When going on a trip, we always stick to a budget (or at least try to). From buying an airfare at its most reasonable (booking far in advance or travel hacking) to saving money on where we stay (Airbnb), and controlling where we eat for food (local eateries). We’ve learned much from our journeys and how to find the best way to prepare for a trip while being able to afford that once in a lifetime experience. Here are ways we stick to a budget during trips:
PLAN AHEAD OF TIME
Mary plans most of our trips, which is perfect for me, but I do know that six months away is a decent time to start initial planning like looking up accommodations and such. The best time to find flights could be even a year out but be sure to plan at a minimum of a few months out. The earlier you plan, the easier it will be to look up all sorts of things such eateries and places to stay. Plan how much you intend to spend on things like food and transportation. How much you will need to save to do certain things and bring at least $300-$500 worth of currency to add to that base amount (just in case you have to buy an emergency ticket – or an emergency GoPro charging connector – or something of the caliber). The more you plan, the earlier, the better!
DAILY CASH ALLOWANCE
This can fall under the first point, however, keep in mind of a regular budget while you’re on the trip. For example, if you decide to go shopping and spend a lot, you need to know not to spend the same amount or more on the next visit. Of course, this is all relative to your financial situation but keeping a budget isn’t selective either; budgeting can help everyone. Knowing what you spend your money on will assist in making your trip more enjoyable, add more of that similar happiness.
EAT LIKE A LOCAL
Eating local will not only help you conserve funds, but it will also enlighten your taste palate as well! There are few and far between ways to experience a culture and eating what the local populace eats while being made in front of you eyes, is quite possible the closest way to engage with a culture on a deeper level.
SHOP AT MARKETS
If you can’t find a good place to eat, all locations are closed, or have no one to cook for you, head to the local market! Still, want to experience the culture through your taste buds? The market should have local favorites as well as ingredients to make a popular dish in your very own (temporary) home – Airbnb or hotel.
FIND FREE ACTIVITIES
If you are unable to find any free deals before you go, always be on the lookout for the best deals after you landed in your desired destination. Some places you stay may have exclusive access to hikes or outdoor activities you may not know about until you ask. If the area is convenient enough to walk around, take a walk and see what you may find while venturing out! Too far? Go by bike or public transportation. You may meet someone during the commute that can hook you up with something.
MINIMIZE IF YOU CAN
Before the trip, be sure only to pack what you need. If you don’t need it now, but may need it, look up to see if the item is available in that location or has a better deal. Sometimes, you may find holding off to buy some things, like toiletries, are a lot more inexpensive than your home (Hawaii, how unfortunately depressing, is likely to have a higher cost than your home base, fyi). Overall, waiting to buy something will help you funnel money into other, enjoyable, things. Minimizing also falls under daily movements as well. For phones, we share the data, so without having to split the data, we only use one phone, most days, primarily for navigating around the remote areas. We also make our backpacks as lightweight as possible. If we don’t need at item, it’s staying home/Airbnb
Before, during, and en route, always do your research! Knowing how to prepare yourself, what you will need, where you will be going when you plan on visiting, can all be solved with a little bit of browsing around multiple internet resources. During the trip, there may be coupons or events that are happening you would never know about unless you looked it up. Better yet, what if there’s an upgrade for free or at low cost but only if you printed out that internet coupon – you would’ve never known without doing a little research. Be diligent and look things up if the moment calls for more information – it can help you save money!
All of these points have helped us plan and execute our trips flawlessly with a few extra bucks in our bank. These savings translates into having a bank-boost for the next trip! If you can follow a tight, but reasonable for your lifestyle, budget then you are way ahead of the game! Good look everyone! Let us know if you’ve found any budget hacks. We’d love to hear them.