Budget travel has become a necessity for most people, with the cost of gasoline and other consumer products on the rise. But when we start to wonder when, where, how and what kind of holiday we should take, we sometimes get carried away by the anticipation and excitement of the upcoming trip and let the more important financial side of things slip away. After all, for most of us, taking a vacation may only happen once a year and for some, even less often, so we tend to indulge ourselves and forget a little about our pocketbook.
There are many ways to save money, avoid unnecessary costs, ensure that you take care of the details and become an intelligent and insightful traveler. Travel planning is easier than you think and here are eight low-budget travel tips to make your travel money go further!
1. Calculate your budget – When planning a trip or a travel budget, it is important to plan for the unexpected and consider the financial side of things from the beginning. This ensures affordability, liquidity and having the resources to take full advantage of it! Plan for the worst financial scenario and be prepared for things to cost a little more than you thought. Allow up to 20% cost increase to be on the right side of things.
2. Emergency money: Having money set aside somewhere can also save your life. The rule of thumb seems to be about $50 to $100 in small bills. This can be used for incidentals, ground transportation such as taxi and/or your return home, tips and more.
3. Set your priorities: Set priorities and budget criteria in advance for travel expenses, such as eating in a special restaurant or attending a concert, even if it means sacrificing a little accommodation or a visa, whichever is more important to you.
4. Keep an eye on your credit cards: Nowadays, it is extremely easy to access your financial resources through ATMs and credit cards. Just remember that it is just as easy to spend more than enough money because it is so easily accessible. A little discipline will help you protect your financial interests and help you stay within your travel budget.
5. Maximize fuel consumption and efficiency: If you are planning a trip by car, make sure your car has been serviced at least a week before your trip. A well-maintained vehicle will go a long way to ensuring carefree driving. If your budget allows it, you may consider renting a vehicle to avoid normal wear and tear. Smaller, more fuel-efficient cars are better at petrol and are much more comfortable than they used to be. Minivans and sport utility vehicles are only practical if you need to transport a large family with lots of equipment or luggage.
6. Fill up with gas: To fill up en route, avoid pushing to the limit until the gas runs out. Gas will obviously be more expensive when refueling in remote areas. If you have miscalculated and the light on the dashboard indicates that you are really in need, choose to fill only half a tank until you reach the next denser or more populated destination, where gasoline may be a little cheaper.
7. Pack-a-snack: Bring your own refreshments and snacks. Prices at gas stations for drinks and snacks are high. Avoid them when stopping at the pit stop, if you are counting your travel budget. A cooler filled with cold drinks, water and ice and/or a thermos of coffee or hot water for tea, fruit, granola bars or a sandwich, helps to satisfy hunger and save you money by avoiding all high-priced stops on the way.
8. Travel requirements: It is advisable to travel with basic necessities, such as a cell phone and first aid kit, as both can be essential in an emergency. Most people have cell phones at their disposal, but if you are not part of it, a prepaid cell phone may be the solution for your trip. The peace of mind it offers is worth the small investment.