Things to think about
Deciding how much money to take on holiday can feel like plucking a figure out of the air. But if you break it down and think about what you might spend in a few key areas, you can get a realistic travel budget in mind.
Read these tips and use our travel budget calculator, so you can plan ahead and avoid any spending shocks along the way.
Before you go
Flights and transfers – Probably the most expensive part of your trip, your flight’s usually the first thing on your list. Shop around on the comparison sites to make sure you get the best price. And don’t forget to add accommodation and expenses to your travel budget if you’re making a stopover on the way to your final destination.
Insurance – Travel insurance is an absolute essential, so you’re covered if something goes wrong while you’re overseas. It’ll give you the peace of mind to enjoy your trip, and it could save you a fortune if you need to make a claim – fingers crossed you won’t!
New passport – Remember to check if your passport’s expired or expiring soon – your passport should have at least six months left on it when you get home. Check here for more information on costs.
Visa – Check which visas you need as soon as you’ve decided where you’re going, by contacting the relevant foreign embassy (or checking their website).
Vaccinations – Getting a jab isn’t the most fun thing to spend money on, but it’s essential if you’re travelling to certain parts of the world. You’ll find the latest advice for the country you’re visiting on the government’s Smart Traveller website
Airport parking – Driving to the airport can make life easier but, depending on how long you’re away, the costs can rack up. It’s all about getting the balance right between cost and convenience, so look into public transport options before you book that parking space.
Somewhere for your pet to stay while you’re away – If you can’t get someone you know to feed the cat or have your dog stay with them while you’re overseas, you’ll have to pay for them to be looked after at a kennel or pet hotel. So it’s not just your accommodation you’ll have to think about in your travel budget.
Pre-holiday shopping – Need anything new for your trip? Most of us splash out on a few additions to our holiday wardrobes. A new suitcase maybe, or loads of books to binge-read on your sun lounger? There are usually a few things to shell out for before you go – and don’t forget the temptations of airport shopping!
While you’re away
Hotels and accommodation – Ideally you’ll pay for this before you go, but in some countries – like south-east Asia – it can be cheaper if you find a place to stay when you get there. That’s the best way to do it if you’re backpacking. Either way, have a budget in mind and be realistic about prices and the level of comfort you’re happy with.
Transport, car hire and fuel – Whether you want to drive or do it all by public transport, make sure you think about how you’ll get around while you’re on holiday. Taxis can be cheap or expensive depending on where you’re going, but they may be the only option if you’re going somewhere without good rail, subway and bus links.
Food/meals – Trying the local cuisine is a big part of the travel experience. Be realistic about how much you’ll spend, whether it’s cheap and tasty street food or a romantic but pricy meal for two. If you go all-inclusive, you can feel really smug knowing everything’s paid for.
Drinks – What you drink with dinner is just as important – after all, a trip to Cuba wouldn’t be the same without a mojito or three. Prices vary wildly from country to country – a beer in Thailand is cheap as chips, but a beer in Europe can be much less wallet-friendly.
Sightseeing and activities – Tours, entrance fees, entertainment, golf, water sports, theme parks, spa treatments and cruises – these are all the things that make a holiday fun, so it’s good to be realistic about how much you’ll spend. Even better, book and pay for your activities in advance. You might get them cheaper, and you won’t have to reach for your wallet when you get there.
Souvenirs and gifts – Whether you get on your return flight with a few mementos to remind you of your dream trip, laden with designer shopping, or with a little something for the folks back home, you’re bound to pick up a few new things while you’re overseas.
Tips and gratuities – Leaving a little extra to show your appreciation is expected in some countries, and a pleasant surprise in others. Swot up on the local customs before you go so you have an idea how much you’ll end up spending on tips. Our Europe , US and Thailand guides should get you started.
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