One of the first things to do for a trip is to make a proper realistic budget! Travel budget boils down to your planning, judgment, and decision-making. You need to be realistic about what you'll be doing in your trip, your activities, and anything that will happen on your trip! It's really true how not everyone can afford their dream vacations. However, we can try our best to make a travel budget to make a dream come true! Well, at least parts of it!
Jumping right into it, firstly we'd advise you to ask yourself this: "What am I looking forward to doing on this vacation?", here's the thing, if you're visiting Turkey, for example, just to participate in the Hot Balloons festivals, you're never going to draw a red-line on the hot balloon activity! Because, after all, that was the whole point of the journey, to begin with! So you see, it all comes down to your judgment and your priorities on how your vacation will be shaped.
To help with your planning, we've categorized all the different stuff you're going to spend your money on, so you can plan your dream vacation around each section, for example, if you feel like you want to stay at a hotel with a unique ocean-view; you can spend more on your accommodation and less on your means of transportation. Unless you're wealthy, that is!
Plan your Accommodation
I've seen people usually make this mistake where they think a good trip is necessarily the one that comes with the best accommodation. Well, not really! There are thousands of hostels and even hotels out there that are cheap and pretty good regardless! The point here is, if the type of accommodation is not the most significant part of your trip, don't sweat it. You can choose a cheaper option for your accommodation and spend more of your money on other things that you prioritize over your accommodation type.
Also, keep in mind hostels and hotels are not always the only options. If you're looking for cheaper options, we strongly advise you to consider space-sharing, BnBs, and other types of accommodations. In today's world, almost anything is found on Airbnb, after all!
And even if you're prioritizing a luxurious place to stay over other things for your trip, you can, and you should still compare the prices online and make sure you're booking the right way, with the cheapest amount. Plenty of apps, services, and websites make this a hundred times more manageable for you.
Plan your Transportation
Unlike accommodations, it's less likely for people to prioritize the means of transportation over other sections for good travel budget planning. Unless you're really into first class, or you want to hop on the Hogwarts Express! So, naturally, it should take you less effort to plan for your transportation. Keep in mind that if your trip's date is flexible, plane tickets are occasionally cheaper on some specific dates. We'd recommend using applications or websites such as skyscanner.net to compare prices and look for the cheapest tickets.
Additionally, if you're traveling domestically, sometimes using public transportation is relatively cheaper than using your personal vehicle. Especially if you're traveling alone or with fewer people. Do a little math here with gas prices and all the expenses, see which option is more optimal, and go for it. Plan first, then travel!
Plan your Activities
Think of what you'll be doing on your trip, make a little bucket list of things you want to do on your journey. Sometimes it's worth sacrificing other expenses over a bungee jumping activity or a wild night at a bar. Sometimes not. Again, it all depends on your priorities! Especially if you're traveling to another country or a city you don't know, searching for the available activities is an excellent way to start planning for your activities. After all, you wouldn't want to tell a sad story of how you just found out about an activity you couldn't afford on your trip! This is why we have a list of city suggestions for our users in Goki!
Another thing we encourage you to do is to read what bloggers have to say about the place you're visiting, especially if you're traveling internationally. Sometimes, unknown, untouched places are less known to the public and might easily get overlooked. Here's a list of top travel bloggers you can follow to help you with your planning, and ultimately with your travel budget!
Plan your Consumables Expenses
It's not realistic to create a list of all the things you're going to eat while on vacation. You can, however, estimate how much you're going to spend on food and drinks. For example, in Canada and the US, it's realistic to say a very regular lunch costs about $15 to $20. In comparison, in Southeast Asia, it costs about $7 and in the Middle East costs about $2 to $5. Therefore, your lunch money depends on your destination!
It's also advised by many travelers and bloggers (as I've read personally) to cook your own food at least one time a day. Making your own food drastically lowers the expenses and saves a lot of money! You can later spend the money however you wish! Good deal.
Also, if you're game for sustainable travel, many people have advised numerous times to eat local foods! Not only will you both figuratively and literally get a taste of the local culture, but you also save money and make the locals happy. ~and richer!~ Good deal for everyone!
Plan your Souvenir Expenses
If you've got family members and friends waiting on you back home, it's probably most polite to bring them something back home. It might not cost you a lot, relatively speaking, but it should still be considered. If you're keeping track of your expenses, you'd know souvenirs are overlooked often. However, it might surprise you how a simple plain postal card costs you sometimes. Not to mention sometimes you might fall for a pretty toy or a decorative! Who knows? Planning for the souvenirs before the what-ifs and I-wishes is a big win in my book!
Even if your circle is small and not a whole lot of people are counting on your souvenirs, you might still buy yourself something nice, don't you think? Leave some cash in your pocket when that day comes.
Track your Expenses
When you're done making your travel budget, it's time to act on it. Some people are disciplined enough to keep themselves from flushing their money. Nevertheless, everyone probably needs a Tracker nowadays. There are hundreds of apps out there to help you with this. The one we keep hearing about on travel blogs is an app called Wallet. (Disclaimer: We don't promote this app, we strictly have heard of it from travel influencers and bloggers.)
Suppose you're skeptical or reluctant to use an app to do your financial calculations. In that case, you can simply use a spreadsheet or a plain excel or text file on your phone. The whole point of this is to make life easier and the money stack thicker!