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Budget to travel

Budget to travel

Budget to travel

I’m really excited to be planning a trip to Thailand soon and thought that I’d share how I go about preparing a budget to travel.

There are really only two main factors to consider; how much can you realistically afford and how much will it realistically cost. If these two values are similar then you’re in for a great time; if not, something needs to give. Note the word “realistic” as it’s easy to let ones emotions and excitement take over.

So how do we go about calculating these values and make our budget to travel?

Let’s start with the easier one.

How much will the trip realistically cost?

It’s worth your while to spend a few days (or weeks) researching your travel destination to get a feel of the cost of things. Flights, accommodation, food, beverages, traveling and tourist sites. It’s important to be realistic about what the whole trip will cost. It’s easy to say that you’ll just stay in a backpackers dorm room and only eat once a day to save money, but really think about whether you’re happy to do so. Also, if you’re travelling a long distance you really should make the best of your time and do and see as much as you can!

Actions to take over the next few days

Demon guarding palace in Bangkok

Finally, use a single currency (either your home currency or the destination currency) and add everything to get the final figure of what the trip will cost. Remember that this is just a best guess; it will give you a good idea of the full cost of your trip.

What can you realistically afford?

This is slightly harder to calculate as ones emotions can often cloud the calculations. Firstly, ignore the cost of the trip that you calculated above. Let’s just look at what you can afford to budget for travel.

One rule that I live by is that I don’t take money out of investments or from my credit card in order to travel. Unless I have the cash, I won’t be going anywhere! Also, I don’t take any money out of my savings unless I’ve specifically allocated it to vacations, you don’t just drop a R20,000 on an overseas trip without even having thought about it!

So, now that you’ve ruled out any investments and savings that are allocated to other things, you probably don’t have any money left with which to travel. That’s okay, it just means that you need to seriously start saving from this very moment! Have a look at your budget and see how you can allocate money differently and where you can save. Look at what you can do without for 6 – 12 months and how you can make extra money.

How much can you save to travel with?

Again, being fully realistic and level-headed, work out how much you can save over the next few months or even next year and see if you can tie it up to the cost of the trip.

If things don’t tie up, you have a few options:-

Notice that borrowing money is not an option and really should never be. It’s true that life is short, and that you only live once, and all the phrases to that effect. However, getting into debt in order to travel is rather short-sighted. Debt can cause huge problems and stresses in the future! Although traveling is absolutely awesome, it’s not exactly a necessity to life. Having a level-head during this whole planning process should hopefully help you put things into perspective and help you to think of the future after you return from your travels.

Stick to the budget whilst on the trip

Once you’ve saved up the money, booked the tickets and about to leave you will need to reassess your budget and decide on a fixed figure. Sticking to this should be rather simple and only takes 5 minutes a day to calculate what you have spent versus your planned daily allowance. Some days will be over and some will be underspent, but keeping daily track of things will help you ensure that you have an awesome and stress-free trip!

For more on budgeting and to help you budget to travel, check out this post on how to create a budget.

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