holiday budget

Holiday Budgeting 101: More fun, more money

You’ve unpacked your bags, tested the bed and flopped down. You’ve arrived.

Now all you want to do is enjoy your holiday, but you don’t want to break your credit card. With some careful holiday planning and budgeting before your leave, you can save a packet and simply enjoy yourself while you’re away.

Here are eight tips to keep your holiday budget in fine shape:

1. Fly on the cheap
Watch for cheap flights and book well in advance. Try to book midweek flights (they’re often cheaper) and try not to fly in peak times, like school holidays. It also pays to sign up to airline e-newsletters so you can receive special offers. Often subscribers get first dibs on reduced fares.

2. Travel in the quiet season
Avoid the tourists and travel during the off-season. This will save you money (the rates are cheaper) and time (less waiting in queues).

3. Stay close to public transport
If you don’t mind staying in the city, choose accommodation that’s close to public transport. You’ll save money on rental cars and you can enjoy the sights like a local – on foot or by local transport.

4. Be loyal
Try signing up to a hotel loyalty program. If you use a hotel frequently, you can save 10% or more off the regular rate.

5. Make a daily budget
Make a rough budget of your daily holiday expenses. You don’t need to stick to it religiously but it will estimate how much your holiday will cost in total.

6. Save, save, save
Try to save as much as you can before you go. Paying off your credit card after a holiday isn’t fun – and it’s expensive because you’re paying off the interest too. Lots of financial institutions have special savings accounts designed to help you save for something special. These accounts can reward you with bonus interest if you make regular deposits into the account, or they might reward you with a higher interest rate in return for slower transaction transfer times.

7. Avoid regularly using overseas ATMs
While it’s convenient to withdraw cash in the local currency, every transaction attracts a fee that will ultimately eat into your holiday budget.

8. Take a couple of payment options
You don’t want to be left with no money if you lose your card or your wallet, so take a couple of payment options such as a Cash Passport. A Cash Passport is a multi-currency, prepaid money card which enables you to access your money anywhere that MasterCard® is accepted.

Happy Travels!

^Ryan, Product Manager


  1. Ric Haswell

    Whilst all of this sounds sensible, the big question must be
    Do I want a holiday with lots of joy and fun or do I want a
    holiday with a pain every day????
    In the off seasons overseas many tourist pleasures are closed. The weather can be unbearable and the mix of like minded people who you want to meet are just not there.
    Of course the In Season is more expensive but a lot more fun
    and talking to people in queue’s is most rewarding and you
    never know where this may lead you.
    Save Money when you get home, “Enjoy Yourself”.

  2. Karl

    With regards to financials, as someone who works in Finance (credit cards and merchant services) one word of advice around the prepaid travel cards is to research them very carefully before choosing one. Many will still charge the Foreign transaction Fee, ATM fee, reload fees and will have other cost like closure fees, redeeming fees when you want to convert one currency on your card to another. They can also be tricky to manage as they will load your currencies in a particular order and when spending it will take from the highest loaded currency first, so if you have USD as no 1 on your card and are in Europe, the txn will be conducted in USD and converted to GBP or EUR and you will suffer the cross currency conversion fee. I would also recommend one that has a smartphone app as it makes it easier to manage and to track balances, swap order of currencies etc. CBA have a decent one but choose the one that suits you best for your type of travel.

    My preferred method is to use a credit card with $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees for any international online or shop bookings for the holiday booking stuff, like hotels, internal international flights, pre-booking events etc (I use the Bankwest Platinum breeze Mastercard although there are a few others out there). Then when I am travelling, I will take this credit card and use it for purchases while travelling (no foreign txn fees). In addition, I will take a travel card with me and use that as cash by drawing from ATM. The travel card I use I make sure has no foreign txn fees and no ATM fees as I am essentially using it for cash. I also use one that I know has global ATM’s as there wont be the bank ATM fee either.

    My most recent trip was from Melbourne-Bangkok-Vienna-London-Belfast-Paris-Zurich-Montreal-St Johns-New York-Vancouver-Sydney-Melbourne and I found using this saved a lot of money just in Foreign txn fees alone.

    Happy travelling!

  3. Helen

    Purchase ahead if you can!

    I’ve been planning my trip to London for almost 12 months, so each pay period I buy something in advance, theatre ticket, tourist Oyster card, foreign currency (if the rates are good), etc. Because of this I’ve got most things paid for before I go and the cost has been spread out over a few months.

