If you’ve spent the last few weeks scrolling enviously through friend’s holiday snaps, it’s time to get your own 2019 travel plans sorted. But before you book, it’s important to consider that holidays are a major cause of ‘debt lag’ for Australians, with the most common cause being a willingness to use a credit card to pay for the break and worry about paying it off later.

Rather than putting it on plastic and continuing to pay for your trip long after the tan has faded, plan ahead, and take a budget-friendly break.

‘When’ is as important as ‘where’

If you can avoid travelling at peak times, for example, school holidays, you may find that popular destinations become a lot more affordable. Being flexible also means you might be able to take advantage of last minute deals, which can give you excellent travel value. On a strict budget and not too fussed about where you wind up? Check out Kayak which will suggest destinations in line with what you can afford.

Tip: if you’re heading to regional favourites like Bali or Fiji, don’t forget to take New Zealand school holidays into account.

Check for hidden costs

When you’re using a comparison site, make sure that what you’re comparing is equal. Not all airlines will show the complete cost of your flight, once you include ‘extras’ like checking a bag. When you’re booking a hotel, hidden costs can include parking, breakfast and amazingly, WiFi. Opt for a no-breakfast plan, check out local parking options and BYO internet to save cash.

Tip: Australian startup I Know the Pilot rounds up the best flight and holiday package deals in a wanderlust-inducing daily email.

Consider group travel

When you think about taking a tour, you probably either imagine your grandparents taking a cruise, or a group of Contiki teens partying their way across Europe. In reality, group travel has evolved, creating a cost-effective and time efficient way to get overseas. If you’re travelling solo, this is an especially good option. Likewise, if you’re going to a completely new area without a lot of time to spend on the research, or want to get a taster of a new part of the world, a tour with local guides can be the perfect solution.

Tip: Australian company Intrepid Travel are world-leaders in both group travel and responsible business.

Create a daily budget

You may not be using a travel agent but that’s no reason not to create an itinerary for yourself. This means you’ll be able to sketch out the activities that you want to do and figure out how much money you’ll need to fully enjoy your trip. A little research goes a long way to making your trip budget work. For every splurge, challenge yourself to find a cheap or free activity option, which often means you also get to experience your destination like a local, rather than feeling like a tourist.

Tip: Check out local guides like Time Out to find out what’s going on where you are.

Don’t forget your travel insurance

If you do book your holiday with a credit card, you might be eligible for travel insurance through your card company. Rather than relying on this, get across exactly what’s included, and the conditions, and if in doubt, take out another policy.

Tip: Women save 14.6% on their travel insurance with Australian company Travel with Jane.

Get your holiday budget sorted. Get started with Moneytree now.

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Author: Moneytree Team

Giving you the skinny on spending, saving, and everything in between. We're sharing our favourite tips, trips, tools, and insights, to help you get more out of your money.