They tell you to travel and see the world while you’re young. They say to take advantage while you’re still without a care in the world. They tell you to spend your money on experiences rather than materialistic items. You’re told to gather up a bunch of friends and create your own little travel group. They say to make a list of places you all can agree on and scratch them off one by one until you’ve seen it all.
What they don’t tell you, though, is how expensive all of these tasks can get, especially when you’re “trying to take advantage while you’re young” …and unfortunately without a salary-paid job.
Thankfully, we’re here to make things simple for you. One word: budgeting. Traveling comes with a ton of expenses, both expected and unexpected, and if you’re not budgeting for both, you may end up way over your head. With the few tips provided below, you’ll be sure not to find yourself stranded in a random Bali Airbnb this summer!
Gather Up Some Friends
This step can be tricky. Not from the budgeting perspective, but more so the act of finding a group of friends who can fully commit and not bail on you when it’s time to actually pay for the trip.
However, the struggle you’ll go through to find these friends will definitely be worth it in the long run. Depending on how many people you can recruit, you’ll basically be paying a fraction of what you would normally pay for your living costs by yourself (assuming you evenly split the living costs with everyone).
Everything suddenly is exponentially cheaper, and now you have a group of people with you to make memories with! Trips are obviously always better with others, so if you have to consistently bother people with reminders on when to pay for things and how much they’ll be paying, do what you have to do!
Living and transportation are two costs that you just cannot avoid when budgeting. The best thing you can do is shop around for the best deal possible.
With that said, don’t hop on delta.com and buy the first flight you see. Flights are normally cheapest during the beginning of the week, so if your trip permits a flight between Monday and Wednesday, you’ll be better off.
I’ve also noticed that transportation costs usually come out to be a little cheaper if you don’t buy round-trip flights. Buy a one-way to your destination and a one-way back. Fly with different airlines if you have to. Check it out and see what you find!
This is where the unexpected aspect kicks in. Although you may not know exactly what you’ll be buying, it’s best to save up and allocate a fair amount of money for whatever it may end up being. You don’t want to short-change yourself and overspend, but at the same time, you want to set a reasonable limit for yourself so you aren’t spending your entire life’s savings at a gift shop. Be realistic and spend wisely!
Visiting a store like Wal-Mart or Target that sells just about everything is something that’s highly recommended. It’ll work wonders for you from a budgeting perspective. After you land and get settled in, take a trip to the store and grab a few foods you can make quickly and without many kitchen appliances. This will prevent you from going to a restaurant and spending money every time you get hungry. If you’re anything like me, you’ll end up spending money 67 times a day, and that’s not what you want at all.
You can also pick up paper plates, paper towels, utensils, etc. if your place of stay doesn’t provide them already.
And boom. There you go. These four basic guidelines should have you set with a solid budgeting foundation and it’ll save you a major headache when you return. Nobody wants to come home with an empty bank account!