Budgeting for Holidays

How much money will I need for my holiday?

It's an age old question that throws a spanner in the works for any holiday - whether you are planning a budget trip through Europe's hostels, a special honeymoon holiday or a 5-star luxury resort stay with all the extras included.

No matter where you are going or what type of holiday you are planning, it can help to have a budget in mind for your spending money, but where do you even start when it comes to putting a number to your holiday fun?

There can be quite a lot to consider when budgeting for your holiday, and very often, your foreign exchange is the last thing on your mind when you're looking at all the amazing things you can do on your trip. But, planning ahead and locking in a good exchange rate can save you money in the long term, and this just means extra holiday money when you go!

So, let's take a look at some things you need to keep in mind when planning your holiday budget.

Destination_USA_tourists

How many people are you travelling with?

Are you travelling on your own, with your partner or taking the kids on a family holiday? The number of people you are travelling with can have a great impact on your budget.

If you're travelling on your own, you just have yourself to worry about, and it should be easier to account for what you want to spend things on. If you're travelling with your partner or a friend, you can look at what costs you can split - like accommodation, and what costs are just for you - like your holiday gifts.

If you're travelling with your kids, you will need to account for the extras that come with a family holiday, as these costs all fall to you and can't be split with anyone else. Travelling with a few tiny humans can add up quite quickly. Extra meals, extra drinks, extra souvenirs, extra beds, extra, extra, extra. The damage to your pocket can seem never-ending, but if you prepare for these extras from the start, then it won't hit you too hard while you're away.

What type of holiday are you going on?

Destination_NZ_snowboarder

The type of holiday you are booking will also have an impact on your budget. Are you booking an all-inclusive resort or cruise, where your meals and drinks are included in the price?

Or perhaps you are going on a coach tour where some of your meals and sightseeing are included.

Maybe you're going on a beach holiday where all meals, transfers and drinks are extra.

Whatever type of holiday you are going on, take into account anything that is included in your booking price, and work out what you may still need to budget for.

Your accommodation

USD_America_v2

There are so many accommodation options open to you these days, so consider what you are willing to spend per night and what this might get you - a hostel room, sharing with 8 other people, a hotel with breakfast included, a luxury suite or maybe a beach-side villa. There is an accommodation option available for all budget ranges, so it just depends on what you are willing to spend.

Something to keep in mind - even if you pre-pay your accommodation before your holiday, many hotels add on a few extra costs when it comes time to check out. For example, in America, hotels tend to add on a "resort fee" that covers the cost of Wi-Fi, valet parking, bottled water and other extras that you may not have considered. Find out what extras they charge, whether you can pay for them upfront, exclude them or budget for them to pay when you check out.

Wining & dining

Buying food and drinks is not something you can escape on your holiday, even if you don't plan on eating at fancy restaurants every night. The costs can quickly add up, so here are some tips you can use to try keep the wining & dining budget down.

> Check if your hotel includes a free breakfast with the cost of the room. If it does, make sure you have breakfast at the hotel before you set out for the day. Then you only have lunch & dinner to worry about

> If you book accommodation with kitchen facilities, you can stock up at the local grocery store. If you only have a mini-fridge, maybe get some milk and coffee - even having a coffee at your hotel instead of from a cafe can save you money. If you have a full kitchen, you can even cook some of your meals instead of eating out.

> Get a refillable water bottle and take it out with you each day, refilling it where you can instead of buying new water each time

> You could pack picnic lunches and take them with you on your sightseeing activities

> Eat local - get off the tourist track and hunt down some local eateries. The food will be amazing, and it will be cheaper than the main tourist restaurants. Plus, you'll get a local experience to add to your list.

Getting around

Transport costs during your holiday can become quite considerable, but luckily there are lots of options to consider, it's just a matter of finding the most cost-effective and timely way for you to get around in the country you are in.

A lot of major cities offer excellent public transport options, from buses and trains to trams and ferries. See if you can get a multi-use transport card for your stay, as this often works out cheaper than paying for single trips.

In many south east Asian countries, it can be most cost-effective to get a local driver for the day, while in some countries it might be safest to go on a local day tours than try to venture out on your own.

If you've had a big day of shopping or been out for a few drinks, you may need a taxi home, so get the number for the local taxi operators.

The cost of transport can also depend on whether you are travelling solo or in a group - often a taxi can be cheaper if you are in a group than public transport. So, it all depends on what you are doing, what is available in the country you are visiting and what you want to see and do.

Sightseeing and holiday activities

Generally, around $100 to $150 per person, per day is a good guideline of how much you should budget for tourist activities, to cover things like entry fees, tour guide tips etc. You should also include a budget for incidentals like sunscreen, hats, medication and gifts.

But, there are also ways to bring the budget down - you could visit the local tourist centre and find out about any free events or festivals, see if there are free walking tours offered in your area, ask about kid discounts to attractions, or find out if museums have any free entry days.

There is a lot to consider when it comes to setting your holiday budget, but with just a little bit of planning, you could save yourself a lot in the long run - with better exchange rate deals, a budget to cover unexpected items, and ways to spend your holiday money smartly.