Budget travel tips for an insanely affordable holiday

  1. Travel off season

If you don’t mind when you travel you should consider travelling in that country’s off season. Hotels, car rentals and airlines will charge more during peak travel times because, well, they can. A trip to Europe in summer will cost you much more than if you travelled between November and March. 

  1. Avoid hotels and resorts

There are cheap options available when it comes to accommodation, you just have to know where to look. If you’re looking for an opportunity to meet new people, explore the world and be part of a friendly community, try couch surfing or hostels. Host families and hostel workers know the best and most affordable places to visit – and you’ll save a lot more than if you stayed at a hotel. 

Alternatively, if you’re looking for an affordable road trip, consider renting (or buying second hand) a campervan. Companies like Jucy let you rent a range of models for as little as $265 for five days’ travel. 

  1. Fly into lesser known airports

Airlines may provide cheaper plane tickets when you fly into smaller or lesser known airports. If the area has adequate public transport to get you to your accommodation you’ll be able to add some extra spending money to your holiday. Globehunters have a great list of alternative airports across the world. 

  1. Visit galleries and museums

The best things in life are free, and in most major cities, you can experience some of the rarest artefacts and most beautiful art in the world through free entry museums and galleries. From the Smithsonian Museums in Washington, DC, the Tate in London all the way to the Reykjavik Museum of Photography, you can uncover a treasure trove of art and history without opening your wallet. 

  1. Compare travel credit cards

The last thing you want to do when travelling is worry about money. Ensuring you’ve found a travel credit card with the lowest possible cash advance, ATM and currency conversion fees is a must-do before travelling. You may want to look for a credit card that operates in Australian dollars, as they may have special introductory offers or balance transfer specials. Compare overseas spending credit cards today. 

  1. Rent your property while you’re away

If you’re looking to up your spending money while you’re travelling, consider renting out your house, apartment or bedroom on Airbnb. According to their website, “Airbnb’s secure payment system means you never have to deal with money directly. Guests are charged before arrival, and you are paid automatically after checking in, minus a 3% service fee. You can be paid via PayPal, direct deposit, or international money wire, amongst other ways.” 

  1. Public transport

It’s a no-brainer, but one of the cheapest ways to travel is to utilise public transport in your area. Public transport can be an experience in itself, whether it’s hopping on a bullet train in Japan, or taking the tube in London. 

  1. National parks

Another way to make a travel destination insanely affordable is to visit national parks. Some of the most beautiful landmarks in America can be found in its 400+ national parks, such as El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. The country has Free Entrance Days for travellers to take advantage of – 15 January, 21 April, 22 September and 11 November. 

  1. Tell people you’re on your honeymoon

An oldie but a goodie. If you’re travelling in a pair it’s worth telling airport or accommodation staff know you are on a honeymoon, as you may be rewarded with an upgrade! 

  1. You may already have travel insurance…

One of the biggest and most unexpected travel costs is travel insurance. However, many travel credit cards provide customers with complimentary travel insurance – a perk to entice their roaming customers. Check your existing insurance policies to see if you already qualify for travel insurance, or compare travel credit cards and find a more competitive credit card provider you can switch to who’ll cover you.

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Learn more about credit cards

How easy is it to get a credit card?

For most Australians, there are no great barriers to applying for and getting approved for a credit card. Here are some points that a lender will consider when assessing your credit card application.

Credit score: A bad credit score is not the be all and end all of your application, but it may stop you being approved for a higher credit limit. If your credit score is less than perfect, apply for the credit limit that you need, rather than the one you want.

Annual income: Most credit cards have minimum annual income requirements. Make sure you’re applying for a card where you meet the minimum.

Age & residency: You need to be at least 18 years old to apply for a credit card in Australia, and most require that you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident. However, there are some credit cards available to temporary residents.

Can a pensioner get a credit card?

It is possible to get a credit card as a pensioner. There are some factors to keep in mind, including:

  • Annual income. Look for credit cards with minimum annual income requirements you can meet. 
  • Annual fees. If high fees are a concern for you, opt for a card with a low or $0 annual fee. 
  • Interest rate. Make sure you won’t have any nasty surprises on your credit card bill. Compare cards with a low interest rates to minimise risk.

How to get money from a credit card

You can get money from a credit card, but generally it will cost you.

Withdrawing money from a credit card is called a cash advance, as it operates more as a loan than a simple cash withdrawal. Because it is a loan, you may be charged interest on your cash advance as soon as you make the withdrawal. Interest rates are also usually much higher for cash advances than standard credit card purchases.

In addition to the interest rate, you may also be charged a cash advance fee. This could be a flat rate, or a percentage of your total cash advance. If you are considering a cash advance, make sure to add up how much it will cost you before committing.

What is a credit card?

A credit card is a payment method which lets you pay for goods and services without using your own money. It’s essentially a short-term loan which lets you borrow the bank’s money to pay for things which you can pay back – potentially with interest – at a later date. Credit cards can also be used to withdraw money from an ATM, which is known as a cash advance. Because you’re borrowing money from a bank, credit cards charge you interest on the money you use (unless you repay the entire debt during the interest-free period). When you apply for a credit card, the bank gives you a credit limit which sets the maximum amount you can borrow using your card. Credit cards are one of the most popular methods of payments and can be a convenient way of paying for goods and services in store, online and all around the globe.

