When the weeks feel like they’re dragging along and school holidays seem further and further away, the one thing that can get us through is the promise of travel – but our bank accounts sometimes tell us otherwise. Here’s how to make the travel dream a reality.

Between school supplies, extra-curricular fees and those annoying bills, saving for a travelling holiday often becomes our last priority. Financial advisor and specialist in “teaching women to be clever with money”, Nicole Heales believes in the power of the holiday, so much so that she thinks you should take one every year. It may seem unrealistic – or downright impossible – but Nicole says that, regardless of budget, a holiday can and should be part of your financial plan.

“It’s really important to get out of your own space and take a break,” she says. “Depending on your schedule, budget and what your focus is, you can take an overseas trip or travel more locally, or alternate between the two each year.”

How, you ask? Firstly, Nicole says you should put a small amount into your ‘holiday fund’ every week. She suggests looking around to see which banks offer the best rates and T&Cs, then set up an automatic direct debit into a high-interest account.

“If you can afford to, put 10 per cent of your weekly earnings toward luxuries like a holiday,” she says. “We’ve all got bills and groceries to pay for, but you’ve got to put a bit aside for yourself, as well.”

We certainly can’t argue with that. And we can’t argue with Nicole’s idea to get the kids involved in the saving process, either. She says we should let kids choose their own purse or money tin and encourage them to fill it up with the pocket money they earn. Nicole also suggests making a vision board for the holiday, with photos of the destination, facts about it and brochures or photos of some activities they might like to try.

“It sounds corny, but having a visual representation of what they’re saving towards will make the kids, and yourself, more excited and willing to save up for it,” she says.

Next thing is to budget, budget, budget. Work backwards to figure out how much you’ve got to play with and consider where that amount will take you. Remember to consider everything from transport and accommodation to meals and activities.

“I would personally rather have more holidays than one expensive one, so I try to be realistic about my budget. If I live a three-star life at home, I probably can’t afford a five-star holiday,” Nicole says.

Remember that you also eat, drink and indulge more when you’re on holiday, and there are added costs like taxis and tipping. You can cut out some costs by packing lunches, but it’s important to be realistic about what you’re likely to spend – it all adds up. The more research you do, the more you can also save. Nicole suggests booking your flights first as they get more expensive closer to the date, while accommodation tends to get cheaper.

“You have to be realistic about when and where you can afford to go,” Nicole says. “Think about what your family holidays were like? You don’t have to fly anywhere to have a break – just get in the car and go!”

When it comes to accommodation, think about relatives or friends you could stay or house swap with. If you have to book, try an AirBnB apartment with all the comforts and conveniences of home, or book a hotel with free cancellation while you look for better deals.

“Have a maximum price that you will pay per night, and be open-minded about staying somewhere cheaper,” Nicole suggests. “Especially if you’ll be out of the apartment most of the day or would prefer to spend more on experiences or nice meals. It’s really important to accept that your dream holiday might not happen this year. If that’s the case, just go on a different holiday and keep saving for the next year!”


  • Set up a direct debit system and funnel a small amount away each week
  • Use a high-interest separate savings account for your holiday fund
  • Get the kids involved with a “Holiday fund” jar etc for them to physically contribute pocket money
  • Use a vision board


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