Saving for a holiday

Save now and play later

Whether it's snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef or going on safari in the Serengeti, your next holiday will cost money. It's much better to save as much as you can before you leave, so you don't rely entirely on your credit card. You don't want to spend the next year paying off your trip debts.

Here are some tips on building your holiday savings fund so you can really enjoy your big trip.

How much will your holiday cost?

The first step in saving for a holiday is to work out how much you'll need. The cost of your holiday will depend on where you want to go and how you like to travel. Some costs to consider include:

Smart tip

If you are exchanging money here or overseas shop around with a few different operators. Different fees and charges can have a big impact on how much cash you receive.

  • Airfares or transport costs
  • Visa and passport charges
  • Travel insurance
  • Transport at your destination e.g. hire car
  • Accommodation
  • Food
  • Entry fees to sights and activities
  • Souvenirs
  • Entertainment costs
  • Extra money in case of emergencies
  • Charges for using your phone for calls while you're overseas

Considering these costs will help you work out how much you'll need for your holiday. The next step is to put a savings plan in place to reach this goal before you take off. 

Work out how much you'll need to save each week to reach your goal.

Savings goals calculator

Accessing money

Think about how you are going to access money while overseas. If you carry lots of cash around, you risk losing it. You could get a travel prepaid card or you could talk to your bank about how you can access your money overseas without paying high fees.

For more information on travelling and safety precautions, see the Australian Government's Smart traveller website.

Australians and travel insurance

Travel insurance infographic thumbnail

Our Australians and travel insurance infographic explains why Australians travel, where they go, what is covered and isn't covered by travel insurance and how to get the best policy for you.

Tips to build your travel fund

Set a budget

With your weekly savings goal in mind, it's time to get serious about reaching it. A great way to do this is by using a budget. By cutting back on spending before you go, you'll have more money to spend on your trip.

See where your money goes and find ways to spend less on non-essential items.

Budget planner

For example, Paul is going to Mexico and decided to save money by not going out for dinner for 2 months. He saved $300, which he put towards dining out on his Mexican trip.

Look for savings right across your budget. 

Rein in restaurant meals

  • Cut back on how often you go out for dinner
  • Try cheaper alternatives on the menu
  • Order water instead of expensive drinks
  • Skip the dessert menu and get a cheaper alternative elsewhere. 

Cut clothes costs

  • Visit markets or secondhand shops instead of buying brand new items
  • Swap or borrow clothes from a friend
  • Shop for classic, long-lasting items rather than styles that will soon go out of date.

Save on groceries

For ideas on saving at the supermarket, visit our webpage for ideas on how to save money on food.

Reduce takeaways and coffees

  • Plan your meals for the week so you're not tempted to order in
  • Cook extra for dinner and eat the leftovers for lunch the next day
  • Eat breakfast before you leave home so you don't need to buy it
  • Fill a reusable bottle with water before you go out so you won't need to buy drinks
  • Pack snacks and fresh fruit to avoid buying food when you're out.

Trim the fat on your fitness costs

 Visit our webpage for ideas on cheap ways to get fit.

Grow your savings

Once you've cut back on your spending, make the most of your savings by putting your money where it will earn interest, such as a term deposit or a savings account. These accounts will give you a higher rate of interest than transaction accounts. Learn more about the compound interest you could earn in a savings account.

It might also help to visualise your holiday so you keep in mind what you are saving for. Our app will help visualise your progress towards achieving your goals.

Track your savings goals on the go with our free app.


Case study: Laura and Kaz save up for Europe

young girls sitting on stepLaura and Kaz dream of backpacking around Europe. They have only 18 months to save as much money as they can for their trip.

Laura opens an online savings account with an interest rate of 3% and deposits $500 every fortnight. She resists the temptation to dip into the money as she knows she will lose some of her interest if she does. Kaz saves $500 of her pay every fortnight in her everyday transaction account that has an interest rate of 1.5%. She tries not to use the money but regularly takes out $50 a fortnight to get her through to the next pay day.

Eighteen months later, Laura has saved more than $18,400, while Kaz has only $16,394. Hard-to-access, high interest accounts can make a big difference.

The more money you can save before a holiday, the better. Start saving now by opening a savings account.

Related links

Last updated: 09 Mar 2018