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Planning an overseas holiday

Planning an overseas holiday

Roaming around Europe, backpacking through Asia, skiing a snowy mountain in Canada, or a family trip to Disneyland - regardless where you’re travelling to, you want to squeeze the very most out of every holiday experience.

Taking a break to head overseas is hugely exciting but takes a lot of planning. We cover the essentials and the little things you may not have thought of.

Saving for your trip

Once you’ve decided on your destination, it’s time to start saving. Totting up the costs is a real eye-opener. One way to avoid scrimping on experiences when you’re overseas is to create a budget, then set a savings goal – it’s a great way to stay motivated to save. 

How it works:

• Choose a savings goal then set up scheduled transfers into your savings account – the tool figures out how much and how regularly you’ll need to save

• Track your progress 

• Top up your goal when you’ve got some extra cash

No matter how much you plan, there are bound to be costs you haven’t accounted for. So make sure you’ve got extra funds up your sleeve to cover unexpected expenses. 

What to budget for

Flights, transport and accommodation: Likely to be your biggest costs, book early to get the best deal - try flight comparison and travel booking sites for specials. 

If you’ve got some flexibility with your dates, consider travelling off-peak.

Food: Do some research to understand how much you should budget for. Look for hotel specials with breakfast included or accommodation with a kitchenette to save on food costs. And go where the locals go – it may be cheaper and tastier too. 

Keep in mind that in some countries you’re expected to leave a tip.

Entertainment and shopping: Find out what tours and activities are available - you may get a discount for booking in advance. 

Discover whether local taxes apply to purchases. If you’re travelling to Europe some European Union (EU) countries allow you to claim back Value Added Tax (VAT) when you’re at the airport heading home. If you’re travelling to the USA don’t get caught out by the ‘hidden’ sales tax - it’s often charged but rarely included on the price tag.

Internet access: It’s common for hotels to add an internet charge to your bill or limit the number of devices you can sync to the WiFi network for free. 

Worth checking before you start posting photos, sharing status updates or trying to video call people back home. 

Roaming, local SIM or cheap handset: If you’re taking your phone, ask your mobile provider about global roaming fees and charges. 

It may be cheaper to get a local SIM once you arrive (if your phone’s unlocked) or a cheap handset that includes one instead.

Visas, passports, vaccinations: Think about these well in advance. You’ll need a valid passport, with at least six months left from the date you arrive back in Australia before it expires, and may also need a visa. 

Check with your doctor about vaccinations or medicines too.

Insurance: There’s no point in cutting corners – this is an essential. Your credit card may include travel insurance that you’ll need to activate before travelling, but if you don’t have an eligible card, you can purchase a policy and tailor travel insurance to your specific needs. 

Don’t forget to check you’ve got the right level of home and contents insurance too – you want to have peace of mind that your belongings are protected while you’re away. 

Take a look at our travel checklist for more.

Paying for things

Consider taking a mix of cash, a Travel Money Card, debit and credit cards to give you some flexibility when it comes to paying for things, as well as a back-up if anything gets stolen or lost. 

It goes without saying that the time to buy foreign cash and load currency onto your Travel Money Card is when the exchange rate is in your favour. It can change significantly in a short amount of time - so watching it long before you go can be helpful. 

If you’ve got a CommBank Awards credit card take a look at our CommBank Awards program. You can use your Awards Points to book things like flights, hotels, car hire, cruises and holiday packages and get your holiday wardrobe sorted too. 

Or if you’re strapped for cash and heading off on a once-in-a-lifetime trip, you may want to look into getting a personal loan

The week before you go

Your mind may be focused on packing but make the time to register your trip with Smartraveller. Not only will this give you the latest travel advice but it makes it easier to get Australian consular help in an emergency too.

And finally… remember to log on to NetBank or the CommBank app and tell us when and where you’re going. We can keep an eye out for any suspicious activity on your accounts and credit cards while you’re away.

When you’re overseas

So long as you’ve got internet access, you can log on to NetBank and the CommBank app from anywhere in the world.  

Not only can you manage your money on the go, you can also reload your Travel Money Card in NetBank and the CommBank app if a currency is running low.

CommBank emergency details

  • Lock, Block, Limit your CommBank credit card, Lock, Block your CommBank debit card or lock your Travel Money Card for added security
  • Cancel and order replacement CommBank cards in NetBank or the CommBank app
  • Call us 24/7 on +61 2 9999 3283 to report lost or stolen CommBank cards
  • Call Allianz Global Assistance 24/7 on +61 7 3305 7499 if you’ve got travel insurance included with your credit card or a separate CBA Travel Insurance policy and want to make a claim.



This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as financial product advice. Restrictions, exclusions (including for pre-existing medical conditions and persons aged 75 years or over), limits and excesses apply. If you don’t activate your cover included with your credit card, you’ll receive Base cover which includes personal liability cover and unlimited overseas medical assistance and hospital expenses only. Insurance is issued and managed by AWP Australia Pty Limited (trading as Allianz Global Assistance) (AFSL No.245631 ABN 52 097 227 177) on behalf of the insurer Allianz Australia Insurance Limited (AFSL No. 234708 ABN 15000 122 850) for Commonwealth Bank of Australia. This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as financial product advice.