Many people love the idea of travel, but travel can be expensive. With all of the variables going into the trip, it can be hard to figure out the tangible costs, let alone control them. It is possible, however, to travel on a strict budget and have a wonderful time. When putting together your budget, here are four things that you can plan ahead for to ensure that your costs are low.
When traveling, you will always need a place to stay. Most people think immediately of hotels in terms of travel housing, which can be quite expensive. However, there are other options, such as hostels, homestays, rentals, house swaps, RVs and other accommodation options available to you. Many hotels also offer cheaper rates if you book in advance, book without the possibility of cancellation or if they have leftover rooms they are trying to fill. It’s also much cheaper to book during off seasons, so focus your trip around then if you can.
Transportation is another thing to plan for. Like hotels, flights are often cheaper if you book well in advance or can fly standby. If you will be spending a lot of time in larger cities, you will probably need to call for a taxi at some point or use public transit. In rural areas, you may find it necessary to rent a car. Figure out the taxi or rental rates in the area you’re travelling to before you get there, and if you rent, be aware if they charge for gas consumption. If so, consider checking to see if there are e-bikes available to rent, something that is becoming more common in high-traffic cities.
Meal expenses can quickly add up if you travel, especially if you eat at a lot of restaurants. Even if you are trying to eat on the cheap, you will still need to factor in the cost of food in your travel budget. Options for food while traveling include eating at restaurants, eating on the go, buying food from a local grocery store and, in some cases, bringing food with you. You can look up where you are going to be ahead of time and see what options are available to you. There are cost of living tools online that can help you calculate the average cost of groceries in a given area, and you can call a restaurant ahead of time if you can’t find the prices listed online.
As much as you hope they will never happen to you, emergencies do occur and it is always best to be prepared for them. Emergency items you may need to budget for include car repair, losing important travel documents, medical emergencies and more. Check whether your health insurance covers emergencies when you are traveling, especially in foreign countries, and prepare for that expense if it happens. In addition, be sure that you have at least a little cash on hand for emergencies, especially as it can be hard to anticipate if a place accepts credit or debit cards.
Good preparation is key for having an enjoyable vacation, free of stress and number crunching at every activity. It will be even more important if you are trying to travel on a strict budget. With these major expenses in mind, you should be able to formulate an amazing trip budget and stick to it.