Logistics of travel – part 3: How to create your savings budget

Now that you know how much money you’re going to actually need for your trip, creating a savings budget is pretty simple (actually sticking to it may be another story…).

STEP ONE
Take your summary from STEP EIGHT when you did your spendings budget back out again:
TRANSPORT: $4,600
ACCOMMODATION: $2,850
SPENDING: $2,400
INSURANCE: $400
COSTS AT HOME: $1,700
TOTAL FOR TRIP: $11,950
STEP TWO
Work out what cash flow you already have going towards your trip. For example, you may have already started saving a bit, you may be entitled to some holiday pay while you’re away, or maybe you know that you’re going to be getting a half decent tax return.
NEED: $11,950
MINUS:
Annual leave pay $2,000
Already saved $1,500
Tax return $500 (approx)
TOTAL: $4,000
STEP THREE
Easy maths: how much do you need between now and when you want to start your trip?
Currently: January 2017
Travel starts: January 2018
Need: $7,950
STEP FOUR
Break it down to less scary numbers:
1. Need $330 per person, per month for 12 months
2. We both get paid fortnightly, so we each need to put away $165 per pay
And that’s pretty much all there is to this part! Like I said, once you know roughly how much you’re expecting to spend on your trip, it’s super easy to work out what to save. Sticking to the budget can be hard, but one of the best things I’ve ever done was to open a separate travel bank account. Now, every pay day, whatever I need for my next trip goes straight into that separate account, not to be touched until I start booking and paying for it.

Logistics of travel – part 2: How to create your spendings budget

Now that you know where you’re going and how long for, its time to start on the budget. Yes, its tedious. Yes, it can take a bit of the romance and spontaneity out of travelling. And yes, some people can get away without it. But when you’re planning to travel for 4 months while keeping up with your mortgage repayments and bills back at home, not taking out a personal bank loan, and not using a credit card so you return completely debt free (and you’re not rich), you have to budget.

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This is a daunting task, and unfortunately the point at which most people give up on their travel dreams. That makes me sad because while it may be a little time consuming, it’s actually not that difficult. There are a lot of different methods people use to budget for travel, be it short or long trips, but this is the method I use.

 

It’s a two-parter, working out first how much money you’re going to need for your trip, and then how you’ll save it. Today, we’ll start with the first part. I did all of this using Evernote, which I highly recommend – alternatively, open up a new word document to get planning!

 

*** Before you start reading, please note that I’ve used a quick, three week example rather than my own itinerary, because it’s way too long. I’m also basing this all on a 2 person trip. Adjust as needed.

 

STEP ONE
The first step is to set out a template that you’ll be able to fill in – there are obviously several ways to do this, but here’s how I set mine up:

*** TRANSPORT ***
FLIGHTS:
01 January : Melbourne – Los Angeles
02 January : Los Angeles – Calgary
08 January : Calgary – Ketchikan
12 January : Ketchikan – New York City

HIRE CAR:
7 days hire Calgary (02 – 08 January)
TRANSPORT TOTAL:

 

*** ACCOMMODATION & SPENDING ***
LOS ANGELES (01-02 Jan)
– Accommodation:
– Sightseeing:
– Food:
– Other spending:

CALGARY (02-08 Jan)
– Accommodation:
– Sightseeing:
– Food:
– Other spending:

KETCHIKAN (08-12 Jan)
– Accommodation:
– Sightseeing:
– Food:
– Other spending:

NEW YORK CITY (12-20 Jan)
– Accommodation:
– Sightseeing:
– Food:
– Other spending:

ACCOMMODATION TOTAL:
SPENDING TOTAL:

 

*** INSURANCE & VISAS ***
Insurance:
Visas:

TOTAL:

 

*** COSTS AT HOME FOR 3 WEEKS ***
Mortgage/rent:
Utilities (gas/water/electricity):
Insurance (home/car/health):
Phone:
Other:

TOTAL:

 

STEP TWO
Now that you have your template, the hard work begins. With the flights, I’m fortunate enough to be able to do it all myself, given that I’ve worked as a travel consultant for several years and know exactly what I’m looking for. I know this is obviously not going to be as simple for others, so there are two ways to approach this:

1. For the bigger international flights (for example, our big ones will be Melbourne to Los Angeles, New York to London, Rome to Osaka, Bangkok to Melbourne), enlist the help of a travel agent. Shop around until you find one you are comfortable with and trust, because its a mammoth task, and the right partner can make it a hell of a lot easier and fun, rather than stressful.

2. For the “smaller” domestic flights, like Los Angeles to Calgary and Calgary to Ketchikan, get on a website like SkyScanner, Kayak, Webjet etc, and check them out yourself. Flights are generally released 10 months or so in advance, so if your dates aren’t available, just compare a few random dates to get a rough price range.

If you have trains or hire cars, do the same for them, too.

