Budgeting does not look the same for every kind of travel. You may be a tourist taking a much-needed vacation away from work or may be a student who’s studying abroad for a semester. A lot of tips about budgeting and saving money seem like a no-brainer, but there’s a lot more that you need to consider BEFORE you even step foot off the plane. Trying to keep up with money matters can be stressful at times, especially when you just want to get to the fun part of making your dream itinerary on the Travilous app. But that dream won’t be feasible unless you take the time to research and create a plan to fund your trip. So grab a pen and paper and take some notes as we tell you how to budget for literally ANY trip.
The first step in budgeting for any trip is to plan ahead of time what exactly you want to do. This includes deciding where you want to go and how many people you want to bring with you.
Not all trips cost the same. Some countries have a higher cost of living than other countries. Additionally, some foreign currencies (like the Mexican peso) have exchange rates that favor the dollar: meaning that you will get more bang for your buck than if you were to travel somewhere in Europe, where the exchange rate for the dollar is higher. In simpler terms, you may have more buying power in some countries rather than others. So all of this needs to be considered before you start saving and budgeting for the actual trip.
A great tool to use that will help you to decide whether or not your dream trip will be feasible is the Numbeo Cost of Living Calculator. You can use this calculator to compare the cost of living where you live now to any other place in the world. You can also look at other data such as food prices and crime indexes to help you make your decision.
Start Saving Early
Budgeting is all about maximizing your savings and minimizing your expenses as much as possible. We would all like for money to not be an issue during travel. To make that a reality, you can’t just save a random amount of money and then expect to be okay. The best way to budget is to set a reasonable goal and then work to meet or exceed that goal. You have to actively look at minimizing the expenses that you have now so that you can maximize your buying power in the future. When it comes to saving for any trip, keep these things in mind:
- Save a portion of your budget now to go towards travel
- Secure a steady source of income
- If you have no source of income, then it’s going to be next to impossible to save money. Examples of income sources include part-time jobs or freelance work.
- If you’re a student, look for scholarships that your school may offer for participating in exchange programs
- Cut down on unnecessary expenses
- This can be as simple as choosing to cook more instead of going out to eat. Or making coffee at home as opposed to buying your cup of joe at coffee shops every week. These seem like small luxuries, but you’d be surprised at how much money you can save as these expenses add up.
Good savers look for any opportunity to maximize their savings and minimize the amount they have to pay out of pocket. This includes looking for affordable plane tickets. If you’re a student, one of the best places to look for low-cost plane tickets is Student Universe. You can also find discounted hotel reservations and tours here as well.
Don’t Spend All of Your Money at the Airport
One of the easiest traps many travelers fall into is spending their money at the airport.
A study conducted by Business Insider examined how airports are designed to get you to spend more money. The study states that most airports have implemented the idea of a “recomposure zone,” which is the zone where travelers can regain their composure after going through all the hassle of getting to the airport, checking in, getting tickets, handling luggage, and going through security. Airports are quite literally profiting off of the distress of travelers. So keeping this in mind will help you to avoid this trap and save a little extra money in your pocket.
When you go to an airport and finally pass security, what do you see plastered all around the stores? “Duty-Free.” Although duty-free shops can save you money on items that are normally highly-taxed, overall most products are priced anywhere over 34% to 50% higher when you buy them at the airport. So try to avoid making any unnecessary purchases at the airport, and bring whatever you may need in advance before you get there.
When it comes to any trip, there are things that you will have to prioritize for your unique situation. If you’re a student studying abroad, making sure you have stable living accommodations will be a top priority for you than for a traveler who’s just visiting the city for a couple of days. If you’re a photographer looking to fill your Travilous feed with amazing photos, transportation to and from sights will be a top priority for you rather than another traveler. This means that after making your itinerary and deciding where to go and what to do, you need to make a list of your top priorities. This list will be important because the priorities at the top of the list will be allocated funds from your budget first. Once you have the most important things taken care of financially, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your travel to the fullest without having to worry about the smaller expenses.
As they say,
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Keep a Consistent Budget
Keeping a budget is straight-forward for traveling. The easiest way to create one is to use the list of places you made on your itinerary and add up those expenses. Then add up all of your travel-related expenses like hotel reservations, transportation, food, and meals. These will be the necessities you need to budget for. Finally, create a surplus to that budget for things like shopping and unexpected events.
For a week-long trip, an easy way to create a budget is to just divide the above budget by the number of days you will be traveling, and try to meet or stay under that budget. If you’re studying abroad, you can do the same thing and create a monthly (or even better weekly) budget.
Having a budget adds peace of mind because you don’t need to worry about whether or not you will have enough money to do the things you want towards the end of your trip. Once you budget for things you know you will expect, then you don’t have to worry when you want to do things outside of your itinerary. The key to making money “not an issue,” is to do the work to plan ahead and not try to estimate costs in your head. Once you keep a consistent budget, you let the numbers do the work for you.
Leave Souvenir Shopping for the End of your Trip
During your trip, it’s easy to see something you like and to go crazy with spending. But this goes against the last tip in keeping a consistent budget. Getting family members and friends something nice from a trip is a common courtesy. But you don’t want to go breaking the bank on trinkets when trying to maintain your budget. Unless souvenirs are a top priority for your travel, try to buy them towards the end of your trip.
- Avoid buying souvenirs at the airport
- This should be a no-brainer. Remember when we told you how overpriced everything is in the airport. Well, the same goes for souvenirs, and this seems to be the case across the board in most airports around the world. So do yourself a favor and try to keep souvenir shopping outside of the airports when possible.
- Ask a local
- Locals usually are keen on where to find the best deals for anything. So try to ask a local where to buy some nice souvenirs. Also, if possible try to actually buy souvenirs from the locals instead of at chain stores. You may be able to find better prices, and you can also contribute directly to the local community who is working to make sure you have a great travel experience! Win-win for everyone!
Budgeting is the difference between a regular trip and a stress-free, dream vacation. So use these tips when making your budget and planning for your next vacation! You can use the Travilous app to help you plan your next trip and keep track of all the things you’d like to do during your holiday. Happy travels!