A budget is important so that you don’t run out of money while overseas or return to excessive debt after a lovely trip! Before you start your budget, consider the following five factors that will strongly influence it.
1. Where you go
Some countries are much more expensive to visit and you will pay more if you want to travel between countries on one holiday.
2. How long you go
The fixed costs to get you there are expensive, so aim for minimum two weeks or, if you can afford it, longer.
3. Travelling alone or with a partner
This will depend on your personality and budget. It’s normally more expensive to travel on your own unless you have friends to visit. Travelling with a partner is safer, costs are shared and each of you have different talents. One may be good with direction and the other with checking the budget.
4. Type of accommodation.
There are expensive five star hotel options to shared hostel options that vary immensely in price.
5. When you travel.
Certain times of the year are high or peak season and are therefore more expensive.
The first part of the budget is the fixed costs, which you have to pay for the trip regardless of how long you plan to go. For example :
- passports and visas
- airfare, baggage fees and airport taxes
- immunisations (depending on where you will be going and the time of year you'll be travelling)
- travel insurance
- good quality luggage (not necessarily high-end and expensive stuff, but solid and easy to use)
- comfortable clothes and shoes (don’t wear new shoes, or shoes you don’t wear at home)
Now you can determine the daily budget which is the amount of money you must have per day for
- food and drink (street snacks, restaurant meals, water, alcoholic beverages)
- entertainment, nightlife, entry fees to museums
- tips to tour guides, tips for ladies cleaning bathrooms
- short excursions from where you stay to other towns (bus fare, train fare or taxi)
- souvenirs and shopping (which you will do, even if you try not to!)
- currency exchange bank fees
Let me give you an example. Let’s say the fixed costs for your trip will be R14 000, and that you calculated a “daily budget” of R2 500 for an overseas trip of about 18 days. You will need R59 000.
It is 18 days at R2 500 per day (total R45 000) plus your fixed costs of R14 000.
Here are two ways that you can plan to save up the R59 000 :
- If you want to go overseas in four years’ time, you must save this amount in 48 months, which calculates to R1 229 a month.
- If you can only afford to save R700 per month, then you will need to save for 84 months (seven years).
The great way of planning in advance like this is that your trip will be paid for in cash and not through making debt. It is also a great goal if you want to go overseas regularly. If you keep on saving this money throughout your life, you can go overseas every 3 to 7 years, depending on what you can save every month.
Other tips that will indirectly save you money when you plan an overseas trip :
1. Go prepared
The more you read travel blogs and books, do internet research, study maps and get a feel of the country, food and its people, the more accurate your budget will be.
2. Investigate cruises or specialist tours
If you are a sole traveller but want your freedom, some tours only provide the travel & accommodation arrangements but the rest of the time is yours to do as you please. Sport fanatics or cyclists also have great specialist tour options. Or, consider an all-inclusive cruise.
3. Keep your money safe
Prowling pick-pockets can spot travellers a mile away so avoid crowded areas if you're using a bulgy money belt. Keep money with you for the day but the rest (and your cards) in a flat money belt under your clothes.
4. Plan your clothes for the trip
Study the weather and religious requirements and prepare outfits in advance. Take warm clothes too and stick to a few items you can mix and match so you have space for shopping items.
Enjoy every moment of the planning process and enjoy seeing your savings grow. Soon you’ll be on that trip and you won’t just be dreaming about it anymore!
Do you have any money saving tips that helped you plan for a trip overseas? Share them with us.