How to Plan and Budget for a Trip depends on the type of person you are. If you need to know how much to save up, one way of doing it is to save up in advance there is one way of doing or or if you already have a budget in mind that is the second way of doing it. Overall I think this budget planning will be super helpful in the long run.
I am usually the type of person who already had a budget in mind especially since I have traveled often and usually know what to expect when traveling. For example, I don’t usually buy many souvenirs. I usually buy magnets for my coworkers and a small form of jewelry for me. My souvenirs are typically the photos that I take on each trip and this blog to record my memories.
1. Finding Flights
My first plan of action is finding flights. I usually find that finding flights are the most expensive part of the trip and it’s always paid up front so you usually need the money right then and there to book it. To find the most affordable flights, I use skyscanner.com which is my favorite in finding affordable flights and when these flights are typically the cheapest to fly where. Another site I have heard is good is Travel Pirates.
Tuesdays are usually the best days to find flights since most prices are higher on Fridays when people are quick to use their paychecks to book flights. In skyscanner you can find the destination you are looking to go to and be flexible with the days and months and can see which times of the year and days of the weak are cheapest to fly. I typically like to book directly with the airlines rather than with other booking agencies, however, that doesn’t necessarily matter. It just makes it more difficult I found talking to another agency to get your flight situation fixed.
2. Creating an Itinerary
a. Look up things to do in the location you are visiting
Pinterest is usually the best place for this. I mean there is trip advisor but honestly, I have found getting information from fellow travel bloggers who have made the trips much more useful. They often will respond quickly if you have questions as well. Us travel bloggers are here to be informational and helpful to our readers which is why we all had a passion in traveling and starting our blogs.
b. Make a list of things to do in city you are traveling to (make multiple lists if you are traveling to multiple cities)
-Include the name of the place
-Description of the Place
-I usually like to include photos so I usually will use a google image search and use those photos to remind me of the place
-Hours of Operation
c. Organize Lists into the top categories for each city.
Usually the items I want to see most at the top and the least at the bottom.
d. I will then look at costs of hotels/hostels in the area. Usually you book these hotels/hostels in advance but payment will be received upon getting there. So keep that in mind when saving money for your trip. (You can always wait on this step after reviewing the maps of locations if hotel/hostel is not in a convenient area)
e. Once I have the list of items I want to see and costs for hotels I will calculate everything into this spreadsheet I have made to kind of give me a breakdown of costs to see if these things fit into my budget or I make sure I know the total cost to know how much to save.
Tip: If you would like access to the spreadsheet or my sample itineraries please subscribe to my blog and you will have access to all my printables in my downloads library.
g. Include estimated costs of food per day. If you are a traveler on a budget eating at more affordable places then estimate that or if you like fine dining make sure you estimate that as well. Just remember you have to think about Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
Tip: Some hostels and hotels include a free breakfast which is my favorite travel hack in searching for a hotel/hostel.
3. Creating a Map
After you have edited your list of things to do and hotels, input everything into My Maps at google.com. You can create varying days as different layers. I often will create one map for one city and do different layers if I am staying longer than one day. You can change the colors of each day’s pin so you don’t get confused.
Tip: If you do not have data when traveling be sure to print your map out prior to your trip
4. Public Transportation
Look up costs of public transportation and be sure to include that in your costs. If you are walking that will save more money, if there are subways in the destination you are traveling to sometimes a multi day pass is better but base this off the amount of time spent in each city, trains or buses (sometimes another flight is cheaper) if you plan to visit other cities.
If you want to get technical you can put blocks of time for everything and place them in a calendar, but that isn’t really my style. I prefer just spending time at my top locations and if I have time go to the others down my list. I like to be flexible with my time, but at least know what there is to do.
6. Finished Itinerary
If you aren’t a calendar person like myself, I will usually put my itinerary in a pdf format to save on my phone. I will email the PDF to myself and download it to save while offline.
Tip: For iPhones you can easily save it to your ibooks which makes it accessible at anytime.
Be sure to print and save in offline mode all boarding documents, tickets, all copies of passports, and passes to museums before flying out.
Tip: I usually like to save a digital copy of my passport in a cloud based system in case I lose it or it was stolen so that I can guarantee a copy on hand.
7. Saving Money
So my tip for saving money for a trip is continuously saving from each paycheck. When I first started out, I would save $50 per paycheck biweekly and that gives you about $1300 a year. Now I have increased that to $100 per paycheck which is about $2600 a year. $50 is definitely doable especially when I was in college working part time. $50 is like two meals that I didn’t miss since I knew where that money was going towards. I have my bank set up to automatically draw out the $50 and transfer it to my savings so that I wouldn’t really see it or miss it. It is seriously my favorite travel hack.
8. How to Calculate How Much you are spending during the trip
I usually like to have these two apps on hand for budgeting:
– Convert – This is a foreign currency exchange app called convert which is accessible offline. You can get a rough estimate of how much the foreign currency exchange rate is.
– Trail Wallet – You input your budget for the trip into this app and input your receipts of items you purchased for the day to know how much you spent and how much you have left.
And there you have it there are my tips for how to plan and budget for a trip.
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What are some of your ideas for planning and budgeting for your travels? Leave them in the comments below.