When I told my friends I was going to Europe with one friend after high school, they couldn’t even begin to fathom things to budget for when you travel. Luckily, I’ve been abroad many times in my life and knew the swing of things a little better than they did. It’s important to have a list of things to budget for you when you travel so you aren’t surprised when numbers start to add up quickly. Whether it’s national or international travel, I hope this list gives you a sense of things to budget for when you travel.
Food is a very important thing to budget for when you travel because no matter where you go, you have to eat. The first thing to consider is whether or not you will be able to prepare food in your room or if you’re relying on eating out the whole time. If you are staying in an apartment or have use of a kitchen, go to the local grocery store and get ingredients so you can make things in the room. If you don’t have that availability or a complimentary breakfast at your hotel, then be prepared to pay. TripAdvisor can help direct you to restaurants in your price range, but make sure that you are budgeting for your food in the local currency so that the exchange rate doesn’t take you for surprise.
Transportation is a big thing to budget for when you travel. Research if the city has good and easy-to-use public transportation such as the metro in Barcelona. You should be able to buy tickets in bulk, such as 10-one-way tickets, so take opportunities like that so that you’re set for future rides. You may need to take a taxi and that number can add up quickly as anyone who’s visited NYC knows. You also want to leave a buffer of funds for transportation in case you go over what you thought or need to take an unexpected and expensive taxi somewhere.
3. Plane Ticket
Sure, you buy your plane ticket months in advance and may have already paid that off by the time your trip comes, but my suggestion is have at least $100 saved in case your luggage doesn’t meet weight requirements on the way back and there is a fee because you wanted too many souvenirs. I find this buffer nice because it allows you to the peace-of-mind knowing that if you have any difficulty at the airport, you won’t have blown your budget.
4. Where You Stay
You can stay wherever you want but make sure to check prices across the board before booking. Renting an apartment for a week might actually be cheaper than staying at a hotel. That’s not always the case, but it’s worth a look. It’s important if the place you are staying asks you to pay in cash that you get a receipt as proof that you paid. Look up the rates of where you are going and make sure to budget accordingly.
Souvenirs are the death of many budgets when it comes to travel. If you are planning on bring back things for your friends, then write a list of who is getting something. That way you won’t show up at a store and want to buy something for your sister-in-law’s mother’s hairdresser's cousin that you swear she’ll love. It’s important to keep in mind where you are traveling and what the general rates would be there. Things in Monaco will be much more expensive than Prague, hands down, so budget appropriately.
It costs money to see and do things. If you want to see a show at London's Theaterland or ride a camel in Egypt, there is going to be a price. Research the area you are traveling to and see what you are interested in doing. If you don’t mind skipping the inside of the Sagrada Família and seeing the catacombs which are free, then do so. But if you are dying to go into the Louvre, make sure to look up the fee. Some museums have times where entrance is free, such as the Picasso Museum in Barcelona on Sunday afternoons. Keep your eyes peeled for discounts while still getting to see the sights.
7. Extra Costs
There are some extra costs of traveling that often get forgotten but add up quickly. Tips for restaurants for one. What about the cost of going to the bathroom in Europe? You may laugh but if you have to pay for the bathroom a lot, you could be spending up to $5 a day just to go to the bathroom. Other costs include hitting the clubs and the cost of alcohol. Or what about just stopping to get a drink in a cafe? Don’t lose sight of these costs or else you will have spent more than budgeted for.
I know it’s a lot to keep in mind when budgeting for your travel, but it’s better to be prepared for the cost than be taken aback when that Visa bill comes in. Budgeting for my trip helped me sit back and relax while I was on vacation, and not get frustrated when the bill came. What do you find most helpful? Any tips for budgeting to travel that you have?