Budget Travel

How to cut costs for your next big trip

For some people, budgeting is really a way to get looking forward to a trip. They use it as the initial step in the planning process and as a way to get themselves psyched up in regards to a destination. For most of us, though, saving for a trip is like visiting the dentist after bingeing on sugar for a few months.

But budgeting is preferable to not having enough money halfway via a trip and having to make an awkward call home to friends or parents. Now, with the pandemic still impacting travel, you might find you've time for you to start budgeting for any future trip. Here we answer a few of the big questions around how to successfully save money and plan for the next dream holiday.

How much will I need?

Start your financial allowance with the biggest expenses first-usually this will be your flights, but accommodation also accumulates. In the Lonely Planet guidebooks, Guides app and destination pages of our website, there is often specific info on a country's average costs underneath the “practical information” section or "in detail" section on the website, which may be an excellent reference point when estimating expenses-you don't want to show up in Singapore having budgeted for any week in Malaysia; you'll starve.

With a tough concept of how long you'll be away, you are able to work out a daily cost according to room rates and meal costs. Add in a little more for activities, museum entry fees, a couple of souvenir T-shirts you'll probably never wear when you're home and last-minute taxi fares towards the airport when you've slept through your alarm.

Allow for an occasional splurge. Add a little fat for any cocktail or two at Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace or skydiving in New Zealand. The worst budget is a series at the leg pulling you from the best (if slightly more expensive) travel experiences. Sure, it may be cheaper to self-cater your way around Europe, but if you're missing out on tasting pizza in its birthplace or discovering the delights of vegan weed burgers in Amsterdam then you won't enjoy the trip.

What must i buy before I leave?

Add in pre-trip costs including visas, reliable travel insurance and immunizations. Some travelers skimp on travel cover, but when you can't afford travel cover, you can't manage to travel. Particularly in today's instances when travel restrictions can change daily. Even if nothing goes completely wrong, its smart by itself in reassurance so when something does fail (lost luggage or cancelled flights) you'll think it is invaluable.

Read more: Do I need to buy travel cover?

Gear is another sizable pre-departure purchase. Travelers, especially first-timers, often over-invest in specialized travel gear, but prioritizing is the key to saving cash while still creating a success of life on the road. A powerful, comfortable backpack may be the traveler's linchpin, and it's worth paying for a good-quality model (a great bag should serve you for a few tours). A similarly important investment is a pair of decent shoes-chances are you will be spending a lot of time on your feet, so making sure your footwear is comfortable, durable and it is suitable for your needs is important.

Other gear to consider includes clothing, that ought to be suitable for your environment, power adapters, and a good ol' Swiss Army knife (in a checked bag of course), but traveling as light as you possibly can is definitely a great mantra.

How do I cut costs for any trip?

Once you've worked out just how much you need, you've then got a figure it can save you towards. Many people get this to number their screensaver or use it their fridge, using this saving goal as motivation to visit work every single day.

Have your own telethon-style countdown as you save towards the goal. If you find saving tough, try budgeting software like Pear Budget or Mint-the latter includes countdown functions for the savings and can suggest ways to cut your expenses. Should you don't hit your saving goal, then it might be time for you to go back and re-visit the budget-those fancy cocktails might have to be traded set for a bottle of soju and microwave ramen inside a Korean convenience store, which, let's not pretend, is probably just as good!

With this in your mind, being realistic is also an important part of the money-saving process. Can you truly afford that swim-up luxury apartment in the Maldives, or will you be equally content in a rustic beachfront bungalow within the Philippines for any fraction from the cost? If you're struggling to reach your loan goals, being flexible with your trip itinerary might help get you with that flight much faster.

How can I keep cash safe when I'm traveling?

Before you go, someone is bound to force among those ugly, flesh-toned money pouches you since it 'saved their life' when they did their gap year. Not that there's anything wrong with money belts or pouches, but you could possibly just do too by having your belongings in an internal pocket of the zipped-up jacket.

Carrying your hard earned money in some forms as well as in a few different places is definitely wise decision. Diversify your hard earned money which means you hold a little cash, credit cards as well as an ATM card. However, there are good ATM locators for Visa, Mastercard and other major credit card providers, you'll find that they can break up, run out of cash or otherwise fail just when you need to pay taxis driver. Sometimes funds are still king. It's a good idea to hold a “whip out”-a small amount of loose cash to pay for things as you're walking along. That way your bank account is conveniently stashed and potential pickpockets don't know where you can hit you.

Of course following the basics will also go a long way-be conscious of your surroundings at night, don't take with you massive wads of money and use hostel lockers and hotel safes where possible. It's astonishing how many penny-pinching backpackers leave wallets and purses splayed across communal dormitory beds before heading off for some time shower; that's one potential method to blow those hard-earned savings in record timing.

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