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Heading off on holidays is one of life’s great joys but it can also be quite the drain on your hip pocket. It’s no secret that the moment we start travelling it doesn’t take long for the funds to start unravelling. Once we’re abroad, logic goes out the window and the wallet can seriously suffer.

In fact, a recent study by Choosi found that fifty percent of Australians surveyed admit they’re careless with cash when on holidays. So how can we enjoy our time away without breaking the bank?

Read on for some top travel tips that’ll keep you in budget.

Make a list of Must Do’s

They say if you fail to plan, you plan to fail and this is certainly the case when you’re on the road. By having an idea of what your itinerary might look like, you’re less likely to make impulsive (and expensive!) decisions.

Wherever you’re headed, jot down a few ‘must-do moments.’ It’s also a smart idea to book ahead as you may earn yourself a discount.

Ecbc Lance Daypack Review

Set a Cash Limit Per City

This is a good tip especially for those travellers spending extended periods of time in a city. But it’s something you should consider even if budgeting for a weekend vacation.

If you’ve bunkered down in Berlin for a fortnight, figure out how much you’ll need for that two weeks. You can then work off a daily limit, which will help you be more wary of what is going on with your funds.

Plan the Presents

There’s something magical about being on holidays, a warm and fuzzy feeling that makes you want to shower your nearest and dearest with gifts galore. Try to ignore that feeling!

While it’s great to get a few presents for your close friends and family, don’t get swept up in the mood and buy for everyone you’ve ever met. Your boss won’t be bothered if they don’t get a snow globe from Stockholm.

Steer Clear of Souvenirs

Keyrings, novelty t-shirts and of course the dreaded fridge magnets. We all love a souvenir but let’s be realistic; the moment you arrive home they go into a drawer, never to be seen again.

In fact, 70% of Australians have admitted to buying items that they’ve never even used! Limit yourself to one souvenir per city.

London Souvenier

Don’t Crumble to Kids

Little kids can cause big issues when it comes to holiday spending, so it’s important to set an example early if you want to keep your budget in check.

Try to avoid this by staying strong, no matter how many times they plead for presents. Try to explain how lucky they are to be on holidays and use the novelty of being away to distract them.

Learn to Bargain

Bargaining is the international language of thrifty travel and it can save you some serious cash if you know how to handle yourself.

Depending on where and when you’re holidaying, haggling is a sure fire way to stay on budget. Look for deals and discounts on accommodation, food, market wares and gifts.

We highly recommend Will Hatton’s “How to Travel the World on $10 a Day” – he arms you with the tips and tricks you need to travel the world with confidence, on the most basic of budgets. 

Click to Learn Will’s Secrets


Megan is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging since 2007, with the main aim of inspiring others to embark on their own worldwide adventure. Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

Follow their journey on Facebook, TwitterYouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.


  1. You’ve highlighted some useful tips here Meg I agree it’s pretty difficult not to spend when you’re travelling. The emotional aspect of being in a foreign country usually takes over. I’ve given my credit card a good workout buying all sorts of lovely things.

    • What I’ve learnt to do is pack my bags to the brim before I leave for a trip … that way I don’t have room to buy anything while we’re away :D

  2. These are some great tips! Especially when you travel for a longer while, you really feel how expensive it might be. I would also add that if you are staying somewhere for a longer while, it might be wise to get a place with a small kitchen to cook there. In some countries, this is such a money-saver.
    And a question: how did you learn to bargain? I feel awkward if I have to do it :)

    • Thanks Mary! Great tip on finding accommodation with a kitchen – we prefer to do our own cooking to cut down on costs too! And I totally feel you with learning to bargain – I would honestly much prefer people to just have one set price!

      We research the customs of a place we’re going to before hand specifically in regards to haggling, so we know how much is normal to expect to pay. I find it a lot more comfortable bargaining when I know that it’s what shop keepers are used to, and that makes me feel less awkward. Other than that it
      s a practice thing I think!! All the best :)

  3. Yes, Meg, I agree, though Travel is such an enriching experience it definitely leaves your poorer in the pocket :)
    The trick is to optimize expenses and plan properly so that you get value for your money. You have provided some practical tips in this direction which are really helpful.

    • Absolutely Vyjay – prior planning is always the key to success!

  4. Yes, I usually don’t plan on how much money I’m going to spend… after every trip, I’m like.. wow, we spent THAT much. Gotta keep better track. ^^

    • I think we’ve all been there! Much nicer to get home and not have the credit card bill be a surprise :D

  5. You’re so right, my boss actually prefers that we not give her gifts or exchange them either. This really takes the pressure off and I don’t have to end up draining my pockets on the most expensive item in the shop!

    • I used to spend so much time worrying about what to buy people for “I went on a trip so here have a present” presents! I’ve started sending people postcards instead of buying gifts, and it’s just as much of a lovely surprise :)

  6. These are helpful tips! I tend to go with the flow usually, which I could bet costs a bit more. I’ll have to remember this tips for my next travels :)

    • Glad we could help out Nicole :) Happy travels!

  7. I think learning how to bargain is probably the most important thing when traveling abroad. Especially in developing countries where many things are quoted three times as much as they are supposed to be.

    • Absolutely – in some cultures it’s offensive not to bargain because the tradition of haggling is so deeply rooted and locals enjoy the game!

  8. Thanks Megan for a useful blog on how to plan expenditure. I have read it a time when I’m about to travel and need some useful tips. Though you say that one needs to set an example for kids to prevent thrift spending, but it is tough to deny them, isn’t it?

    • It can definitely be tough to deny kids presents, but I believe it teaches them the value of money in the long run :) Different approaches you can take might be giving them a certain amount of spending money at the beginning of the trip, and once they spend it, it’s gone, or distracting them with fun activities like hiking or the beach :)

      Thanks Ambuj for stopping by!

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