how to budget for traveling

How to Make a Budget for Traveling

Some people simply live to travel. Other people view traveling as a bucket list item – a once in a lifetime experience. It doesn’t really matter which type of traveler you are, international and domestic vacations are exciting to plan. It’s not uncommon to learn that someone has refrained from planning big trips due to finances – after all, we work hard, and our money goes to things we really love! If you’ve been dreaming of a gorgeous and exciting adventure travel trip to some far off destination, you should know it’s obtainable no matter what your income is. Knowing how to budget for traveling might just be the first step in making your dreams come true. Just remember, saving money for travel isn’t that crazy an idea! Here are some great tips to help you organize funding for a vacation, even when you think you can’t afford it.

How to Budget for Traveling

Budgeting for travel isn’t nearly as scary as you may think. While we totally understand that financial priorities may dictate a different use of your income, knowing you have the power to budget for a vacation is obtainable sooner than you think! Here are some tips to help you head on your dream vacation before you know it.

  • Start with your travel documents – You’re not going to be able to travel much of anywhere if you don’t make sure you have the proper travel documents. You can find more information about necessary travel documents for your trip at OfficialTravelDocuments.com. The Bureau of Consular Affairs will also have information for you on necessary travel visas depending on your desired destinations. Plan for the cost of visas, passports and certified copies of vital records should you need them to obtain travel documents. These rates will vary from destination to destination. You’ll also need a bit of a waiting period to process your application, so this is a great place to start. 
  • Priorities – If you’re planning a vacation to a specific place, you most likely have a pretty good reason or motivation to go there. Does your bucket list include seeing the Northern Lights? If so, that’s clearly a priority. What will that cost? How much do you need to make a tour or plan out lodging and transportation? If the only reason for your vacation, no matter the length of your trip, is to see only a few things, budgeting for travel becomes way easier. You can cut back on dining and lodging expenses so you can make those special items happen.
  • Sacrifice convenience for cost – We all know the saying…”Time is money.” That’s truer than ever when we all seem to be working our lives away. But if there’s a place you really want to go, or a site that you just must see, sacrificing a few hours or a day or so of travel time for cost might be a worthy trade. Travel costs and transportation are one of the heftiest expenses when it comes to planning a vacation. If you can save a few hundred dollars by taking a flight with connections, flying into an airport that’s a bit farther away, or if you can utilize public transportation in lieu of rentals, you may be able to sneak even more great experiences into your trip.
  • Consider the value of real life experience – While pockets bursting at the seams with cash would mean easier, more posh and fancy travel experiences, that’s not realistic for the majority of us trying to budget for a vacation. When considering how to budget for travel, keep in mind that sometimes our best experiences are had when we find ourselves outside of our comfort zones and enjoying travel off the beaten path. Staying in hostels or camping vs a fancy hotel, getting amazing meals from street vendors over sitting down for a dining experience – these things can help you really appreciate the local culture. Allowing yourself to move away from the tourist route means you’ll get a more authentic travel experience for a fraction of the price.
saving money for travel
This view of a street vendor in Bangkok, Thailand shows you just how easy and convenient street food can be. This can help you cut costs on sit down meals and can help with saving money for travel. Cut small costs to cover big ticket items.
  • Start saving ASAP – Sometimes it’s a bit frustrating when people quip with things like “oh just skip that fancy coffee.” or “if you ate out one less time a week, you could save for….”  but the reality is that travel is definitely a luxury for most. So it can be hard to justify spending your hard earned money on a vacation when you have other financial obligations. But it’s important to remember too, that these dream vacations are important to our work/life balance. If you want to visit Ireland in summer, make it happen! If hitting the Mayan temples is important to you, you have the power to make it work. Every penny counts, and even a few bucks a week will add up before you know it.

Saving money for travel – some resources to help

There are so many awesome resources out there to help you manage your finances and even more specifically, budget for a vacation. If you’re looking for a few good mobile apps to assist you in saving money for travel and keep you on track while you’re away, you might consider a few of the below apps to help aid you in making your dreams come true.

  • TrabeePocket – This app not only converts currency rates, but you can take photos, add notes, and overall just help keep track of what you’re spending. It’s basically QuickBooks for travelers.
  • TripCoin – You don’t even need a network or wi-fi connection to utilize this travel tracker. It helps keep track of your finances while traveling. This app is only available to iOS users.
  • Tripit – This bad boy will keep track of all your agendas and travel itineraries. It won’t help you compare prices but it will help you find the gaps in your transportation – saving money means being organized.
  • Kayak – This app is a not-so-new genius travel hack that every traveler needs to consider. They pull information on flights and travel from sites across the web to help you get the best rates on flights, tickets and transportation. 
  • Hopper – While they exclude some pretty big names in their algorithms, Hopper coding predicts lodging and travel prices up to a year in advance. To say they frequently have good deals is an understatement. Don’t overlook them!

At the end of the day, we totally understand that traveling with our money seems unattainable and daunting. Hopefully though, by using some of these tips and resources you have the opportunity to set your travel dreams in motion. We hope you can make your travel ideas come true, and better yet, please share them with us when you do!

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