In how much detail do you plan your budget?
Replies: 19 - Last Post: Oct 15, 2012 1:49 PM Last Post By: Andy87
Oct 9, 2012 8:32 PM
In how much detail do you plan your budget?Hey everyone,
I have a quick question about how you all plan your budgets when traveling overseas; I was wondering what sort of detail your planning goes into?
So, when you start planning and researching the costs and expenses of your trip (accommodation, food, local transport) do you research general/average costs for that country (for example general costs for the UK or Thailand) or do you look specifically at costs for the cities/regions you are visiting (for example London or Koh Samui).
Oct 10, 2012 2:47 AM
1Personally,I have a look at a few websites.
So...maybe hostelworld to see roughly how much a hostel bed costs in that city.Maybe tripadvisor to see some restaurant prices.The rail/bus site to look at transport. etc etc.
I usually also look through a guide book for things like admission charges to the things I'm interested in and other cost information.
Then I have a rough per day idea for the destination.That is not to say that I stick to a strict budget....I don't.I just like to have some idea how much a place will cost me,more or less ;-)
Oct 10, 2012 8:10 AM
2Yeah it kinda depends on your financial situation. If going over budget is going to cause you big problems you might want to put abit of thought into it, otherwise a rough guide is how i like to roll. Somedays you will be under and some days you will do a tour/attraction etc. and will be way over!
Oct 10, 2012 8:44 AM
3Like lucapal says....do a little research first on the basic costs you will certainly will have to pay....hostels/transport/meals. I would do this for each country you plan on visiting just to give you a rough idea. Of course depending on your interests and level of comfort you want will add more to your budget....drinking/ partying all night in a very cheap country and can still add up if you out every night....look into going to places that interest you indepently as opposed to booking a tour. once you get a reasonable daily figure in mind....this should be your average spend over whatever period of time you spend there...,,you will have more expensive days and more than likely cheaper days too
Oct 10, 2012 8:54 AM
4I do no research on budget at all. It is not possible to do so if you do not know where you will go or for how long. All budget questions assume you have an itinerary you will follow. That to me is the difference between a tourist and a traveller. Here is how I suggest you look at travel.
Buy a ticket to A. Spend as much as you need to spend to enjoy each day you are there, without throwing money away. When you are ready and not before, decide where you will go next. Repeat this process until either the maximum amount of time available or funds run out. Go home.
All questions of budget and 'how much time is enough' go away if you follow that simple approach to travel. Rather than assuming time or money is fixed, realize that all that is really fixed is the maximum time and money available. There is no minimum that is fixed!
I would rather enjoy every day of 3 months of travel than just exist for 6 months. I have met many travellers that spent so much time looking for the cheapest everything to stay within a budget and follow an itinerary, that they had no time to enjoy where they were each day.
Travel is about the freedom from everyday life and the responsibilities it imposes on us. Why do so many people want to immediately throw that freedom away by self-imposing restrictions on themselves?
Oct 10, 2012 8:55 AM
5I outlined the way I researched my trip here...
Oct 11, 2012 1:01 AM
6#5 you've left all the startup costs of the trip out - vaccinations, passports, gear, insurance etc
OP - it totally depends on how important the budget is - what happens if you over spend? I used to budget tightly - because if I ran out of money I had to go home and get a job. Now I'm more relaxed about it - but I still have a budget.
Airfares are easy to estimate
On the ground - look at some hotel sites - get a feel for average accommodation costs- if you are staying low end you're pay less so they are not a bad thing to budget. Basically then I add the same for food and the same again for local transport including sightseeing - so if I budget $20/night for a hotel - say $60 a day. Works for most of the world in my experience unless you drink a lot
Oct 11, 2012 3:59 AM
Oct 11, 2012 10:34 AM
8Bohemiana, I suggest you change your title from 'world trip' to 'world tour'. A 'tour' has an itinerary and theoretically you can plan a budget for it.
"or you may run out of money on your trip." Can you see where the word 'trip' should actually be 'tour' in that sentence? I've never ran out of money on a 'trip' in my life. Of course I don't plan how long I will be gone for or where I will go. All I know is where I will begin and where I will end up (home). Sometimes even where I end up is not carved in stone. I once went somewhere for a week and stayed for 7 years.
