Your Life

The travel bug is an expensive one, but here’s how you can save

- September 8, 2023 3 MIN READ
The travel bug is expensive but here's how you can save

I reckon the backlash against Qantas, its chief executive, its board of directors and the Prime Minister is because every travelling Australian is stunned by the continuing high cost of airfares.

When Qantas does a cosy deal with the Federal Government to stop more competition and more flights, which would bring down airfares, we justifiably get angry.

When the Qantas CEO receives multimillion dollar bonuses based on the excessive profits of those incredibly high airfares we’re all paying, we justifiably get angry.

But we are a nation of travellers and after two years of lockdowns there’s a passion to see the world, despite the exorbitant cost. So, it seems we’ve changed the way we pay for travel to cope with the cost.

A recent Compare the Market survey found 40.4 per cent of adult Australians don’t pay for their holidays upfront.

Although more than half of people (59 per cent) like to save all their money and pay for holidays in full at the time of booking, 14.6 per cent say they use a credit card, 12.2 per cent pay in instalments and 4.4 per cent use ‘Buy Now, Pay Later‘ services.

How Australians pay for holidays

Source: Compare the Market

Holiday budget tips to ease the financial pain of travel

Stick to a budget

Before you go ahead and book that Europe trip, take a solid look at your finances and work out whether you can actually afford it. What exactly are your plans and how will you spend each day while you’re away? Have you already saved the money you need to finance your trip? If not, how much debt will you be taking on too fund it? How will you pay for the trip? How long will it take you to pay it off after you return? Remember, there’s nothing exciting about paying off a holiday years after it’s over.

Look for cheap airfares and accommodation

Sites like Skyscanner can help find cheap flights and allow you to see what dates might even be cheapest. While you might find cheap flights, your search shouldn’t end there. Look for affordable accommodation too. If you’re going to be out exploring all the time, do you really need that ocean view?

Monitor exchange rates

If you’re travelling overseas, do your research and shop around for the best exchange rates online. As a rule of thumb, never purchase your international currency at the airport, where exchange rates are notoriously bad. It might not seem like much, but the difference between getting 1.3 or 1.4 $US to $A can mean an extra $50-$80 in your pocket when you’re spending $2000.

Search for value add-ons or deals

Look for hotel inclusions like breakfast – this can save you a lot of time and money on your holiday. If it’s a buffet-style breakfast, maybe you can take a few croissants in a napkin for a snack later on. Other add-ons to look for are free parking and kids staying and eating for free. Depending on how long you’re staying at a place, this can save you a lot of money.

Avoid the tourist tax

Get off the beaten track. Follow the locals to find the best restaurants and shops that don’t have a tourist tax attached to the price list. For example, the waterfront in Venice can often be double the price because that’s where all the tourists are and its the hub for water taxis. If you go off the beaten track, there are a cluster of pizzerias and wonderful stores that aren’t as expensive.

Do things differently

There are plenty of things to do around the world that cost nothing at all. Instead of simply following the tourist crowd, head to museums and art galleries that are free or low-cost to enter. They are often hidden gems that will enrich your time away.

Seek out parks, beaches and waterways for a picnic; head out for a glorious hike into the countryside around major cities; explore the local backstreets on foot; and take public transport to smaller towns that don’t see as many tourists. In other words, challenge yourselves to do as many free things (or close to free) as possible while you’re away.

Stay local

Ditch the long-haul airfare and enjoy an interstate holiday in Australia. There are plenty of incredible destinations to explore in our own backyard. Whether it be the crisp, white sandy beaches in the Whitsundays or the dusty red outback near Uluru, you can find lots to do.

Compare travel insurance

Travel insurance is one thing that should never be overlooked when planning a holiday. If your flight gets cancelled, luggage gets stolen, or you have a medical emergency – you’re going to wish you were covered. Compare the Market can help sightseers find travel insurance that’s suited to their needs, circumstances and budgets.

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