkes Bay. This boutique winery had some beautiful wines and hubby talked me into buying a $50 bottle of red.

Flying home, we decided we did not want to risk the bottle smashing in our suitcase, we took it in our hand luggage. Why did it not cross our minds that this was a liquid? It was only when going through the x-ray machines in Customs – when the customs officers went all official, asking what was in our back-pack – that it hit us.

Our sublime (and sealed) $50 bottle of Red was in fact more than 100ml of liquid which posed an explosives risk as per the international restrictions on liquids, aerosols and gels and was confiscated.

I sincerely hope someone broke the rules & saved the bottle from being destroyed.

Have you ever made a silly travel mistake? Let me know so we can laugh together (instead of cry).

School holidays

Depending on where you live, school holidays have been, are …. or will be soon. If you were lucky enough to go away and found somewhere other families should know about let me know.

You could write a review, or just let me know the property and I can list it. Feel free to drop me a line.

And don’t forget to check us out when planning your next getaway.

Let’s start exploring our island home

Last Friday, I decided to visit the Caravan, Camping and Touring Supershow at Melbourne’s Caulfield Racecourse. My goal was to talk to meet people from as many tourism organisations as possible.

brochures

I plan to know alot more about Australia after making my way through these brochures

In this era of email spam and fraud (sure I’m not the only one promised millions of dollars from the estate of a dead millionaire – as long as provide my bank account details), I wanted people to see there is a real person behind familyfriendlyaccommodation.com.au.

I achieved my goal and after a couple of hours I had bags of brochures and business cards. I was happy. I’d met many lovely people and collected lots of information.

But, then I was hit by a wave of guilt, all relating to my pending family holiday to New Zealand. I felt like traitor, even apologising to one man about the fact I was taking my family on an ‘overseas’ holiday when there are so many places I could be visiting at home.

Having said that, my children, have visited every state at the ripe old ages of 7 and 10 (we are leaving the two territories until they are a bit older. Not sure I politics and crocodiles mix with young children).

What struck me on Friday – and later as I browsed through the brochures I’d collected – is how much there is to experience in our own backyard. In addition to our well-known destinations, there are so many magical, beautiful places to visit. Some places – like Diamantina and the Banana Shire – I had never even heard of.

 Canoeing on the Goulburn Weir in Victoria

Canoeing on the Goulburn Weir in Victoria

Is it no wonder a growing number of families are packing up for a year or two of travel? Maybe one day, but for now, that’s not an option for my family. But it got me thinking about how I can value add to familyfriendlyaccommodation.com.au

There are already many articles that have been written about flying with children, travelling with children, etc. So, what can I do that is different?

Picture perfect Cradle Mountain

Picture perfect Cradle Mountain – a jewel in Tasmania’s tourism crown.

Then it hit me – I am going to start profiling the many tourist regions we have around Australia, focussing on family friendly activities. I will seek information from the local tourist organisations, but would love your input too.

I won’t do it in any particular order. I will just close my eyes and pick up a brochure and that will be my starting point. So, let’s start planning some home grown Aussie holidays together.

Two night minimum detrimental to families?

I am currently trying to book accommodation for a weekend away with hubby to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary.

The kids are being looked after on Saturday night and we want to go to a popular Victorian bayside town, where we have booked into a local attraction. The problem is trying to find accommodation for one night. It seems the whole town has a two night minimum – even local B&Bs.

I could understand if it was a long weekend or the school holidays – but this is the uneventful month of May.

It got me thinking about how two night minimums imposed by accommodation operators might be doing them more harm than good.

Although this is not a family weekend away, it is being organised around a family. And as we all know, it can be hard to organise babysitters for one night, let alone two. And if you are organising a weekend away with the kids, try getting two nights away amongst the various weekend sport and activity commitments!

I can understand accommodation operators wanting to get two nights booked instead of one, but I wonder if more families would book weekends away – and therefore help stimulate the tourism industry – if more flexible options were available for them.

What do you think?

We have a winner

With a handful of reviews coming in since I launched Family Friendly Accommodation in late December, I drew the first winner of our ‘write a review’ promotion. All accommodation reviewers go into the draw to win a quarterly $100 gift voucher.

The first winner is David Dougherty of Melbourne, who reviewed the Moorings at Metung on the beautiful Gippsland lakes.

If you want to review family friendly accommodation to others, simply click on the ‘submit a review’ tab on the website. The next $100 gift voucher draw will take place at the end of June.