Travel Budget Series Part #2: How to Create a Travel Budget… and Stick to It
By Chaitanya Bala
Last week, we covered a few cool ways you can save money while you’re on vacation. As much as following these tips will help you save, what you really need from the get-go to ensure you’re staying within your budget is to, well, learn how to make a budget and stick to it! And nowadays, it’s way easier to do so with cool online travel budget planners such as Budget Your Trip. So what are some of the essentials that go into calculating a travel budget? Keep reading to get started!
It's probably very unlikely you're going to walk everywhere on your trip, so set aside money for transportation. This will consist of everything including your airfare to your destination, taxi cabs you’ll take as you go from place to place at your destination, and who knows – even camel rides!
1.) Start out by calculating your airfare. If you’re traveling somewhere by car, calculate your gas expense.
2.) Once you’ve got that down, think about all the sites you want to see on your trip. How are you going to get from site to site? Will you be taking taxis, Ubers, or perhaps a subway/train? Keep all this in mind as you calculate the expense for your in-destination transportation costs.
Unless you actually wish to couchsurf during your entire vacation, you’re more than likely going to have to dish out a few hundred bucks on hotels or guesthouses at some point. Ask yourself these questions as you figure out lodging:
1.) So, where exactly do you plan to do most of your sightseeing? If you’ve got that figured out, look for lodging around this area.
2.) Do all the hotels around these tourist areas seem expensive? If so, check out Airbnb for more cost-efficient lodging. If that doesn’t work for you, definitely look a little outside the main city for more affordable places to stay.
Did anyone get just a little excited when they saw this section? I know I’m excited right now just writing about food! This is probably the most important part of any vacation. Who doesn’t dream of eating exotic cuisine and food-porning that all over Instagram? But this still requires a budget, which means you need to consider the following:
1.) Where are you eating for breakfast? Is it complimentary at your hotel, or are you going gourmet and dishing out a few bills at a local restaurant?
2.) Around lunch time, you’ll most likely be sightseeing and in touristy places. What’s the price range for restaurants in these areas?
3.) Snack time is pretty important. Whether you’re going to get some ice cream or spiced nuts, you’re probably going to spend some money on snacks and drinks at some point before dinner.
4.) And finally, dinner! This will probably be your most expensive meal of the day, so ensure you’ve got ample money for that.
Aside from all the beautiful sites you will be visiting and taking pictures at, there is likely going to be some great entertainment in your destination, as well. Take all the following into account:
1.) Do you like going to see shows, such as concerts, theatrical productions, or circuses? These may be major attractions in your area at the time of your arrival, so take them into account if you plan on attending.
2.) Are you going to a major coastal area? Well, this likely means many water activities such as cruise tours, kayaking, surfing, and scuba diving. You definitely wouldn’t want to miss out on these, so look up prices for these activities in your area.
3.) Finally, are you a fan of the nightlife? Well, if you’re traveling to a festive area where nightlife is popular, you should take into account cover charges, and of course, alcohol.
Gifts & Souvenirs
You simply cannot leave your destination without picking up a couple souvenirs for the house. Whether it’s going to be a simple mini snow globe you put up on your showcase or a nice, warm hoodie to wear on the cold airplane back home, you’re definitely going to need some extra cash for souvenirs. In addition, think of these people:
1.) Your friends. They couldn’t make it on the trip with you, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bring a piece of your trip back to them!
2.) Your coworkers. More likely than not, they know you’re on vacation. And guess what, they’re definitely expecting something. Don’t disappoint them and pick out a few keychains for your colleagues…at least for the ones you like!
Now let's face it. Even though we all would love to just spend our money on the good n' happy things in life, we still need to be prepared for the bad, too. The last step in building up your traveling budget is ensuring you've got the money for medical emergencies:
1.) How much is it going to cost for you to purchase a simple First Aid Kit if someone were to sustain a slight injury?
2.) Does anyone in your party have a medical condition/food allergy? What’s the risk of them suffering an episode/allergic reaction during your trip? Do you have the necessary resources to handle this?
3.) Have you gotten insured yet so that you will be covered in case you run into way bigger emergencies?
So there you have it! A step-by-step guide to help you build a great, reliable travel budget. As great as having a budget is, make sure you are prepared for extra expenditures and carry cash on you always. Next week, we will delve into some of the resources you can use to actually keep track of your budget.
Until next time!☺