How Much Money Should I Take On My Trip?

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The question ‘How much money should I take on my trip?’ is something that’ asked by every traveler at some point or another, and is something that many first-time travelers will stress over. Creating an accurate travel budget is extremely difficult (even for experienced travelers), and it’s something that must be carefully researched and considered before you leave.

How Much Money Should I Take On My Trip? Unfortunately there is no single figure that I can give you, as every trip is different. Before you can answer this question you need to first think about where you’re planning on going, how you’re getting there (and how you’re getting around once you’re there), what kind of accommodation you’re planning on staying in (i.e. hotels, hostels, guesthouses, etc.), how you’re planning on drinking (as in alcohol) and how much shopping you’re planning on doing (if any).

If you know someone who’s been to the area where you’re planning on going, interrogate them for information, as they’ll more than likely be able to tell you the average cost of staying there. In situations like this there is no substitute for experience.

Most travel guide books will also contain rough estimates of daily living costs, but be sure to find a book that was written recently, as living costs tend fluctuate greatly as time goes on.

While traveling is obviously about freedom, and while it’s not a good idea to plan out EVERYTHING you’re going to be doing, it is a good idea to think through all of the possible contingencies, and working out how much money they’ll cost you.

North America and Australia are typically pretty expensive places to travel, whereas India and South East Asia are very budget-friendly. South America is pretty cheap to travel around, but the costs of flights to get there are very high compared to most other places.

Lots of travelers (in my experience) spend a lot more on alcohol then they had planned for. I’m not saying they’re all alcoholics, but these small costs add up when you’re having a few drinks every night. As a tip, try drinking the local spirits and beers, as they’re nearly always cheaper than imported varieties.

For a great starting point, check out this online travel cost calulator.

Even if you’ve planned out how much you think you need for your trip, it’s good to have a ‘backup’ if you spend more than you intended. A credit card is a great thing to have in emergencies and special occasions when you need a bit of extra cash. Credit cards should not be relied on for day-to-day spending, as you always want to have them to fall back on if needed.

There will no-doubt be occasions on your trip where you come across opportunities that you won’t want to miss (such as going snorkeling in Krabi, Thailand or doing a sky dive in New Zealand). These activities can’t always be planned out, so this is why I recommend keeping an extra amount of money ‘on the side’ for when they do pop up.

Hidden Costs
No-matter how careful you are with planning your trip, there will always be extra hidden (or unforeseen) costs that crop up. To deal with these in a hassle-free manner, add an extra 10% as a contingency onto the total cost of your trip. It’s always better to spend less than you expected than to spend more than you originally thought.

In Summary
As you can see, perhaps the most important item that you need to consider before traveling is your budget. Good budgeting skills are essential for any traveler, as there’s nothing worse than having to come home early because you’ve run out of money.

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