Travel Tips: Seven Tips to Budget for a Trip

Written by: Carla De Guzman/Monday, Jan 08, 2018 09:05 AM

There’s so much of the world to see that it would be a shame to waste it. This year, why not sit down and see if you can actually afford to go? From predicting seat sales to catching hotel early bird bookings, the secret to a low-cost trip is all in the pre-planning. We consulted with friends and looked up some pro tips on budgeting for travel, so you don’t get caught off-guard by major expenses!


List Down Your Major Expenses

In every travel venture, there are at least three significant expenses that cannot be avoided—your plane ticket, your hotel and (for some) your visa application. These fees are impossible to escape, and even if you did manage to get in on a good deal, can still comprise the major bulk of your spending. If you’re still in the budgeting stages, we recommend looking at accommodation sites that let you cancel reservations for free, just in case you find a better deal. 

At this point, it would be wise to add in costs of other transportation. Are you booking a taxi to get from the airport to your hotel? Are you taking major transportation to get from one city to another? Some modes of transport, like the train, will give you a discount if you book early. 

Also add here the fees for any attractions you may visit, such as theme parks, museums or exhibitions. These places are usually very public about the cost of a ticket, and the sooner you know, the better the costs will be for you. 



Divide per day, then add food costs

Depending on the number of days you are spending in that country, divide your costs. This way you know on average how much your standard daily expenses are. To this, you add your cost for a standard day of food (and coffee, if you need it). To get an idea of a standard cost of a meal requires a bit of Internet digging. A meal in Iceland averages $60-100, while a sit-down restaurant in Manila can charge you from $15-20 per plate. These costs vary depending on where you decide to eat, so we suggest bumping up the budget a little to accommodate sudden snacking, and convenience store raids. 



Add Your Other Transportation Costs

Your inner city transportation costs will once again vary per city. Taipei offers tourists varied day passes where you get an unlimited number of rides. In London, if there are at least four in your party, it is sometimes cheaper to hire a black cab rather than the four of you taking the Underground. But if in case you really are stumped, a budget of $10-20 per day is always a safe bet, unless you prefer to take taxis all throughout. 



Budget for Fun

You never know what you need to spend your cash on, and adding a small amount to your daily budget for souvenirs, drinks or street snacks is smart. You’re on vacation, after all, there’s not much use in penny-pinching now. 



Divide your Budget into daily envelopes

If you’re strict about sticking to your budget and have very little wiggle room, we recommend separating your daily budget for food, transportation, and fun into an envelope, with each envelope representing a day you’re traveling. If you have a hotel safe, you can keep the rest of your money there. The envelope makes sure you stick to your daily budget, and a little note in the form of how much that day is in your local currency will help you stay grounded. 



Track expenses Ltd

If you’re not comfortable leaving money behind, there are several expense trackers online that can help keep you in the black. We recommend Wally for easy cataloging, or Trip Splitter if you're traveling with a group. 



A Final Tip

When it comes to exchanging money, the rates will always be infinitely better if you exchange your local currency abroad. And always, always transact with legitimate, local banks! 

At the end of the day, you’ll never be able to pin down the exact number you need for your adventures, but a little pre-planning can go a long way.


What are your travel goals?



About Carla De Guzman
Carla de Guzman is the author of self-published books Cities, Marry Me Charlotte B! and We Go Together. She loves to travel, coming home to her dog Kimchi and spending her weekends having dinner with her crazy family by day. By night, she’s writer and an artist, spending her midnights at her desk. Follow her on Instagram (@somemidnights) for more!


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