Travel budgeting: How much do I need to save?

Jane Bustle20 Jul 2020
HomeBlogTravel tips advice and guidesTravel budgeting: how much do i need to save?

The first question on everyone’s mind when it comes to planning a holiday is how much money you need to save. But here at Play Travel, we believe before you get the answer, you need to ask yourself a few other questions. 

Your holiday is about YOU! So before you can even think about expense tracking and saving, you need to know what it is that you want out of your holiday. Adventure or relaxation? Luxury tours or cultural experiences? Gourmet restaurants or street food? 

Take a moment to ask yourself what your dream holiday looks like? And remember - there are no wrong answers! 

Then you can break out the holiday expense tracker and get down to the budget.

*While travel restrictions are constantly changing, it’s hard to know what the next few months will look like. We recommend all Play customers follow the guidelines from the Australian Government and read our guide - How to travel safely during coronavirus.

Spend where it makes you happy, not where you think you need to.

How much money do I need for travelling?

These four questions will help you figure out how much it will cost you to travel. 

  1. What type of trip do you want?
    What appeals to you more - exploring the hidden gems of the East Coast of Australia? Or drinking cocktails poolside? Our guide - How to plan the perfect holiday - is a great place to start.
  2. When do you want to travel and how long are you willing to save for?
    How much you have to spend on your trip is often wholly dependent on how long you’re willing to save. So ask yourself, do you NEED a holiday now? Or would you prefer a swanky holiday in two years’ time? 
  3. Is the length of time, or the luxury level more important to you?
    Often, when it comes to holiday budgeting, you have to trade quality for quantity - or vice versa. It’s always a good idea to identify which is more important to you.
  4. Do you want to do all the planning yourself? Or get some help with that?
    Detailed holiday planning isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. So look into a few different holiday options. Package holidays make it easy to have your flights/transport and accommodation all sorted in one go. While all-inclusive holidays usually include transport, accommodation, food/drinks and all sorts of other things you may want to do on holiday. We know it can get a bit confusing, so we created a handy guide to explain the difference between a package holiday and an all-inclusive holiday.

Identify what matters to you!

It’s so important your holiday suits your needs. After all, if you’ve saved money to travel, you want to make sure you’re spending it on things which make you happy. Once you figure out what you want to spend on - it’ll be easier to know how much you need.  

  • If you’re not into fine dining, skip the fancy restaurants and find some great (and safe) street food. It’s often more authentic anyway.
  • If shopping local is important to you, make sure you budget both your time and money for that. To find the best artisan makers in your holiday area, check out the #buyfromthebush hashtag and website or get on Instagram and have a dig around.
  • It’s important that the experiences you book are in line with your values, so if eco-friendly tours are your jam, make it happen! 

Can you afford your dream holiday?

It’s all well and good to create your dream holiday, but reality (unfortunately) does come into play here. Is this something you can realistically afford? A great place to start is to figure out how much wiggle room you have in your weekly budget - then search our deals via your weekly instalment amount to see where it could take you.

Holiday expense tracker

How much does a holiday cost?

Now you know what you want from your holiday, it’s easy to figure out how much you need to save. 

There’ll be those big expenses, like flights/travel and accommodation. But then there’ll also be all those other costs that go into making your dream holiday come true. 

To get an idea of the total cost of your holiday, we recommend breaking down your likely holiday expenses into these categories. 

  • Travel
  • Accommodation 
  • Food + Drink
  • Experiences 
  • Spending 
  • Emergency fund

There are lots of holiday expense trackers on the market which can help you keep track of these costs once you’re on the road. But even just writing them down on a piece of paper ahead of the trip will help with budgeting. 

And if it all sounds like too much work, an all-inclusive holiday could be a good idea. All-inclusive holidays mean everything is paid for in advance, so you don’t need to keep track of any holiday expenses. You can even pay for your holiday in easy instalments when you book through us.

How to save for a holiday

  1. First, you need to have a clear figure in mind (as mentioned above).
  2. Now break it down into weekly instalments. 
  3. Then identify if you’ve got the room in your current budget to cover that, or if you need to cut back in certain areas to make it happen. Keep in mind - this could either mean cutting back on expenses now or cutting back on your holiday plans. 
  4. Next, automate your travel savings with a weekly direct debit into a separate account. Call that account something specific like; “East Coast Australia Travel Fund,” so when you see the transactions, they make you feel excited about what you’re aiming for!
  5. Celebrate every time you hit a milestone number in that account. That could be $500, $1500 or $5000. No matter what travel budget you’re saving towards, pick a few key points to celebrate. 

If you book through us, we give you upfront visibility of the weekly instalments needed to pay for your holiday AND keep you posted on your saving progress. You can even use our handy budgeting tool to search for holidays within your price range.