To make the most of your holiday money, it’s a good idea to create a holiday budget. With a plan in place, you’ll hopefully spend less time stressing about money, and more time having a proper break - whether that’s a walking holiday in the Lake District or a fortnight on the beaches of Croatia.

How much money should I take on holiday?

First, set a limit for how much you’re happy to spend in total. Think about what you’d like to do when you’re there: Lunches and dinners to try the local cuisine? A spot of ocean kayaking or hiking in the hills? It all adds up.

If you use the Starling app, you can keep your holiday savings separate from your main balance by creating a savings Space. That way, you won’t accidentally dip into your savings. Plus, you’ll earn interest of 3.25% AER / 3.19% Gross (variable) on balances up to £5,000 in a personal and joint current account, which includes the money in your Spaces as well as your main balance*. These rates do not apply to the 1-Year Fixed Saver which is a savings product with its own rate.

You can top up your holiday savings Space at any time and even set a target for your goal amount.

You can also add a photo of your destination for added motivation. Anything goes - a campervan for a trip to the Isle of Skye, the Duomo for a weekend in Florence, it’s up to you.

Keep your holiday savings separate from your main balance with a savings Space

Making a holiday budget

Divide your holiday money into spending categories, for example accommodation, shopping and taxis.

Holiday budget: Six days in Mallorca

Category Amount
Accommodation £420
Flights £180
Restaurants £300
Boat trip £50
Taxi £50
Shopping £50
Total £1050

If you don’t already have travel insurance, you may want to budget for that. It’s also a good idea to have a buffer of money for emergencies and the unplanned.

Packing for your trip

To avoid dipping into your holiday money for things you’ve forgotten to pack - a phone charger, an adaptor, sunglasses - write a list of what you’ll need before you start packing.

As you’re getting ready, you may want to set up a virtual card for your holiday Space. That way, your holiday transactions can be kept separate from your main balance. Virtual cards exist in the Starling app and in your digital wallet, rather than as physical cards.

Holiday currency exchange

Whenever you pay with your card abroad, or withdraw cash, Starling won’t charge you extra fees. And Starling passes on Mastercard’s real exchange rate, so that you don’t go paying over the odds.

Giving yourself a daily spend cap

It’s helpful to have a rough daily spend target, to stay within your holiday budget. For example, £15 for lunch, £30 for dinner and something for hiring a sunbed might mean a daily budget of about £50.

That said, do build in some flexibility. You’ll probably have a day or two where you have a picnic and spend less on lunch, and an evening where you go somewhere special for dinner. But having a daily figure can act as a guide.

Tracking your spending

With the Starling app, you can easily track your holiday spending as you go along. Every time you spend from your Starling account, the app automatically categorises the transaction, for example as ‘Eating Out’ or ‘Holidays’.

You can also re-categorise transactions, for example from ‘Shopping’ to ‘Gifts’, to make your Spending Insights even more personal.

Track your holiday spending as you go

The more you understand your spending, the easier it will be to keep to your budget - and hopefully breathe easier on holiday.

* Interest is calculated daily and paid monthly. AER stands for Annual Equivalent Rate and shows what the interest rate would be if interest were paid and compounded once each year. Gross is the contractual rate of interest payable before the deduction of income tax at the rate specified by law. Rates correct as of 6 November 2023.

Article updated: 6 November 2023

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