How to begin putting together a travel budget

There are so many blog posts out there about how to live on a tight budget when travelling. I’m sure you’ve seen the ones that teach you how to live on $50 a day, $20 a day and so on! But before you can feasibly work out how much you can live off, it helps to set yourself a travel budget. This will help you get a feel for costs while you’re away, and will also help you to figure out how much to save up before you go.

Here are some of our simple steps to setting a budget for your travels.

Think about where you’re going

You don’t have to have your entire trip planned out. After all, spontaneous adventures are often the best! But it’s a good idea to get an idea of at least a few countries you’ll be visiting. Look at your bucket list (if you have one) and decide where you want to travel first. More than anything this can be helpful when it comes to planning a route. Having a rough idea of where you’re going will help really you when it comes to researching costs.

Consider your timescale

A huge part of setting your budget is going to depend on how long you plan to travel for. So first, consider the length of time you’re going to be away (although if like us you plan to go for as long as possible, this may not always apply) and then you can begin to work out from this. If you don’t know how long you’ll be gone, then it could instead be beneficial to think of how much you’d like to have in your bank account before you leave.

Decide if you’re a luxury or budget traveller

Next on the to-do list is to decide what style of travel suits you best. Be totally honest with yourself here or this could backfire in the long run. Backpacks and bunkbeds aren’t for everyone and if the thought of hostels and street food make you feel uneasy, then you’re going to need to set your budget a little higher.

Make sure to take notes

Begin building an idea of costs by looking at booking sites for flights, accommodation, travel, activities etc. for your chosen destination. Not only that, but it can actually help you to discover other destinations you might like to see, activities you’d like to do or how you’d like to get from place to place.

This part can be tricky if you haven’t planned each stop of your journey, but it still helps to get a picture of roughly how much you’ll be spending. At this stage, you should look into different options, for example, if you’re planning on travelling internally consider getting the train or hiring a car instead of booking up more flights. This gives you a better feel for costs in the country as a whole, and can also help you to save money on your trip (overnight buses and trains make for great accommodation and transport!).

This part of your planning is very important so be sure to note down as much as you can along the way. This will help you to work out the average costs in each of your chosen destinations.

Look to others for inspiration

One of the best parts about travel is that there is such a huge community out there looking to share their experiences with like-minded people. So make the most of the resources available to you! Check out other travel blogs and see what they say about daily costs, money saving tips and budget destinations. There are experts out there that have been travelling for years, and they can help you to get a better understanding of costs and where are cheaper (or more expensive) places to visit.

Here are a few great examples of helpful blog posts that can help you to begin building your budget:

Doing your research

Take this step by step, first select the country or area you are visiting, and work out from there. Look at the average cost of fights to your destination, and be sure to look at internal flights as well if you know you’ll be moving around. Next, consider other modes of transport. Will you be taking the train or hiring a car? If so you’re also going to need to research these costs.

Here are a few recommended transport sites, though a Google search can be just as effective:

After this you can look into accommodation. The sites you use to do this will greatly depend on where you’re staying and whether you value luxury, or saving the pennies! Below are some great websites for all kinds of accommodation:

Finally, begin looking at living costs – generally that means food and drink, although there may be other expenses under the same umbrella. Check out whether you will have to pay for visas or any other extras in your chosen destinations. This is perhaps the trickiest part of setting a budget, but like we said, there are a whole host of bloggers out there looking to share their experiences, and often they are able to help you build an idea of costs. Just be sure to check the date of the posts you’re reading. Money and costs are always changing, so aim to read more recent posts as they’ll likely be more accurate.

Building your budget

By now you should be getting a rough idea of how much each country costs, and where the cheapest and more expensive places to visit are. Breaking this down will help you to understand roughly how much you can live on each day, allowing you to set yourself a budget. This is also great if you’re trying to work out how much money you need to save before you leave.

Note: Remember to work out the average cost per person as this is how most flight, accommodation or travel websites will function. You can then work out costs if you’re travelling as a couple or group where necessary.


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