Travel Budget

You can afford to travel 

There is perception that to go on a 2 week trip for 2  anywhere in Europe you need to have more than $7000, you don’t.  On average Henry and I spend $3000 for a comfortable 2 week vacation most anywhere in the world.  Here’s how…

  1. Save a little every month – I have a automatic saving withdrawal of $300 into my “travel” account.  In one year have I have saved  $3600 for 2 weeks vacation almost anywhere.
  2. Travel in the “Shoulder” season – every guide book will point out when it low and high season, when you travel in the grey area between you save money on flights and hotels.
  3. Stay like a local –  some places are best seen from a 4 start hotel; most are better experiences from a B&B, apartment rental or camping.
  4. Food is NOT a travel expense – you have to eat at home, you have to eat when you travel.  If you eat like you do at home, it will NOT cost more.  Fancy dinner experiences excluded.
  5. Budget for your “Must Do” experiences;  I like to go out to nice dinners,  SUCBA and Ski; all not cheap. So I budget an extra $300-$500 just for those pricy activities that I simply must do.

Fixed Expenses

Flights:   You are going to have to pay to get to your destination, and typically flights make up 1/3 to 1/2 of your travel budgetBook between 60 and 45 days for the best price and pay it off before you leave.   By the time I am on vacation I have completely forgot how much I paid for the flight, that money is long gone.

Kayak.com to search for flights.  Use the “Flexible dates” to search ‘give or take 2 day’ window and also ‘surrounding airports’ for more options. I really like the calendar on the right of the screen that shows prices for alternate dates. Book your travel time and location based on where you can afford to fly.

Hotels:  You need to sleep; you don’t need to overpay.   In every destination home page I will list the “ideal accommodations”.  These recommendation help you see the best of your travel destinations without breaking the bank. On average I spend $50-$100 for rooms anywhere.  In case you think I rough it, I never stay in hostels or shared dorms.

Booking.com  Is the best site for accommodations. Also on your smart phone with easy to use App. View, hotels, B&B and ‘Other’, for the best variety in one search engine.  You can sort by price, rating, stars and view locations on a map, all with NO booking fee.  Most accommodations offer free cancellation up to 24 hours in advance.   I have never, been disappointed in a Booking location.

TripAdvisor.com  I use this site in addition to Booking to see more travelers photos and reviews.  Always good to get a second opinion so be sure to TA check before you book.

NOTE:  I do not backpack; I used to when I was 20, it was nice but that time has past.   Now I don’t share a room with 10 strangers at home, so why do it on vacation.  You can find a nice clean room with private bath for an average of $50 to $100 per night anywhere.

Semi-Fixed Expenses

These expenses will vary depending on your choices.  You choose the actives you do on location. You can choose to get a place with a kitchen and choose to save money by shopping at local grocery stores and picnicking.   There is nothing worse then going on vacation and finding yourself worried about money and not doing things you want to because you can’t afford them.  Make wise choices and you can do everything you want.

Food: You have to eat no matter where you are. It is how you choose to eat that gets expensive. At the Marriott Cancun we spend more every day on just beer and food by the pool then we did on our room for the night.  When you stay local and eat local you shouldn’t spend more on food on vacation then you do at home.   I love a good picnic, and the most used travel equipment we have is our soft sided cooler and beer cozies.

Activities: I budget for $100 per day of “spending money”.  Do I spend all $100 every day? NO, but some days I go shopping and eat an expensive dinner and other days we picnic and hike.

Budget Buster Actives: I Ski, SCUBA, and enjoy expensive ‘foodie’ dinners and my Husband likes snowmobiles, water skis likes dune buggies.  These could easily brake our budget so we set aside $300-$500 for just those “but I gotta do this here” actives.  You should know these before you go so they wont bust the rest of your trip.

Do your homework

If you are going on vacation you should be excited and looking on-line and in books for activities should be a joy.  If you want to go to a specific museum be sure you know what days and hours it’s open.  If there is a fancy restaurant you want to go to make a reservation.  It can all be done with a click of the mouse.

EVERYTHING is on-line now, find it, book it, do it , LOVE IT!

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