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How to keep holiday spending under control

Financial hygiene takes a break on holidays

The colder months are upon us, which means plenty of Australians will be embarking on some budget travel.

Making plans and preparations for an overseas holiday is all part of the fun. But all too often good financial hygiene flies out the window when we’re travelling, with holiday spending statistics showing two out of five overseas travellers arrive home financially worse off, despite 82% diligently saving for their trip, according to a ME Bank survey with 1,000 Australian adults who had travelled overseas in the past three years.

So, what exactly is financial hygiene? No, it’s not about washing your hands after handling euros, dong or rupiah (though it’s always a good idea). Rather, it’s about following the basics that let you keep your cash under control – following a travel budget, planning holiday spending in advance and taking a ‘spend wisely’ approach.

These are all steps that can help you avoid a ‘travel black hole’. That’s when your love for travel takes over and sensible money management flies out the window. It’s a pitfall plenty of Aussies fall for on an overseas holiday. As a guide, 55% of overseas travellers fail to make or follow a holiday budget, and one in two underestimate the costs of their trip – rising to six out of ten Gen Ys who head overseas.


Holiday spending tips

Few things take the shine off a holiday faster than arriving home strapped for cash, and some prior planning can go a long way to keeping a lid on travel costs.

Compare airfares and look for ‘happy hour’ discounts that many airlines regularly offer on certain days or times. Similarly, shop around for accommodation, and aim to book in advance to score an early bird discount.

Draft an itinerary, and consider paying for major attractions in advance so that you don’t have to worry about the cost while you’re away.

Don’t overlook the cost of transport and dining out, which can quickly add up. Ask friends or family, or scope around online, to discover cheap eats and the most affordable way to get around your destination.

Take advantage of digital tools too. It’s now easier than ever to be organised on the go with a myriad of holiday budget planner apps and currency conversions tools available on our smartphones.

Schedule a holiday spending debrief

One of the most effective steps to manage holiday spending occurs after you’ve taken an overseas trip.

Review how much you’ve spent when you return home.

One in two Australians who’ve travelled overseas fail to conduct a post-trip examination of their holiday spending. Yet a quick money debrief can lay valuable foundations for your next trip. After all, how can you save and budget for an upcoming holiday if you’re not aware of what you spent the last time?


Me Bank

This article is brought to you by ME Bank. Visit ME’s website for more information.

Members Equity Bank Limited ABN 56 070 887 679.