One of the most common questions people ask themselves before booking an overseas trip is: ‘How much money do I need to travel?’
Nothing makes your holiday glow fade faster than returning home to crushing debt. So, it’s important to spend some time crunching the numbers before you hit ‘book now’ on that luxury villa in Tuscany.
How to budget for a holiday
From flights to travel insurance, there are many costs to put into your holiday budget calculator before you even leave home. Then there’s the expenses associated with having a good time once you’re there (and by ‘good time’ we mean eating, drinking and sightseeing your way around your chosen destination).
Prices will vary based on fluctuations in the exchange rate and whether you’ve chosen to travel in peak, off-peak or shoulder season. But this handy guide should help you wrap your head around the average price of visiting some of the most popular holiday hotspots around the world.
London, United Kingdom
If you’re wondering how to budget for a holiday in the British capital, then be prepared to put some careful thought into your sums – London isn’t a cheap holiday destination for Aussies.
Sydney to London return economy flights will cost anything from $1,900 on a budget airline to $3,700 on a full-service carrier.
Expect to pay $240–$280 per night for a 3-star hotel in central London.
A London Day Travelcard costs around $28.50 and includes 24 hours of unlimited travel on London’s buses and trains.
Set aside $4-$6 for your daily coffee fix in London. Ordering an entrée, main and glass of wine in an upmarket pub costs about $90 –$100, while a fancy afternoon tea (with Champagne) in a luxe hotel will set you back up to $150.
Want to see a West End musical while you’re in London? Put aside $50–$200 a ticket depending on the show’s popularity. What about a tour of the Tower of London? That’ll set you back around $62.
Thankfully, many of London’s museums and galleries are free to enter, so put the Tate Modern, National Portrait Gallery and British Museum on your itinerary to enjoy an affordable day out.
Home to affordable public transport, inexpensive hotels and night markets overflowing with cheap eats, a trip to the Land of Smiles won’t break the bank.
Sydney to Bangkok return economy flights will cost anything from A$580 on a budget airline to $1,500 on a full-service carrier.
Expect to pay $65 –$85 per night for a 3-star hotel in Bangkok.
A daypass on Bangkok’s BTS Skytrain costs around $6.
Pick up street food bites from $2, enjoy a meal at a restaurant for around $12 –$15 or splurge on a multi-course tasting menu at a Michelin-star restaurant for $150.
A guided walking or cycling tour of Bangkok will start at around $50. There are many free things to do in Bangkok, like visiting temples, shrines, and food and flower markets.
New York, USA
The exchange rate isn’t as favourable as it has been in the past, so you’ll need to budget wisely before jetting off to the city that never sleeps.
Sydney to New York return economy flights will cost anything from $2,200 to $4,100, depending on when you travel.
Expect to pay $220–$400 per night for a 3-star hotel in New York.
A ride on the New York subway costs around $4.
You’ll pay up to $20 for a classic New York bagel with cream cheese and lox, about $6 for a slice of pepperoni pizza and an average of around $150 for a meal for two at a mid-range restaurant.
Entry to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (aka ‘The Met’) costs $43, while visiting the open-air observation deck of the Empire State Building will set you back $64. Remember that in most states, sales tax is not included in ticketed prices. The tax varies depending on the city and county, but Manhattan’s sales tax is 8.875 per cent so expect to pay that on top of most things you buy.
A tip on tipping:
In the USA, tipping service workers like waitstaff, bartenders, bellhops, uber drivers and hotel cleaners is expected. As a rule of thumb, tip 20 per cent of a restaurant bill or US$1 –$2 per drink when ordering at a bar.
Just a short flight from Australia, you’ll be able to stretch your holiday dollar further in beautiful Bali.
Sydney to Denpasar return economy flights cost anything from A$630 on a budget airline to $1,400 on a full-service carrier.
Expect to pay around $50–$70 per night for a 3-star hotel in Bali.
While public transport is a little limited, Indonesia has their own taxi service called Bluebird, and Grab – their ride share service. A short Grab taxi ride around town might set you back $2 –$5, whereas a longer trip (30-40km) may sit around $15 –$30.
A plate of nasi goreng at a low-key eatery will set you back about $3, a pint of beer is about $3–$4 and a cocktail at a popular beach bar will cost around $12.
Expect to pay about $10 for a basic foot massage and up to $50 at an upscale day spa. Reserving a bed at a beach club for the day will cost you between $50–$100, and it’s usually redeemable on food and drink.
Flights might set you back a pretty penny, but a trip to Italy is within reach if you plan your budget wisely.
Sydney to Rome return economy flights cost anything from A$1,700 on a budget airline to $4,800 on a full-service carrier.
Expect to pay $170 – $200 per night for a 3-star hotel in Rome.
A Roma 24-Hour Ticket costs around $11 and includes 24-hours of unlimited travel on Rome’s buses, trams and Metro.
When in Rome, set aside $3.50 –$5 for your morning coffee and $6 for an afternoon gelato. Expect to spend $8 –$10 on a panini, $25 on a plate of pasta in a trattoria and upwards of $300 for a one-in-a-lifetime degustation experience at a fine dining ristorante.
On a budget? Join a free walking tour to uncover Rome’s fascinating history with a local guide. On the first Sunday of the month, many of Rome’s museums and attractions are free to visit, otherwise you’ll pay $26 to enter the Colosseum.
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All prices are AUD unless otherwise stated. This information is intended as a guide only and is correct at the time of publication (August 2023)