I’ve never been comfortable discussing my financial state or income with others. I feel like money should be included in the list of things you DON’T discuss over diner with polite company. But times are a changin’! It’s easy to dream big and want to do it all, to talk things up and not be able to follow through.
But at 25 and already living on a budget, planning this trip meant looking at and considering a lot of money options and making plans based on that factor. I am also traveling with other people, so i need to know I can fund my way and uphold my part of the expenses. Without going into great detail, I want to share here some budget tips and things to consider before taking off.
First, decide how much you can and want to spend on your trip (per person). Set yourself a reasonable range BEFORE spending or booking then, as you look at expenses, add things up to see how it compares to what you are willing to spend. Remember that there can (and most likely will) be unforeseen expenses and you will want to buy things at your final destination, so remember to include some funds for that.
Costs you will probably be considering can include travel (flights, bus tickets, gas, etc), lodging/housing, food, souvenirs, tickets, fees, rentals, and so on. As well as anything you have to buy before even landing in your destination (clothes, luggage, power converters, medication, etc). Don’t let this hinder your adventuresome spirit but don’t get taken by surprised or stuck.
Something I have recently earned second hand and been reminded of many times:: be sure to balance your personal comfort and sanity with your budget travel. How will you feel about your trip if you choose to save money by taking the bus, but end up having a screaming child in the row behind you and stuck on the bus for 3 times longer then you would on a plane… makes that $15 you saved seem like nothing at all for a fast, quiet trip instead.
Alright, no more stalling—
What were my big upfront costs to #BaliBound #BaliBirthday 2016?
- Getting there
- For this trip that means airline tickets. Big tip: Book in advance and travel at “off peak” times. If you’re not traveling for the holidays, don’t travel over holiday season. My trip has been strategically placed after the Thanksgiving rush and well before Christmas. But I had to consider that the country I was headed to wasn’t a Christina nation and other holidays needed to be considered too. Booking in advance is always best as is looking at the days of the week you travel. Flying on a Friday or Saturday are notoriously more expensive then a Tuesday or Wednesday! Best practice: Look at several options and consider giving yourself some wiggle room, a one day shift in travel could save you a lot!
- Staying there
- There are many ways to save when it comes to your living arrangements on a trip. This is a good time to also consider what sort of experience you want. Do you want to take the 5-star Hotel Resort and Spa path OR the family compound Homestay? How close do you want to be to the culture and people or have to worry a little less about the cleanliness and water quality. No place will be perfect. I’ll just say that. But deciding what you want out of the experience and how comfortable or uncomfortable you are willing to be needs to be considered along with price. You will probably be someplace for a few days (at least) so check if there are specials for multiple nights and/or guests. What is included in your stay- breakfast? pool access? rentals and tours? How close are you to the attractions or city center? Accommodations right in the heart of things can cost you more. Does your budget allow it or would you be OK walking a little further but have ore spending money later?
All good questions to ask yourself. From experience, don’t always go with the first place you find! Do some research. Look for their website but also check your guide books (remember those? We got them last entry!) and if they recommend a place it’s probably good to consider. In this day of social media, I also checked Instagram and Facebook for tags and entries of my homestay before I booked my room. I wanted to see if it looked like they said it did, and what a better place to look then another tourists pictures!
As the 4 Weeks Till Trip mark approaches, I am uncovering other costs that are important. For example, I would love to purchase an Ospry backpack that is carry-on size and able to hold all my belongings. I have duffles, sure, but who wants to get off in Indonesia with a hot pink, cotton, floral, Vera duffle? I also have feelers out to borrow backs from friends who are travelers, but anyone can tell you there is something extra special about having your own NEW bag to play with and eventually pack. *To justify purchase, this way I’ll have it when I travel more! and It’s basically an early 26th Birthday present, right?*
I also have to get power adaptors, be sure I have proper clothes, shoes, and transportable toiletries. Many things I know I can get at my final destination and not worry about taking through TSA and customs, but things from home are always nice to have on hand.
Well, looks like those are the big things I can think of that require spending before the trip… but that does not mean the spending is over! There will be things I need (food) and want (stuff) to buy in Bali. Remembering there is a conversion and that the USD is strong there is great, but spending is spending… and it’s easy. Yoga classes, clothes, spas, cooking classes, fare and fees, possibly snorkeling, tours, and more are all things I’m considering when building my budget… and in doing so, my trip.
Overall, you will have a better travel experience if you can relax and enjoy it, noting you will not be totally broke at the end. Having a relatively planned budget with some wiggle room will make the trip fun and manageable. Always let you bank know you are away from home, we will touch more on this in later posts, but having charges flagged or accounts frozen can put a damper on anyone’s plans.
No matter what you can spend, your trip will be what you make of it and I’m excited to be seeing Bali for as long as I am and in the best way I can!
Other budget travel tips? Share them here- for me and any other reader getting ready for adventure!