“I make sure to determine how much the daily expenses should be and set my budget around that amount”
by: Maricor Bunal
When it comes to travel planning, I can’t really deny the fact that I will have to deal with money issues at some point. Even if I had huge amounts of money to spend, I would still look for the most effective way of doing so and try to minimize unnecessary costs. And obviously that gets even more important when my budget is limited.
Sticking to a budget when traveling can be really tough, but over years of both long-term and weekend travelling, I gathered a few tips and developed some practical habits that helped me keeping my expenses in check. Allow me to share some of them with you.
As far as possible, I deal with the major expenses during the planning stage. What does that include? These are the flights, tours and accommodations, especially when I’m on a short-term trip. Working on them beforehand gives me ample time to assess the available options and choose the best deals for me. Moreover, with such expenditures out of the picture, I won’t have to worry about setting aside money for them while I’m actually on the vacation.
Unlike hotel bookings, I want to keep my options open when it comes to food and culinary adventures. But I make sure to determine how much the daily expenses for meals should be and set my budget around that amount. I usually do this by checking out websites which provide statistics on a city’s cost of living, and sometimes, if I’m lucky, I befriend a local and ask for a rough cost estimate on daily meals. You don’t have to be tough on yourself though. At least in my case, whenever I spend a little more on food on one day because I have lunch and dinner in two nice restaurants, I just try to compensate the cost by opting for cheap (but still yummy) food the next day.
Insider Tip: www.priceoftravel.com/ let you check the prices of some goods in almost every city worldwide.
I usually plan my day-to-day activities when I’m on a short-term trip, and thus, I have a rough estimate of how much I will be spending each day. So before I head out of the hotel for an adventure, I normally take just enough cash in my wallet that I can truly stick to my budget. If I had more time, I would even separate them in different handy envelopes specifically for pre-determined expenses such as museum entry fees.
Of course, I keep another set of cash with me, but hidden somewhere, so I can’t easily access it, such as in the secret pockets of my bag or clothing. This stash is for those times when you need to pay for unexpected expenses or during emergency situations. It may sound dark, but I also do this just in case I get into a stick up or (clumsy as I am) loose some of my cash. The point is, you avoid any impulsive purchase but at the same time, you have the peace of mind that you still have some cash to spare should the need arise.
Developing these money habits wasn’t easy at first, but with conscious efforts throughout the years, following them somehow becomes second nature to me when I’m traveling.