How To Create Your Own Travel Budget
Do you know there are people in the world who don't own a passport? Knowing this fills me with sadness and anxiety because I can't imagine what life would be like if I never travelled. That being said, I know the reason many people don't travel is due to the cost. But creating a pre-travel budget can help anyone who wants to make travel part of their life. Travel expenses do add up and can vary dramatically depending on your intended destination but there are ways to bring the costs down to meet your own budget.
Where you stay and how you travel will influence the cost of your trip so get clear on your priorities and what matters to you then allocate your budget accordingly. There will be a huge difference between the cost to stay in a hostel and the price of staying in a 4* hotel. Likewise, flying often costs more than coach or train and local buses are normally cheaper than using taxis to get around. When creating a pre-travel budget, here are the main expenses to consider:
As mentioned above, the cost of getting to your intended destination will vary depending on the mode of transport you opt for. If you're only headed to one place, flying could be your best option. However, if you're planning to visit a few places, there could be a cheaper option. In addition, you’ll need to include the transport costs during your stay.
Of course, once you arrive, the first thing most people want to do is take a shower then sleep. Depending on where you stay, accommodation could account for a large percentage of your budget. On the other hand, with websites like https://www.couchsurfing.com your accommodation could end up costing you absolutely nothing.
For some, food has the potential to take a huge chunk of their budget. I know when I travel, I love to sample local cuisine and I don't like to be restricted by my budget. I don't eat McDonald's or KFC at home therefore I don't want a limited budget to force me to do so when I'm traveling.
However, for some, food is low priority and a basic necessity therefore their budget could be significantly less. Additionally, if like me you follow a particular type of diet, you may need to increase your food budget as it could be more expensive to accommodate your dietary requirements in another country. Finally, if your destination has a tipping culture, you will also need to add this cost to your food budget.
The cost of excursions and sightseeing can quickly add up so it's best to have an idea in advance what you absolutely want to see, do and experience? Then do your research. Are there any discounts available for being a student, an EU or US citizen or for booking in advance? For museums and galleries, there are often specific days and times where you can visit for free. Many major cities also offer discount cards for the main tourist attractions.
These costs are often overlooked or sometimes, you're not even aware they exist. The most important pre-travel cost is travel insurance. Compare costs and read the small print. Know what’s covered and only pay for what you need. You then have costs such as visas, immunizations, luggage and possibly clothes, shoes and accessories. Additionally, if you are someone who gets their hair braided or a manicure and pedicure before traveling you need to include these costs in your budget.
Roaming and internet connection
Do you want to keep in touch with friends, family or clients while you’re away? Roaming costs can be astronomical and Wi-Fi is not always guaranteed or widely available. Check the internet availability and costs before you depart and consider buying a local sim card when you arrive.
Credit card fees /currency exchange fees
Having a credit card can be useful for emergencies or if you want to take advantage of a spontaneous opportunity. However, most credit cards charge for using your card abroad so make sure you know what the fees on your card are before you leave.
Food when traveling
We've already mentioned adding the cost of food during your holiday to your budget, but it may also be necessary to spend some money on food whilst in transit.
The cost of food at airports or on budget airlines is super-inflated and you could end up paying three times as much for a sandwich or bottle of water. Ideally you can be prepared and bring snacks with you, however if you encounter delays or layovers it may be necessary to spend some money on food.
Finally, you need to include a contingency fund for unexpected extras and emergencies. Be sure to keep your emergency contingency fund separate to the rest of your budget so you don't accidentally spend it on a spontaneous excursion, only to then have a disaster and need that money.
Budget Your Trip, Rough Guides and Independent Traveler are great resources that provide useful information on travel costs around the world and can help you to create a customized budget. Trail Wallet is a highly recommended app that allows you to track your spending while you travel.
Making it happen
Once you have a clear idea of your budget the final step is of course to save the money to make it happen. One of the most effective ways of doing this is to set up a separate untouchable travel account. Set up a standing order to ensure you add money to your travel fund each time you get paid. Decide what you are willing to sacrifice or compromise in order to make your trip a reality then choose an amount you can realistically afford to save. Like everything else in life, you get what you commit to and with enough research and careful planning, if you want to travel, you can.
Leanne Lindsey is a freelance blogger, qualified careers adviser and certified life coach who loves inspiring and motivating women to live happy, healthy lives they love by sharing simple and practical insights on self-care and wellbeing. She is a native Londoner who is currently trying out life the beautiful island of Tenerife. You can connect with her in The Self-Love & Wellness Lounge, at her website www.leannelindsey.co.uk and on IG @leanne__lindsey.