How do you use a credit card?

Credit cards are a quick and convenient way to pay for items in store, online or over the phone. You can use a credit card as a cashless way to pay for goods or services, both locally and overseas. You can also use a credit card to make a cash advance, which gives you the flexibility to withdraw cash from your credit card account. Because a credit card uses the bank’s funds instead of your own, you will be charged interest on the money you spend – unless you pay off the entire debt within the interest-free period. If you pay the minimum monthly repayment, you will be charged interest. There are many different credit card options on the market, all offering different interest rates and reward options.

How to get a free credit card

There's no such thing as a free lunch. All credit cards come with associated costs when used to make purchases, even if it’s simply the cost of making repayments.

However, many lenders offer incentives for customers such as a $0 annual fee or 0 per cent interest on purchases during an introductory period. Additionally, paying off your balance in full during an interest-free period means you could only have to pay back the cost of purchases without interest. You could also be eligible for additional rewards such as cashback during that time, saving you more money.

How do you use credit cards?

A credit card can be an easy way to make purchases online, in person or over the phone. When used properly, a credit card can even help you manage your cash flow. But before applying for a credit card, it’s good to know how they work. A credit card is essentially a personal line of credit which lets you buy things and pay for them later. As a card holder, you’ll be given a credit limit and (potentially) charged interest on the money the bank lends you. At the end of each billing period, the bank will send you a statement which shows your outstanding balance and the minimum amount you need to pay back. If you don’t pay back the full balance amount, the bank will begin charging you interest.

How to make a credit card online

If you’re wondering about how to make a credit card online application, here are some steps to follow:

  • Test the market. Many credit card options are available online. Compare providers by fees, interest and perks to ensure you’re getting the best deal.
  • Complete the application. Once you’ve selected a card, head to the provider’s website and complete the online credit card application form. Forms vary by providers.
  • Provide details. Most cards require you to meet age, residency, income and credit status condition, and you need to provide details like a bank account statement to prove this.
  • Review details. Ensure the information you’ve entered is correct.

Do you need a credit card to get a loan?

You do not need a credit card to get a loan, but you usually need to have a credit history. Without a credit history, a financial institution cannot assess your ‘credit worthiness’, or your capacity to pay off the loan.

If you don’t have a credit card, your credit history can reflect any record of paying off an asset. Without any credit credit history, you’re limited in the type of loans you can apply for. But you may be able to obtain a secured loan against an asset. For more information on improving your credit score, go here

What should you do if your credit card is compromised?

Credit card fraud is a serious problem. If your credit card is compromised and you’re wondering what to do, here are a few precautionary steps to take.

Contact you credit provider – Get in touch will your credit card provider. If you feel your card has been compromised, you should be able to lock or block it.

Monitor your accounts – Keep an eye on your credit card accounts. Any unauthorised transactions could be a sign your credit card has been compromised.

Check your credit rating – It’s also important to check your credit rating, to ensure you’re not a victim of identity theft or some other financial mischief.

How do credit cards work?

Think of credit cards as a short-term loan where you use the bank’s money to buy something up front and then pay for it later. Unlike a debit card which uses your own money to pay, a credit card essentially borrows the bank’s money to fund the purchase. When you apply for a credit card, the bank assesses your income and assigns you a credit limit based on what you can afford to pay back. At the end of each billing cycle, which is usually monthly, the bank will send you a statement showing the minimum amount you have to pay back, including any interest payable on the balance.

Where can I get a credit card?

Looking to get your first credit card? You might be confused as to exactly where to go to apply for one. Here’s where to go when you are ready to put in that application.

The bank: Your bank is a great place to start, provided that you have a good banking history. Since you already have a financial history, you have more chance of your application being approved.

Credit card provider: Another option is to apply for a credit card directly from the issuer, such as Visa, Mastercard or Amex. This will most likely be an online application, so do your research and apply for a suitable card for your circumstances.

Major retailers: Coles, Woolworths, Myer and David Jones all have credit cards available. But watch out for the interest rate and annual fees – these cards are designed to help you spend more in store.

What is a balance transfer credit card?

A balance transfer credit card lets you transfer your debt balance from one credit card to another. A balance transfer credit card generally has a 0 per cent interest rate for a set period of time. When you roll your debt balance over to a new credit card, you’ll be able to take advantage of the interest-free period to pay your credit card debt off faster without accruing additional interest charges. If your application is approved, the provider will pay out your old credit card and transfer your debt balance over to the new card. 

How to pay a credit card

There are a few ways to pay a credit card bill. These include:

  • BPAY - allows you to safely make credit card payments online.
  • Direct debits - set up an automatic payment from your bank account to pay your credit card bill each month. You can choose how much you want to pay of your credit card bill when you set up the auto payments.
  • In a branch.
  • Via your credit card provider's app.