December seems very promising and exciting but it’s hard not to think ahead and daydream about the new year that’s fast approaching. I used to keep long lists of resolutions and goals but nowadays, I prefer to focus on a single word. The word I’ve chosen for 2015 is explore. I want to explore new ideas, different skills, new paths and possibilities. And, of course, new places. With that in mind, I put together a short list of 5 steps to planning a trip on a budget I hope you’ll find useful.
1. Define a purpose
Having a clear purpose is all about simplifying the decision making process as much as possible. Why book luxury accommodation if you’re just going to a concert? Why set aside so much money for shopping if you’re actually planning a romantic second honeymoon? Be honest with yourself and don’t be afraid to follow your guts. It’s your holiday and there’s nothing wrong with doing your own thing instead of joining thousands of others in the same old itineraries. If you know exactly what you want out of it, it’ll be a lot easier to decide on where to go, where to stay and what to do once you get there.
2. Set a budget
A lot of people postpone travel plans because they think they’ll never have enough money to cover their dream holiday. Of course that amount will vary depending on life style, income, desired destination and the purpose given to the trip. But one thing won’t change: if you don’t have a set figure, you’ll never get there. It’s important to know how much you can put aside and commit to it. Also, divide that budget into categories like activities, emergencies and accommodation and assign each one a priority. You might reach your goal sooner than you think.
3. Save, save, save
It’s so easy to lose track of minor daily expenses but every dollar adds up! It’s basic math: if you buy a coffee every morning on your way to work for $3, in a week you’ll spend $15, and that same amount could be used to buy lunch in Lima or a museum ticket in Rome. So, which one do you prefer? In the long run, which one will bring you more joy?
There are basically two ways of saving money: making more and/or spending less. If you’re not feeling very creative, my next post will give you a few ideas on how to accomplish that, so
keep an eye out! click here!
4. Do your homework
Research is key and Google is your best friend. Travel books are a good starting point but they become outdated fairly quickly. So research online, look up official websites as well as travel blogs and forums Make the most of all the information that’s readily available on the internet and use it to your advantage, but take it with a grain of salt. If you find one bad story about a place you really want to visit, don’t cross it off your list just yet. Bad experiences can be caused by all sorts of reasons and some of them are quite subjective. Take note of weather during certain times of the year, public holidays, big events, local cuisine and city areas. If going to another country, try to learn some basic phrases in the local language.
5. Bookings and other arrangements
It’s common knowledge that when it comes to flights, the early bird catches the worm and pays the best price. Although some recent studies suggest that perhaps too much in advance won’t guarantee the best bargain, aim for at least 3 months before the intended date. I always check prices on Webjet and then compare with deals available on each airline’s website. I also love Skyscanner as it has the option to set an alert and monitor price changes for you. Make sure you have enough time to arrange tourist visas and vaccination, if necessary, and don’t forget travel insurance.
At the moment my husband and I are planning a very special camping trip around the North Island later this month and I’m so excited to share all the details with you!