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Feb 11 2013

Tips On Travelling Within Your Budget

budget, travel, money, money-saving tips

One of the concerns often raised on travel forums is money; for example ”I have x (Pounds/Dollars/Euros), is that enough money for my travels?’  That was something that concerned me and could easily have stopped me from going travelling because I thought I wouldn’t have enough.  When I did eventually go travelling, I met a few people who were either running out or had run out of money.

I’m not a financial expert but I have always been pretty good at budgeting and living on a tight budget, which turned out to be really useful when I travelled around the world.  Here are some of my tips to help you to travel within your budget, whatever that might be:

1.  What is your travel budget?

You’ve got to start with the basics.  If you are using money that you have saved up, you will have a set amount.  That is your travel budget so you need to know what that figure is first and write it down.

2.  How long do you intend to go for?  

Ideally, how long do you want to go travelling for: 3, 6, 12 months or more?  Once you know your budget and how long you want to be away for, you can work out how much you will have to spend.  I tend to work out how much I have in days, weeks and months so I know exactly how much I would be able to spend if I went for a certain length of time.  So, for example, if you have £x and you want to go for 12 months, divide £x by 12 to get a monthly figure, by 52 to get a weekly figure and by 365 to get a daily figure.  This will begin to give you an idea of whether it is a realistic budget.

3.  Where do you want to go?

The amount of money you spend will depend on where you go on your travels because your budget will stretch further in Asia than in Europe.  To help you to work that out, have a look on the internet at the price of accommodation, transport etc. to gauge how much you think you will need on a daily or weekly basis.  How realistic is your budget now?

4.  Be clear about your travel goals

There will be many things along the way that will tempt you to part with your money.  If you have the money to do other things you hadn’t planned on, that’s great.  If you haven’t, you need to remember what you want from your travel experience and think about the things you really want to see and do, the unmissable experiences.  For me, it was to get to South America.  Remembering how important that was to me, helped me to keep a close eye on my finances.

5.  You can’t always do, see and buy everything

That’s true in life and the same with extended travel.  If you have a finite sum of money, you may have to make choices and sacrifices about what you will and won’t do.  I certainly had to.

6.  Be flexible, adaptable and creative

Think about the skills you have and different money-saving ideas that will help you to continue travelling.  For example, how can you live and travel more cheaply?  This can turn out to be great fun and an adventure in itself.  I did some unpaid work a few times for free board and lodgings and even got some free diving, which was an amazing experience.

7.  Do you need to adjust your trip?

You might need to consider changing your plans slightly to enable you to have enough money for the length of time you want to be away.  You could do this in different ways such as reducing the length of your trip, the number of countries or places you were planning on visiting.  I reduced the length of time I was going to spend in Australia and New Zealand to make sure I had enough money to continue travelling.

8.  Keep money in reserve

It’s sensible to have some money in reserve and not to spend every penny you have in case of emergencies or unexpected expenses.  Do you have a RTW ticket or a ticket home?  If not, make sure you keep some money aside for this that you won’t spend.  It can be really tempting but it’s reassuring to know that you can get home if you need to.

9.  How can you stretch your savings so they will last?  

You could think about keeping your savings in an account that will earn interest but it needs to be one that allows you to transfer money to another account as and when you need to.  That means managing your money using internet banking.

10.  Check your finances regularly  

You don’t want money to be the main focus of your trip and I’m not saying that you need to keep a record of all your expenditure but you do need to check your finances from time-to-time.  This will help you to make sure you are on track or you might find that you need to make some changes to your journey because you have spent more than you anticipated.  It’s impossible to spend the exact amount you have budgeted for each day, which is why it’s good to have weekly and monthly figures.  I found that some days I spent less and other days more than my budget.  It depended on where I was and what I was doing.  If you buy a train, plane or bus ticket, you will probably use more than your daily budget.

11.  Enjoy your travels

By keeping your finances in check and budgeting well, you will be able to make the most of your journey knowing that you are going to be able to do all the things you want and possibly more without the stress of running out of money or wondering if you will have enough.  As I said before, this is a very useful life skill that you can learn, improve and use when you travel.  It’s definitely a transferable skill that you can add to your CV when you are looking for work on your return home.

Have your say

How did/do you manage to stay within your budget when you travel?  Do you have any questions or comments?

About the author

Teresa Keane

Teresa has been to almost 60 countries. She started travelling independently at the age of 38 when she gave up her job, rented out her house, put her possessions in storage and spent a year travelling the world. It changed her life. She now creates, publishes, & promotes online travel content and is an experienced freelance trainer & EFL teacher.

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