Travelling to new places and exploring new cultures is one of life’s greatest pleasures, but it can also drain your bank account if you don’t plan properly. From flights to activities to accommodation, there are many facets of travel that can add up quickly if you don’t keep your wits about you.
To ensure you’re financially prepared for your next tip, and to avoid blowing your budget, consider the following tips.
1) Snag a travel deal
While planning your overseas trip, check out some travel deal websites to try and get the best price on your flights and accommodation. Sites like Groupon, Wotif and Expedia offer competitive prices with no booking fees. For instance, Groupon sometimes offers hotel packages for up to 65% off, so why not do a little research to score a discount? Your hip pocket will thank you for it.
2) Sort out your travel money in advance
Deciding how you’ll spend your money overseas isn’t something that should be left to the last minute. Whether it’s opting for a travel credit card or a pre-loaded debit card, there are plenty of products to choose from. Do your research early to see which travel money options will be right for your spending needs. Just make sure that the card you choose supports the currencies you’ll be spending in and keep an eye out for currency conversion fees too.
3) Don’t exchange your cash at the airport counter
When you get off a long-haul flight, it might be tempting to just exchange your money at the first counter you find at the airport. However, currency exchange counters at major international airports and hotel chains often have unfavourable exchange rates and fees, which means that you’ll get less bang for your buck and you’ll end up with less to spend on your trip. Instead, think about exchanging your funds before you leave or researching to find a counter with a favourable exchange rate.
4) Consider travelling during non-peak periods
Travelling during peak periods like December and January and throughout the school holidays can often mean that you’ll pay inflated prices for flights, accommodation and tours. Instead, think about travelling during non-peak periods so that you’re not forking out more than you need to be.
You should also plan ahead and book your trip well in advance to avoid the “travel tax” and to score cheaper deals. Recent finder.com.au research found that the “sweet spot” for booking flights is around 17 weeks prior to departure for long-haul international flights and domestic flights, so keep this in mind the next time you’re booking a trip.
5) Create a revenue stream through the shared economy
The shared economy is a way for you to earn some extra cash for your travel fund. It could involve you renting out a spare bedroom in your property, offering your skills on websites like Airtasker or Fiverr or even signing up to become an Uber driver. Engaging in the shared economy could be a practical way for you to boost your earning potential (and your savings).
A recent finder.com.au study revealed that renting out a spare room in your house could add an extra $808 to your monthly income. This extra cash could go a long way in helping you grow your savings, so if you’ve got a space that’s sitting there unused, why not give it a try?
And if you are thinking about participating in the shared economy, make sure you understand how it will affect your taxable income.
Before you plan your next trip, have a think about the different ways that you can shrink your travel costs and boost your savings. Scouting for online travel deals, researching travel money options, travelling during non-peak times and drawing on the shared economy are just a few of the ways that you can be smart about your travel finances and make your budget stretch that little bit further.