It's almost Sydney Royal Easter Show time again. The show, which runs from Thursday, April 6 to Wednesday, April 19, is fun for the whole family, but the costs can burn a hole in the pocket.
A family of four could easily spend hundreds of dollars with standard entry tickets for two adults and two kids costing more than $120, and then there are the ride tickets, the showbags and the food. The biggest savings are by buying tickets online by midnight this Wednesday April 5.
But following these tips compiled by Money with the help of comparison sites Finder and Mozo, you'll be surprised by how much money can be saved.
Whether it's buying your tickets online, pre-ordering your ride vouchers, visiting out-of-peak hours or bringing your own sandwiches, there are plenty of ways to save money.
There are a mind-boggling number of ticket deals so check for the latest information on tickets before you go. There can also be administration and delivery fees, depending on how the tickets are purchased.
Paying for parking at the show is money down the drain, except perhaps if you've got very young children or other accessibility requirements.
All of the tickets are "ShowLink" tickets that include transport – bus, trains, ferry – to and from the show as the authorities want to encourage as much use of public transport as possible.
If bought online before midnight April 5, Early Bird ShowLink adult tickets are discounted from $41.50 to $37, children from $26 to $22, concession from $31.50 to $27 and a family ticket is $99.50. A family ticket is $116 if bought online when the show is open.
A twilight ticket is much cheaper and can be bought online or at the gate for entry after 4pm. The evening entertainment and fireworks conclude at 8.30pm, while the Showbag Pavilion closes at 9.30pm. The Coca-Cola Carnival stays open until late every night. The tickets are $31 per adult, $10 per child and concession is $22.50. Family tickets are not available as Twilight tickets.
If you buy ShowLink tickets at a participating Woolworths, you can save about 10 per cent on your ticket price. Pay $37.35 for an adult, $23 for a child and $28 for concession. Family tickets are not available from Woolworths.
Seniors and kids
Seniors can save about 50 per cent on Seniors' Day, April 12, 2017. Seniors Card holders will pay $15 on that day, while kids can also get in at half price on Kids' Day, April 19, 2017, with a ticket price of $12.50.
Remember it's an agricultural show and you'll save a lot of money if you plan your day around the free entertainment. Study the program to find out what's on, such as displays of milking cows or shearing sheep or competitions such as wood chopping and horse riding. It's also free to wander through the exhibits of animals or pavilions with arts and crafts.
The first 6000 people through the gates on the first day can buy a wristband for $35 that gives unlimited rides between 10am and 2pm.
You can save by buying ride vouchers online. You can get 110 coupons for $96 and 135 coupons for $108 if you buy online by midnight April 5.
Otherwise, you can buy 20 coupons for $22, 50 coupons for $50 and 75 coupons for $70 at the the show.
Showbags can range anywhere from $5 to $30 and if you're getting more than one, this can add up quickly.
Avoid being pestered by the kids on the day by limiting your kids beforehand to one or two of their favourite show bags each. Do your homework first with Finder's guide to value-for-money showbags.
You may be tempted to indulge in curly fries and corn on a stick, but if you plan ahead and pack your lunch from home you can save yourself a lot of money on the day. Like any major event, prices for food and beverages are often inflated, so it's more cost-effective to pack lunch and snacks from home.
If you don't want to bring your lunch from home, consider signing up for a meal deal at a participating outlet such as SpanThai, Lets do Yum Cha, Subway or Bells Kitchen, among others. These deals could save you up to 10 per cent on your lunch bill.
It can be hot at this time of year and there is not a lot shelter from the sun at the show. It's a smart move to pack a water bottle, which you can re-fill throughout the day, rather than buying multiple bottles at inflated prices.