Finally, after long days of researching different places, itineraries, and activities, you have decided on a place for your next big trip. You can move on to the next part: the preparation process. And if you’re like us, the top spot in your prep list is probably the budget.
Chances are, you already have an amount in mind, and you might have some money put away specifically for that purpose. This doesn’t mean that you want to spend it all, though. In fact, if you’re reading this article right now, then you’re probably looking for ways to make the most out of it, and maybe even reduce your projected expenses altogether.
How to Plan and Budget for a Big Trip
Well, don’t worry because you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we are going to share with you the different ways on how you can stick to your budget and travel within your means.
It’s not the length of your vacation but your preparedness. Let’s get started.
List down your priorities
Do you have non-negotiable plans on your trip? Do you have an experience that you really want to check off from your bucket list? What are the expenses that you are willing to sacrifice in order to have more funds for that activity?
For instance, the main reason that you want to go to New Zealand in the first place is because you really want to go skydiving. That’s awesome! Hence, you might want to look into cheaper accommodations and travel options.
Sign up for insurance
One thing that can ramp up your expenses is when something unexpected happens whilst you’re away. Hence, having a travel insurance in place will always be a good investment, and will prove invaluable if something does happen.
If you’re really short on cash, then you can look at different loan options such as personal loans for fair credit so you won’t have to tap into your set travel budget anymore. It’s much easier if you have a perfect credit score.
Make preparations early
Last-minute flights are not only difficult to book, but they can cost more as well. Hence, take note on when the prices drop so you can get the best travel deals. This is only possible, though, if you have started preparing for your journey at least a few months ahead of time.
Same applies for rental cars and hotel bookings. Lastly, if you are planning to visit a popular city, most budget tours gets sold out in advance. Make sure to do your research and book any budget tours you are interested in. (An example could be, City tours with guides, transportation, and meals.)
Sell unwanted goods
We all have that old books or furniture or that camera or old iPad which we do not read anymore! You may even have clothes that don’t fit you or interest you anymore or that pair of boots. A simple rule you can apply when trying to get rids of things is this: of you haven’t touched it in a year, you don’t need it.
It is therefore wise that you put such items on sale at a website (eg. Craiglist), apps (Offerup, Facebook Marketplace), or simply do a garage sale.
Be prepared to cook
Aside from airfare, another huge expense is the cost of your meals. You can reduce this significantly by booking a room that has a functioning kitchen and by cooking your meals yourself.
Travel with friends
Here’s another way that you can save money. Most activities cost less when you split it with more people. Hence, don’t hesitate to ask around if anyone wants to tag along. After all, you’re not the only person with travel goals.
Roaming fees can be off-the-charts if you’re not careful. Hence, we suggest you to communicate with your loved ones online instead. In fact, you can even bring your own wireless broadband when traveling or better yet, make use of free wifi hotspots in various locations.
Enjoy public transport
Or walk! Skip the taxi. Not only will you be able to save on transport costs, but you’ll also be able to enjoy a more authentic experience this way.
Keep your money safe
Go out of your way to protect yourself from theft. There’s nothing more expensive than losing money. Use a front-pocket wallet. Don’t put all your money in one place. Don’t withdraw large amounts of money at a time.
Keep an emergency fund somewhere people will never guess even if they rummage through your things, like inside an empty bottle of lotion. Get creative!
Favor experiences that you can do for free
There are a lot of museums that offer free guided tours and concerts. There are also cultural events like festivals that are always fun to be a part of but won’t cost you a single cent. Walking along the beach also won’t cost you anything as well but we’re sure the sights will be splendid.
You’ll be surprised by how much you can actually enjoy and explore for free, especially if you prepare for your trip early and do your research beforehand.
Resist the temptation to buy things
Finally, don’t buy a lot of souvenirs. We know that you’ll probably only visit Bali or Mumbai once in your whole life, but that doesn’t mean that you need to buy a lot of stuff to remember your trip by. Pictures can serve the same purpose and it won’t cost you anything.
A memento or two is enough, and only buy something pricey if you’ve actually listed it down as one of your top priorities, which brings us back to our first tip. And with this, our article has actually gone a full circle.
Pick your destination wisely
There are wannabe travelers all around, planning a trip that is never going to happen. We are saying “never going to happen”, because the majority of us have full-time jobs and a tight budget.
How are we going to make that trip to Hawaii or Singapore? We keep thinking, planning, plotting but the vital link we all forget is “money.” Now that we have covered the money part, there remains one last step.
You must decide where you want to go and carefully narrow your lists of available options. Pick a destination that fits both your budget and your dream. Those who want to travel abroad might like to take a decision on a country where their currency is valuable than the local currency.
For example, Americans and Canadians can plan a trip to the Caribbean and Europe, Indians can plan to visit Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Thailand, Europeans can travel to Hawaii, China, Greece, and Morocco. A Smart way to choose your destination is to check your currency value. And…cheap flight tickets.
Use Google Flights
Google flights is hands down the best free tool that you can use to find a flight that is both viable and available. Even if you are planning a last minute trip. You can set your home destination and then play with the dates (into future) to find a cheap deal.
We hope that you have found our article helpful. By keeping the tips we have shared with you in mind, we’re sure that you will be able to make every dollar count in your trip.
We wish you safe travels!
Lidia Staron is a part of Content and Marketing team at Open Loans. She contributes articles about the role of finance in the strategic-planning process.