It’s one of those things I’m afraid, whether you’re heading to the cheapest country on earth or heading to the most expensive one of the key things to think about is your budget. How much am I going to spend daily? Weekly? Monthly? Are there any tours that I would like to do that will cut into my budget? Do I need buses, trains or planes? Am I going to be away whilst it’s my birthday? There are hundreds of things to think about but luckily, it’s nowhere near as complicated as it may seem. I have been traveling for more than 4 years now and have seen my budget range from $70 per day in Australia, all the way down to $3 per day in Bali. The key is to constantly reassess so that you never get caught out. A few key things to think about for any new traveller pondering their finances.
This is the biggest question for sure. You are the only person that can answer this question and the simplest (not the best) way of deciding your budget would be to say:
The money I have ÷ How many days I’m traveling.
This is great if you’re planning on staying in one country and not doing any tours, extreme sports like bungee jumping etc however, I would recommend asking yourself a few other questions first, before going down this route.
List all the countries that you think you may possibly be going to. Also, make sure you find out how many of those countries you can legally work in so that if you do get tight for money, you’ll still be able to get by with a job for a short while. Remember: some countries are a lot more expensive than others, do your research on which countries will make the bigger dents in your pocket.
These activities can be expensive. Go to New Zealand and you with pay over $200 to bungee jump in one of the world’s largest sites. Or skydive and you may pay in excess of $400 or $500. Remember, these activities and tours are priced like they are because they offer the best experiences that you will not get anywhere else. You have to make sure you subtract this from your funds before you start thinking about your daily budget.
Even the most basic birthday parties will mean you spend above your budget. Plan to spend 3 times your average day if this is the case (even if somewhere is doing something for you for your birthday).
Most people overlook this. When you exchange money, regardless of where in the world you are, you will always lose money. Currency exchange houses will always charge a small commission and will give themselves a favorable rate so that they can make money. You may be looking at spending up to $20 or $30 when doing this.
An easy mistake to make is to think that “visa on arrival” means it is free. It’s not! Do your research on each of the places you are going and you’ll be grand, but if you don’t include it in your budget, you may just find that you can’t go to all the places you wanted.
Think about whether you will need to travel when you are there regardless of the form of transport you will be taking.
You will smell! Laundry can be fairly cheap in some places however, in others it may be as costly as $10 to get it done. Just something to think about.
Ever thought about the fact that your family and friends might want to hear from you and make sure you’re safe. Or you stay somewhere for a while and want to keep in contact with you new found mates?
Above a just a couple of the little things you need to think about. Your best way of going about budgeting is to think about what you want to do on a none daily basis: trips, tours, activities etc. Then take the cost of these away from the funds you have for traveling. Then think about all the other little bits that might encroach on your traveling funds like some of the ideas I have listed above.
Finally, take $250 out of what you have left and keep that as your emergency fund.
What you will now be left with is a lump sum that you can divide between the days that you will be traveling for. By budgeting in this fashion, you may just find that you actually don’t have to worry about money all the time whilst traveling and also have a little money left over at the end to be able enjoy a few good meals or big nights out.