Most of my friends are as big into travelling as I am (some of them even more so). As I write this article, I’m sitting in my Airbnb in Weisbaden, Germany while here for my Oma’s 80th birthday. Travelling is an important part of my life, and it’s something that I try to do at least once a year. However, it can get expensive, and it’s something that definitely needs to be budgeted for. I’ve met a lot of travellers who end up stressing out during or after a trip because they’ve dug themselves so deep into debt.
At The Budget Babes, one of my personal goals is to help others create and manage their personal finances and budget for short and/or long-term goals. I’ve created a list of some handy tips to ensure that you have financially stress free travels.
Plan and Research
It’s always smart to have some kind of idea as to where you want to travel to so you can start looking into flights and accommodation. This will be the most expensive part of your trip. Sites like Google Flights, Kayak, Momondo, and Cheapoair will scrounge the Internet for the cheapest flights possible, while websites like Next Departure, YYZ Deals, and Hopper will alert you of last minute deals. And with so many great websites like Airbnb, Couchsurfing, Booking.com, Agoda, Priceline, and Hostelworld, it’s always great to give yourself enough time to find the cheapest accommodation available in parts of the city you want to explore. It’s also helpful to to read some travel bloggers who have recently travelled to your destination as they often discuss how much money they spent. On top of your flight and accommodation, don’t forget to budget enough money for your food and drink, daily excursions, transportation, and a small emergency fund in case anything goes wrong.
Just like your food, clothes, rent/mortgage, car etc., travel should be a line item in your budget. If it’s something that you foresee doing in the near future, add it into your annual budget and account for it from the get-go. That way you won’t be scrambling a few weeks/months before you leave, and you’ll have already had some money set aside.
Save, Save, Save
When I saved $20,000 for my trip to South America and Southeast Asia in 2015, I took 15% of my paycheques and put it into a high-interest savings account that I didn’t touch. If I had any money left over after all of my bills were paid and my fun was had, it went into a TFSA where I invested in Index Funds. These funds paid out a dividend and gave me between a 5-10% return for that particular year. It’s one thing to save, but investing your savings will help you make money even faster, getting you one step closer to take off.
Open a Separate Account
Once you have a rough idea as to how much money you’ll need, open up a separate bank account that’s out of sight, out of mind. A TFSA and/or high-interest savings account is great because it will accumulate interest faster than an everyday savings account. For those who don’t know the first thing about investing, Wealthsimple is a really great platform that makes saving and investing easy and effortless. And if you use the link above, Wealthsimple will waive the management fees for the first year when you sign up for your first account.
Be Flexible and Open
When I was in Brazil, I was complaining to this Irish girl that the flight from Chile to Thailand was $2300. She suggested that I try to be a little more flexible with my timing and not look for a direct flight, but rather create my own trip around the world and book different lags of the flight myself. At first, I was a little skeptical, but she helped me research some different itineraries and I booked 3 separate flights. Although it took me 48 hours to reach my final destination (I had lots of time, remember!), I ended up saving over $900. It’s definitely worth being flexible and having an open mind because you can find some really great deals if you just think outside of the box.
For those of you who are as adamant about seeing the world as I am, be sure to work hard so you can play hard when on the road. The worst thing that could happen is that you start to travel and realize that you don’t have enough money to do the things that you want to do. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for most. Make sure you’re smart with your money before you takeoff so you can leave your financial stresses on the runway.
Do you have any other tips on how to save money for your next vacation? Share them in the comment section.
Featured image: Instagram/ @mvandersluis
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