Budgeting for a trip seems easy, right? You just need to save a bunch of money and divide it into 3: food, flights and hotels. But what about those cool activities you want to try or figuring out how to get from A to B? There are a lot of little incidentals that go into budgeting for your vacation and it can be incredibly overwhelming. With this guide, you won’t miss a single detail!
Figure Out What You Need
When creating your budget abroad, you need to know where your money is going. Sure flights, accommodation and food will be expensive, but where is the rest of your money going? When creating your budget, you’re going to need to include the following items:
- Airfare and flight extras (baggage, food, seat assignments, etc.)
- Transportation (to the airport, between cities and throughout the location you’re visiting)
- Food (During your stay and while you’re commuting)
- Travel Insurance
- Health (malaria tablets, pain relievers, bandages, etc.)
- Activities (tours, equipment rentals, tips)
- Shopping and gifts
- Miscellaneous (I always include this in case I spend more in one area or forgot something)
I consider all of these mandatory, including the insurance. If you’re on a tight budget, try to find an insurance carrier that’s low cost or covers a little less. But trust me when I say that I’ve learned the hard way what it’s like traveling without insurance!
Research Various Prices
In the beginning stages of your budgeting, you’re going to have to guestimate. The price of your flight is going to vary greatly 6 months away vs. when you actually purchase them. So start to get a general guideline.
I mentioned in my very first post that your budget doesn’t have to be accurate. You really just need to get an idea as to what you’re going to spend. Looking up flight, food and accommodation costs will give you a clue as to how much you’ll be spending and how much you will have to save.
The very beginning of your budget should look a little something like this:
As your trip date gets closer and closer, you’re going to fine tune your budget more precisely. Maybe you discovered that flight prices have changed. Or perhaps you realized you won’t be able to save as much as you had hoped. Getting a more precise figure will help keep you from worrying and knowing exactly what you will need.
But how do you start to get a real figure? It’s hard to know what the local cost of food and transportation is when they vary so greatly. Locations like Stockholm and Oslo are incredibly expensive while other places like Bali and Bangkok are so cheap, you could live like royalty.
When I’m trying to determine what I will be spending, I use the following resources:
- Budget Your Trip
- Nomadic Matt
- Lonely Planet
- With activities and specific events, I email the site and make sure to get an exact quote
Once you fine tune your itinerary and prices to match, your budget will start to look a little more like this:
Exchange Your Currency
Remember to be consistent with your currency! Not only will this keep you more organized, but will give you more of an exact figure. You would think the price different of a few cents between the dollar and the euro wouldn’t be too much. But what it’s all tallied together, you could be short a couple hundred dollars (maybe even a thousand dollars, depending on your traveling style).
Sebrin Elms is a twenty-something newlywed with two kitties and a serious obsession with travel. She started her blog, The Clumsy Traveler, in anticipation of a 3-month long honeymoon around the world. When she came back, she wasn’t ready to stop writing and traveling! You can learn more about her story on her blog or follow her on Instagram @theclumsytraveler.