In this article, we center on air travel since budgeting for road trips is little different from regular driving expenses. Air travel can be either domestic or international, each having its own special requirements. There are definite things to keep in mind while planning your travel budget.
How to Make a Travel Cost
Consider the major expenses first. Those are the costs of the flight and the expense of lodging while you are away. There are many things to consider before you book a flight. Several good websites will find the best rates for you based on your specific requirements. For example, a flight booked on a Monday may be hundreds of dollars cheaper if you can postpone your departure one more day to leave on Tuesday. Retired senior travelers have an advantage here of not having to lock into a work schedule back home. For international travel you’ll need an up-to-date passport that may add upwards of $50.00 more to your trip. Your total cost should be placed at the head of your travel budget list.
As for lodging on your trip it comes down to how much you want to spend per night. For travel, many people do not consider anything more than a comfortable bed and a decent shower. In some countries you will also want to find out about the toilet facilities whether there is a sit-down commode or a hole in the floor for squatting over. Find the venue you prefer with whatever amenities you require and book early. You’ll want a booking that does not require a cancellation fee.
Unless you live in a city with a large international airport, you need to determine the best way to get to your departure gate. Long-term airport parking can be quite costly. Go online to find cheaper ways to park your car while you are gone. Many airport hotels nowadays will allow you to leave your car parked in their parking lot provided you spend one night in the facility. The cost is usually minimal if not altogether free. A shuttle will take you right to your departure gate at the airport and come pick you up when you return.
Note: A good tip for the shuttle driver both going and coming is a good practice.
Make a discretionary spending budget and carefully stick to it on your travels. Countries that have a high rate of exchange for the US dollar can beguile you into spending too much on unnecessary items. Also, think ahead to contingencies such as delayed or cancelled flights and budget for those. You need not take pockets full of cash in most countries today. Major banks have ATMs that will honor your Visa or MasterCard debit/credit cards. Those machines give cash in the local currency.
Miscellaneous expenses to be budgeted should include approximate tips for hotel employees and small gifts if you are invited into a home. Also check the internet for any hidden fees and/or taxes you may face at foreign airports.
Once you have totaled up estimated expenses, add an additional 20% that you have in your bank account back home in reserve for any major unexpected expense. Planning your travel budget ahead makes for a worry free trip that allows you to enjoy fully the travel experience.