How much money should I take on holiday

Wondering how much money to take on holiday? Create your budget with this handy guide, including tips for getting more from your money while you’re away.
Colby Brin
June 7, 2023
min read

When you’re planning a trip, it’s normal to wonder how much money to take on holiday. Allocating the right amount of money can help you make sure that you have an enjoyable trip without stressing over spending or running out of dosh. 

The amount of money you should take on holiday depends on a bunch of different factors, like food, transport, the destination, and many other expenses. 

This blog will focus on the costs you can expect to see on holiday. To help save money on your trip, see our post on how to save up for a holiday

Things to budget for on holiday 

Although there will always be unexpected costs during a trip, there are a few key categories of expenses that you can plan for in advance.

It’s always smart to set a budget before you leave, and you can see our post on budgeting basics to get started

Food and drink 

Depending on your plans, your food and drink costs can be minimal, or they could be the most expensive part of your trip. So you’ll want to decide beforehand if you’d like to be frugal and take the self-catering route, or splurge out on fancy restaurants. 

The type of accommodation that you choose can have a large impact on your food and drink budget. If you decide to stay in a self-catered accommodation, you can save money by buying local ingredients and cooking for yourself. An all-inclusive holiday, where food and drinks are all prepaid for, will also keep dining costs down.


If you’re planning on bringing some things home from your holiday, it’s good to set a shopping budget. When you put aside some cash for shopping, you’ll have guilt-free freedom to enjoy some retail therapy while you’re away. 

If you already have an idea of some items you want to get, it’s a good idea to make a list of them and come to an estimate of what they’ll cost. It will help you avoid impulse buys.

Even if you're not planning on doing any shopping during your trip, it’s worth putting some money aside for surprise expenses that come along, like new sunscreen, plasters, or replacing a pair of broken flip-flops. 


It’s important to budget for transportation on holiday. Transport costs can vary greatly depending on your destination, mode of transport, and the distances you’re travelling. With the HyperJar app, you can create a transport Jar to set aside money for these costs.  (Even if you do this, it’s still a good idea to keep some cash on you in case local businesses or taxis don’t accept cards.)

Decide before your trip how you’re planning on getting around, and do some research into how much it will cost. It’s wise to make this decision ahead of time because if you’re planning on hiring a car instead of taking buses or trains, you’ll have to set aside much more money for transport costs. 

Activities and excursions 

Activities and excursions can be the highlight of any trip. But like food and drink, the costs for various activities and excursions can be kept at a minimum or can be very expensive. The cost will depend on how many activities you want to do and what kind of activities they are. 

It’s a good idea to look into trips and activities on offer at your destination ahead of time, and prioritise the ones that interest you the most. Shop around to get the best deals and budget for these costs before you go away. 

A lot of activities can be booked ahead of time at a cheaper price, so it’s good to plan ahead. If you want to be super-smart with your money, you can also look for free or low-cost activities, like exploring local markets, parks or visiting museums. 


As much as we wish emergencies will never happen, things don’t always go to plan. If you find yourself in an emergency, you’ll be thankful that you planned ahead and set aside an emergency fund for your trip. 

It’s good to budget for unexpected emergency costs like healthcare or missed flights. You can look at our emergency budget blog to get a good idea of what type of expenses you can run into and how to prepare for them. 

Other things to consider when setting your holiday budget 

There are a few other factors that should be considered when you’re planning the finances for your holiday and deciding how much money to take:

The destination

The area that you’re visiting impacts how much money you’ll need to set aside for your trip. The cost of eating, drinking and enjoying activities changes drastically from country to country, and also from city to city. 

For example, if you were on holiday in France, a dinner in the centre of Paris can be super expensive, but there are plenty of cheap restaurants around in the rural parts of France. 

It’s a good move to research ahead of time to find out how expensive your holiday destination is. By finding out what your expenses are going to be in each location of your holiday, you’ll have a better idea of how much money to bring with you. 

Cash vs card 

Although you might decide on a set budget for your holiday, you definitely don’t need to bring all that money in cash. It’s better to bring a combination of cash and prepaid travel cards for ease and security. 

You should do some research ahead of time to find out whether your cards are widely accepted in the area that you’re travelling in, so you can avoid any money dramas on your holiday.

For example, if you’re going to a rural area where cards are not accepted as often, it would be smart to bring more money in cash instead of on a card. 

International spending fees 

It’s often the case that spending abroad on debit and credit cards can incur foreign transaction fees, meaning that you’ll end up paying more for your purchases. Using fee-free debit or travel cards is the best way to make your money go further and make sure you stick to your set holiday budget. 

If you’re using a standard debit or credit card, it’s a good idea to understand exchange rates and your bank's foreign currency transaction fees, so you’ll know the extra fees you’ll have to pay. 

Spend fee-free with the HyperJar travel card

Using the HyperJar app, you can plan ahead and set aside funds for each category of spending. That way, you can better manage your expenses and avoid overspending. 

The HyperJar prepaid travel card is the best way to spend money abroad since you’ll incur zero fees for spending in any currency, and you can add your HyperJar card to Apple Pay or Google Pay for easy, on-the-go transactions. Find out more about our card’s handy travel features!

It’s impossible to know exactly how much your holiday budget should be. You're bound to run into some surprise expenses. But planning ahead will at least give you a rough idea of how much you’ll need. Budgeting for essential expenses like food, drink and transport will help you have a stress-free and enjoyable trip. 

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Colby Brin

Head of Copy

Colby Brin is Head of Copy at HyperJar. With over 17 years of professional writing experience, Colby’s been a journalist, ghostwriter, language consultant, and writing trainer. Having previously served as Head of Copy at Wise, he’s worked in fintech for over six years. A native of New York City, Colby graduated from the University of Michigan, and has lived in London for two years.

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