Travel hacks to slash $800 off your winter holiday

Posted Date: 26 June 2017
Winter travel hacks

Winter is officially here, and if you’re anything like us you’re probably planning your next holiday so you can escape this chill. Apart from finding the best places to eat and tourist attractions to visit, there are a few other things you can do before you leave that could save you up to $800 off your trip.

We asked Rebeccah Elley, lifestyle and money editor at, to run us through her top travel hacks, so you can put more money towards sightseeing, souvenirs and cocktails - and less on useless money drains!

1. Lock in your exchange rate on a prepaid card - save $270

One of the most important things when it comes to your holiday money, is ensuring you get a good exchange rate. Right now the AUD is sitting at a healthy 74 US cents, however there have been talks it could slide significantly over the next few months. So if the expert predictions are true, it may be wise to consider a prepaid travel card that allows you to lock in your money at the current exchange rate.

Scenario: You’re jet-setting to Los Angeles for a two week vacay in July and want to bring $4000AUD with you. If you loaded that onto a prepaid travel card at the current 74 US cent exchange rate, you’d receive around $2960. However, if you didn’t lock in your rate and the exchange rate dropped to say 69 US cents by the time you went on your trip, that same $4k would only be worth $2760 - a difference of $200 (or $270AUD)!

Beach in Los Angeles

2. Limit overseas fees on your credit card - save $85.55

Even if you decide to lock away your money on a prepaid card, you may need to bring a credit card with you to pay for things like accommodation and activities. But just make sure the one you pack is travel friendly, otherwise you could be stung with high foreign exchange fees each time you make a purchase.

Scenario: According to Mozo’s database, the average credit card foreign exchange margin is currently 2.95%. Say you used your card to pay for $2000 worth of accommodation, $500 on eating out and $400 on tourist attractions, that would be $85.55 added to your holiday bill. But with nine cards like the 28 Degrees Mastercard and Bankwest Zero Platinum coming with 0% foreign exchange margins, there’s really no reason to be paying these fees.

Holiday accommodation

3. Choose the fee free payment method when booking flights: save $42.20

Once you’ve found the cheapest flights possible for your trip, there’s still a way to take your savings further - by checking if there are fee free payment options available like POLi, BPAY or direct deposit. According to travel comparison site KAYAK, the average payment fees you’ll be charged by airlines are as follows: Mastercard Credit $25.56, Mastercard Debit $32.32, Visa Credit $28.57 and Visa Debit $42.20.

Scenario: Say you’re booking your flights with Qantas and come to the checkout only to find you’ll be hit up with a fee for paying with your Visa debit card. You can avoid this fee completely by opting for BPAY instead. It might take you a few minutes extra to transfer manually but that’s an easy saving of $42.20.

Cheap flights

4. Avoid airline travel insurance - save $159

You’ve probably experienced the numerous add-ons that pop up before you can actually purchase a flight. But what you might not know is, the add-on travel insurance offered through airlines can be up to 50% more than if you took it out through an independent travel insurer. Want proof? Just check out the below:

Scenario: Using the same example as above of a 14 day trip to the US, say you decide to take the easy route and add travel insurance to your Qantas flight purchase. This would set you back $252, whereas with the exact same travel dates, a standalone policy through Southern Cross Travel Insurance would cost just $93.

Travel insurance online

5. Book your airport parking online - save $244

Here’s something you can do before your trip that your later self is sure to thank you for - book an airport parking spot online. There’s nothing quite like coming off a long haul flight to simply jump in your car and head home!

Scenario: You decide to park your car at Melbourne Airport to save you the hassle of public transport when you return. By pre-booking your parking online, you would pay just $95. Whereas, driving in on the day without pre-booking will cost a significant $339. That’s another saving to add to the list of $244!

Airport parking


*Scenario travel dates from 1-14 July 2017. Quotes obtained 30 May 2017.


Rebeccah Elley is the lifestyle and money editor at financial comparison site Mozo which helps everyday consumers get a better deal on everything from their travel money to savings accounts. Whether it’s an in-depth guide or quick blog, Rebeccah loves nothing more than passing on her money saving tips to everyday Aussies.


TravelCare is issued by Southern Cross Benefits Limited ABN 99 133 401 939, AFS License 331058 trading as Southern Cross Travel Insurance ®. We are a signatory to the General Insurance Code of Practice and the Financial Ombudsmen Service (FOS) Australia.

As an Australian financial services licensee (AFSL), SCTI is authorised to deal in, and provide, general advice on travel insurance products. As we are unaware of your specific needs, financial objectives, and circumstances, we highly recommend you take time to read the Combined Financial Services Guide (FSG), Product Disclosure Statement (PDS), including Policy Wording before buying this product, to ensure that our travel insurance product is right for you.

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