5 TIPS TO STRETCH YOUR HOLIDAY BUDGET
Travel is about relaxation, adventure and good times. Overspending should be the last thing on your mind, yet every year many Australians return from the trip of a lifetime to face the reality that they've overspent. We've put together our tips for how you can plan the holiday of a lifetime, save money and come back refreshed and stress free.
Flight and Hotel deals
Last minute deals are a myth except for the lucky few. Book national flights a month in advance and international flights at least two months in advance. Sign up to airline mailing lists for early bird offers and deals.
You may chance a last minute hotel deal, but early bird offers are still your best bet. Airlines often offer packages with discounted or sometimes a few nights free accommodation. You may consider booking an apartment rather than a hotel as eating out three times a day quickly adds up. The flexibility of your own holiday apartment through the likes of Airbnb can save you serious money.
Keep an eye on exchange rates. If you notice that the Australian dollar is getting weaker it may be worth converting currency in advance. Whilst abroad, use a currency conversion app like xe.com. They convert foreign currency amounts to Australian dollars using live exchange rates which will help you keep track of what you're really spending.
Cheap travel insurance may come back to bite you if you don't read the fine print. Understand what is excluded from a policy before you buy as benefits can vary dramatically between companies. Increasingly credit cards and bank account packages offer quality travel insurance within the monthly service cost.
Holiday Spending Money
Make clear choices about your priorities. Spend on the experiences you'll remember the most and cut back on the less important. Be smart about the day to day essentials. Eat by the Spanish Steps in Rome or in view of the Eiffel Tower and you'll pay a premium. Research dining options and seek out local advice. Apps like Katie Parla's Rome offer a local food lover's guide with offline maps, price categories and inexpensive tips to enjoy your destination.
Turn off your data while roaming and when you need to connect use applications like Whatsapp or Skype. Booking accommodation with free Wi-Fi is a necessity for many.
Creating a travel budget is essential. Research flights, accommodation, dining and activity costs. Work out how much you needtosave to make it happen. You may wish to set up a recurring payment from your everyday account to a separate savings account to protect your travel fund.
Recognise early if you need to seek extra finance so that you can be smart about addressing any shortfall. While credit cardsare a popular way to finance travel, the flexibility can come with high interest rates. Personal loans are often a significantly cheaper choice. The framework of regular repayments allows a disciplined structure for you to repay your loan by a set date. Personal loan rates can differ dramatically between banks so it's essential to shop around if you want to save money. Typically other banks offer traditional loan rates between 13% p.a. and 14% p.a. Citibank currently offers a flexible personal loan product with a promotional rate of just 9.99% p.a. Find out more
Tips to finance your dream trip
Travel Budget Checklist
- Accommodation costs incl. Wi-Fi charges
- Airport transfers, taxis, public transport
- Tours, activities, entertainment
- Travel insurance, visas, vaccinations
- Special clothing or equipment
- Holiday souvenirs
- Headroom for spontaneity
Any advice is general advice only and was prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation, or needs. Before acting on this advice you should consider if it's appropriate for your circumstances.
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