A tour and a budget puts blinders on you Bohemiana. I always remember (and have often written about here on the TT) the guy in a bar in the south of France. Another traveller announced he had a VW campervan and was looking for 2 others to share fuel costs to go to the running of the bulls in Pamlona. This guy groaned and said something like, 'Oh wow, I would so love to go with you but I have a hostel booked in Rome for Wednesday and a flight to Athens the next Friday. I can't go.'
Note the 'can't go' part. What are the chances he would ever get someone making that offer again to share fuel and have a place to sleep in Pamplona for the running of the bulls? Rome and Athens on the other hand would still be there after a visit to Pamplona or next year for that matter. He could not see the opportunity he was turning down. He had blinders on thanks to his 'tour plan'.
It always amazes me how backpackers in general want to differentiate themselves from 'tourists' when in fact most are simply on a tour of their own devising. Give up the plans and let serendipity guide your travels.
Oct 11, 2012 10:41 AM
9By the way Bohemiana if you are wondering, I didn't go to Pamplona either. I'd already been before and another guy had another VW campervan and was looking for someone to share fuel cost to Rome. I took that opportunity. Of course if I had a RTW ticket or similar and had already paid for a flight to Rome I would have had to decide between losing the money I had paid for a ticket vs. increasing my cost by sharing fuel. See how pre-booking locks you in?
Imagine you are travelling on a RTW ticket you have paid for and someone you meet in Australia says, 'hey, I've got a boat and am looking for crew to sail around the Pacific with me for 6-12 months. Interested?' You reply, 'Oh wow, I would love to do that but I can't, I've got this RTW ticket I've already paid for.' Blinders and handcuffs.
Oct 12, 2012 2:27 AM
10Travelinstyle, your philosophy sound absolutely wonderful in principal, but I'd say it is very much idealistic as opposed to realistic.
Let's say someone is taking a 12 month career break. They live in Europe, and intend to start off there, but would like to hike the Inca Trail at some point during that trip.
You simply have to book it in advance, and therefore remove an element of freedom. There is no way around this, if you want to hike the famous trail then you have to book it a significant amount of time before you will actually be there. Because of that, you'll then likely need to book the necessary flights to get there.
I think a balance is always needed. Let's say that, starting in Europe, you had decided to make your way through Asia overland. That bit could be done without any sort of itinerary or booking (though, again, if that person wanted to take the Trans-Siberian express for example then it would likely require an element of pre-booking and planning ahead). However, that simply cannot apply to the whole trip, unless you have no set goals when you leave. You won't find many people that don't have set goals - places such as the Inca Trail are famous and popular for a reason - people want to go there.
Oct 12, 2012 11:25 AM
11Umm, yes and no Andy. If you want to go and walk the Inca Trail, that's fine. Go ahead and book it. However, what I am talking about is travel in the perhaps purest and freest sense of the word, as opposed to a tour with an itinerary in mind. Trying to explain totally unstructured travel sometimes seem like trying to explain colour to a blind person.
Why would you ASSUME someone wants to go somewhere in particular? Is it not in fact common for people to say something like, 'I want to see Europe' or 'I want to do a RTW gap year trip'. In fact they usually don't know what they want to see/do beyond what they have heard of everyone else seeing and doing. Why not simply ASSUME people just want to escape everyday life? That is in fact what most people actually want whether they admit it or not.
Why do people go on package vacations? Is it to see the island or learn about the local people and their culture? Usually not. They go for the sun and the escape from everyday life and its responsibilities. There's nothing wrong with that, everyone needs a break now and then.
But when people post here with a long itinerary of places the herd goes to, perhaps a more in-depth look at why they are going, what they want out of it and where they will go is in order. If what they really want is to see and experience some of the world then where they go really doesn't matter. What matters is what they get out of each day wherever they are.
Do you really think it makes a difference whether someone spends a month in Thailand or a month in Argentina? Both will provide a wealth of new experiences for you. How could anyone say one is more worthwhile visiting than the other?
