Almost everyone wants to travel to get a break from everyday routine. The biggest obstacle to that dream, however, is probably finances. Like everything else in life, that problem can be met head on through successful travel budget planning. Everyone can benefit from knowing the best habits for looking ahead in this very practical way.
Planning a Travel Budget that Works
1. Pre-planning where you want to go.
Even if money is no object, it is prudent to have a travel goal in mind. Just heading out with no particular plan in mind is like burning money. Even the rich don’t do that. If money is a necessary consideration, it is essential to make a travel budget. Therefore, good research about travel destinations separates the jet set destinations from the economical holiday venues. Economical, in this case, means a place where food and lodging are within means, and transportation is also reasonable. That includes more than just getting there and back; there is also the problem of moving about in the place you would like to visit. In some places local transportation can be exorbitant, so some travel budget planning here is vital.
2. Start savings early.
There has never been any question in your mind that you’d love to travel. However, for many people it never goes beyond the dream stage. For others, however, travel is a goal to be achieved through determination and financial planning. Saving for that all important trip is essential for anyone on a budget.
Best advice is to put the money set aside for travel in a place where it is not easily accessible. One of the worst ideas is putting away your travel money in a Mason jar kept high in a kitchen cabinet. Why? One, money just sitting around is losing value when it could be making at least a small amount of interest. But two, money in the cabinet is too easily pinched for other purposes. It’s too easy to grab a handful of cash and promise yourself you’ll pay it back next payday. That’s like Wimpy saying he’ll pay for his hamburger next Tuesday. A credit union is a good place to stash money—preferred over a bank savings account because it, too, is easy to get hold of in times when money is tight.
3. Look for ways to make money on your trip.
If you are able to have an extended stay at your destination, look into teaching English either in a school or as a private tutor. Many people profit from this activity which not only earns you a little pocket money but also helps you get better acquainted with the locals. Look for NGOs or charitable organizations who could use your help while you’re in the country. Some of them provide lodging and meals during your stay.
Do not even consider carrying a package for delivery either in the country you visit or for a delivery back home. Jails are filled with unsuspecting couriers who unwittingly got caught carrying drugs or other contraband.
4. Make lodging and travel arrangements in advance.
In many places you can find very reasonable accommodations when you travel. Since a room will only be used for spending the night, luxury facilities are unnecessary. Clean and within a short distance from shopping and local attractions should be the first consideration. As for travel, look into train passes that allow for several trips with one ticket.
5. Have funds available in your account back home for emergencies.
Most countries now have ATM facilities where you can withdraw funds in the local currency, so if the need arises, you are covered. Just plan on carrying your ATM card safely. Handbags and rear pocket wallets are not recommended. Likewise, “fanny packs” should be avoided since they shout, “Tourist! Easy money!” to criminal types.
Plan ahead is the best idea for travelers. You cannot think of everything, of course, but the more you arrange in advance of your trip, the fewer surprises you’ll face one you’re there. Live your dream. Bon voyage!