When planning a trip, it is easy to underestimate your costs and go over budget. After all, there are a lot of little expenses involved that add up. In this guide, I explain how to create an accurate budget for long term travel. I’ll outline every expense that you’re likely to incur and explain how to estimate it. This process works for all budget ranges and trip lengths. In the end, you’ll have an accurate trip budget.
We will begin by breaking the trip down into five categories of expenses:
- Food and drink
One of your biggest travel expenses is accommodation. You will need somewhere to sleep every night of your trip, after all. To start getting an idea of what accommodation will cost, simply go on a booking site likeHostelworld.orBooking.comand search for hostels or hotels that you would be comfortable staying in.
Check the prices of multiple properties in every city that you will be visiting and make note of the average cost per night. This can take quite a bit of time but it is necessary to get an accurate idea of your accommodation cost.
Remember that prices change based on the season in many places so this must also be taken into consideration. In general,traveling during the summeris the most expensive due to high demand. Many hostels also charge more on the weekends than during the week.
Once you have found the average cost per night for each city that you plan to visit, simply multiply the number by the number of nights that you will be staying. Next, add them all up. This is your total accommodation budget for the trip.
Money-Saving Tip: There are methods I use to cut my accommodation budget. Each time you use one of these, you can subtract the cost savings from your accommodation budget.
- 晚上旅行 -经过taking overnight buses, trains, and flights, you save on a night of accommodation every time. This can really add up over the course of a long trip. Even though sleeping on a bus is uncomfortable, the money you save may be worth it depending on your budget. For example, if you travel to a new city by night every 4 days, you can potentially cut your accommodation budget by a quarter.
- 营-These days, I alwaystravel with a small tentorhammock.狂野的露营可以真正减少住宿预算，因为它是免费的。许多酒店和旅馆还提供比宿舍床更低的帐篷和营地的空间。偶尔，您可以找到一家餐馆或小型企业，允许您在其房产上营地。一般来说，他们只会要求你从他们那里买东西，如一顿饭。
This varies quite a bit from person to person. For this reason, food and drink is the hardest part of the budget to calculate.
A good place to start when estimating your food and drink cost is alcohol. If you are a drinker, this will be the most expensive part. Consider how much you drink, how often you drink, and what you drink. Next, you can begin researching costs.
Drink prices vary greatly around the world. For example, you want to know a drink cost closer to $.50 or $15 where you are traveling. You’ll never be able to accurately guess this cost but it is good to make a rough budget that you can try to stick to.
食品成本也很难计算。取following into consideration. Bigger people spend more on food as they need to eat more. Some travelers happily eat local food while others are picky and prefer more familiar foods. Some enjoy cooking and others choose to eat every meal out. Which kind of person are you?
Next, you can do some research on what food costs in the region where you will be traveling. Find a rough daily food cost and multiply it by the number of days in your trip. This will give you a guide to try to stick to while you are traveling. Remember, you’ll probably need to eat more than you’re used to because you’ll be more active while traveling.
- 入住酒店和旅馆含有早餐的酒店– This saves money and is one less meal to worry about. If it is a continental breakfast, you may even be able to sneak a bit extra out for later.
- Cook for yourself-One of my favorite things to do when I travel is visiting a local grocery store or market. I make a point of always trying the local food in each country that I visit, but prefer to cook most of my own meals. It is always cheaper to cook for yourself than go to a restaurant.
- If you are on a very low budget, travel with your own cooking gear-A small camp pot and酒精炉子is easy to pack and allows you to cook while camping.
- Drink less-I would estimate that half to two-thirds of my food and drink budget goes toward alcohol. Giving up drinking will cut down on costs a lot. I like to pick and choose my going out nights carefully rather than drinking every night.
- Eat a vegetarian diet-我永远无法完成这一点，但吃得更少的肉确实减少了成本。
Getting from point A to point B is another major expense. Maybe even the biggest expense depending on where you’re traveling. The single largest expense of your trip will most likely be your airplane ticket. I like to useSkyscanner.to find the lowest cost flight.
Next, you must consider transport between cities. Research bus, train and ferry fare prices as well as any additional airfare on all of the routes that you plan to travel.
Next, take into consideration transport costs around the towns and cities that you will be visiting. This includes taxi, metro, public bus, and tuk-tuk fare. To estimate this, look at the locations of the sites that you plan to visit within the city and research the transportation cost between there and your accommodation. You can usually find average one-way transport prices online.
Money-Saving Tips: Here are a few tips to cut down on transportation costs.
- Walk everywhere-I avoid using taxis and public transport as much as possible. Walking is free and you get to see more of the area that you are visiting.
- Negotiate hard-Taxi drivers in particular love to rip off foreigners. If a cab driver won’t give me a reasonable rate, I will keep asking drivers until I find one that wants the fare.
- 利用信用卡优惠 -I flew round trip between California and Africa for free with credit card miles. For my card recommendations, check out my article:The Best Debit Card and Credit Card for International Travel。
- 搭便车 -搭便车的许多地方是普遍和安全的。这也是满足你不符合的一些有趣的角色的好方法。
- 骑自行车-我最近已经进入了自行车游览。骑自行车是一种便宜和健康的方式来从A点到Poile B.如果您对这种旅行方法感兴趣，您可以阅读my review of my first bicycle tour.
