How to Budget for Your Trip
Do your research
This is a must do for all travelers, it does not matter whether you are paying for your trip or someone else is paying for it. You have to research on your travel destination, know the most interesting sites you would like to visit, how to get there and if you will be required to pay for entrance fees. Find out the safest and convenient mode of transport and how much it will cost to avoid inconveniences as well as extortion from some greedy locals. This will guide you to come up with an effective budget.
Plan way ahead for your vacation financially. I have made it a rule to set aside some savings every month for my vacations, it saves me the stress of raising money at the last minute or eating into my budget to offset the cost of my trips.The best way to save for your trip is to open a separate account and save for your trip in advance, I call mine “The Entertainment Account”. The good thing about having an account for your travel plans, is that you can comfortably plan a trip within a short notice if need be with little strain to your finances. Make a habit of making monthly saving, I know this is going to be hard at first because you would not know how much is adequate for monthly savings, do not worry about this, with time you will learn from your experiences your average budget and this can guide you on how much you can put away for your trips.
It always comes first on my budget. Find out the mode of transportation to your destination and how much it will cost. Plan and budget within convenience of your finances and the time duration you would like to spend en route. Do not forget to include the budget for getting around during your vacation, airport or train transfers, and car rentals. I always include travel documents like visas, travel insurance cover policy, medical certificates and passports related costs under this category. Passport related costs may range from getting a new passport to renewal or extensions.
Your budget should include accommodation, research and establish the best mode of accommodation available at your destination and budget accordingly. If possible book well in advance to get the best rates. I highly recommend you to confirm in advance if your accommodation includes or excludes services like laundry, food, transfer to and from the airport or train stations. Establish whether you have full board, half board and if you can make choices between the two for your budget convenience. You will notice that in most cases eating out is cheaper than having your food as part of your accommodation, you will also have a wide variety of meals to choose from unlike the standard buffets offered in most hotels.
The fact that your hotel accommodation is full board does not mean you do not have to budget for food, many of us fall victim of this oversight. Budget for food including water that you may need during your trip i.e before your arrival at your hotel or home on your return. Remember that your full board only covers you within the hotel premises, hence you will have to budget for food expenses you may incur while visiting sites or away from the hotel. Many hotels if not all will specify what full board includes in regard to food, you may be required to carry extra money for drinks or special recipes not inclusive in your full board accommodation
Oh yes, I budget for the weather, I know you are wondering how on earth do you budget for the weather. This is how, it is going to affect the choice of your travel gear, from your travel bag, clothes, shoes and of course umbrellas. In some destinations, transport cost may change as the weather changes, crazy isn’t it. For instance, in some towns in Kenya, public transport may increase by 5% to 20% due to poor road network that causes traffic Jam and of course more fuel and time consumption. It is a minor detail but worthy noting.
- Plan your budget with international currency convertion in mind.
- Give yourself an allowance for miscellaneous expenses of about 5%- 25% (this is personal and will vary from one traveler to another and destination
- Do you ever budget for tipping, well you should, in some destinations tipping is a norm :-)