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Let's talk: How to financially prepare for the travel bug

1 September 2017

Attributed to Michelle Bagnall, EGM Customer Journeys

It’s that time of year when many of us start to look ahead to the summer holiday season and daydream about our next bucket list destination.

If you find yourself constantly calculating your annual leave or typing ‘cheap flights to…’ into a search engine, you’re not alone. However, despite research showing that more than a third of Aussies are squirrelling away any spare dollars they have for a holiday or travel, Suncorp’s new Financial Wellbeing Study has revealed more than a quarter of people are giving up on these dreams because of money.

Everyone has their own ideas about saving for travel, but the most important piece of wisdom given to me is to break the task into small achievable steps. It’s about making a conscious decision to put away small amounts regularly, and using progress milestones (like finally booking those flights) as motivation to keep going.

For big trips, it’s important to start planning and budgeting early. Having 12 months in advance to research and book is ideal as it helps plan around peak season, big events and local holidays which might add extra costs. It also gives you plenty of time to investigate the best places to stay and keep an eye out for sales or special discounts.

If you’re travelling as a group, start the conversation early about how shared expenses will be managed and who’s responsible for booking what.

Once you’ve locked in your major expenses like accommodation and flights, work out your spending money, contingency funds and the cost of crucial extras like comprehensive travel insurance. Avoiding unexpected costs, like local sales taxes and tourist levies, is the key to a healthy holiday budget, and knowledge is power when negotiating the best deals. 

Other costs which sometimes take travellers by surprise can include currency conversion fees, foreign ATM withdrawal charges, and credit card interest, and these can often be minimised or avoided altogether with a little forward planning. 

For all your hard work, you’ll probably find you have a few extra dollars to treat yourself while you’re away.

Happy travels!

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