Holiday money saving tips

Discover how you can save more money on holiday by following our money-saving tips

Person saving money in coin purse

Australians love to travel, with over 6 million of us travelling internationally every year (top travel destinations are New Zealand, Indonesia and the USA). However, international travel often requires a lot of saving, and no one wants to save money to go on holiday, only to get into debt once they’re away.

So how can you save money on your next trip? Whether you’re travelling internationally or domestically, here are some tips that can help you enjoy your holiday without breaking the bank.

1. Figure out how much your holiday will cost in advance

With so many online trip advice and review websites available, it’s easy to research what your trip will cost ahead of time. Some things to consider include:

  • Transport costs (airfares, trains, coaches, rental cars, ferries, etc.)
  • Visa and passport charges
  • Travel insurance
  • Accommodation
  • A travel SIM card/international roaming charges
  • Food (supermarkets, takeaway and eating out)
  • Tickets for sights, tours and other activities
  • Souvenirs, gifts and other shopping
  • Extra money for emergencies

Knowing the total cost of your holiday up front will help you make more accurate savings goals, which will help prevent any budget blow outs while you’re away. Don’t forget to check out online deals to get the best rates!

2. Share to save

Holiday costs drop dramatically when you’re willing to save. For accommodation, you could book a multi-room villa or an Airbnb with some family and friends, rather than paying almost as much for a single-bed hotel room. If you go on a tour, you may be able to get a special group rate. Or, if you are eating out, consider sharing a range of tapas or charcuterie-style plates, rather than each person getting a main.

3. Make wise food choices

And no, we don’t just mean eating healthily (though that can help you stay healthy on the road). Food is one of the hidden expenses that often catches travellers out on holiday. For instance, hotel minibars often have a 200-500% mark up on what you’d pay if you just went to a supermarket, while hotel restaurants charge significantly more than those the locals use.

Here, our tips are simple:

  • Avoid the mini bar – instead, go out to a bar or shop at a supermarket for a night in.
  • Ask to get breakfast included with your room, or eat away from your hotel.
  • When eating out, consider eating out for lunch rather than dinner, as menus are usually cheaper during the day.
  • If the water at your destination is safe to drink, choose tap water rather than mineral water when eating out.
  • If you have a kitchen on your travels, make the most of it – try to cook for a couple of nights on your stay.

4. Travel like the locals do

Rather than getting taxis and Ubers around your destination, try the local public transport networks or even walking. These are a much more economical way to travel, and it gives you a better feel for the true character of a destination.

Person saving money in coin purse

5. Get a sightseeing pass

Many tourist destinations offer multi-day sightseeing passes, which include discounts (or free) tickets to attractions, free public transport and discounts at shops, bars and restaurants. However, if you do get one of these passes, make sure you’ll actually use it – if not, you might be better off just purchasing tickets for the attractions you do see.

6. Arrange your own transport to historic sites

If you’re travelling to France, a coach tour from central Paris to Versailles can cost EUR50.  In Italy, a tour from Rome to Pompeii and Mt Vesuvius can cost EUR150. In Turkey, a one day tour from Istanbul to Gallipoli can range from EUR50 – EUR150 (more for a private trip).

If you can organise your own transport to these destinations, your costs will be more than halved.

7. Make the most of your age

If you are a student, under 26 or over 65, you may be eligible for free or discounted rates to many attractions. Just be sure that you have proof of your age when you arrive at the ticket counter.

8. Get hire car insurance

While hire car insurance is usually thought of as an optional extra, it’s always a good idea. While you may not damage your rental car, it only takes one misstep (or one careless person on the road) for you to be stuck with a hefty repair bill.

9. Travel locally

Holidaying close to home means you save on airfares or travel costs. Victoria is a great holiday destination with many different regions to choose from: think beaches, wine country, historic towns, high country and more.

Plus, what better place to caravan or go camping than in your own backyard? Check out RACV’s Cobram and Inverloch resorts.