The Backpacker’s Guide To… Travel Budgets
The first thing I do when I start planning out a potential trip is write up a travel budget that will cover any costs I think I am likely to incur during the trip. It is a living document, subject to changes and additions as you do more research and your trip takes a firmer shape.
This draft is for an average expense trip to a fairly expensive country. Some people will choose to travel more minimally than this, but others will want more comforts. It should also be noted that Iceland is one of the more expensive countries you can travel to, as food and accommodation are higher than average.
Now, let me go over the sections in more detail…
Getting from place to place while abroad is usually the most difficult process. Each country and continent has different options. It is cheapest to see Europe via train, South America by bus, and Australia by Kangaroo. Do your research and see how you can get around and which option is best for you, but most decisions come down to cost.
Staying in hostels are much cheaper than staying in hotels, but more expensive than camping. If you’re touring cities, camping obviously isn’t an option and in those cases, hostels are usually pretty cheap. But, do you want to share a room with strangers? Cost and preference are the main deciding factors here.
When researching food costs, finding the average meal cost for a country is extremely helpful. What it costs to keep you fed can differ greatly from country to country. For instance, food costs in Iceland are 2-3 times more than they are in North America. You don’t want to go hungry while abroad.
It is always safest to over-budget. Round up, not down, and always estimate higher than lower. That way you will have no risk of running out of money before your trip is supposed to end. If you budget a trip to cost $1500 but it ends up costing $1200, that is much better than the other way around.
Travel budgets differ greatly from person to person because we each have our own preferences while travelling. Doing up a travel budget will give you an idea of what you need to save and will help you stay on track while only spending what you have to. Do all your planning and budgeting before departing, that way once you leave to start your trip, you don’t have to worry about it and can just enjoy yourself.
*Please note: this budget does not include the cost of airfare. Plane tickets differ immensely depending upon your location, where you want to go, and which airlines fly there.*
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