Share this article If you liked this article share it with your friends.
5 min read

How Much Money Should I Take on Holiday?

Our Editorial Standards

Planning a holiday is an exciting adventure, but determining the right amount of holiday spending money to take can get tricky.

The question of how much to budget for your trip is a common concern for travelers. But don’t worry; this blog post will give you practical insights and tips on how much to take for your holiday.

Get ready to discover how to plan and manage your holiday budget effectively, so you can focus on creating unforgettable experiences.

How much money should I take on holiday?

The suitcase, Swissmoney

The truth is, everybody’s budget for a holiday will vary. However, there are several factors to consider. These factors include:


One of the first things to consider is how expensive your destination is. The cost of the place you want to visit can vary greatly, with some regions being more expensive than others.

For instance, popular tourist destinations in Scandinavia are generally known for their higher prices than places like Spain or Eastern Europe. Additionally, specific cities or regions within countries may have their own price tags. Take central Milan, for example, which is notoriously pricier than the southern parts of Italy.

Kindly note that the cost of living and basic goods in a place will inevitably impact how much spending money you should take on your holiday.

You must factor in accommodation, food, public transport, attractions, and so on. Researching average prices in the destination you are considering can give you an idea of what to expect.

Mode of transaction

When traveling abroad, one important decision is whether to rely on cash or cards for your transactions. How much spending money you should take on holiday can be none if you are heading to a destination that has embraced cashless payments.

For example, Sweden is renowned for its cashless society, where only 20% of transactions are made using cash. On the other hand, different countries like Spain and Italy heavily rely on cash, with over 85% of transactions being cash-based, and cards may not always be accepted, especially for smaller purchases.

Understanding the preferred payment method of your destination is crucial. While cashless societies offer convenience, it’s essential to consider the potential foreign transaction fees imposed by your home bank.

These fees can quickly add up and affect your overall spending. Additionally, if you rely solely on cards and find yourself in a situation where only cash payments are accepted, your card becomes nothing more than a useless piece of plastic.

Accessibility to currency

When planning your trip, it’s important to consider whether you can easily obtain the foreign currency of your holiday country. For instance, countries like India and Cuba, have restrictions on their currency. As a result, getting your holiday spending money in advance may not always be possible.

In the case of India, one of the most convenient options is to withdraw money from an ATM upon arrival.

However, it’s important to know that traditional debit cards may incur charges for these transactions. To avoid surprises, it’s advisable to check with your bank beforehand regarding potential fees or limitations when using your card abroad.

What goes into a travel budget?

A travel suitcase, Swissmoney

Here are important expenses you to include in your travel budget calculator. They include:

Travel and transportation cost

It’s essential to consider the costs associated with flights and transportation. Flights often constitute a significant expense, particularly if you’re heading to popular destinations like Europe or the USA.

Unless you are planning an extended stay in a picturesque overwater bungalow in Tahiti, chances are you will need to allocate a portion of your daily budget to cover public transport, airport transfers, and occasional rides with services like Uber or taxis.

The first step is to compare flight prices to find the best deals. Be flexible with your travel dates and consider alternative airports or airlines that may offer more affordable options. Booking in advance or being open to last-minute deals can also help you secure better flight prices.

Once you arrive at your destination, it’s important to account for the costs of getting around. Depending on your travel style, plans and location, you may need to budget for public transport, such as subway tickets, bus passes, or train rides.

Research the local transportation options available and determine whether daily or weekly passes offer better value for your intended activities and sightseeing.

Consider the most cost-effective transfer options when traveling between the airport and your accommodation. Compare prices for airport shuttles, public buses, or private transfers to find the best balance between convenience and affordability.


Food is undeniably one of the most enjoyable aspects of traveling overseas, and it deserves a significant place in your travel budget.

However, budgeting for food can be challenging due to the diverse range of individual tastes, the substantial price differences between various locations, and the varying cost of living across different cities.

When planning to save money on food, consider the prices of meals in your destination. Note that prices can vary significantly between different places on the ground.

Most expensive places and popular tourist spots tend to have higher food prices, while smaller towns or off-the-beaten-path destinations may offer more affordable dining options.

Consider a combination of dining options to make your food budget more manageable. Treat yourself to a few memorable breakfasts at local restaurants or eateries, but also explore budget-friendly alternatives.

Additionally, self-catering by cooking some of your meals or opting for accommodation with kitchen facilities can help you reduce spending money while still enjoying satisfying meals.


Activities play a significant role in shaping your travel experience. While some activities may come with a price tag, they are often worth the investment.

To effectively budget for activities, start by creating a list of your must-do experiences. Research each activity and estimate the associated fees. Take advantage of online resources, travel websites, and reviews to gather information about pricing, availability, and any additional fees that may apply.

Remember that activity costs can vary significantly depending on the destination and the specific experience you seek.

Factors such as seasonality, popularity, and the level of customization can also impact the prices. Take note of any entrance fees, guided tour costs, equipment rentals, or transportation expenses required for each activity.

Once you have your list and estimated costs, add them to get an overall figure. This will show you how much you should allocate from your travel budget for these activities. Remember to be realistic about what you can afford and prioritize the experiences that truly resonate with you.

If the total expenses of activities exceed your budget, consider alternative options or look for discounts and deals.

Some activities may offer members discounts for booking in advance, group rates, or package deals that combine multiple experiences. Watch out for promotional offers or local tourism cards that provide discounted access to popular attractions.


This is an exciting part of any travel experience, whether you are looking for gifts, souvenirs, or essential items like sunscreen. As a budget planner, it’s important to consider all the necessary expenses and plan accordingly so you don’t overspend.

Start by estimating how much travel money you plan to allocate for shopping during your trip. Consider the number of people in your family or group and factor in their preferences and needs.

Make a list of the items you intend to purchase, such as souvenirs for your family, clothing or accessories for yourself, and any essential items like beachwear or sunscreen.

Additionally, consider any charges associated with shopping, such as sales taxes or customs duties, if you plan to bring items back with you.

Depending on the country’s regulations, these costs can vary, so it’s wise to familiarize yourself with the rules and potential expenses beforehand.


Knowing how much cash to take on holiday can be tricky, but by considering the different elements that make up a travel budget, you can make a more informed decision.

By researching, budgeting your family money wisely, and being prepared for unexpected expenses, you can ensure your holiday is enjoyable and stress-free without breaking the bank.

Gintaras Baltusevicius

Gintaras is a fintech enthusiast with extensive experience working with startups in various industries, including cybersecurity, SaaS, and aviation. He has a passion for exploring new technologies and innovations in the financial industry and enjoys sharing his knowledge with others.

Get app
We use cookies

swissmoney companies use cookies to provide you with tailored information about our services and to improve the performance of our website and (or) app. If you agree to all cookies used, please click on the "Accept" button. If you wish to change your cookie settings, please click on the "Choose cookies" button, and if you wish to refuse all of these cookies, please click on the "Reject" button. Your cookie preferences will be stored for one year.

Important: Some cookies are essential for the proper functioning of this website. The use of these cookies is based on legitimate interest and therefore consent to their recording is not requested. For more information, see swissmoney Cookie Statement.