How To Create The Perfect Travel Budget
Whether you’ve chosen the perfect holiday destination, or have some money set aside for a trip but simply don’t know where to go. Today, I’m talking about travel budgets. How to create one, and how to get more bang for your buck on your next trip.
If you have the cash to travel but don’t know where to go then be sure to check out The Earth Awaits. There website helps you tailor your destination to your budget and travelling desires.
Timing Is Everything
If you don’t work out how much your holiday is going to cost you, you won’t know if you can afford it in the time frame you’re hoping for.
You want to avoid getting your hopes up or putting down a deposit on a trip only to discover that you can’t afford the standard of accommodation you wanted, or that you can’t afford to eat for a vast majority of the trip.
Having a travel budget not only helps you to save. It also prevents you from having a massive holiday blowout and spending more than you’d expected. Your travel budget is designed to help you. It’s important to refer back to it and update it regularly throughout the planning of your trip.
Where To Start
I’ve designed a simple travel budget spreadsheet to help you get started.
There’s a row for each type of expense along with a column for the actual costs and the difference – this will allow you to see how you’re meeting your travel budget over time.
How To Work Out The Cost
Once you’ve downloaded and edited your spreadsheet, you’re ready to start your research. It’s important to be both flexible and accommodating and strict when creating a travel budget.
There’s no need to create a firm decision on accommodation, food or the exact trips you’ll be taking. The important thing at this point is to find out if the trip is within the budget you had planned.
Let’s talk about how best to go about researching the different factors that make up your trip.
First things first you’re going to want to break your trip up. If you’re flying then you’re going to want to think about how you’re getting to the airport. You’re then going to want to consider flights. Then, how you’re getting from the airport to your accommodation. Finally, any internal travel during your trip.
Getting To The Airport
Depending on the airport’s location, the number of travellers, and the duration of your trip how you get to the airport can affect your budget significantly.
When we visited Thailand we went for three weeks. The cost of parking our car at the airport was £8 per day. That cost would have been reduced significantly if there had been five of us. However, as there were only 2 that worked out at £4 per person per day, before petrol. That’s £84 each for the entire trip. For that reason, it worked out cheaper for us to get the MegaBus.
If you require a car to the airport then look at parking at a Just Park location. Parking with Just Park could save you up to 50% when compared to traditional airport car parks.
Most trips start with a flight. Flights are often the most expensive part of any trip and can really dictate the destination in which you’re travelling to. I’ve found the best place to research flights and their prices to be Momondo.
When you arrive at your destination you’re likely to be both tired and excited. The next job is getting to your accommodation. Depending on the location or your circumstances you maybe hiring a car or looking at getting a transfer.
I use Hoppa to find and book both shared and private transfers from the airport to my hotel and return.
However, an alternative is to use Uber (grab a free ride using my code cwhfj) Internal Travel Depending on your travel destination you might be looking to travel around the country(s).
This might be done using a hire car (be sure to check terms and conditions), boat or ferry, public transport or even internal flights.
When booking Thailand we didn’t book any internal travel until we arrived. This allowed us to be flexible as to when and where we visited.
However, we did look in detail at the cost of internal travel and budget accordingly. It’s important to both be flexible and enjoy your holiday, whilst also keeping in mind costs.
This isn’t going to apply to everyone. Destinations and previous visits will impact whether or not you’re going to be looking for a tour. If you are then it’s likely to be a large part of your budget. You’ll want to know how much it’s going to cost and whether there are any additional fees such as single supplement, admissions not included etc.
If you’re unsure about whether you’d like to go on a tour or what tour you’d most like to go on Urban Adventures is a great website to start looking. It’ll help you find the right tour for your interests, budget and destination.
Accommodation is often one of the hardest things to research, most locations have a huge variety and it can often seem overwhelming. My top tip is to start with deciding the style of hotel or must have amenities.
For example, any hotel I visit must have wifi. Here are our go-to resources for each of these accommodation styles:
Booking.com – Booking.com is the number one hotel directory. You can find just about any and every type of accommodation here.
HostelWorld – Hostels not only feature dorm style accommodation they often feature private rooms at discounted rates. If you’re looking to travel on a budget, and mingle with other like-minded travellers then don’t rule out Hostels entirely.
Airbnb – I love the Airbnb concept. Having recently stayed in an Airbnb in London be sure to check out my full review and find out if an Airbnb-style of travel is right for you.
Once you have completed your research you should be able to find an average price from the options available. If you’re looking at staying in multiple locations then I suggest creating multiple rows within the spreadsheet for each location and the average price of accommodation. This should allow you to keep a better track of each cost.
Food & Drink
Working out how much you’re likely to spend on food and drink is like choosing your type of accommodation. It’s going to depend entirely on the kind of experience you’re looking to have and the destination(s) you’re visiting.
If it’s a romantic trip away. Then you’re going to be having candle-lit meals for two every evening and your travel budget will need to reflect this.
If you’re happy to live on street food. Then your travel budget is likely to be a very different one. An important thing to remember is portions. Whilst in Florida we shared one meal between the two of us as the portions were more than enough. This reduced our spending and reduced our food waste.
In Thailand, we stuck to traditional Thai street food over western alternatives. This meant that most meals cost £0.50 each or less.
Shopping isn’t something we consider whilst traveling. Instead, we look to take part in more experiences or look to put what would be spent buying gifts and souvenirs towards our next trip.
However, that’s not the same for everyone and provided you’ve budgeted for everything else you might want to allow some money for shopping.
Finalising Your Budget
By now it’s likely that your spreadsheet is going to be looking much more detailed and you should have an idea of a total average budget. Don’t be afraid to make changes or tweak it if you think it’s too high or too low.
If you’re struggling to get your travel budget to where you want it to be then here are some tips of reducing your budget; Consider a different method of travel to the airport. See if a friend can take you in return for you taking them on a future trip.
For flights look at both budget airlines and indirect flights. Consider the airport you’re flying from and to, and think about the time of year you’re traveling (low season will result in cheaper airfare and accommodation)
Use any loyalty points you might have in exchange for accommodation. Look at staying in a slightly cheaper accommodation, or if you’re on a long trip think about mixing mid-range accommodation with the likes of Airbnb.
Research free activities and events going on during your trip, and opt for these over more expensive tours. Think about the possibility of cooking, especially meals such as breakfast and lunch can be quick and easy to make if you’re staying in an Airbnb or Hostel.
I do hope you’ve enjoyed this travel budget article. If you have any questions about anything I have written or any trouble using the free spreadsheet then feel free to leave me a comment below and I’ll do my best to get back to you as soon as possible.