I am a huge planner. I like to go on several big trips a year, I can’t afford not thoroughly planning a trip out. Here are some tips to planning a trip within budget.
- Set the budget and be realistic. Do some research on how much it would cost for the basic things like: flight, hotel and average cost of food. By doing this research, it usually helps narrow the places that you can afford to go. It’s easy to say that you will spend $1000 on the trip, but end up spending $2000. Be realistic with yourself and really think about how much you’re really going to spend.
- Check for cheap flights early. As you may know, closer to the date you want to travel, the more expensive the flights are usually. I often start planning a trip up to 6 months ahead.
- Open your mind to possible places to stay. Don’t focus on the luxurious hotels or ocean view rooms. Instead, look at some more upscale hostels or Air BnBs.
- Go with as many people as you can possibly find. It’s nice to have a couples trip once in a while, but if you want to save money, go with more people. That way, you can share the cost of the living situations, car rentals and even food.
- Stay somewhere that has a kitchen. Even if it’s just a hot plate, you can save some money by making breakfast at home or making sandwiches for lunch.
- Don’t overdo the activities. Find as many free activities as you possibly can. If you’re on a very tight budget, choose one out of the many possible activities that are paid to do. Sometimes, thinking that it’s a once in a lifetime thing to walk on the edge of a volcano in Hawaii might not be true if you end up going to Iceland and do it again. Pick and choose the ‘once in lifetime’ activities carefully.
- Travel really light. Often airlines require you to pay extra to check in luggage now. To save up to $100, you can bring a carry on or a big backpack for your trip instead of a rolling luggage.
- Cut the souvenirs. I love getting souvenirs, but after a few years it goes in the garbage because in the end I didn’t actually go to Bali. Most times, a postcard would suffice. You don’t have to buy everyone in your family a shot glass that says you just got back from somewhere they’ve never been. It’s a gesture that gets less and less important as you get older.
I hope this list helped you try to cut some money out of your trip. My motto is: research the sh*t out of it. The more you know, the more you can save.