Preparing for your travels can be exciting. Researching online for all of the places you may see in the coming months. Seeing the experiences of others and thinking you are going to be doing that same thing shortly. It is a quick way to get your heart pounding and your feet to start itching to have your bags packed and ready to go. But how do you budget your trip?
You need to establish a travel budget for your trip. How much cash are you willing to part with? You do not want to overdo it and leave yourself with no money to pay the bills when you get back. Let’s get serious for a minute, bills, obligations, and other necessities come first. Though you may read everywhere online that you should quit your day job and go traveling, and this is the solution to all of your problems…It is not. Traveling isn’t exactly for everyone all of the time. It can be exhausting for some and you may need a home to give you roots and a good place to go when you get home-sick. Most people who travel have these bills to pay and that should always be remembered when making a travel budget.
Budget Your Trip
- Consider your bills and obligations.
- Food and drink
You should have done this already with your personal finance to see how much money is leaving your pockets and how much money is accumulating in them on a monthly basis. If not, do it now. See how much money you have saved up for a trip, how much more money you will accumulate in the time to add to this savings for your trip, and how much you are going to need to pay at home while you are going on your trip. It is important to plan this out carefully so you don’t strain your wallet when you return. Just because you have savings doesn’t mean you have to use it all on your travels. You should have a safety net of money in your savings before you start your savings for traveling. I know this goes against what most people will tell you online, but it is true. Don’t forget about your life back home…eventually you need to return to it.
Booking your flight is going to be a major expense. Look at how much you have to spend and start searching areas that are within your budget to travel. Keep in mind the other expenses of traveling that we are going to discuss below. Also, some places in the world it is expensive to fly to, but once you are there all of your other expenses are incredibly cheap. Shop around on different websites to find the right flight for the right price. We like to use Sky Scanner to find our flights.
Depending on how much your flight cost, decide whether you are going to camp, stay in a hostel, or find yourself a nice cozy hotel. Camping sometimes requires permits, so be careful. Hostels can be good, but do your research on where you are staying. Hotels are the same, but if your looking for luxury and it is within the budget…why not go for it. We like booking with Hotels.com (Search Here for Hotels.com Best Hotel Deals!) because of the rewards program and discounts that they offer.
How are you going to get around? Will you take public transportation? How much does it cost to take the metro or bus? Is it possible to taxi from destination to destination? How much are taxis in that area? Do you need to rent a car? Depending on where you are traveling to, you may need to rent a car. Some locations are just not reliable with public transportation or taxis. Having a car on-hand all of the time allows you to be flexible. In some locations, public transportation is amazing, efficient, AND cheap! Do your research and plan accordingly.
Depending on how much you like to eat and drink, this one can get expensive. I like to budget for spending at least $30 (USD) per day wherever I am going as a rough number. This allows me $10 each for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I will add more if I know the location I’m going to is more expensive, but I will generally not budget any less than that a day for food and drinks. Any extra money I don’t use in that budget can be used towards something else.
Getting to a national park or an attraction is covered in our transportation segment. However, it isn’t always free to get into that attraction. Make sure you add up all of the costs of entertainment that you plan and add them to the budget.
An added bonus to this list are souvenirs. Everyone has something they may want to bring home. Some take pictures and video, while others bring back something to show off that they have traveled to that country. Have a little extra money ready for buying souvenirs. If you know you are a big spender when it comes time for souvenir shopping, plan accordingly. This is the last thing you can consider when you budget your trip.
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