Spending Shakedown – Travel

For most of us, Travel expenses are definitely a ‘Lifestyle’ or ‘discretionary’ expense. So it should be possible to make some savings here. The keys to saving money in this spending category are:

  • Be clear about how important Travel and Travel Expenses are to you. If they aren’t that important relative to other things then reduce your spend and spend the money on whatever is most important. It’s simple advice, but it’s probably easier said than done
  • If Travel and Travel Expenses are important relative to everything else, then it’s a case of reducing your spend where you can and getting the best value for the money you do spend

If you’re looking for tips specific to a city or place that you’re visiting we’ve found that Trip Advisor is extremely helpful for finding the favourite, popular and budget-friendly ways to do things. You can use them for things like:

  • Tips on how to get to and from the airport in the city you’re visiting – and how much different options cost
  • Finding out the best way to get around, including whether purchasing prepaid services will cost less
  • Opinions on accommodation options, pros, and cons, and whether they are well priced or not
  • Lots of information about where and when to eat, including budget options

We’ve set out some tips below on how to save by sub-category. If you have other tips, ideas and hacks feel free to pass them on to us by email at or post them on our Facebook page or in one of our coaching program Facebook Groups.

Travel Insurance

When it comes to travel insurance and international travel, it really is a must. Getting sick or needing care overseas can leave you in a very vulnerable position and massively out of pocket. So the best advice we can provide is to be clear on what cover you need, only pay for what you need and get the best deal you can. Like most types of insurance, there is a wide range of policies available with different types and amounts of cover, different exclusions, different terms and conditions, and different prices.

Medical expenses will generally be the most important thing to have covered. Policies may also have options to include or exclude things like luggage costs, digital device costs, and car insurance claim excesses. We strongly recommend you make sure that medical-related costs are covered. Think carefully about whether you need other things and how much you can save by excluding them. Also, be careful to understand any excluded activities. If you’re intending to do any of them, then find an insurer who will cover you. This can include things like rock-climbing and scuba diving.

You should also consider travel insurance you might already have through your credit card. Premium cards often have complimentary travel insurance but you will need to make sure your travel is eligible and any terms and conditions and exclusions. From practical experience, you should also consider the peace of mind that having your own personal policy will provide. It’s often easier and less stressful if you have your own personal policy.

If you are taking out travel insurance and looking to find the lowest cost, there are some things you may be able to do:

  • Shop around – it’s a guess, but the insurance you are offered through the airline you purchase your tickets from is probably not the best value for money option. It might be the most convenient but if you want to save money be prepared to look at other options
  • Take out a higher excess
  • If you have a travel agent ask them if they can beat the price
  • Make use of any discounts you might be entitled to through membership of auto clubs and other rewards programs

Flight & Transportation

Saving money on flights is all about being clear on what you need, how flexible you can be with dates, routes and providers and comparison shopping. The more flexibility you have and the more time and effort you are willing to put into comparisons the more you can save.

Thankfully there is a myriad of online (and offline) services you can use to make things a bit easier.

For online comparison shopping and research, we suggest making use of services like:

What type of service you use probably depends on your circumstances. Some will allow you to find the best prices for specific travel requirements and some will let you know when special deals come up.

For offline research and if you are short on time, have complex travel requirements or want the peace of mind knowing you have someone you can fall back on if you need help consider using a Travel Agent. In our experience some travel agents will offer you competitive prices because they can access wholesale rates from airlines and other service providers. They make their money by marking those services up to the retail price you pay.

For other Transportation costs do some research and get to know your options. Public transport is often very cost effective, but might not give you the flexibility you need. Check online for special deals for tourists and if you are travelling with children what the rules for children are. If you are travelling with more than 1 or 2 other people public transport can start to become relatively expensive compared with taxis or Uber, so do the maths.

If you’re planning to rent a car ask your travel agent for advice if you used one, be clear on what you need and do some online comparison shopping. Also, carefully consider the excess if you’re in an accident and set it appropriately – a bigger excess can mean a lower daily cost, but a lot more expense if things go wrong.


Accommodation is such a competitive space that finding the right thing at the right price has become easier for those who take the time to look around. Check across a variety of sites for the best price, and often if you find the cheapest price and call or email the place directly they will match or beat the price you have found.

We suggest checking a variety of these sites:

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Jen is an experienced banking professional who loves wine, coffee, finding a bargain and of course her three beautiful children. Since Jen's first budget led her to buy a home at 20, Jen has passionately helped others to make better decisions with their money.

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