We all get so busy being busy we forget to look after ourselves. But, it’s important you take time to recharge your battery cells before they go flat. Because, you’re not easy to replace.

With all this miserable weather lately, it might be time you explore an impromptu getaway. Don’t panic! You don’t need to pay an arm and a leg to get some much needed r’n’r. If you’re smart – you can be on a budget holiday before your heart skips the next beat. And, I don’t mean camping.

Here’s how.

Simple Strategies for A Budget Holiday
Holidays don’t always mean expensive – there are some simple strategies you can adopt to keep your costs low so you can enjoy your holiday without breaking into banks. Before you start any planning, it’s important you calculate your daily budget – this should be an amount that allows you to live comfortably and not in squalor!

Calculate Your Daily Travel Budget
Use a free calculator like at Budget Your Trip to get an estimate of the budget you’ll need to visit a specific destination. It’s user-generated information averaged out based on what other travellers have paid. It’s also broken down into categories, activities, and budget type (like shoestring) so you know upfront how much you’re looking at. For example – a couple spending a week in Indonesia on a shoe string budget might only need $280!

Shop Around for Currencies
Whatever you do, don’t buy your currency at the airport. A friend did this for a trip to New Zealand and ended up paying $40 more AUD even though the NZD is worth less.
Your best option is prepaid travel cash cards – you use them just like a credit card. You can transfer money onto the card online, with minimal conversion and transaction fees and the security of Visa / Mastercard buyer protection.

Be Flexible
Shop around for cost of flights and the best time to travel to each destination. The more flexible you can be with your dates and destination – the better your deal. Sign up for travel alerts from sites like Skyscanner or lastminute.com.au and wait for the deal to come to you!
Maybe you don’t even need to leave the country. Winter is off season in Australia – yet the beaches are still bliss in Queensland! With cyclone recovery efforts up north keeping tourists away, stingers in hibernation, kids still in school – now could be the perfect time to visit that tropical destination. Just remember though, sometimes last minute doesn’t always mean ‘cheap deal’ so it’s important you still do your research.

Choose destinations with low cost of living
Choose a destination where the Aussie dollar is comparable or there’s low cost of living. At the moment, we’re weaker against the US, so perhaps Asia is your best international option.
And, while you’re away – try not to get stuck in the tourist traps! There are some places notorious for charging a ‘locals fee’ and a ‘tourist fee’ – enjoy the culture and eat street food instead. Apps like TripAdvisor can help with that.

If you don’t have a plum in your mouth, then base yourself in hostels in the more expensive cities. Most hostels offer private rooms with an ensuite at a fraction of the cost of a hotel. They are clean and private and offer a range of complimentary services (wifi, activities, tours, shuttles and transfers, breakfast).

Boost your holiday savings account
Now you have some strategies to plan a budget holiday, how about boosting your savings account to help you when you get there? Your challenge is to give up something for 3 months before you leave and chuck that money into a high interest account. If you’re able to give it a little boost, you might be able to arrange upgrades to hotels and mode of travel once you reach your destination.
1. Skip Friday drinks for 3 months over the winter ($100 x 12 weeks = $1,200)
2. Make coffee in the office and pour it into a keep cup, but still join your team for the coffee run ($50 x 12 weeks = $600).
3. Make food at home for work lunch and stop getting take away ($75 x 12 = $900)

Maybe you won’t need a budget holiday after all?

What other budget holiday tricks do you have? Feel free to share them in the comments below!