Taking a trip
Hit the road sooner with our holiday planning guide
No doubt about it, Australians love to travel. Whether it's heading to the red centre to see Uluru, venturing to Hong Kong for a week of shopping or going to Europe, we're taking to the skies and the roads and the rails and the seas in record numbers.
Are you planning a trip? There are lots of ways to pay for it including saving up, using credit or combining savings with credit.
How much will your holiday cost?
Once you've got a destination in mind you're ready to work out what it's likely to cost. Some expenses will be easier to work out than others (such as airfares and accommodation); others such as food, tours and shopping might take a bit more research.
Start looking online to get an idea of costs. Websites for airlines that fly to where you want to go are a good place to start. Make sure you check out a few. Also check out websites that let you compare airfares from different airlines. These sites are often also good for looking at different accommodation options and holiday packages as well.
Estimate what it'll cost you each day while you're away - everything from food, transport, sightseeing and tours to shopping. What you might save in airfares by holidaying closer could easily get swallowed up by what it costs when you're on the ground.
Here are some of the main categories you'll need to consider:
- Sightseeing/entry fees
- Visa and passport charges
- Travel insurance
Ideas for keeping costs down
If you're savvy, there are usually ways to keep holiday costs down, even in the most expensive cities in the world (think London or New York), including:
- Booking flights early - this doesn't mean arbitrarily booking months in advance; rather, keeping an eye out for good deals and being in a position to act quickly when they come along.
- Travel outside peak times - popular holiday destinations (particularly near beaches and resorts) tend to fill up at peak times such as Christmas and school holidays. Travel outside these times and chances are you'll get a better deal, not to mention less crowds when you're there.
- City hotels are often cheaper on the weekend - because many city hotels are geared towards business travellers, they can have a lot of spare rooms that need filling come the weekend, which could be offered at a hefty discount, or with extras such as breakfast or spa credits.
Sorting out your budget
You know where you want to go, and you've got an idea of how much it's going to cost. To start turning your holiday into a reality it's time to take a look at your budget.
Budgeting might sound boring, but it isn't when you create one that works and you start seeing your holiday fund growing. You can use our budget planner to get your savings up and running. Find out more about creating a budget.
Time to get saving
Nothing will make you feel like you're on your way like seeing your holiday funds growing.
It's a good idea to set up a savings account specifically for your holiday fund with an automatic payment into it every pay. Whenever you have any extra cash you can transfer it into your holiday account as well.
You might want to consider one of Westpac's savings accounts, such as:
- Westpac Reward Saver - a savings account with bonus interest (paid each month you make no withdrawals and deposit at least $50) and no monthly service fee.
- Westpac eSaver - an online savings account offering a great rate of interest, which lets you move money between Westpac accounts as often as you like. It also comes with unlimited free Westpac Online Banking and automated Telephone Banking transactions, and there are no minimum account balance or fixed term requirements.
Other products include:
It's important you check out all the details on the conditions of eligibility, fees and charges before making a decision. That way you'll get the one that best works for you. To find out more about getting your savings plan up and running you can read our savings plan.
What about borrowing to pay for your holiday?
In an ideal world we'd all be satisfied waiting and saving the money before we thought about heading away. But it's not always like that in the real world. Sometimes you really need that holiday sooner rather than later; or perhaps someone springs an overseas wedding or birthday on you; or occasionally a deal comes along that's just too good to refuse (and therefore worth paying for with borrowed funds).
Aside from saving, here are a couple of different options:
- Personal loans - with a personal loan you apply to borrow a set amount of money (say the amount for your airfare and accommodation), which you then pay off in regular instalments (typically fortnightly) over a set period of time (usually anything up to 7 years) with interest. The advantage of using a personal loan is you could go on holiday a lot sooner, but the downside is you could be paying for a long time after you've returned home.
- Credit cards - using credit cards can be a convenient option. However, the interest you pay on a credit card tends to be quite high, so it's probably a good idea to check that you can pay off the balance of your card fairly quickly. Credit cards can be great if you use them wisely. Some cards also offer extras such as complimentary travel insurance (conditions and exclusions will apply).
Things you should know
It's important to read the detail about the conditions and any fees or charges that apply to any financial product before you decide to apply for it. Check the eligibility criteria too. Ask the product issuer for a copy of these. Credit criteria apply to approval of credit products.
Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 AFSL and Australian credit licence 233714.