Money

How Millennials Spend Billions Per Year On Overseas Travel

A new study has found that Australian millennial travellers are spending a whopping $11.3 billion overseas per year – but is there a solution to those ridiculous holiday spending traps?

Australians love to travel – hell, we’d even go as far to say that it’s in our DNA. You can probably blame it on our location – being so far away from the wider world means we’re always intrigued by the unfamiliar, and also all so willing to power through an eighteen hour flight just to see what’s on the other side.

According to Westpac’s 2016 Travel Finance Report, there are 5.1 million millennial travellers who have made 3.3 million trips in the past 12 months (excellent use of annual leave, you guys).

Millennials spend more than anyone else on overseas travel

Millennials are the biggest spenders when it comes to international travel, more so than any other age group. The study found that the average overseas holiday will cost millennials $3461 per trip, which equates to $11.3 billion annually. That’s 15% more than Baby Boomers ($9.8 billion) and 66% more than Generation X ($6.8 billion).

Ash Gray, Westpac’s Head of Youth and Millennial markets says, “We know that Aussie millennials love to explore the world in pursuit of amazing experiences, with the USA, UK and Europe being the most popular destinations.” Ash mentions that because of the price of overseas holidays, planning ahead and making a few sacrifices on the road is always a good route to take financially.

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We save up for our trips months in advance

In terms of planning ahead, the study shows how millennials are being responsible and budgeting ahead of their trips, noting that 70% of travellers start saving for their trip for an average of eight months before departure. Nice.

We’ll make sacrifices on the road to make a holiday last longer

We’re fine to cut a few corners while on the road too, with 50% of millennials happy to walk instead of taking public transport, 28% skipping overhyped tourist attractions, a surprising 22% going without beer (!) and 19% of us will even skip meals.

But is that such a great idea? What can you do to avoid missing out on these experiences?

“Millennials are clearly thinking about how they can save ahead of their trips, but they need to be just as financially savvy once they’re abroad,” says Gray. “Rather than sacrificing on visiting attractions or transport, Millennials should consider alternative opportunities to save that don’t impact their experience.”

Some suggestions include doing thorough research on your destination(s) and creating a daily budget that takes into account currency exchanges/food and drink/transport/sightseeing. “It’s important to be realistic,” Ash added.

Here are Ash’s tips for managing your money while abroad:

Do your research

Understand the value of the Australian dollar in your travel destination, so you’re not over estimating (or under estimating) your spending. Use the Westpac mobile banking app to pinpoint the exact locations of the Global ATM Alliance ATMs in the area you’ll be travelling to, so you know exactly where to go to avoid ATM withdrawal fees as soon as you touch down.

Create a budget

Create a daily travel budget that takes into account current exchange rates, the cost of food and drinks, transport and sightseeing expenses. It’s important to be realistic when planning a budget – this is where researching prior to your trip will really come in handy.

Don’t carry wads of cash

While you’re on holiday you can often let your guard down – but the more you have on you, the more you have to lose in the unlikely event that you’re pick-pocketed or a victim of theft. Accessing your cash via Global ATM Alliance ATMs means you can withdraw the right amount of money each time you use an ATM, without worrying about ATM withdrawal fees.

Resist impulse buys

Do you really need three sombreros in different colours? It’s easy to get carried away when you’re on holiday and to justify a purchase that you’ll probably never use when you get back home. Control your impulse purchasing. You can do it.

Book in advance

Take the time to book as much as you can in advance such as tourist attractions, tickets to shows and accommodation – you will not only get online discounts but you’ll also avoid last-minute peak prices.

Click through to a few of our favourite money stories to get you in the financially savvy mood for your next getaway:


Rebecca Russo is a freelance writer, editor, community radio dabbler, occasional hiker and celebrity autobiography enthusiast. She has written for online publications including Junkee, AWOL, Fashion Journal and Tone Deaf. Find her online here.