It’s hard to think of a single experience that is quite as exciting as travel. Getting lost in ancient cities, taking part in cultural festivals, and even the culture shock of a Turkish coffee – it’s easy to see the appeal of travelling. A less exciting topic is that of the travel budget, which is something that is often considered when it is too late or when you are already on the trip. Either of these scenarios is not ideal and might result in a few missed opportunities or a watered-down adventure. If you are looking to stretch your budget further across the globe, and are not quite sure where to start, here is how you can budget for yourself and travel with total peace of mind.
Determine your non-negotiable costs
A good place to start here would be to determine the costs that you must account for so that you have a number to work towards and know when you have reached it. These essential costs will be flights, some travel insurance, Tick Travel insurance offers great policies, visas, relevant shots and medication, accommodation and any internal transport (bus, train, connecting flights). When you have your baseline cost, anything saved above that can be to further enhance your trip and come home with a few souvenirs. When asked how much one has saved for a trip, many don’t factor in those baseline costs, and so $6,000 saved might actually equate to $2,000 when you factor out those non-negotiables costs and actually touch down in that country.
Build a timeline and schedule, and anticipate costs
You can’t expect to create a useful budget if you haven’t outlined the timeline of your trip and a schedule with which you plan to fill those days. If you are planning for a four week trip with one week in India and three in France, that will be quite a different budget to three weeks in India and one in France. The greater detail you provide in this exercise will assist you in conceptualising what attractions and activities you actually want to partake in. You could even find that you are going to be in Italy for Carnival Festival, and can book in some authentic experiences. It’s all well and good to know you will spend a week in France, but once you build a timeline around this you can accurately predict how you will spend your days and your money.
Account for exchange rates and PPP (purchasing power parity)
$100 might get you far in one country, but it could be quite a different experience in another country. We are of course talking about the PPP (purchasing power parity) which is also known as the Big Mac Index. As the name suggests, the Big Mac Index is a way of comparing the parity of two currencies against a product universally known. If you are travelling to Spain, you can learn what a Big Mac costs in that country as may find that cost to be higher, lower or the same as your own country. Exchange rates are unfortunately an afterthought for many travellers, and failure to respect these variances could give you an unwelcome shock! When you book and plan your trip, ensure that you are digesting these costs as they are so that you can accurately budget.
If you are jetting off this year, you will want to have a robust budget that will support you from the start to the finish of your trip. Planning and research are going to be your greatest weapon against overspending and missed opportunities, plus it might just make you even more excited for the upcoming trip.