I’m super excited to introduce you, my wonderful readers, to a new blog series called Travel Tips. I have travelled quite a lot in my short life so far, particularly over these past four months, and Ty and I have acquired a wealth of knowledge in doing so. I started this blog for many reasons, one of which was to hopefully inspire wanderlust and to encourage others to get out there and see the world. My Travel Tips series is all about passing on some of what I have learnt to hopefully inspire and encourage you to plan your own travel adventures. So let’s get to it!
Recently, I have been asked quite a lot about how Ty and I budgeted for six months of full-time travel, what our budget actually was and how we came up with that figure. So the first of my Travel Tips concerns how to create a travel budget. I hope it will be useful for when it comes to planning that trip of your own!
A quote that makes me smile but that I don’t entirely agree with. Definitely take half the clothes. But you don’t need twice the money! Travel doesn’t have to be expensive.
Having a travel budget is so important. Lets face it. No one wants to cut the trip of a lifetime short because you’ve run out money. Nor do you want to make that awkward phone call home to ask Mum/Dad/siblings for more cash and you definitely don’t want to return home to a credit card bill you’ll be paying off for the next ten years. So, in order to avoid these nasty scenarios, thinking about and creating a travel budget before you leave is key.
How much money you will need will likely depend a lot on the type of traveller you are and your travelling style. For example: are you the type who likes to go all out and travel luxuriously with no expenses spared? Or are you more of a budget traveller who tries to get the most bang for your buck? Or are you going to travel backpacker-style and stretch your dollar as far as possible? Of course there is no wrong or right way to travel – it all comes down to personal preference and how much money you have at your disposal.
Ty and I are definitely the budget traveller types. We do the things we want, travel comfortably and definitely don’t hold back from splurging time to time. To make sure we are able to do this, we are saavy travellers who try to get the best deal and save our money where we can. Put simply, we aren’t staying in 5-star hotels and when we eat out, we choose the budget-friendly option rather than the Michelin-star restaurants. Figure it this way: the more you save or stretch your money, the more you can see, the more you can do, the longer you can go for and the more often you can travel! Totally worth it right?
Once Ty and I decided we wanted to travel for six months, we researched how much money we would likely need and prepared a budget that took into account the major expenses of transportation, accommodation, food and spending money. So here is my 8 step guide to creating a travel budget:
1. Decide on your destination
and ideally how long you want to go for! That’s the fun part, but I always find it quite difficult because I want to go everywhere, everywehere, everywhere, sometimes all at once!!
“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” – Susan Sontag
2. Plan your transportation costs. Will you be flying, driving, catching a bus, train or boat? You need to include the cost of getting to your destinastion, the cost of getting home and the cost of getting around while you are travelling (don’t forget that one!).
Ty’s favourite way to travel!
3. Estimate your accommodation costs
. Do your research so you know how much hotels/hostels/B n Bs cost at your destination and estimate how much you will need each day. My favourite sites to use are AirBnB, Expedia, Booking.com, Trivago and TripAdviser. Keep an eye out for new accommodation comparison sites because these are becoming increasingly popular.
We admired this house from afar 🙂
4. Consider the cost of food
and don’t forget to include beverages and snacks. This really depends on where in the world you are travelling because food prices vary greatly. As an idea, Ty and I budgeted for $50 each/day for food, drinks and snacks (obviously in North America, with this budget, we never had the intention of eating out for every meal!). Food and drinks are generally a lot cheaper in the US compared to Canada and we have found it’s even cheaper in the South.
Fresh food markets are an amazing way to pick up fresh, healthy foods for reasonable prices.
5. Budget for spending money.
This one can really add up if you don’t have an idea of how much you are willing to spend and budget accordingly. Check out TripAdviser for sightseeing/attraction ideas in your area of choice and check the cost of some of those on your must-see/must-do list so you can include them in the budget. Don’t forget there are heaps of things you can experience for free too 🙂
Sightseeing doesn’t have to expensive!
6. Plan on buying gifts or souvenirs
for yourself/people at home? Make sure you budget for them! Souvenirs can be expensive (as can anything touristy) so figure out how much you are willing to spend and don’t go over your budget. Your pictures and memories will be your best souvenirs anyway! As an idea, we decided on who we wanted to buy gifts for and then decided how much we would spend on gifts for each person and ensured we stuck to it!
Ask for a discount if you buy all your souvenirs from one shop.
7. Put aside some money for incidentals
, eg. a visit to the pharmacy, a long distance phone call, you forgot to pack your toothpaste, etc.
No? Flowers don’t count as “incidentals”? But they’re so pretty!!
8. Consider currency conversion. Are you travelling internationally? You need to consider currency conversion too! While the exchange rate changes daily, having a rough idea about how far your money will get you is helpful when planning and saving for your trip. Just try not to obsess over it! When Ty and I started planning our trip, the Australian dollar was quite strong, but as the trip drew closer, we watched (in horror) as the dollar value dropped, recovered a little and dropped again! I’ve since learnt there is very little you can do about that but I saved a tiny bit extra to make up for the difference 🙂
As an example, here is what our budget looked like:
Daily budget for EACH of us was about $100 US or Candian (which was about $110 Australian). Because we are travelling together, we share the cost of accommodation, and we actually bought a car because we wanted to drive across Canada and the US and it was FAR cheaper than renting one for six months. (Note: we actually come in under our $100/day which has been a nice surprise, except fot those days we spend snowboarding and in the Ski Resorts).
Our beloved SUV
So once you have got your budget sorted and you have estimated how much money you will likely need, you can focus on saving so you can make this trip of a lifetime happen! I certainly have a lot of experience with saving for travelling and I will be sharing a few of my tired and tested tips next time. Meanwhile, I would love to get your feedback and comments on this new series!
Was this helpful for anyone? Would you like to see more of these Travel Tips?
From Orlando, Florida, with love xo