    This also works for me because if I had the money just piling up in a savings account I’d be tempted to spend it before I left!

  4. Beyond Bank

    @Karl Thanks so much for all the excellent tips! I’m sure our readers will be pleased with the useful information. The Cash Passport we offer is currently rated as the best available by You make some great points about the features of the Card, that’s why we always recommend our members read our Product Disclosure Statement to make sure the product is right for them. The Cash Passport has a handy feature where the customer is able to select the default currency order via the app, or online. This helps the customer in understanding which back up currency the funds will be withdrawn from if there are insufficient funds available in the primary currency. Although we do not currently have an FX credit card available, we are always looking at new ways to improve our product offering, and will take this into account so thanks for the feedback. Happy travelling! ^JO

  5. Lex

    I agree with all the above, however, it is a great feeling to spend a bit here and there, enjoying those luxuries that make a holiday: stay at a comfortable place, eat well, engage locally and simply enjoy what’s best out there. What I complain about has nothing to do with the above: cramped airline seats, queuing at airports, delays, hawker harassment, additional taxes, tips, shallow American toilet pans, overpriced mini-bars, low pressure showers and suspect food to name a few.

  6. Toptourist

    Here is a tip . A few months before your holiday sign up for scoopon, daily deals, living social those type of Internet buying sites for the cities you are visiting , You will save heaps on accom , meals, tourist spots etc . I have done this now for my last 3 holidays and saved heaps . The places are always reputable and you simply buy the vouchers and then book in at an appropriate date just make sure that the expiry day does not occur during your holiday. Also check websites of the tourist spot you are visiting sometimes they have specific weekdays that are cheaper if you book on line !
    Another idea if travelling in Australia , purchase an Entertainment Values Coupon Book of the city you are travelling to they are usually around $60 by using the vouchers for meals tourist spots etc after the first meal you have regained your money in savings, So the rest you save is a bonus!
    Happy travels !

  7. EDDIE

    Great travel tips. we just got back from a US family trip to USA and paid for items for 12 months in advance such as internal airfares, explorer passes for new york, car hire, theme park tickets in orlando and loaded $20K onto a multi currency cash passport when the exchange rate was a lot better than now. we dollar cost averaged.
    The trouble was when withdrawing cash from ATM’s across america in new york, orlando, indianapolis, grand canyon, chocago, san fran, los angeles, phoenix, vegas we were charged withdrawal fees ranging from $3 to $10. These were not from ATM’s owned privately by people and placed in casinos or nightlife spots, but these were ATM’s in bank of america, wells fargo, and prominent american banks with mastercard logo accepted. Just a warning that the withdrawals are not free, and the free* has a very large asterix for a reason.

  8. EDDIE

    further to feedback on cash passport, a number of locations refused to even take the mastercard prepaid currency card because your name is not printed on the card. This is crazy because you have placed money on the card. restaurants in new york and bottle shops in new york refused to accept the card, claiming fraud posed a risk to them. A clothing store in fishermans wharf in san francisco also refused to accept the card, even after speaking to the manager and wanting to buy two jackets worth around $300. All of these places accept mastercard, but not prepaid currency cards.

  9. EDDIE

    In orlando universal studios them park atm’s and universal citiwalk atm’s would not even accept the card as being possible to withdraw cash. extremely frustrating.

  10. Beyond Bank

    @Eddie, thanks for your comments and sharing your experience using a Cash Passport in the US. Cash Passport do not charge ATM Withdrawal Fees, however other banks can charge a fee for using their ATM and unfortunately Beyond Bank and Cash Passport have no control over what they charge. Although you may have incurred this fee when withdrawing from your Cash Passport, if you were to use another card you would generally receive an ATM charge from your bank, the overseas bank’s ATM charge, as well as a conversion fee around 3%. So the Cash Passport still ends up a cheaper option for ATM withdrawals.

    Unfortunately, some overseas merchants are not yet familiar with prepaid cards, as they are reasonably new on the market. Australia has taken to the cards quicker than most of the world, so some countries do not understand how they work correctly. However, if a merchant does not accept your card without a valid reason, they may be in breach of MasterCard regulations for merchants.

    We recommend that you take a couple of payment options with you when travelling. ^Aimee

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