James McCay

Feb 13, 2023

It’s no secret that an overseas family vacation can cost a pretty penny. Beyond the price of airfares just to get there, your purse-strings will be weighed down by hotel stays, food, transportation costs and the price of activities, even for a short trip away.

But just how much could you expect to have to pay for a family holiday?

As travel insurance experts, we want to ensure that everyone is as prepared for their journey as they can be, particularly when it comes to what to expect from a financial perspective. With that in mind, we’ve taken a look at some renowned family-friendly holiday destinations across the world and figured out which ones are the most expensive based on several factors. We calculated the cost of hotel stays, the cost of popular activities and other expenses like meals, taxi fares and a cup of coffee (a crucial lifeline for parents with young children on an overseas adventure).

The most expensive – and the cheapest – holiday destinations we looked at are listed below.

A quick word on travel insurance for family holidays

It’s important to have your international family holiday protected – especially if it’s a big once-in-a-lifetime experience for your partner and kids. Comprehensive travel insurance can be purchased soon after you’ve made your bookings, so you’re covered against events listed in your policy that disrupt your journey before it has a chance to begin, and you can have peace of mind and focus on making memories with your family.

Travel insurance can cover pre-purchased tickets for particular events and attractions if you face delays that impact your itinerary. Furthermore, it can cover medical expenses, lost and stolen luggage, and a range of other costs that might come up if things go wrong, such as emergency accommodation costs. Just remember that the coverage is subject to restrictions, limits and some exclusions depending on what policy you take out, so it’s vital to read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before you buy.

Top 3 most expensive family holiday destinations

1.     Orlando, United States

The “Most Magical Place on Earth” is also the most expensive for family holidays. Given that the city is home to a vast variety of theme parks and attractions, including those belonging to family entertainment juggernauts Disney and Universal, it’s no wonder that this city in the Florida Peninsula is a hotspot for families. Holidaymakers can expect to pay premium prices for these attractions given their prestige and popularity.

Orlando had the highest activities cost for a week away, reaching US$3,148 (AU$4,659), and the highest ‘other’ costs (which includes meals and transportation) of all family holiday destinations we examined.

2.     Rovaniemi, Finland

The capital of Lapland in Finland’s north is also the official hometown of Santa Claus. The Christmas season in Rovaniemi is a magical, enchanting white Christmas experience and Rovaniemi is home to Santa Park, located right on the edge of the Arctic Circle. There are reindeer farms, the Northern Lights, husky sledding and a host of other activities and experiences for kids of all ages to enjoy.

Rovaniemi is a winter wonderland and accommodation during peak tourist season is the most expensive of all cities we looked at, with an average cost of US$6,554 (AU$9,700). Thankfully, the cost of activities and food is less expensive than other destinations on our list, otherwise Rovaniemi could have dethroned Orlando as the most expensive family holiday destination.

3.     Gold Coast, Australia

Australia’s iconic Gold Coast is famous the world over for its beaches and is a popular holiday destination for families during the Australian summer. Beyond the surf and sand are a number of theme parks and the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, making for a fun day out for parents and children alike.

The Gold Coast actually had the second-highest average cost for a hotel during peak season at US$5,600 (AU$8,288) for a seven-day stay, and the second-highest expense for activities ad US$972 (AU$1,372), so holidaymakers will be grateful that meals, transport and coffee are more affordable than the majority of locations in our index.

Top 3 cheapest family holiday destinations

1.     Nairobi, Kenya

For families feeling a little more daring, Nairobi has plenty to offer families who are after an adventure on the wild side. You can get the kids closer to nature at the Nairobi National Park, Giraffe Centre or the Dave Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant Nursery. Nairobi had the cheapest hotel cost at US$1,853 (AU$2,742) on average for seven days, plus the cheapest activities cost at under US$100 (AU$138), making it one of the most affordable destinations for the family (flights not included).

2.     Osaka, Japan

Despite its popularity as a tourist destination for people from all over the world, Osaka can be a surprisingly affordable destination for families when it comes to things to do. Top family-friendly attractions include Universal Studios Japan, Osaka Castle and the Aquarium Kaiyukan.

The average cost for accommodation for a seven-day stay is US$2,082 (AU$3,081), with activities costing families US$171 (AU$253). While food is affordable, taxi fares however can be expensive, which drives up the other associated costs of a holiday.

3.     Bali, Indonesia

Bali is known for its nightlife, but away from the club scene the Indonesian city can be a relaxing getaway with beautiful beaches to explore. It’s also a city with lively outdoor fun for all families including a visit to the Sacred Monkey Forest, multiple water parks, and the Bali Bird Park.

What really helps make Bali affordable are the cheap prices for food, drinks and transport fares, making it the city with the cheapest ‘other’ costs at US$17 (AU$25).


Compare the Market used TripAdvisor to gather hotels and activities that were listed as ‘family friendly’ for each of these destinations. Prices are based on a family of four with two adults and two children. One of the children is 10 years old and the other is aged five. Hotel prices are based on a stay of seven days, while activity bookings are based on one day prices. All hotel and activity prices are taken from peak tourism season. Prices were rounded to the nearest dollar.

Other costs were sourced by Numbeo on 02/11/22. Prices were exchanged from local currencies into USD and AUD on 02/11/22 and are subject to change. Many factors can change these prices such as having more than two children, children of different ages, booking the hotel or activity at different times of the year and booking hotels for different lengths of time.