You read the title, and now I have to apologise. No, I’m not offering you a million dollars.
A common question I come across time and again when it comes to travelling overseas is ‘how much should I save for this trip to [insert amazing country]?’ And chances are, the reason why you’re reading this is because you want to have more control over how you’re spending your money, and you’re looking to get saving for your next big adventure. The problem is finding the best way to do that.
Well, you’ve come to the right place - I’m here to talk about the best budgeting tricks that I’ve used throughout my travels and international exchange. And, even better, I’ve also designed a free companion travel budget eBook for you, too!
What is a budget? Before I started taking my finances seriously, I’d always thought about it as the salad of the financial world - it’s good for you, but not much fun. However, that’s not the case, and you’ll see why in a moment.
Referring to the ever-wise Google on the subject, it describes it as “an estimate of income and expenditure for a set period of time”, or “the amount of money needed or available for a purpose”. In other words, it’s a plan - a map of how to get from Point A to Point B.
Because, the thing is, as much as I would like to tell you that there is some secret way to procure a million dollars from your earnings (If you find out a way to do this, please show me how!), the reality is that to travel anywhere, you need to be damn good at planning. Planning your transport, planning your route, planning your food (Especially if you have dietary requirements, or particular likes and dislikes), planning your clothes, planning insurance, medications, entertainment - and, yes, money.
The real hacks to budgeting successfully are found in being able to plan your finances effectively enough to go travelling without really feeling the pain of deprivation that can happen if you’re scrambling for funds at the last minute. Having a budget may be boring, but what you can do once you’ve squirrelled some money away definitely isn’t.
How can a budget work for you?
Building a nice treasury for yourself starts in your day-to-day habits, and your paycheques. You’ll need to draw a map of where your earnings are going. Not sure how to get started on that front? You’ll want to check out this freebie here, since I’ve already created a printable template for you?
Once you’ve worked out how much you’re spending every week, you can then use those numbers to find ways that you can cut back on your spending, and what would be a viable amount you could save away every payday. And, yes, if you are serious about saving, you’ll make sure you have a separate bank account just for you to deposit into every time you get paid.
While these steps form the foundations for saving casually (As if aspiring to travel is a casual desire, really), there are ways that you can ensure you’re saving correctly for a trip you’ve already planned for. The two main things that you’ll need to know are the length of time until you head off, and the total amount you need to save (More on that later). From there, you want to do an equation that will look something like this:
total amount you need to save / amount of weeks until you go = amount you need to save every week
If the amount you need to save every week is too big for your budget, you may have to reconsider how you’re currently spending your money, or the validity of the plans you’ve made to travel.
How will you know how much to save for a trip overseas?
Asking how much you’ll need to save for a particular trip overseas is a very loaded question. What you need to ask yourself first is: “What do I want to experience while I’m away?” This will include making decisions like:
- would I stay in a hostel or a hotel?
- would I take public transport or rent a car?
- would I always eat out, or aim to buy groceries?
- would I like to buy souvenirs for myself and my family and friends?
- are there any attractions, like theme parks, museums, art galleries, festivals or traditional sites that I want to visit that will cost money?
- would I prefer to use a travel sim, or rely on free wifi?
- should I save money to pay up to the excess for hospitalisation on my travel insurance (This is an automatic yes, but it still requires thought!)?
- will I want to drink alcohol while I’m away?
- will I need money to tip service providers in the country I’m visiting?
- do I want to take a tour or find my own way around?
And, doubtless, depending on your personal circumstances there may be even more to consider.
To make this decision process easier, there are a few services I can recommend, with some discount codes you can use, too!
A service that provides other people’s places to stay - whether it be a private place, or a shared room. Also available to download as an app.
DISCOUNT CODE: aislingp30ue (You get AUD$34 on Airbnb when you use this code!)
A website that contains flights, car hire and hotel listings that businesses are willing to sell off at a reduced price.
While this isn’t strictly accommodation, you have the option of offering up your services for petsitting and housesitting - so you’ll be getting paid for staying in your accommodation! Also available to download as an app.
A search engine for reviewing flights, hotels and car hire prices.
A service that enables you to pay for a lift safely in someone’s private car. Also available to download as an app.
DISCOUNT CODE: AISLINGP6 (New riders get their first ride free with this code!)
Keen to get ahead on your budgeting now? Or do you have your own budgeting tips you like to use? Share in the comments section below!