Whether you're going on a domestic road trip or international vacation, sticking to a preplanned budget is the best way to avoid an unexpected financial crisis. Give these suggestions a shot so you can fully enjoy your time off.
Focus on Major Expenses
There's no way of getting around the big-time costs like transportation and lodging. These expenses can vary greatly depending on whether you're content flying coach and shacking up in a hostel, flying first class and enjoying a five-star hotel, or anything in between. If more than one airport is available in your area, take some time to compare your airfare options before you book. Compare lodging options and consider how convenient the location is, what amenities are included, and whether shared housing is available.
Depending on your destination, you might be able to get around for less using local services, so make sure to research ground travel as well. Getting the best deal on a rental car, train pass, or gas fill-up for a road trip can shave off big bucks from your transportation bill.
Keep Track of the Little Things
You might not be sweating the small stuff right now, but if money gets tight during your trip, that could quickly change. As an international traveler, it's a good idea to use well-known payment processors to avoid the hassle of currency exchange. Beware of racking up fees on rentals, parking, fine dining, debit or credit card transactions, and cell phone coverage. Download messaging apps that allow Wi-Fi calling and texting, or even opt for purchasing a SIM card from a provider in the area.
Start a Dedicated Travel Savings Fund
Now that you have an idea of what expenses to consider, it's time to set aside the money to cover them. Get a ballpark figure for total costs using a spreadsheet or online trip budget calculator. Some banks and payment platforms allow members to set up reserves, which can be linked to an existing checking account. Transferring part of your incoming deposits to a reserve fund helps fight off the temptation to spend the money before your trip. Any extra income you receive through gigs, gifts, and tax refunds is easily tucked away until you're ready to go.