Travel is an exciting way to expand your mind, dive into adventure and indulge in a well-earned rest. Before you kick off your shoes and relax with a fruity cocktail, check out these top tips, to make the most of your travel budget.
If travelling overseas to an exotic destination is something you dream about at your desk, make it a reality, with careful financial planning and insider travel tips. There are a wealth of options available, when you’re organised and ‘in the know’ about cost-saving tricks.
Work out the logistics first
Planning your budget largely depends on the type of holiday you want and who you’re going with. Are you travelling on your own, as a couple, with friends or with the kids? Do you want to embark on an all-expenses paid trip, like a cruise or an all-inclusive resort? Or, are you keen to trek through the Amazon?
Though it’s tempting to book those great-value flights as soon as you decide to go, making sure the figures add up, before buying anything, is the only way to keep your budget on track.
Becoming clear on the travel experience you want, allows you to work out a very specific budget to minimise unexpected costs and take advantage of deals. This works in reverse as well, if you’ve already got a set budget and need to match it to an appropriately priced trip.
With your ideal holiday in mind and a maximum budget set, start researching relevant costs for the country you’re travelling to. Though it’s tempting to book those great-value flights as soon as you decide to go, making sure the figures add up, before buying anything, is the only way to keep your budget on track. Here are the big ones:
Passports and Visas
Flights and airport transfers
Daily meals and drinks
Attraction entrance fees, tours and entertainment
Once they’re factored in, you can adjust your holiday accordingly, leaving a bit of extra room in the budget for unexpected occurrences.
With a realistic budget to start with, you’re ready to make use of cost saving tips along the way. First up, subscribe to airlines and comparison sites to receive notifications on flight sales for your chosen dates. When prices drop beyond your budgeted price, don’t delay in booking, as you’ve already cut your costs (and you risk having to kick yourself when they go back up).
Especially for families, it’s cost-effective to combine accommodation with food, in a variety of ways. Do this by choosing a resort with all-inclusive board or renting a self-serviced apartment with a fully equipped kitchen, so you can cater to finicky eaters and shop at the local grocery store.
In terms of transport, most major cities offer cards to cover the entire network, which you can book online in advance at discount prices. The same applies to attractions and entrance fees. So, as a rule of thumb, pre-book everything you can before you leave.
Lastly, sometimes it’s the little tips that make all the difference when you’re there, like using a local sim card or social media for communication, not eating out near major attractions (the food is never as good but often twice the price) and always asking a local, rather than a taxi driver, how to get somewhere.
Nicole Leigh West
Nicole Leigh West is the author of fiction novel, 'The Gypsy Trail' and an internationally recognised travel and lifestyle writer.