First things first. Let`s start with
Creating your Travel Budget
The first step is to save money for your travels before leaving. This will increase your travel budget significantly, but the key is putting away some cash while you are planning your next adventure, or even better – start saving for the next trip as soon as you come home.
Determinate an amount you want to spend on getting to your destination and back, as well as getting around. Let`s call it a Transportation budget. You have to really do your math and include stuff like airfare, gas, route tolls, parking, rentals, trains, buses – everything connected to moving around. I usually go online and follow my travel route to calculate all transportation expenses. Do your research, talk to travel agents, check the rates for all your destinations in the time frame you want to visit.
As soon as you sort out your transportation costs, the next step is figuring out your Lodging expenses. This includes hotels, bed and breakfast, resorts… anyplace you’ll sleep for the night. You can determine your budget separately on per-nigh basis or for the overall trip. In any case, look and compare hotels rates on websites such as Expedia, Kayak, Orbitz and Hotwire. I usually use Booking to follow my desired destinations and keep my eye on Smart Deals if opportunity presents itself.
The next logical step is including a Food budget. You`ll have to consider eating out since you`ll be staying in hotels and traveling around. This budget will have to cover all your meals, drinks and snacks. If you plan to cook for yourself, consider a budget for groceries and other food supply. Again, go online, check for local prices and do your math.
Not every experience will be free, so you`ll have to decide how much you are willing to spend on entertainment. This budget will include various tickets, shows, park fees, excursions and other events. Get some price info about museums, tourist attractions, national and amusement parks or whatever you plan to visit. Surf a couple of websites and get some idea about how much your fun is worth.
Focus on the little things that can pile up at the end. This means you should consider as much incidentals as you can, like renting a sun umbrella on the beach, replacing a ticket, long distance phone calls, or an unplanned stop at the pharmacy. The best thing to do is to put aside a little bit of money for emergencies so it won’t affect your travel budget as much.
Set aside a separate budget for gifts and souvenirs. Even thought you are in control, sometimes impulse shopping can harm your overall budget. So the best thing to do is to focus on pictures, memories and good time instead of material things.
Consider currency conversions when traveling abroad. Figure out how much cash you need to exchange at the right currency. The easiest way is to go online for currency rates and double check with your bank or other financial institution. Sometimes the safest way is to pay with your credit card when you can.
Get online help when creating a travel budget. There are site like Budget Your Trip and Saving For Travel that provide different tools for calculating your expenses separately. This way you`ll get a general idea of how much you really need to spend on transportation, food, lodging and other needs.
Sometimes what you don`t see can hurt your budget the most. Remember to pay all home bills before leaving or arrange for automatic payments. Traveling during off peak season can be a huge budget saver or try visiting places where you can stay with friends and relatives.