A Step by Step Guide: How to Budget For Travel

Budgeting for Travel

Budgeting for a trip is half the fun. You get to research your new destination, decide what you want to do, discover how much that will cost you, and make a detailed plan of how to save to make it a trip to remember. But sometimes it can be difficult to know where to start, especially if you don’t travel often. So with that, here’s a break down to make it a little easier for your next big trip.

How to Budget for your Next Big Trip

STEP ONE: Find out how much it will cost you

Start asking yourself the big questions early on, but more importantly decide on answers. Who will you travel with? Will you go alone or with friends? Where will you go? How long will you be gone for? Asking the questions is one thing, but finding answers is a whole different ball game. There’s a lot of information out there on the internet and in this day and age, your options for where to go in the world are endless. Pin down your answers and stick to them. Decide where you will go, who with, and for how long. Then research how much money you will need for this kind of trip. The easiest way to do this is to factor in the big expenses: Airfare, Travel Insurance, Accommodation, and any big tech buys (i.e. if you’re going to buy a new solo travel camera or gopro for the adventurous types). Next, set yourself a budget for daily expenses: how much are you likely to need per day for food, transport and extra activities?

DON’T FORGET: Answer who you will go with, where to, and how long for?

STEP TWO: Decide what you can / can’t afford 

Now that you have a general idea in mind of how much you will need for your trip, its time to make smart decisions about what you can and cannot afford. If you can’t afford to stay in a hotel, look at your alternatives. If you’re after a social vibe, hostels are great… but for many people the idea of sleeping in communal rooms isn’t ideal. That’s fine too! Consider alternatives like booking a private room or entire apartment through Air BnB or Wimdu (great alternative in Europe).

DON’T FORGET: Make a decision on what type of travel your budget allows for

STEP THREE: Make a realistic assumption for how much you need to save

So now you know the basics of your trip – who you’re going with (if anyone), where to, and how long for. You also know what you can and can’t afford. If you can’t afford five star hotels but like the idea of spacious rooms and envious balcony views, consider your alternatives. If you want to splurge on the occasional night of luxury, consider where you can rent a luxury room for less.

DON’T FORGET: Be realistic, detail how much you need to save & decide if its attainable

brooke flying

STEP FOUR: Research money-saving travel tips to cut costs

The internet is full of great FREE resources to help you cut your travel costs. On this website you can start with a couple of popular articles – How to cut your expenses at home for traveland 10 of the biggest money saving tips for when you travelA quick google search later and you’ll find loads more helpful articles… but if you have any specific requests for new articles on WOW, feel free to comment below what you’d like to read next!

DON’T FORGET: Be prepared. Research before you go

STEP FIVE: Know how to handle your money on the road

Most people looking to save money for travel will think about ways to save money BEFORE they go, but don’t forget its just as important to know how to save and handle your money overseas. Beyond immediate savings (like cutting food costs, finding cheap airfares etc), you can also save a lot of money by knowing how to handle your funds overseas. To date the best travel credit card I have found has been the 28 Degrees Mastercard as they don’t charge any international transaction fees etc to use the card as a credit card, but beware the ATM fees – a new change implemented a couple of years ago. Some basic knowledge will also help – like never exchanging money at airports, pay for as much as you can before you leave home, and to split your money sources in case of an emergency.

DON’T FORGET: Get a good travel credit card, some cash for arrival, and don’t go without travel insurance!

brooke saward

STEP SIX: Don’t forget to prioritise your happiness!

Saving money tends to be the top of most traveller’s lists because: A) everyone likes to save a buck and B) the more you save, the longer you can spend on the road or the more travels in the future. But don’t forget to have fun & prioritise your happiness! After all, you have spent a lot of time, effort and money to come to the stage of actually leaving for this trip – so you might as well ENJOY IT!
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