How to budget on holiday (and still live it up)
This is Em here, Andy and I are just back from a wonderfully relaxing trip to Australia (lucky us). We were extremely mindful of our budget on holiday, so while it’s all fresh in my mind, I want to share my simple tips for how you can have a great time without blowing the bank and upsizing your debt.
I’ve got some fantastic ideas for you to think about before you leave for your holiday, and some great suggestions for how you can dial down your spending while away without dialing down the fun. Enjoy!
Before you go
The key here is to do lots of research. Hunt out the deals, plan some activities, and find the best bargains. Not only will this save you cash, it will give you things to look forward to on your trip.
Tips for going anywhere
- Find deals for accommodation. Hunt around online and you’ll often find two nights for the price of three, or other such promotional deals. Take full advantage of these! Traveling at the low season will ensure there will always be a deal to be had. We went to Australia (Brisbane) in the winter, which is their low season, and it was as hot as a NZ summer. We didn’t miss out on anything by traveling “out of season” and we got an awesome hotel deal.
- Do your research on shops and activities in the area you’re visiting. Is there a supermarket near your accommodation to save you $$ on food? Are there loads of cool things you can do for free such as sight seeing and exploring?
Tips for overseas travel
- Watch the exchange rates and change your money when you see a good deal. This is something Andy and I could have done better for our holiday, but we just weren’t organized enough. Had we been, we would had had around $60 extra. Lesson learned!
- Try allocating a set amount of cash for the trip, then try to stick to it. You should still track your spending on holiday, and this will help you do it without having to over-think it. Make sure you have access to more funds if you need them though, there’s nothing worse than being caught short of money when you’re overseas. It’s a sure-fire way to ruin your holiday.
- Invest in travel insurance. This might seem like an unnecessary expense to add to the long list you’ve probably got, but the peace of mind is worth it. Again, hunt around for good deals. What if you crashed your rental car, or got injured in another country? That can be very expensive without insurance… it’s not even worth thinking about for me.
While you’re there
There are lots of things you can do to save cash once you’ve reached your destination, here are my top four:
- Walk for transport wherever possible. Not only will you save money, you’ll see more and reap the benefits of the extra exercise. That’s a triple win! If this isn’t possible, try public transport. Ask what the local deals are and travel like a local. We saved around $20 each by buying a travel card in Brisbane rather than paying for single fares: we zipped around on trains and ferries for $9 per day with the card, where a single trip without one would have been $7.50! Ouch.
- Stumbled across a cool attraction? See if you can find a deal on a coupon website. We saved $15 this way on our holiday: there is a massive ferris wheel right in the center of the city, which is usually $17.50 per person. We checked online and found tickets for the same day for $10 each! Bargain.
- Keep your eye out for restaurant specials, particularly in the low season when the restaurants will be very happy to have your bums on their seats. We had a very posh lunch at a top restaurant for $20 each including wine (this was the sort of place that usually charges $40 for a dish alone). Fancy!
- Take pictures for souvenirs. Do you really need to spend money on that trinket that’s gonna collect dust, or that t-shirt you’ll never wear? Photos make awesome memories of any trip, something to treasure forever. If you’re reading this website, you’ve probably got a great camera, even the ones on phones are pretty darn powerful these days.
Have you got any other holiday money savers that I could add to the list? I was pretty chuffed with mine, but I’d love to hear yours. Leave a comment
image 2 by Chris Happel, CC 2.0, https://flic.kr/p/6HNH7H