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STEP THREE
Update that part of your template…

*** TRANSPORT ***
FLIGHTS:
01 January : Melbourne – Los Angeles
Emailed travel agent, $950-$1200 one way per person

02 January : Los Angeles – Calgary
Checked SkyScanner, $180-$300 pp

08 January : Calgary – Ketchikan
Checked SkyScanner, $290-$400 pp

12 January : Ketchikan – New York City
Checked SkyScanner, $350-$450 pp

HIRE CAR:
7 days hire Calgary (02 – 08 January)
Auto with aircon through Avis, approx $500
Plus gas

TRANSPORT TOTAL: approx. $4600

 

STEP FOUR
Research accommodation next. Again, don’t worry too much about the exact dates; you’re just looking for a rough price range. Use sites and apps like Airbnb or Booking.com to compare options, and fill in what you find.

 

STEP FIVE
Look at any anticipated sightseeing costs, as well as a guesstimate on what you might spend on food and other stuff (shopping, souvenirs, etc). The easiest way to guess at this would be working out how much per day you might spend on food (eg $30 per person per day) multiplied by how many days you’re away for. Again, it doesn’t need to be precise, just a rough estimate.

*** ACCOMMODATION & SPENDING *** for 2 people
LOS ANGELES (01-02 Jan)
– Accommodation: $150 (at airport)
– Sightseeing: –
– Food: $50
– Other spending: –

CALGARY (02-08 Jan)
– Accommodation: $800 (2 nights Calgary, 5 nights Banff)
– Sightseeing: $150 national parks pass
– Food: $200
– Other spending: $200

KETCHIKAN (08-12 Jan)
– Accommodation: $500
– Sightseeing: –
– Food: $250
– Other spending: $300

NEW YORK CITY (12-20 Jan)
– Accommodation: $1400
– Sightseeing: $40pp 7 day metro pass
$35pp Top of the Rock tickets
– Food: $500
– Other spending: $600

ACCOMMODATION TOTAL: $2850
SPENDING TOTAL: $2400

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STEP SIX
Factor in travel insurance! Get a few quotes, compare what they all cover you for, and add that in. Also, costs for any visas.

*** INSURANCE & VISAS ***
Insurance: $400
Visas: N/A

TOTAL: $400

 

STEP SEVEN
Lastly, some of you may still need to factor in costs at home. For my quick three week example, not so relevant, but absolutely necessary for our 4 month trip! It’s probably a safe assumption that most of us do the internet banking thing these days, so just check your last few debits, and add anything else that is applicable.

*** COSTS AT HOME FOR 3 WEEKS ***
Mortgage/rent: $1200
Utilities (gas/water/electricity): $250
Insurance (home/car/health): $250
Phone: $80pp
Other: –

TOTAL: $1700

 

STEP EIGHT
Now that you have all that information, put it all together in summary form:

TRANSPORT: $4,600
ACCOMMODATION: $2,850
SPENDING: $2,400
INSURANCE: $400
COSTS AT HOME: $1,700
TOTAL FOR TRIP: $11,950

 

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Hold onto all of that now, because you’ll need it for the next step of creating your savings budget.

10 ways to travel without breaking the bank (part 2) – saving money while you’re actually on the road!

* Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Cover-More. The opinions contained herein are completely my own based on my extensive and independent experience with the company, of which they were unaware when I was approached to write this. *

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A few months ago I wrote an article for Globelle Travels on how to take your dream trip without breaking the bank, which looked at the things you can do in the months leading up to your trip to travel on a budget without having to compromise too much. But I didn’t really touch on what happens when you’re actually there, when you’ve paid off the flights and accommodation, and bought your snow jackets and guide books, and you’ve actually arrived at your destination, still on a bit of a budget. It’s time to take a look at that part.

As stated above, yes this is a sponsored post, and if you’ve been following my adventures for a while, you’ll notice these posts are few and far between; I won’t ever write about anything I don’t actually believe in just for compensation. But I was really happy to take this opportunity when it came along because Cover-More is a company that I’ve actually had a lot of first-hand experience with, and it’s all honestly been great! So on that note, let me now run you through 10 golden rules I try to stick with while I’m actually on the road in order to see and do it all without having to re-mortgage the house in the process…

1. Travel insurance – duh! And not just because of the Cover-More collaboration! For those of you who have been travelling for a little while, you know that sometimes, no matter how prepared you are, things just go wrong. Like that time I was meant to fly from San Francisco to Las Vegas and the airline cancelled our flight two hours before we were meant to fly, and we had to find a new flight, extra accommodation in SFO, lose a night of accommodation in Vegas, organise new airport transfers, and we missed our helicopter Grand Canyon tour (our one big spending extravagance as our Christmas present to ourselves). Anyway, because I like to prepare for the worst, insurance had been purchased with Cover-More at the time we booked our flights so we just submitted our claim when we got home, money was recovered for us and put towards our next trip! Number one rule for travelling on a budget: INSURANCE!!! It would have been really hard for us to keep travelling on the cheap if we’d completely lost all of that money! And why Cover-More? For us, we keep choosing them because they’ve been around for so long and have established a pretty good reputation for offering good cover for a great price – we didn’t want to lose out on decent coverage because of cost, and keep finding that Cover-More fits that option for us.