The more you travel the more you come to see that where you go really doesn't matter. You will never manage to go everywhere and there will always be more places you wish to visit. So that being the case, why worry about what order you visit places in? If I miss France this year because someone offered me a ride to Italy, so what? It will still be there next time I am in this neighbourhood.
But like the example of Pamplona I gave above, some things if you miss them will never come around again. Opportunites happen all the time if you are open to them. That is not the case when you plan a tour.
So no Andy, it is not unrealistic to simply go to A and see what happens from there. Something always happens funnily enough.
Oct 12, 2012 12:24 PM
12Thanks for that response, TiS.
As I say, I'm not against the philosophy at all, it allows for great freedom, unexpected experiences and spontaneity. I'm looking to take a career break myself in 2-3 years time, and no doubt myself and my other half will want to ride the Trans-Mongolian express, trek the Inca Trail and perhaps visit Bhutan when we are in Asia.
We will look to be as free as possible, after all we are looking to get away from the rat race, but likewise will want to visit various landmarks and locations that have always appealed to us.
It's very much a balancing act, but it's also very much 'each to their own'. There is no one right way, it's whatever suits the needs of the individual.
Fantastic in depth response, though. Cheers
Oct 12, 2012 9:29 PM
13Good point about the passports--we already had them but it is an expense if you don't. Also consider any visas you might need. In our case, we also had storage in the U.S., too.
We didn't get vaccinations. I did a lot of research and decided for our plans, they weren't necessary.
I don't remember if we got traveler's health insurance or not. I kind of remember not doing it because we were covered for emergencies overseas by our insurance in the U.S.
Can you see where the word 'trip' should actually be 'tour' in that sentence? No, I can't see your point. I had a 12 month time period. Trip/tour; it's the same, it's semantics. You are fortunate you don't need to be anywhere.
A tour and a budget puts blinders on you Bohemiana. No, it doesn't. We had a plan, sometimes we followed it, sometimes we changed it (you should read more of my blog before you go off like that). We had a fantastic time, met wonderful people, and have great memories. That's all I need to get out of a trip.
Because you asked the original question it sound like you would feel more comfortable with a plan and a budget. You can find quite a few travelers who have posted their budgets for various countries to help you get a handle on how much it may cost. Our planning turned out to be pretty on target, and for us, that was very reassuring as we went.
Oct 13, 2012 1:43 PM
14Yes you can interchange trip and tour Bohemiana. However, while trip covers any kind of travel, tour covers planned travel only. Someone setting out with a plan/itinerary is in fact planning a tour. Whether you deviate from that or not is another matter entirely. Since what you are advocating is a pre-planned tour I just see it as more accurate to call it by the specific name that applies.
You may say it is semantics but in fact words are very powerful. The image that the word 'trip' evokes in most people who are thinking about travel is probably different than the image the word 'tour' evokes. Some may not perceive any difference but many I believe will have a negative perception of the word 'tour'. Many of those who post here envision themselves as 'independent' travellers. Many perceive the word 'backpacker' in a positive light. They do not envision themselves as 'tourists' on a tour. Yet all they are really doing differently from booking a tour at their local travel agency is planning and booking their tour themselves. I might venture a guess that even you yourself perceive the word 'tour' as a negative if applied to what you did.
Getting someone to see it that way is what I want to do. I freely admit I am against 'tours' of any description whether provided by a third party or self-imposed. That doesn't mean everyone is not free to plan a tour if they want, it just means I like to suggest there is an alternative.
Put simply, you plan a tour of say France for a month. I fly to Paris and wing it from there. We both enjoy a month in France. Your way is simply more structured than mine. Most of life is structured, I just think travel is the one time when we can get away from it if we chose to. As I've said before, that freedom from everyday life and it's structures is the single biggest draw of travel and yet most people immediately throw it away and impose a structure on themselves. It's just habit.
I'm not sure what you mean by my being fortunate I don't have to be anywhere. You didn't HAVE to be anywhere for your 12 months either.
(4 star Hotel)
From US$134.33 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$101.20 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$171.47 per night