How to Calculate Travel Expenses
Are you planning a trip? Do you want to organize a getaway for your next vacation? Without a doubt, good planning is essential to get the best prices when traveling. Except for very few privileged people, the vast majority of us have to adapt to a budget when we are on vacation, as in everyday life, although with a bit of luck something more relaxed. Budgeting before you go on a trip can be very helpful for a number of reasons.
First of all, it will help us make many decisions and assess whether we really want to see certain places or do some activities. Likewise, it will allow us to know more or less how much money we will need on a day-to-day basis during the trip and to be able to assess how much cash we want to carry with us for all our vacations.
Of course we must take the travel budget as something flexible because the most logical thing is that unforeseen events and perhaps extra expenses always arise, therefore it will be better to prepare our budget upwards. There are 2 factors that greatly impact your budget: the use of credit cards and lack of savings.
You can always use an online travel budget calculator and find out the approximate amount of money you will need for your vacation. If you like to enjoy the pleasures of life, see new places, go shopping, party every weekend, but you pay with credit cards, when your statement arrives you will regret for the payments not planned that you did.
A trip or an outing with friends should not be a headache when covering future payments. Therefore, you can use the credit card calculator and include the expenses you plan to make, how much you are going to allocate and what means of payment you are going to use and also the savings calculator for better financial planning.
However, below we leave you a guide to be able to prepare an estimated travel budget. In this way you will have control of the expenses that you are going to have to face during the holidays and know the total price of the trip.
Reading a lot of posts on the subject and adding some home grown, here are some basic tips to calculate how much the next trip will cost you.
1. Research the day-to-day prices of the chosen destination
The easiest way to calculate your day-to-day budget are flights and hotels. You put the dates and the cities in any metasearch engine and you can already get a fairly simple idea of how much you are going to spend on your trip. Error!
Sometimes a "cheap" destination becomes very expensive if you do not take into account the cost of everyday things. For example, how much does public transportation cost? Are museum tickets free or do they have different prices for foreigners? How much for a beer? This will let you know how much money you have to carry "in your pocket" to spend each day.
Sometimes it happens that you find a "cheap" flight but then the accommodation and food are through the roof, as it happens in the Nordic countries, for example. You have to take into account the price of public transport, tickets to museums (sometimes certain attractions have different prices for foreigners, as happens in Thailand) how much a beer or a hamburger costs.
There are times that it is worth buying the typical tourist card of the country (type Rome Pass or Copenhagen Card), which normally include free entry to museums and unlimited transportation.
2. Also calculate the pre-trip expenses
Not only do we have to take into account the expenses incurred at the destination, there are things that we do not usually include and that nevertheless add up: hiring insurance, renewing the international driver's license or passport, transportation from home to the airport and food for the trip in case it is not included in the ticket.
3. Travel out of season
If you have no problem with vacation dates, escaping from the months of July and August can mean great savings. (And also if you live in a big one, you will have the city almost to yourself). Prices tend to drop a lot from the second half of September, and there is still good weather in certain destinations.
November is usually a good time to travel to Asia, since the monsoons occur from June to October, although it is also for that reason somewhat more expensive, although if you catch it in advance it is worth it.
4. Add an additional 3% -5% for the ATM commission (or for currency exchange)
Banks usually charge this percentage for commission when withdrawing money from ATMs abroad. There are some that have a card that allows you to withdraw money without commission, but the normal thing is that they charge you, so it is best that you carry a good sum in bills from your country of origin to avoid these operations.
Unless your bank does not charge you anything at all neither for withdrawing money, nor for exchange, nor for operating with the card on the other side of the world, try to include in your budget the possible expenses of buying in another currency or not have a bank office available.
Another thing is that you have everything paid for, but are you sure you are not going to buy anything there? Not even a postcard? Nor are you going to have a few beers? insurance?
