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Budgeting tips for travelling interstate or overseas

If you are wanting to jump in your caravan and travel around the country and see what Australia has to offer or head overseas and visit the countries of your dreams, your best bet is to organise your budget beforehand.

Last updated: March 9th 2022
Having a budget can ensure you don’t have any financial stress while you are interstate or overseas travelling. [Source: Shutterstock]

Having a budget can ensure you don’t have any financial stress while you are interstate or overseas travelling. [Source: Shutterstock]

Key points:

  • Having a travel budget will allow your trip to last as long as possible without having to worry about running out of money
  • Have an emergency fund for unexpected caravan damage or COVID-19 cancellations
  • Travelling during off-season can be a lot cheaper, so you can put more of your money into the fun stuff
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This will allow your trip to last as long as possible without having to worry about running out of money.

Travelling can be expensive, which is why these budgeting tips will ensure a smooth holiday for you and your family.

Tip 1: Make a food budget for you and whoever else you are travelling with. If it is for two people, you may only need to put aside $150 for a grocery shop once a week.

If you are caravanning around Australia, meal planning or bulk cooking can also be a money saver. In really remote areas, you may find some items more expensive than in suburbia and towns.

If you are looking to fine dine on your trip, make sure to have an “extras” food allowance prepared for any restaurants and cafes you visit, or for your daily coffee. This could be an allowance of $200 a week, which would cover around three food outings for a couple. You may be able to do this more often if you own a Senior Card and can get discounts at pubs!

If you are travelling overseas, you may opt to taste the delicacies of overseas cuisine. And fair enough! If you are in Italy, then of course you want to eat as much pizza and pasta as possible.

Set a daily budget for food and this should be based on how expensive food is in the country you are visiting. For instance, French cuisine is known to be more expensive to purchase compared to food in Spain or Portugal where tapas can be quite affordable.

Food can be hard to budget for because you might decide to randomly buy some street food or do some fine dining at an award-winning restaurant. It is better to allocate more money for food than less!

Tip 2: Mapping out your trip can give you a vague idea of how much fuel or travel will cost.

Fuel is expensive in general, let alone for a massive caravan or driving trip. You will find fuel to be one of your biggest expenses when travelling. Fuel vouchers on the bottom of grocery or other receipts can be lifesavers when travelling!

Utilise Google Maps to give you an estimate on the kilometres you will travel between locations and calculate that against the current petrol prices (which differ between regions, States and Territories).

If you are travelling via trains, buses, trams, or personal drivers, this can cost a lot as well. So it should be well accounted for in your holiday budget.

It may help pre-organising part of your travel, like bigger train trips or overnight buses, ahead of your trip so it doesn’t impact your travel budget while you are there.

Tip 3: Choosing your accommodation carefully can save you a lot of money.

There are many free or low cost camping spots across Australia, as well as competitive caravan parks. If you organise your travelling route around these lower cost accommodation options, it can allow you to put your money elsewhere.

Similarly, if travelling overseas, most countries have a variety of cheap accommodation available like hostels or house shares. If you aren’t looking to share rooms with others, there is still plenty of cheap accommodation that would meet the needs of one or two people. Using travel websites can be really helpful when comparing different accommodation options.

This can also be helpful if you have accessibility requirements when you are searching for accommodation.

Tip 4: An emergency kitty can save you a lot of money in the long run if you have a fund to pull from when something unexpected occurs.

This money could cover any car or caravan breakdowns including towing, medical emergencies or unexpected bills, last minute accommodation, or an unexpected flight cancellation or double booked hotel room.

In the case of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may find some countries putting in emergency measures to protect citizens while you are travelling that prevents you from getting to your next travel destination.

Sometimes your trip doesn’t always go to plan, so the best thing you can do is know that you have money available in case of an emergency. Even if there is an emergency, at least you know it won’t have to cut your holiday short to cover it.

Tip 5: Just because you are travelling doesn’t mean your bills or taxes are on holiday too! Be mindful that you will still need to pay your mortgage, phone bills, council taxes, and any other house payments while you are away.

If you can, make all of these payments electronic and sent to your email address. And these expenses should be considered in your overall budget.

Tip 6: If you are wanting to get involved in the experiences Australia or other countries have to offer, putting money aside for those activities can make sure it’s not cutting into your budget. It can be a good idea to have money ready for those experiences, as well as extra for any unplanned experiences you want to try.

This funding can be for entering reservations or national parks or activities such as swimming with dolphins in Western Australia, joining a tour around Uluru, a hot air balloon ride over the French Loire Valley or taking a camel ride through the Sahara Desert in Morocco.

When travelling, you may come across the most exciting experiences ever that you never knew existed – setting aside money for these spontaneous activities can make sure you experience your holiday to the fullest.

Tip 7: Travel during the “off-season”. Sometimes travel, accommodation and tourism come with a “peak season tax” meaning you’ll pay more during the busier time of the year.

You may find accommodation or activities cheaper during the off-season. Although, this is very dependent on the country, where you are in the country, and the weather conditions of the country.

For instance, Vietnam is a gorgeous paradise full of military history and tumbling forests. The weather differs between the north and the south. While peak season in many countries is May to October, in Vietnam the wettest season is during this period – bringing seasonal typhoons.

You should be prepared for whatever the weather may be and pack your bags accordingly. There is nothing worse than buying expensive clothing on the fly because you didn’t pack for the snow!

Tip 8: Renting out your home can provide you with disposable income or take your mortgage payments off your budget.

People also find this a good option because they don’t need to have family or friends watch their house for them while they are away.

In cases like this, it could be a good idea to go through a rental management agency and put in place a tenancy agreement that can protect you and your property, as well as the people living in your home during this time. Some companies may not accept a house listing that isn’t for a reasonable period of time, for example, a property manager would be more open to managing a six month lease period than a month long lease.

Alternatively, another option is house sitting, where you pay someone to live in your house and take care of it while you are away. Of course, this option costs you money rather than the other way round.

What budgeting tips do you have from travelling around Australia? Tell us in the comments below.

Related content:

Packing checklist for older people
Travelling overseas later in life
COVID safe travel in Australia and overseas


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