How to stick to your travel budget
So you have worked hard and saved as much as you could, and it is time to start your travel for the vacation. You have done your research on the best airport car service, booked your flights, and you can already see yourself sipping teach with locals in Phuket beach in Thailand. You are living the dream. However, the hard part is yet to begin. Having planned for this once-in-a-lifetime travel, the next thing is to learn how you can stretch your dollar as far as possible. While most holiday destinations in Latin America and Southeast Asia are known to be cheap, it does not in any way mean that you should burn your money in a couple of weeks. In this article, we tell you important tips to stay within your budget while you are vacationing.
1. Avoid buying things you don’t necessarily need
This should be a no-brainer, but it’s improbable how people find it hard to avoid buying custom-made shoes or that funky trinket while traveling. If you don’t intend to holiday for long, you can spend your money like this. However, if you are on a long holiday, try to avoid those impromptu purchases as much as possible. But you can buy it if it’s something you’ve been longing to buy. Still, if we bought everything we ever wanted, we wouldn’t have any money! Also, you would need a whole truck to carry all this extra gear. Souvenirs are different since they involve collecting small currency denominations from the countries you travel to. Not only does this take up far less space, but it also costs about five cents to ten cents.
2. Estimate a daily budget
You cannot stick to a budget if you don’t have a budget in the first place. Therefore, figure out the number of days you intend to be on holiday and create a budget. For instance, you could have a daily budget of $50. Some days you can surpass it, but you can always make up for it by having a couple of quiet days. Not planning your daily budget can mean that you spend your money a lot sooner than you thought.
3. Find cheap accommodation
Ask any traveler, and they will tell you that the biggest vacation expense is not that black car service Houston you will hire or your flight ticket, but accommodation. It’s easy to pay a few hundred dollars a night for a fancy hotel. However, it could impact your long-term goals for traveling. The best part of travel is not to sit in an expensive hotel watching TV but to go out exploring all that the new destination offers. If you are holidaying, it’s okay to relax and have as much break as possible. However, long-term travel is a lifestyle, not a holiday.
Opt for homestays or small family-run guesthouses. Alternatively, you could find cheap hotel rooms in the town. You can find cheap accommodation that is clean and comfortable, but which also provides many necessities for comfortable travel like running water, a bed, and a nice door. This is all you need, surely! You could also try CouchSurfing to help you reign in on your travel costs.
4. Dine with the locals
Whether you want to eat at a restaurant or enjoy street food, the locals will usually tell you where to find the best and cheapest food. A crowded place is guaranteed to have good food. In most cases, western-style food tends to be expensive and not as tasty as what you may be used to back home. It’s not a good idea to avoid eating local food just because you think you may get sick. Remember that both street vendors and fancy restaurants all purchase their supplies from the same places. Just because the locals are eating it, it is most likely safe.
5. Cook your own meals
An important part of sampling a place is to enjoy its national food. For instance, your trip to a country like Mexico wouldn’t be deemed complete if you don’t eat tortillas. However, you shouldn’t eat out all the time.
Go to the local market and purchase fresh produce and make up the best meals you are used to. You should generally try to make your breakfast, or get a hotel which includes it. For lunch, you can eat out and then try preparing the remaining meal.
If you intend to visit a tourist destination where food prices are inflated by restaurants, planning will be crucial. Bring snacks or a picnic.
6. Use a budget app to track your expenses
The best way to stick to a travel budget after working on it is to keep track of each cent you spend, and the best way to do this is to use a budget app. One such app is XpenseTracker that helps you record everything you purchase. It will let you track accommodation, transport costs, and even those treats you buy from that corner store.
This ensures that you write down everything you spend, and you can check it after some time to see where your money goes and where you need to cut your spending.
7. Buy at local markets
Not only are local markets great, but they also are usually quite cheap. Whatever you want to buy, whether it is fresh fruits, new clothes, or souvenirs, your best place is the market. Because stalls typically have lower overhead costs compared to stores, they are cheaper.
If your accommodation happens to have a kitchen, or you brought a portable stove, the best thing is to purchase all your vegetables and meats from the local market and prepare them yourself. Not only will you eat delicious home-cooked meals, but it is also cheaper than eating out.
Sticking to your budget is critical to ensuring that you stretch your vacation dollar to the farthest. Once you have spent years saving for your vacation, you don’t want to ruin it by not watching how you spend. There are many ways to ensure that you don’t get out of your budget. They include things like avoiding impromptu purchases, shopping at local markets, tracking every expense with a phone app, finding cheap accommodation, and preparing your meals as much as possible.
Story by Yulia Potapova