5. Point cards
If you travel often with loyalty cards, you may be able to exchange the points for a car rental, a guided tour, a discount at the hotel and it never hurts to save a few bucks and then buy an ice cream or a souvenir. For those who love shopping, there are outlet malls that gives you a book full of coupons with extra discounts just by showing your passport (but beware of going all out in the stores, otherwise we will have to pay an extra for checking in more luggage).
6. Include a small amount for contingencies
There is nothing worse than starting a trip realizing that you have forgotten to book a room in Madrid, from where you will leave for China, and that there is a massive congress that has tripled the price of the rooms. In addition, trips start long before leaving home from taking an insurance, keeping the dog with a caretaker while you are traveling, renewing the international driver's license etc.
There are many things related to travel that should always fit into the budget. Since you never know what might happen, it is better to overshoot than fall short. It is worth taking into account an amount for possible contingencies such as buying medicines, paying for excess luggage or something that you have lost or forgotten and have to buy again, for example.
And if in the end it is not spent, then money that comes back to get it out, which never hurts. It is very important that you do not keep all the money together and in the same place. If you keep everything in your wallet and lose your wallet, goodbye to all the money! Keep one part in your purse and another in your backpack or wherever you want.
But where do you hide the money you carry? If you just got money and have a lot of money, you should ideally have a hidden pocket for travel. We use a hidden money holder under the shirt and a belt to keep money. Perhaps on your trip you spend your card more than you thought or you do not calculate the exchange rate very well.
And when you return home and receive a larger amount of money on your statement than you expected, you wonder how it could have happened. To avoid this, write down all the payments you make during the day to be more aware of what you spend and what you do it for. In this way, you can better manage yourself during the trip and not receive unpleasant financial surprises upon your return.
7. Review and reuse quotes from other trips
Usually you tend to spend money on the same things, which can help you get an idea of future budgets. For example, if you have made a trip to Munich, it can follow you as a guide for another trip to Germany, since the prices will be more or less similar.
Knowing what you usually spend things on can give you an idea for future budgets. For example, if you have made a weekend trip to Berlin, the budget can follow you as a guide to go another weekend to Munich. Also, if you normally budget 100 and end up spending 120, maybe you should add 20% extras to see if you will have "liquidity" during the trip or you are going to finish the last 3 days eating noodle soup.
Taking advantage of the advantages that the Internet and our smartphones offer us today can also be useful when managing travel budgets.
8. Plan visits to points of interest
Because it is not the same to go to a hotel in Punta Cana, where you will spend your days in the sun drinking margaritas; Than to Rome, where there are a lot of places you'll want to go into. In an all-inclusive you will only have to worry about additional excursions and various purchases, while in a more urban and historical trip you will have to think about the cost of tickets, transport, food, etc.
It is not the same to go to Napa Valley, where you will spend your days eating, drinking and watching breathtaking sunsets among the vineyards; than to Florence, where you will want to enter at least the Academy and the Uffizzi. Differences? to begin with the cost structure: tickets, dependence on the car, the possibility of eating anything and anywhere, the need for a dress code to wear.
Everything adds (or subtracts) when it comes to making a reliable budget. Maybe all your friends will go to Cuba this summer, that Tokyo has become a must-see and that hordes of people want to discover Helsinki this summer. But if you want to control your budget, it is best to travel to places that are out of trend.
Why? because when a destination becomes "fashionable" prices tend to rise slightly and you end up paying more than you expected. It is always easier (especially if you are not one of those who control expenses to your fingertips) to go to a well-established destination or one of those sites that the large tour operators have not yet discovered.
9. The importance of transportation
Are you going to travel several countries by rental car? Will you rent a bicycle or a motorcycle to move around the city? Or, on the contrary, will you move by public transport? If the idea is to rent a car to be more independent, you have to take into account the price of gasoline, since this can be very expensive.
If, on the other hand, you are going to use public transport, it is convenient to find out about the different types of travel vouchers and see which one best suits your needs.
10. Ask others who have been to the same place
A friend, a blogger or a specialized forum can be very useful when it comes to getting an idea of what you can spend on your trip. People are traveling more and more and therefore you will be able to find a lot of information to be able to plan your budget.