How I Financially Plan For My Travels
The number one thing I do when planning for my travels is to not only decide where I want to travel, but also for how long I want to stay in each country, that's if I'm doing multiple destinations and also the time of year. High season can be very expensive as compared to off-season.
What will it cost?
Flying: If I'm travelling internationally, I start out by making a detailed list of what my expenses will be. Which usually vary depending on the countries or destinations I plan to visit, but I can honestly say overall flights and accommodation turn to be my biggest expenses. So, to reduce on travel expenses I also start buying airline tickets months in advance.
It's always very wise before you spend your hard-earned money, to make sure that you are aware of the cost of cancellation or flight changes.
Lodging: With this it's always best to explore multiple lodging options to help get the most from your budget. For example, hostels, bed-and-breakfasts and motels can be less expensive than hotels, especially if your trip is more than 7 days long.
Money: I definitely consider the exchange rate when selecting my destinations. Your money will have more value in some countries than others. You’ll get the best exchange rate at your destination (not at home), and usually at a bank ATM. Foreign banks will have lower exchange rates than commercial exchange counters. Also take into consideration that your bank might freeze your card if you don’t tell them ahead of time that you’re heading to another country. I learned that the hard way in Manila.
Visa charges: Not all international destinations require visas for South African passport holders, but those that do can be costly.
Food: This is one cost that's very unpredictable because at times I plan on self-catering but then find myself eating out. Hotel restaurants can be much pricier than restaurants in the surrounding area. Always, ask for recommendations for inexpensive cafes or sandwich shops nearby. Street food is another inexpensive option and is a great way to try authentic local cuisine.
Entertainment and entry fees: I might want to go to tourist attraction, shows or do other activities.
Mobile charges: Since I work online I definitely plan for how I'm going to go about with using the internet. I look for accommodation with free wifi but I've learned that not all places will have reliable wifi, so I still plan for how much it will cost to get a SIM card and data in each country I visit.
Emergency fund: As well as the holiday expenses, budget a little more than necessary to cover unexpected issues that may arise during your trip. For example, I had a flight delays recently in Malaysia that meant I had to pay extra for my connecting flight to the Philippines. Operating on an ultra-tight budget can sap some of the fun out of your trip, so do the wise thing.
If you know you’re going to need special items or equipment for your holiday, consider buying some of them in advance, especially if you can get a good deal. Get your hiking boots from the factory shop, or your swimming costume on the winter sale.
There is nothing more relaxing that going away knowing that you have pre-paid for your entire holiday up front and that there will be enough spending money for you to enjoy your time away to the fullest.
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