High life for less:
Wanderlust without wads of $

High life for less: Wanderlust without wads of $

Through our High life for less series we look at how to enjoy the richness of life without an abundance of riches. We looked at dating and Christmas. As we go into planning for the treasured things in life, we look at Travel. So how can we travel without breaking the bank? We explore how to wander without wads of cash.

So what do Australians spend on travel these days?

Aussies are known for our love of travel as Vacation Times points out in:

‘Why do Australians travel so much?’:

“Anywhere and Everywhere you go, you’re bound to meet an Australian”

  • – Breana Johnson – Vacation Times

Australians fork out an average of $8,562 on international holidays, according to Mastercard research. Every Australian knows that international holidays don’t come cheap. According to the latest Visa Global Travel Intentions Study, Australians spend an average of $4,885 AUD on each holiday.

“Flashpackers … were actually found to be outspending their older travelling counterparts”

– Tom Watson, Mozo

According to a recent study published by Tourism and Transport Forum Australia, 21% of travellers in the 18-24 age bracket planned to spend between $2,000 and $5,000 on their summer vacations, compared to 13% of travellers over 65 and just 8% of those aged between 45-64.

“More and more young people look to be choosing to postpone a long-term savings plan by opting to take more extensive and adventurous holidays and … gain life experiences.” – Chief Executive Margy Osmond, Tourism Travel Forum

So if our joy of travel isn’t abating, how can we get smarter with our travel spending?

11 ways to travel on a budget

1. Plan off-peak

Travelling at the shoulder seasons (between and low and peak) can be cost-effective. You could also score less crowded beaches and tours. Avoid school holidays and obvious busy times (such as festivals) and to travel as close as you can to peak season. For Europe that’s May-June and ski-seasons that’s November and Feb. Various destinations have different tourist seasons so make sure to do your research. Expert in “shoestring travel in style”, Bella @wanderinglittleredboots shares her 7 hot tips:

“By travelling in shoulder season, you’re saving a lot of money on travel expenses and yet the weather is still decent” – @wanderinglittleredboots

2. “Mi casa es su casa”

Swap expensive hotels for apartment rentals and Airbnb options. Use your network and locate friends of friends in far-flung places. You could even stay places for free by taking the time to find local house sitting sites (trustedhousesitters or check out this budget sleeps article). WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. It’s a platform that allows you to work on a farm in exchange for free room and board. It’s a great way to see a destination in-depth while allowing you to commune with the great outdoors.

3. Lease away

Get on to groups like grandpairents and Gumtree to lease out your apartment or your car, whilst you’re away. Take the time to screen and meet renters to reduce any stranger-danger concerns you may have.

4. Flight hunt

Most holidays start with a flight. Follow Josh’s guide to ‘cheap one ways flights’. There are some awesome tips in here like searching in incognito mode and flying at the cheapest time of year to travel is!

“When booking flights, Tuesday is almost always the cheapest priced day of the week to travel, due to the low demand for flights on this day. If you’re willing and able to travel out and/or back on a Tuesday, this will save you some money.”


5. Pack light

You can save on short-haul luggage costs by packing light. Packing cells take your compression to the next level. Watch 10 tips from Eagle Creek. We have a few fans of minimalism at Xinja HQ and this is no exception. Make sure items are interchangeable and leave the luxury one offs at home! An Italian poet once said:

“If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light” – Cesare Pavese

6. Get Xinja-ing around the world

Naturally, we’re a little biased about our travel card. We charge nothing for ATM withdrawals (nb: the local bank may charge you….) you get 100% of currency conversion fees refunded and we don’t charge any card or other fees! Plus, it’s easy to track your holiday spend in the app, you can top up instantly, and you can always lock your card in the app for security. The most popular tips our xinjarati share are: always select credit, lock your card if you’re feeling unsafe and take a backup card (we are still in beta). Always use reputable ATMs and call the xinjarati if you get stuck! Don’t take our word for it Josh has 71 smart money tips and reviewed Xinja’s travel card!

“The longer you travel, the better you become at what I like to call ‘frugal fusion cuisine’!” – Bella @wanderinglittleredboots

7. Chef up

The temptation is to dine out on the local cuisine every night you’re on holiday. You won’t ruin the holiday if you cook local at your accommodation a few nights. Head to the local deli or find a local recipe and save on restaurant costs.

“If you do decide to eat out in more expensive restaurants, eat out at lunch instead of dinner. In most places a lunch deal is a lot cheaper than the full price they charge at dinner.”


8. Live like a local

Tourist traps can be a nightmare on the wallet. Take the time to find a locals insider guide online like these guys (like a local, locals by locals). Take a free walking tour and sponge up all those local suggestions.

“When I’m planning a trip, I jump online & look up tour options in that area …then I download the itinerary and use that as a base to build my own trip itinerary.” – Bella @wanderinglittleredboots

9. Convert often

Be in the know with how much you’re spending. The Xinja card gives you the exchange rate against every transaction, there’s also the popular app, xe.com. With Xinja’s travel card, you can see both currencies, see how much in $AUD you’ve spent that day, and how much you have left on the card to help you track spending whilst you travel.


10. Wifi wisely

If you’re a data hog, get a local sim shipped to you before you leave Australia, and sort yourself a short term local data plan from services like data.go or Simcorner. You could always buy portable wifi from companies like keep.go or Netgear but there are plenty on the market. Locate free WIFI by downloading an app like Wiffinity or WiFi Finder Connect.


11. Start a travel fund early

Pre-trip it’s a good idea to start saving ready for your trip. Set your goal early and chunk it up into milestones, to save as you go. Xinja is thinking about ways to help you get ahead with your money. Subject to getting our full license, when Xinja launch bank accounts we’ll have more fun & easy ways to help you save as your money ninja 😉 In the meantime, if you have any ideas drop them on our forum.


What do you think? Have you got any other ways to travel on a budget?
Join the conversation here. Tell us your thoughts and ideas at our forum

Sarah May is Marketing and Community Lead at Xinja.

The content above does not represent any form of advice and Xinja has obviously not considered your individual circumstances in preparing this. It is simply a few thoughts on money to get the conversation started.



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