So, you’ve waited all year and finally it’s here! Your time off is sorted, bags are packed, and you’re ready to go! It’s holiday time!
Most people love their vacations and look forward to them for a long time. But instead of coming back to a maxed credit card, what are some ways you can ensure things run smoothly – and return home debt free, with great memories?
Usually, you’ve got a fair idea of when you can travel, where you’d like to go and how long for. With the internet now, it’s easy to work out how much everything will cost, far in advance. Sites like TripAdvisor and Booking.com amongst many others mean you know what you’re getting, and just how much you’ll be paying.
It’s always a good idea if you can pay off all your travel, flights and accommodation prior to heading off to take advantage of lengthy booking time discounts, and also work out how much you’d like to have as a daily budget. If I’m heading to the USA, I like to average around $250 per day spending money, if it’s Asia, I’ll likely need a lot less. (This is to cover meals, transfers, sight-seeing and day-to-day activities outside of travel and accommodation costs.)
It’s then easier to work out your total spend based on your research. As an example, you might allow for the following if heading to Asia:
Spending Money $2,000
Total trip cost: $5,500
If you have a year to plan, this means you’ll need to set aside $106 per week. Break it down into how often you’re paid. If it’s fortnightly, that’ll be $212 per pay period.
This is also a great way to work out whether or not what you’d like to do is affordable. If you can’t take the appropriate amount each pay period out to cover costs, and still make ends meet, it’s time to rethink. Can you wait for happy hour or a sale on flights? Do you need to rethink your accommodation options or planned experiences? Should you go for a shorter amount of time? Or find somewhere else to head to altogether?
Also, if you’re going overseas, send your spending money to a Travel Money card where it can store your funds in the appropriate currency. Most banks offer this service, as do Virgin and other providers. Make sure the card is chipped too, so it’s accepted in more places and that you can take cash withdrawals of your funds at ATM’s when you’re on the move.
It’s also a great way to average out the ups and downs of currency fluctuations instead of waiting for ‘the right time’ to buy. Even if you’re travelling domestically, this is still a great way to keep funds segregated just for your holidays.
And if you’re someone who has to buy gifts and ‘stuff’ and often need to grab an extra suitcase before you head back, my top travel tip is to throw in a large vacuum storage bag. This way you can suck the air out of all your clothes, and leave room for those extra items, without the last minute cost of excess luggage or another new suitcase! Most hotels are happy to supply the vacuum!
And never, ever leave home without your travel insurance! I hope you’ll never need it, but for the peace of mind, it’s totally worth it.