Now you must consider the cost of all the outings and activities that you plan to do on your trip. This includes entrance fees, tour costs, permits, equipment rentals, etc. To calculate this you must simply research all of these costs and add them up.
Knowing the rough price of everything that you want to do helps you avoid expensive surprises. Sometimes activities cost much more than you would think. For example, I was surprised by the ridiculous entry fees to Serengeti National Park.
Money-Saving Tips: Here are a few tips to cut down on activity costs.
- Rather than booking a tour, go independently-If you are visiting a site that is outside of the city, it is often easier to go with a tour group. The problem is that tours are usually much more expensive. Research public transportation options first. It may be just as easy and half the cost to go independently. I did this when I was going on a safari in Kenya. The tour cost was $350 but I was able toorganize the safari by myself for less than $200。
- Book when you’re on the ground rather than in advance online-Waiting until you arrive allows you to shop around locally and negotiate directly with tour companies. You can get some great last-minute deals if are willing to wait a few days. The only time this doesn’t work is if you are working with a tight schedule and you must do an activity on a particular day.
- Skip some stuff-You don’t need to see every single site just to say that you’ve been there. If something doesn’t interest you, skip it. You can also talk to other travelers to get recommendations on their favorite thing they did in the city or country.
- Take advantage of discounts and free days-Some museums are free once per week for example. If you are a student, many tourist sites offer student discounts. Sites will be more crowded on free days but if you are willing to put up with more people, you’ll save money.
Additional Expenses to Consider While Making Your Travel Budget
One of the most important costs that many people don’t take into consideration is gear and clothing replacement. Stuff tends to wear out quicker when you are on the road. For example, your electronics will be exposed to more vibration, humidity, and dust than back home. Your clothes will be worn more often and for longer periods of time. This is not good for the longevity of your possessions.
Other additional costs that must be taken into consideration include:
- 旅游保险-这是可选的，但强烈推荐。我总是使用World Nomadsand have had good luck with them. For more info, you can check out mytravel insurance page.
- Expenses you have back home-这包括账单，租金，付款以及您必须在您离开时支付的任何东西。
- 电话服务 -你会在每个国家购买SIM卡还是依靠WiFi？这是另一种可选的费用。
- Laundry cost-你打算打衣服洗衣服或送他们洗碗吗？在水槽中洗涤是免费的，但有时很高兴能够正确清洁衣服。
- Health-related expenses-您是否需要购买任何药物？你需要购买吗？疟疾片剂还你需要任何旅行疫苗吗？
- Emergency cash– You may want to stash away a bit of cash in case your credit or debit card is lost or stolen. I usually bring $300-$1000 depending on where I am traveling and if I plan to spend the cash or not.
- Haircuts-If you’re traveling for more than a month, you’ll have to cut your hair. To save some money, you couldcut your own hair.
After You Have Found All of Your Travel Costs
Chances are, your desired trip costs more than you can afford. At this point, you can make adjustments to your trip budget to make it more affordable. Changes you can make to reduce costs:
- Skip some cities-This will cut out transportation costs and activity costs associated with that city. Sometimes it’s nice to spend more time in one city rather than moving around every other day. Remember, you don’t need to see everything.
- Visit cheaper countries-旅游在发达国家可以成本比n $100 per day. You can get by on less than $20 per day in many developing countries.
- 走得很慢 -而不是从一个城市飞往另一个城市，乘坐公共汽车或火车。为了节省更多，您可以步行或自行车游览。
- Stay in cheaper accommodation-考虑旅馆和露营，而不是酒店，而不是酒店。
- 在每个城市度过更多时间 -Sometimes I like to stay in one city for a month or more. You can find a better deal on accommodation if staying longer term. I recommend checkingAirbnb如果你决定这样做。
- 缩短你的旅行 -If you aren’t willing to make any sacrifices in terms of comfort, you can always simply travel for a shorter period of time.
Staying on Budget While Traveling
This can be as detailed as you like. Generally, I’ll just add things up in my head and write down one or two numbers for the day. I don’t really care about the specifics of each purchase, just the total daily expenditure.
With this information, you should periodically check if you are sticking to your travel budget. For example, at the end of each month, I will add up all of my expenses to see how much I spent. I will also check my bank account and see exactly how much I withdrew. I subtract the cash that I still have from the total that I withdrew out to find out how much I spent.
While making a budget, I am very conservative. I prefer to overestimate every expense and spend less rather than underestimating and potentially running out of money.
With that being said, I don’t like to miss out on anything. There is no point in going somewhere if you’re just going to sit around the hotel all day trying not to spend any money. There is a difference between cutting back on comfort to save money and cutting back on experiences. I would much prefer to spend money visiting a national park, museum, or concert than staying in a fancy hotel or eating a nice meal.
To Wrap it Up: How to Make an Accurate Budget for Long Term Travel
Unless money is no object, it is a very good idea to make a travel budget before setting off on a long trip. Your trip will go smoother and you’ll probably end up saving money. I understand that this whole budgeting process can take many hours but it is a necessity for most people.
For more help budgeting, check out myGuide to Ultra Low Budget Travel on $10 Per Day