CommBank reveals Aussies blowing travel budget by millions

Image credit: TaxRebate.org.uk via Flickr

Image credit: TaxRebate.org.uk via Flickr

New Commonwealth Bank research has revealed Aussies love to live it up while on holiday – to the detriment of their wallet – with a third spending more money on an overseas holiday than planned.

Last year 9.2 million Aussies left Australian shores for a holiday, and with a third of them spending more than planned on their trip, that’s more than $900 million of overspending on international travel.

The inaugural CommBank Travel Money Map: A guide to overseas spending highlights the traps Aussie holidaymakers fall into and how the right products and planning can help them avoid overspending this year.

Holiday planning

While Aussies devote around seven months planning their overseas holiday, they are spending an average of 16 hours planning their trip, booking flights and sorting accommodation. However, almost half of people admit to travelling without setting any budget or planning how much they want to spend. For those who do crunch the numbers before they leave, nearly half spend one hour or less planning budgets. When it comes to knowledge around protecting yourself while overseas, millions of Aussies (22 per cent) don’t know you can get travel insurance included through some credit cards and a quarter didn’t have any insurance on their last overseas holiday.

David Singh, General Manager Cards, Commonwealth Bank said; “As you do with your itinerary, make sure you give yourself enough time to plan your overseas spending – do your research so you have an idea of how much things should cost, therefore you can set a budget and stick to it.”

“Travel insurance is also vital when going on holiday – you might not have to organise this separately as some CommBank credit cards have travel insurance included, so check what you are covered for.”

Holiday rates

Setting a budget isn’t top of the Aussie travel checklist and neither is watching exchange rates. The research found 55 per cent of people only change currency just before or while they are already on holiday – not surprisingly a quarter of people who spend more than planned on holidays are negatively impacted by exchange rates either from rates changing before they leave for holidays or by miscalculating exchange rates.

Holiday spending

While planning and budgeting is important, so too is managing money during the holiday itself. More than half of people only check their spending on an ad hoc basis or don’t check until after the trip. Despite a shift to online banking, when checking spending overseas, more than a third of people who actively check still use hard copy records and spreadsheets, missing out on the ability to check purchase costs in real-time.

More than three quarters of travellers say convenience is the most important part of accessing and managing their money while overseas – knowing fees, charges and exchange rates, having flexibility around money withdrawals and being able to manage multiple currencies quickly and easily. Keeping safe from fraud was a top priority for around a quarter of those surveyed.

Mr Singh said there are some easy ways to avoid unwanted financial surprises and mishaps.

“As payment methods vary from country to country, it’s always advisable to carry local currency alongside your credit, debit and pre-paid travel card. If possible, don’t have all spending options with you at once so you’re not left high and dry if the worst does happen,” he said.

If it unfortunately does, CommBank has a range of options to support travellers. We have 24 hour credit card assistance and our Travel Money Cards come with two cards so if you do misplace one you’ll have a backup.

“Customers using the CommBank app can use the Lock feature to help secure their credit or Travel Money Card/s if they are lost, stolen or temporarily misplaced. The CommBank app also allows you to lock international in-store payments on your credit card when you return home, so you can be assured your credit card isn’t being used overseas when you aren’t.”

The CommBank app also shows transaction costs in real-time, allows reloading of Travel Money Cards and has a foreign currency converter.

Source = Commonwealth Bank
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