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Top Tips For Affordable Travel

Here’s a guide on how to save for that big trip, how to get the cheapest deals, and how to reduce what you spend when you’re on holiday. Claire Connell talks to the experts as part of the Kiwibank Conversations About Money series.

29 October 2021

Do your research

First decide your priorities. Are you after sunny weather, fabulous scenery, or great shopping?

Have a budget in mind before you see a travel agent, helloworld’s Advertising and Campaign Manager Madeleine Fay says.

Be wary of cheap fares to destinations that aren’t affordable when you get there. For example, airfares to Europe are coming down in price, but cities like London can be expensive for tourists.

The South Pacific and Australia are affordable favourites, Fay says, and there’s accommodation for all budgets.

Save by renting a house in Rarotonga, or a fale on the beach in Samoa. Ditch the air-con and opt for fan-only rooms (if you can handle it!) to save more cash.

Bali is a cheaper destination now too, Fay says, thanks to Air New Zealand’s increased capacity, and Emirates launching an Auckland-Bali route from June. It’s full of cheap shopping and dining, Fay says.

How much will I need?

Research the price online of activities and transport at your destination to work out a daily allowance.

Always overestimate slightly, says Lynda Moore of Money Mentalist. Have an emergency credit card and access to extra money, because you’re never going to get it right.

On the trip, keep a record of how much you’re spending and check in to see if you’re on track.

This article is intended as general information only. It does not take into account your financial situation and goals and is not personalised advice. For advice about your particular circumstances please see your financial adviser.

Nail your savings

Setting up a separate savings account for your trip is a good idea, says Mark Lonergan from Kiwibank. Find one with a good interest rate and where you’re charged for withdrawing money, to keep you on track.

He says an example would be Kiwibank’s Fast Forward Saver if you’re starting from zero, because you earn interest as soon as you’ve got money in the account (service fees may apply). Once you’ve reached NZ$2,000, you could consider moving your savings into an account like Kiwibank’s Notice Saver, which has a better interest rate, Lonergan says. (Terms and conditions apply and can be found at Kiwibank.co.nz/noticesaver)

It’s great if your savings can disappear from your main transaction account before you even see it. Kiwibank’s PayStream will let you do this, or simply set up an automatic payment each pay cycle.

The easier you can make it for yourself, the more likely you are to save, Lonergan says.

“Out of sight out of mind – if I’m less likely to see it, I’m less likely to spend it.”

Lonergan says to check Kiwibank’s online tool that’s all about saving for travel – visit kiwibank.co.nz/save-for-travel

Friends or foes

When travelling with friends, fighting over money can really put a dampener on what should be a relaxing holiday, so make sure you’re on the same financial page before you leave, says Moore.

“Do as much as you possibly can around the finance and funding of the trip before you go, because that will minimise conflict while you’re away.”

Be prepared to negotiate and compromise on the trip – perhaps by spending a little more or less some days. If you start to argue, cool down, then come back to it once you’re both feeling calmer.

Get the timeframe right

For a six-week trip overseas, Moore says you should aim to save for a year. Any longer than that and you become a bore, unable to enjoy life, and anything shorter – you might not reach your goals.

There’s nothing worse than having a tight savings schedule and having something unexpected come up to throw your budget out. Avoid the stress by setting a timeframe that works for you.

Stay motivated

Once you’ve got a savings account set up, rename it something fun, like ‘Beach break in Bali’ and add a photo. Every time you see it, you’ll be reminded that you’re saving for a purpose, Moore says.

Surround yourself with photos and brochures of your destination to motivate yourself to save – and to remind you of what a great reward you’ll get at the end.

It’s in the bag

Fay recommends always checking in your luggage, rather than relying on carry-on only. The savings aren’t big, she says, and it’s really easy to get caught out. If you think you can stick to the 7kg carry-on limit, be sure to weigh your bag before you get to the airport.

Some airlines have started weighing carry-on luggage as you board, and it can be expensive if you’re forced to pay excess baggage – let alone the stress of repacking.

Keeping your money safe

Leigh Robertson, of Kiwibank, says the key to safe travelling is having a variety of cash and card options, and recommends emailing yourself a photograph of your credit card before you go.

“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” she says. Separate your cash into different places in your luggage, in case something gets lost or stolen.

Carrying large amounts of cash isn’t ideal, but it depends on where you’re travelling, she says.

“If you’re going off the beaten track where ATMs aren’t so common, make sure you’ve got enough cash for a couple of days.”

Stick to ATMs attached only to reputable banks to avoid potential skimming, Robertson says, and avoid withdrawing multiple amounts each day, as fees can quickly add up.

And if your card is lost or stolen, or you suspect any suspicious activity, call your bank straight away. All banks provide contact numbers for when calling from overseas, so be sure to note it down before you take off.

Eating out

Booking a hotel that includes breakfast can save you money, as having a big main meal for breakfast means you can likely skip lunch. Grab a muffin or piece of fruit when you’re leaving, to use as an afternoon snack.

Aim for one great meal out a day. Then, for the other meal, buy food from the supermarket, such as fruit, local breads, antipasto platters, ingredients for filled rolls, or heat-and-eat ready meals, if you have the facilities.

How Julie Cannon pays for her overseas trips

Determined to finally be able to afford a family holiday overseas, Julie Cannon started putting a small amount each pay cycle into a savings account. Every time she got a pay rise she increased the amount.

This simple concept meant just a year later, Cannon, her husband, and children could spend three weeks in Vietnam.

She opened the savings account which had no internet banking and limited access at a different bank to her regular bank. It had a good interest rate, and regular payments were rewarded if no money was taken out.

“It had all the factors that made you want to save and not take it out,” Cannon says.

The holiday, excluding flights, cost NZ$1,600 – they arrived armed with only their backpacks and a trusty Lonely Planet guide book.

But fast forward 15 or so years, and this same strategy has seen the family travel to Bali, the Philippines, Thailand, and Australia.

Cannon’s advice is to start with a small automatic payment – something that’s manageable. When she first started working, it was NZ$25 a week.

Make sure you’re doing it regularly, then increase it if you can. Pay rises are a good opportunity to put in more money.

“There’s that cool feeling that when you decide to go on holiday, you’ve got the money there.

“I think you have to be passionate about whatever you’re trying to save for, and that way you’ll be more committed to doing it.”

First published 28 May, 2018.

Story by Claire Connell

This article is intended as general information only. It does not take into account your financial situation and goals and is not personalised advice. For advice about your particular circumstances please see your financial adviser.

JUNO does not contain financial advice as defined by the Financial Advisers Act 2008. Consult a suitably qualified financial adviser before making investment decisions. This story reflects the views of the contributor only. Content comes from sources that JUNO considers accurate, but we do not guarantee that the content is accurate.

Informed Investor's content comes from sources that Informed Investor magazine considers accurate, but we do not guarantee its accuracy. Charts in Informed Investor are visually indicative, not exact. The content of Informed Investor is intended as general information only, and you use it at your own risk.


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