Your Summer Vacation Guide Part #2:
Budgeting for Your International Trip
So by now, you’ve hopefully decided where your ideal summer vacation destination will be. If so, congrats! You’ve gotten through the first hurdle! But of course, in order to enjoy your vacation, you probably want to make sure you have enough money to get around, buy some souvenirs, and enjoy the entertainment and sightseeing. Before we tell you how to make a travel budget for your international ventures, there’s one thing you need to realize: not all vacation destinations are budgeted equally. While some parts of the world require you to splurge, other parts have a pretty favorable exchange rates and allow you to pretty much buy a shopping mall’s worth of goodies (if you can fit it all in your luggage.) So here’s a detailed guide of what a good budget would be for 3 frequently-traveled regions of the world!
Western Europe ($$$)
If you’re traveling to any of the Western European nations, including the UK, France, Netherlands or Germany for example, you should probably stock up on lots of cash. Western European countries generally are more wealthy and have a more luxurious feel to them than their Eastern European counterparts, so everything from sleeping to dining will probably cost more. Plus, with the exchange rate being €0.88 EUR to every $1.00 USD, the exchange rate doesn’t really help. These are the average costs you can expect in Western European countries:
Accommodation: If you just can’t imagine a visit to Europe without staying at a nice, somewhat luxurious hotel, you’re looking at around $430/night. This is based on average rates in Paris. Even if you decide to Airbnb it, it’s highly unlikely you’ll find a room under $95/night.
Food: Food does not come too cheap in Western Europe. According to Nomadic Matt’s site, you can expect to spend around $17-22 for an average meal at a restaurant. Cheap food is supposed to range from $8-12. That’s not too bad, but it’s not exactly a steal, either.
Transportation: The coolest thing about Europe is that you can literally make it around most of the continent by simply using the high-speed Eurail train. But be forewarned – this is very expensive. If you want to explore 4 countries, you’re already looking at $151. And that doesn’t even include the taxis and busses you’d take inside the city.
Shopping & Entertainment: This is also going take a huge chunk out of your wallet, so be warned. Depending on which country in the region you’re at, you’ll probably spend anywhere from $55-110 on museum tours to French Cabaret shows. Not to mention some of the world’s best designer clothing will likely be found in this area of world.
East Asia ($$)
East Asia is definitely an animal of its own. Being a hybrid of cheap local cuisine and simple living with high-end goods and entertainment, it’s definitely hard to pinpoint whether traveling here would make a dent on your wallet or not. So I recommend you have a mid-tier budget planned out if you’re visiting any of the East Asian countries, including China, South Korea, or Japan, among others. Although the exchange rates look pretty nice, you’ll notice that the prices of some things you’ll find in these countries are comparable to USD values of goods and services, depending on what you’re purchasing.
Accommodation: You can relax a little in this portion of the trip, as accommodation is very reasonable. You can find highly-rated private rooms anywhere in these countries for around $20/night if you look on Airbnb. Highly-rated hotels may range anywhere from $120 to $500 a night on average, depending on where you’re staying. Japan is definitely on the pricier side, while China is much more affordable.
Food: Food is something you can absolutely relish in as much as you want in any of these countries – that is, if you’re down to eat local cuisine. If you get yourself some jajangmyeon noodles, it will probably cost you around $2.50. A plate of sushi in the U.S. ranges anywhere from $15-20. But in Japan, you can get a nice plate for less than $5.00. Bottom line: go with local cuisine!
Transportation: If you’re in South Korea, you can travel throughout the country via subway. And if you’re just trying to get from place to place within Seoul, it will cost you only about ₩2,500 – which is less than a couple U.S. dollars. Japan’s transportation is reasonable when it comes to price, but communication may be a problem, as there aren’t English capabilities like in South Korea. Learn some basic Japanese before heading out there!
Shopping & Entertainment: This is where your wallet might start suffering just a little. What you’ll probably realize is that East Asian fashion is hot right now. Have you noticed all the stuff Sephora is selling these days? Yeah – that’s all influenced by East Asian fashion products. So if you’re into fashion, you will definitely end up splurging quite a bit at the malls.
Latin America ($)
If there was anything in life you had to take a deep breath and say no to because it was too expensive, have no fear in Latin America! Sure, some parts of Latin America are infamous for not being very clean, and with the Zika Virus outbreak, that’s even more prominent. But if you’re looking for an amazing, fun time without having to worry about not having the cash to throw around, I’d like to assure you all that those of you traveling to Latin American can lay loose on the budget. You won’t have to splurge much. With cheap labor abundant in many of these nations, you’re looking at a very low daily cost.
Accommodation: Housing is literally dirt-cheap in many Latin American countries. Just taking a little sampling of countries in this area, we’re looking at $15/night in Mexico City, $10/night in Guatemala, and as low as $20/night in Peru on Airbnb. And get this – these are prices can get you an entire house; not just one tiny room.
Food: Much like East Asia, go local with the cuisine. You will fill your stomach and keep your soul and wallet happy. Also taking a sampling here, you can expect to spend less than $1 on a full plate of tacos in Mexico or pupusas in El Salvador. Obviously, seafood will cost more anywhere you go, but you can expect your tummy to be button-popping full, and still spend less than $10 on your meal.
Transportation: In Latin America, and especially in South America, the bus is your best friend. You will travel everywhere on a bus. Although taxis aren’t super expensive, the bus is the most economic means of transportation. An example of this can be seen by the very popular route of Cali, Columbia to Quito Ecuador. Although not luxurious, the entire trip will only cost you $34.
Shopping & Entertainment: You can entertain yourself for cheap in Latin America. Unlike Western European countries, museum entry is actually free. And given that you are in some of the more tropical areas of the world, you can enjoy lots of fun physical activities, like paragliding and canoeing for less than $20 on average. Still, be aware that some of the bigger tourist attractions like Machu Picchu in Peru have a very high demand and will therefore be a bit more expensive.
We hope we’ve helped you earmark a reasonable budget based on the destination you will be traveling to! As always, this is not an all-inclusive list of all regions of the world traveled, so wherever you’re going, make sure to do your own budgeting research. And check out travel insurance before traveling anywhere, just to be safe. Next week, we’ll be hunting down some last minute travel deals for you all so you can finish the booking process. Stay tuned!