How To Save Money For Travel

The 4 minutes it takes to read this will change your holidays for the rest of your life.

Words by The Cusp

By The Cusp, 20/9/2014

The cost of travel shouldn’t hold you back from taking a holiday or setting off to see the world. Here, we’ve assembled all our best tips to simplify saving for a holiday, and spend wisely while you’re overseas. From scoring a low cost airfare to deciding between travel money and credit cards, we’ve got the 101 on travelling for less.

For this, the first in our series of The Cusp x Westpac Life Guides, we’ve rounded up some of the most common queries when it comes to your travel budgets, and found the straight-forward answers you’re looking for.

How do I save for holiday costs?

Should I pay for my holiday on my credit card?

Are travel agents worth it?

How can I travel on a student budget?

Will flight prices go up or down?

Should I buy travel insurance?

How should I pay for things overseas?

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Proven Ways To Save For A Holiday

How much will your holiday cost?

If you’ve already figured out where you’re going – and for how long – the next step is to figure out what your costs will be. Alternatively, you can work out how much you’d like to spend, and then tailor your getaway to fit your budget.

Here are some of the costs you might need to keep in mind for your vacation:

  • Air fares/car hire
  • Visa fees, passport renewal
  • Accommodation
  • Food
  • Entertainment
  • Entry fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Shopping money
  • An emergency fund

A bit of research at this stage can help you determine how much money you’re likely to spend, and will help prevent any nasty surprises. Sites like AWOL or TripAdvisor are helpful resources for finding out what you’re in for.

How to save money for your holiday

Now that you’ve got a rough idea of your holiday expenses, it’s time to get saving. Here’s how it’s done.

#1 Use a budget planner to work out your regular expenses.

#2 Figure out how many pay cycles you have until your holiday, then figure out how much you’ll need to set aside in order to cover your holiday expenses.

#3 Need to free up some money in your budget? Look at cutting expenses – entertainment, clothes and eating out at restaurants (or grabbing takeaway meals) – are all habits that can be reined in to save some extra money. You could also look at ways to make extra money. Selling things you don’t use anymore or doing odd jobs on sharing economy apps could help cover any shortfall.

The best holiday savings hack

Now that you’ve worked out how much you need to save, simplify the process by using a savings tool that allows you to put aside money for each of your goals without the hassle of multiple accounts – all while earning a decent interest rate. Set up and track your savings goals with the Westpac Life account, and it can help you do the savings calculations that will help you stay on track.

The more money you can save for your holiday, the better. Extra cash will allow you to splurge or cover any unexpected costs. Using an account that earns a high rate of interest will help you increase your savings, and help cover those holiday costs.

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The only time you should pay for a holiday on a credit card

While it might be tempting to borrow the money you need to cover your holiday costs, there’s nothing worse than coming back from a break only to be confronted by the debt you now have to pay off.

The one situation where it’s worth it? If you’ve saved enough to cover your holiday costs, and you’re booking your flights and accommodation on a rewards card then immediately paying it off.

That way you’ll earn some points, but won’t have to pay off any extra interest. Win-win.

An added bonus? If you pay more than $500 of your travel costs on selected Westpac credit cards, you’ll be eligible for complementary travel insurance. You’ll be covered for medical costs incurred overseas, rental car excess, unexpected cancellation of travel arrangements and more.

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Three money hacks for cheaper travel

If you’re looking to lower the price of your holiday there are a number of things you can do.

Here are some suggestions

#1 Travel in the off season

Avoiding the peak season will mean lower rates on flights and accommodation – and fewer crowds.

#2 Pay early

Flights and accommodation are often cheaper when booked well in advance, with early-bird discounts.

#3 Look for added extras

Lots of travel providers offer added extras – like discounted car hire, or free tours. Travel insurance can come complementary with selected credit cards.

travel costs low price holiday saving

Are travel agents really worth it in 2017?

For the average holiday, no. With a little bit of online research and bargain shopping you’ll manage to find plenty of recommendations for your holiday and some travel deals.

But if you’re embarking on a complex trip, or travelling with a large group, a travel agent can scout for insider deals, and handle some of the more tricky details.

How to get the most out of student travel discounts

If you’re a university student, you’ve probably got more time than money. So when you’re making your travel plans, you can be more flexible with the timing of your holiday than office-bound folks who have to book annual leave – meaning you can take advantage of cheaper, off-peak fares.

But students also have access to lots of travel discounts, making a tight travel budget stretch even further. How? With the ISIC card.

ISIC – aka the International Student Identity Card – unlocks a whole range of discounts on all your travel expenses. 10% off accommodation! Half price meals! Flight discounts – up to 40% off international airfares through STA Travel! 50% off tours!

The card usually costs $30, but you can ditch the fee if you open up a Westpac Choice savings account. As a student there are no monthly account keeping fees to pay, so you get even more savings.

When to book for the best value flights

Deciding when to buy your flight can feel like a gamble – what if you buy them now, and then next week they’re cheaper? But then again, what if you wait a month and end up paying hundreds more?

Luckily, there are some ways to figure out whether your flight prices will go up or down.

According to SkyScanner, May and November are the cheapest times to fly, while you can expect to pay 26% more in December. They have a tool to help you determine the best time to book your flights – for example, the best time to book a flight to London from Sydney is around 25 weeks in advance.

travel costs holiday deals saving budget

Travel insurance can actually save you money

Yes, you should purchase travel insurance before you leave on your holiday. Why? Because in the event that anything goes wrong, travel insurance will mean you’re covered financially, so your travel mishap can be a funny war story rather than a budget-ruining nightmare.

You can choose various levels of travel insurance cover according to your needs and your budget – from comprehensive, to essentials, to domestic or multi-stop.

If you’ve booked your flights or other holiday costs on your credit card, you might already be covered! Selected Westpac credit cards offer complementary travel insurance underwritten by Allianz. If you’re eligible you’ll be covered for things like overseas medical expenses, loss or damage to personal property, and rental vehicle excess.

Travel cards will simplify your travel costs

Save yourself from the hassle of ordering foreign currency from the bank or getting stung by foreign ATM fees.

Get yourself a travel card, a re-loadable pre-paid card that you can load up with different currencies. You can load it with up to five different currencies, meaning you’re sorted for your multi-country tour.

With a travel card you can withdraw cash at any ATM – and a Westpac travel card is covered by the Global ATM Alliance, which means $0 withdrawals at over 50,000 machines worldwide.

Westpac’s travel card is secured by a chip and a pin, so it’s much safer than carrying a wad of foreign currency around (and more stylist than one of those money belts). The card is also covered for fraudulent or unauthorised purchases.

Dreaming of a getaway but want an easier way to save? Then sign up for a Westpac Life Savings account. You can set and track savings goals without the hassle of multiple bank accounts, while earning up to 2.30% p.a. variable interest rate. Open one now, in less than 3 minutes.