Travel Advice - Budgeting
[Back to other travel advice]
Not being able to afford to travel is the reason many people give for not going. There is always somewhere to go for whatever budget. All is needed is for you to make the decision, and then the committment. This is how we do it.
"Just do it."
To get more money in your pocket, you can either earn more, or save more (or both). When preparing for a trip we always find it possible to save enough money, whether we are studying, on one or two incomes. It is a matter of setting priorities, so that there is surplus money to put aside for travelling. Some people may need to set up a saving account with a bank, or just another bank account that you can put and leave money in (and forget about it). Whatever works for you.
It is not the preferable way, as weekends and weeknights are valuable leisure hours, but they are also possible times where you can take on a second job and earn some extra dollars. If you do take up your leisure time working to save for a trip, at least you can make up for lost time on your holiday.
If you cannot earn any more money, saving money can have the same effect. Every little bit counts, and as Benjamin Franklin once said, "A penny saved is a penny earned." Saving a few dollars here and there is not to be scoffed at. For example, just not having a take away meal one night a week can put an extra $10 in your pocket, and over a year this will mean more than $500 towards your trip. It is important that the changes you make to save money do not severely impact on your quality of life. If you are making sacrifices to save money, make sure you keep telling yourself that it is all for a good cause.
There are so many ways you can save money, and you just need to find the ones you are comfortable with. Using the following methods, we save a few dollars here and there and it all adds up. Having said all that, I don't think we miss out. We don't live like hermits, we get out and enjoy life and are happy to spend money when we have to.
- Limit luxury items: We don't need to keep up with the Jones
and have all the latest knick-knacks and electronic gadgets. We get
by with only one car.
- Shop at bargain shops: We occasionally shop at garage slaes
and op shops. We buy the cheaper options when we have a choice.
- Use discount cards: We use a discount card system (Entertainment Book) to get a few dollars off meals.
How much do you need?
Of course this depends on where you are going. If you have a limited budget, as we often have had, we head off to the cheaper parts of the world (e.g. south east Asia), or travel locally. To determine how much you need, the first place I look is the country sections on the Lonely Planet website to determine what they say is the average costs per day. This is just an average - what you also need to consider is that if you stay in one place for long time, the cost will cheaper, and if you are constantly on the go it will be dearer than these estimates. If you are traveling with a partner, you will also be able to save some costs by sharing accommodation.
Ways to save while traveling
- discount cards (YHA, Student)
- self catering
- taking local buses
- go to museums on 'free' days
- choose to visit the cheap sights (parks, views, walks)
- walking instead of catching a taxi
- hitching (be safe of course)