So, your dreams of getting out of your hometown and experiencing foreign travel are coming true. By now, you have likely picked a beautiful destination and even searched about it online. You may want to strike while the iron’s hot and check the total cost of your travel along with the everyday expenses. Don’t forget to create a cost timeline for when you can afford to take this vacation. Multiple variables like location and personal travel preferences tend to factor in one’s total travel expense. Therefore, it’s essential to develop a travel budget at your earliest.
Planning your finances will let you enjoy your long-awaited vacation without having to haggle for pennies. And keeping that in mind, here are some questions to ponder on when budgeting for travel.
Will you buy insurance?
Sure, investing in travel insurance may seem like a trivial and unnecessary cost that your budget can certainly do without. Then again, what if an emergency strikes during your holiday? What if an injury and some medical bills disrupt the serenity of your vacation? To avoid losing calm (and cash) during such scenarios, aspiring travelers must save in advance and get insurance before setting their sails.
What activities will you prioritize?
Sadly, most people leave travel activities when calculating their budget. Why? For starters, one usually decides them in the spur of the moment, so they’re not easily accountable. However, most travel activities don’t vary as significantly and can be estimated. For instance, you’re going on a hiking getaway in the picturesque Appalachia mountains and can’t resist a little shopping in Sevierville TN, on your way back.
Try finding out the costs for the expedition and the travel from and back to your lodgings. Similarly, maybe you’re going to New Zealand and want to try bungee jumping. In this case, you can research the needed safety precautions and check out past customer reviews for the instructors.
Moreover, it’ll do good to determine if your travel destination allows for a bit of haggling and negotiation. It might not be possible to negotiate a lower bungee jumping rate in New Zealand’s Pipeline Bungy. Yet, you might be able to haggle on guided tours of the islands in Malaysia. Even though the initial cost estimates may assist you in budgeting, it’s also worth knowing when and where one can pay less than asked for.
What mode of transport will you use?
The first rule of travel is to book your flights a few weeks ahead of your travel date; this applies to both domestic and international travel. The more time you waste, the higher the ticket prices will climb and the harder it’ll be for you to book at a reasonable cost. Credit card owners might get lucky and land a free ticket if they can capitalize on their air miles. Additionally, it’s always in one’s favor to sign up for loyalty programs. That way, you’ll know about your favorite airline’s newest offerings and deals before all others.
Do you know what modes of transportation frequent your travel destination? If not, then a little preliminary research will help. For instance, if you’re a solo adventurer, public transport and commuting is the most affordable choice. However, if you’re traveling with a big group, it’s in your best interest to rent out a vehicle, e.g., a van. Assess your travel needs and the costs of both options to decide which one is more viable.
What will you eat?
Many travel enthusiasts are big foodies at heart. And regardless of the initial urge to explore diverse cultures and visit heritage sites, delighting in the local cuisines is central to every trip. So, checking out the local markets and hawker centers is a cheap way to fill your stomach without emptying your pocket.
Most importantly, be sure to look up the local eateries and dine-in options in the area. And if you’re already on your trip, ask the locals for recommendations. As a result, you can budget your food costs and plan your day-to-day meals easily.
And if you want to bring your food expenses even lower, book a place to stay that offers complimentary breakfast. That way, you can stuff yourself early in the morning and manage to keep your hunger pangs under control for the better half of the day.
What souvenirs and gifts can you buy?
Can you guess which part of a trip eats up most of the budget and leads to overspending? It’s souvenir shopping. Usually, foreign escapades can compel people to return with souvenirs for at least close friends and family. Yet, most of those hurriedly-gathered gifts won’t be of much practical use in the long term. For example, the clichéd Eiffel tower keychain you can probably purchase from a shop in your hometown! Be smart and cut back such expenses if you want to stay on budget.
Where are your expenses going?
Along with pre-trip planning, it’s also wise to keep track of your spending during your travels. Doing so can allow you to confirm whether you were on target with your initial budget or not. For instance, perhaps you overestimated accommodation costs, and your hotel in Izmir turned out to be less expensive. Or underestimated your transport costs, and a tuk-tuk driver ripped you off in Phuket.
Tracking your expenses can help you gain perspective about your spending habits during travel. In turn, you can plan and budget more efficiently for your next holiday. You can choose from many travel expense tracking apps such as One Receipt, TripRider, Mint, and Trail Wallet and plan your budget.
Wrapping it up
When done right, travel can uplift and rejuvenate even the most burnt-out souls. The key to a memorable and cherishable trip is a solid plan, and of course, the execution of that plan. And a plan is only complete with a detailed budget outlining necessary expenses and areas of overspending. This article went over some valuable tips to guide you on your future travels and limit overspending. These include, but aren’t limited to, rethinking souvenir shopping, prioritizing activities, researching transport options, budgeting meals.
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