Budgeting, Travel, Top 5

Top Five Friday #10

Tips for Travel Budgeting

Budgeting is a necessary step in the trip planning process.  It may determine the destination, or the type of accommodation, or set a goal for a trip in the far future.  Whatever the case may be, a solid budget is an essential travel accessory.  Below are my top five tips for budgeting for your next trip:

  1. Set a realistic number to start with and stick to it. Research how much the primary expenses will be, this would include your flight/gas/train ticket and your accommodations.  Factor in attraction costs and tours, then add in how much you would ideally spend each day on food and miscellaneous expenses.  The key is to not be stingy with your budget starting out.  If you have more than you thought you might need during your trip, that’s better than the alternative.  (For tips on saving money to add to your travel budget, see this blog).
  2. Add in buffer funds. Whatever you came up with tip #1, add a few hundred to it for emergency expenses.  Keep this buffer fund in a separate savings account, or in cash hidden in your suitcase somewhere.  In other words, somewhere you can’t readily get to unless you absolutely need it.  Hopefully you’ll never need to touch these extra funds, but it’s good to know you have them should anything come up.
  3. Check fees and extra charges before booking. If you have a set budget, you need to account for the fees charged with airline and hotel bookings that might exceed what you’ve budgeted for.  For example, budget airlines like Spirit and Frontier have fees and extra charges for pretty much everything.  $5 to choose your seat ahead of time, $35 for a carry-on bag… these things add up pretty quickly.  There are some hostels charge extra for luggage storage and linens and hotels that will charge for WiFi and parking.  Check all of this ahead of time and factor it into the budget.
  4. Budget for each day using cash only. You already know what you want to spend daily, so make it easier on yourself and have only that much cash on you each day.  It is much easier to keep track of where you’re at when you are using tangible dollars for each purchase rather than swiping a card for everything you buy.  This is a handy way to stay on budget, but you should certainly keep your credit/debit card on hand too in case you’re in need of those buffer funds.
  5. Leave room for last minute adventures. Yes, budgeting is very important for each and every trip, however, I’ve always been of the belief that adventure is nothing without a little spontaneity.  If there is something you really want to do or see, go for it!  Don’t miss an opportunity to do something you’ll never get the chance to try again just because you’re budget might be a little tight for it.  You’re on vacation after all, have a little fun.


What is your best budgeting tip?  What adventure would you splurge on?

10 Tips to Save Money for Travel

10 Tips to Save Money for Travel

I love to travel, and I will gladly devote every free penny I have to do so.  However, in order to pay for my travel expenses, there are some sacrifices and lifestyle changes that need to be made.  Here are my best tips and tricks for saving to fund your wanderlust:

  1. Start a separate savings account: Set up an additional savings account with your bank to hold your travel funds. It’s very simple to do, and only costs the minimum deposit to open it (which is usually $25).  This way you have savings devoted solely to your adventures.  For me, this is the easiest way to keep everything separate; mostly so I don’t spend my rent money on plane tickets.
  2. Put extra income into said savings account: Whether it’s the extra tip money you got that day, a $20 bill you found on the ground, or commission you made, make the decision to put that extra cash into your travel fund. I usually put a set amount from each paycheck into the account.  It can be an amount, a percentage, or whatever you want as long as it’s consistent.  Set a goal and stick with it.
  3. Ditch the Gym: Gym memberships are expensive and there are numerous ways to work out on your own.  A single work-out DVD or set of weights is much, much cheaper than a monthly membership fee and can be used over and over.  Go for walks or runs outside, or join a social sports league.
  4. Eat at Home: Going out for dinner can be very pricey these days.  Instead, learn how to cook and make dinner at home.  Invite your friends over instead of going out.  Or, if you don’t want to completely give up going out, set a weekly budget for yourself so you don’t overdo it.
  5. Plan your Meals: Plan your weekly meals based off of what’s on special or the coupons you have. You can also make large batches of dishes that can be brought for lunch or frozen and enjoyed later on.  Knowing you have homemade meals ready at home will make it all the more easier to skip fast food stops on your way home.
  6. Switch to generic: Every penny counts, so the dollar you save off of generic paper products or food can go a long way. Most of the time the generic version is just as good as the name brand, so you’re really just paying extra for the label.
  7. Do-It-Yourself: Stop paying people to do things for you that you can easily accomplish yourself. Make your own coffee in the morning, trim your own hair, fix your own clothes, and paint your own nails.  These small expenses, $5 for a latte here, $25 for a manicure there, really start to add up over time.
  8. Sell your old things: I have recently sorted through of all my things due to a move, and found so many things I don’t use or wear any more. I’m sure this is the case for most people, and there are plenty of places ready and willing to buy your old crap.  So, clean out your closets and storage and sell the things you haven’t used in a year to someone who’ll get more use out of it.
  9. Turn off the lights: Another big monthly expense, of course, is electricity. Turn of your lights, unplug your appliances and turn off the air when you leave the house.  Watch less TV or keep the lights off and open the blinds, because again, every penny counts.
  10. Shop the sales: Some people just need a little retail therapy every now and then, and I am absolutely one of those people. However, I try to shop the sale sections at stores I like, or go to discount stores like Nordstrom Rack or outlet stores.  Again, it’s best to set a monthly budget for these sorts of things.
    Tips For Saving Money for Travel on RebeccaWanderlusting.comThese are tricks that have worked for me, and I’m sure there are many more that work for other people.  The most important thing to remember is that you really can do this: save up your money and see the world.  It’s a definite possibility. So, Happy Wanderlusting and Good Luck!

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