 

2. Extra accommodation expenses – not the accommodation itself, the extras. Buy a small travel clothes line and a big bar of laundry soap so you can wash your clothes in your sink or bathtub and hang them up to dry while you’re out during the day. Instead of consuming from the mini bar, buy your own drinks and snacks from a supermarket. And if the WiFi isn’t free, wait until you’re at a café that does offer free access and use that instead.

 

3. Staying in touch – I’ve disabled international roaming on my phone and I turn off cellular data when I travel. When I want to contact someone, I connect to free WiFi and call using WhatsApp, or text using iMessage. Taking advantage of free WiFi to contact home while I’m gone means I don’t have a phone bill to come home to – happy days!

 

4. Breakfast – if it’s not included in your hotel room rate, don’t pay extra for it! Breakfast is such an overpriced meal, with cafes easily charging $10+ for a simple bowl of muesli with yoghurt. What I tend to do when I’m travelling is visit a supermarket/convenience store and buy a box of muesli or cereal, a bit of fruit, and some milk or yoghurt to take back to my hotel; it makes a lot more sense to spend $10 on a box of cereal and some fruit that you can stretch out over 4 or 5 days than spending the same amount every morning for the same thing!

 

5. Hot drinks – this may not be as applicable to everyone, but for anyone like me who is a big tea or even coffee drinker, one of the best investments I made was my KeepCup! Instead of paying $4 each time we wanted a hot drink while we were travelling around wintery America over December and January, husband and I just made our own in our hotel rooms (we found that most, if not all accommodation will offer tea and coffee making facilities, I also packed a few tea bags just in case, and we used some of that milk we’d bought for breakfasts) and hit the road! Saved a ton of money!

 

6. Food – so important… I’ve always found that the best food is generally street or market food to be honest! When you have the option to do the street food thing, you’re not only going to save money, but you’re also going to be most likely eating freshly prepared food (high product turnover with lots of locals eating it, too), authentic food (ie not Westernised and served with French fries), and actually experience the place you’re travelling through properly! Nice restaurants certainly have their place, but don’t get caught up thinking that you can’t have just as nice a time in Paris lunching under the Eiffel Tower with a ham and cheese baguette that you’ve made yourself from grocery store ingredients for a quarter of the price of the ones you saw in the café window!IMG_0666

 

7. Cash – this one can seem tricky but doesn’t have to be. If you plan on using your card to withdraw money from ATMs overseas, try to take out bigger amounts at a time to avoid multiple fees (and don’t carry it all around with you – use your hotel’s safety deposit box, or keep it in several places). To combat the fees/carrying too much cash issue, I’ve got myself a Multicurrency Cash Passport, which I’ve been travelling with for years – it’s basically like a debit card that adapts to which ever country you’re in which means low, if any, withdrawal fees. Also super easy to top up while you’re on the road if you want to add more currency. Definitely worth checking out.

 

8. Getting around – generally taxis are a waste of money. If you have the option, use public transport instead, and if possible, walk!!! You will see SO much more of the city and make so many more amazing discoveries on your own two feet than from inside a train or car!

 

9. Travel blogs/social media – this is a bit of a random one, but following travel blogs and social media feeds/tags (Instagram particularly) of the places you’re visiting can give you some really great ideas; my sister and I discovered super cheap Bale Well in Hoi An from checking the hashtag #hoian on Instagram before heading out one night, and the $5 feast we got, as well as the adventure and new friends was something we’d never have experienced otherwise, nor was it an experience we could have gotten from an expensive restaurant dinner! You’ll also find that travel bloggers who stumble across hotels, restaurants, tours etc that are well priced and offer good value will usually share them!

 

10. Souvenirs – one of the biggest money wasters for travellers. I’ve got a new system; if you’ve seen the image below on my blog (which reminds me, it’s a little old and has many new additions since being taken!), you’ve just about seen the extent of my souvenirs, for the most part. I buy something small from most cities I visit, representative of them (the sugar skull from Isla Mujeres, the wooden elephant from Phuket, the carnivale mask from Venice, etc) and keep them on that little table. I also frame a photograph from each city I visit to add to the wall. And finally, I put the hundreds of photos I take each time I travel into photo books so that I can look back over them whenever I want. The memories I have from looking at my own photographs are far better souvenirs and mementos than any tacky plastic touristy object I could have wasted my money on!

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So, there you go – my best tried and tested tips for travelling on a budget. I really hope at least some of them can help others see travel as being a bit more affordable and accessible, and if anyone has any further tips to add to the list, please share; the more help we can offer each other, the more of a chance we all have to see the world!