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Budgeting and Currency Conversion Tips for Australian Travellers

It is possible to travel overseas without straining your finances and depleting your cash reserves, providing you understand the fundamentals of budgeting and plan your overseas trip wisely. The good news is – all it takes is some simple planning, budgeting, and saving. Following these simple steps will see you be well on your way to that dream holiday and, without the need to use any unplanned funds.

Create An Outline of Expenses

First of all, you need to know how much you’re likely to spend while on holiday. Sit down with your travelling companion or an experienced traveller to determine every possible expense that you will or could incur to achieve the travel that you are planning. Consider where you will eat, what you will do, and how you will travel from destination to destination. Be sure to include currency conversion fees in your calculation.

Once you have a rough idea on how much you’re likely to spend in total, it’s time to move on to the next step in documenting your plan and creating your savings plan and budget.

Prepare to Spend More Than Expected

An unspoken rule of travel budgeting is - prepare to spend more than you planned for. There will always be unexpected expenses during a holiday, and temptations to spend you cannot resist. One such impact will be if you are travelling overseas the fluctuations in exchange rates and those fluctuations will not be known until your travel.

We recommend that as part of your planning for your travels that you check out the many travel guides and hints and tips that are available on the web eg Lonely Planet’s Big Trip travel guides. You are bound to find at least a few ways to save money, especially in the ‘insider tips’ section of the travel guides.

You should also consider some of the many new alternative options for accommodation bookings such as Couchsurfing and Airbnb for low-cost accommodation.

Low Cost Currency Conversion

One of the biggest hassles to travelling overseas is currency conversion. Many people pay way too much in conversion fees when they convert their Australian currency into the local currency. This is because people trade currency after they’ve arrived at their destination, and not before they leave.

You can save both time and money by using American Express’s FX4You service to order foreign cash or travellers’ checks before you head overseas. This service, which is available to all Holiday Coast Credit Union members, allows you to order money from 60 countries.

Simply select your country, confirm your quote, choose your preferred branch for collection of your foreign currency or travellers cheques and we will with the support of American Express handle the rest.

It is recommended that you submit your order at least one week before your departure date. Your foreign currency should be available from any one of our Holiday Coast branches, or at the nearest American Express Foreign Exchange office, within 48 hours but we do recommend allowing some time for unexpected delays.

Be Aware of the Exchange Rate

It will be far easier to create and maintain a holiday budget if you have accurate and up to date information about currency rates. The best way to learn the current rates is to check out one of the many currency convertors available online.

Currency convertors will show you exactly what your Australian dollars will buy in a specific country. With this information in hand, you should be able to make a good rough estimate of the cost of food, hotel rooms, mobile phone plans, rental cars and train tickets before you leave and while travelling.

A Savings Account Can Help

The best way to ensure you have enough cash for your holiday is to start saving now! Holiday Coast offers several excellent savings accounts with competitive interest rates and online management tools. These tools in particular will make it much easier to plan and save to accumulate funds for your trip.

Holiday Coast is ready to help you organise the trip of a lifetime, so if you have any questions about anything mentioned in this article, call us on 1300 365 724 or email

This article provides general information only and should not be relied upon as financial product advice.

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