Travel and Budgeting

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One of the main reasons people, especially students, don’t travel is the lack of funds. When people think of travel the initial excitement is often worn down with the reality of costs of new passports, visas, accommodation, flights etc. But let’s deconstruct this idea. Travel doesn’t have to be that way; a long weekend in a European city can be done on £250 or maybe even less. Looking at it a different way, that’s 71 days of not getting your daily take away coffee – two and a half months – turning the money you would have spent on lattes into a short break in a European city.

Granted saving for a holiday can take a little more than just cutting out treating yourself to a barista style coffee. This is where some organisation is needed to start a budget. Many banking apps allow for you to create saving pots, separate from your main account, in which you can save for certain goals. Label the savings with your chosen destination and upload a picture to get that wanderlust kicking you to put more money away.

A key aspect of budgeting to save for a trip is also making sure you know roughly how much everything will cost separately and within budget. Make a list of everything you need for the trip, like your passport, and if it’s a larger trip do you need a visa, insurance, flights and accommodation? Make sure your passport is in date – it often needs to be valid for 6 months after arrival. If it’s not you need to make sure the cost of updating it is included in your savings.

You’ll also need to check insurance costs. You can use comparison websites to find the best deal, however, be careful not to just go for the cheapest deal. Insurance is one aspect of your trip it is important not to scrimp on. If it doesn’t cover everything you need it for, like diving, hiking, theft, cancellations, you’ll need to find another one.

When budgeting for bigger trips you also need to account for visas. Not all countries require British nationals to carry visas but a number of popular destinations (like Cambodia) do. For different countries and lengths of stay, visas vary in price so to avoid a shock to the budget and saving plan check this early on in preparations. It’s easy to check if the country you’re flying to does require you to carry a visa on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website.

Flights are often quoted as the most expensive part of many travels. However, by doing a little research you can find some hints for getting the cheapest deals. For example, flying on a Tuesday is often the cheapest day to fly on, and by clearing cookies you can avoid websites increasing prices of flights you’ve already looked at. Using websites such as Kayak and Skyscanner can also help you search through hundreds of prices for the same destination. The most important aspect for getting cheap flights is to be flexible – the ability to move your dates to the cheapest day can save you hundreds.

Accommodation is often up there with the most expensive aspect of any trip. Research and compromise are most important here. By getting a cut-price place out of the centre you may save what appears to be a lot initially but could then soon add up on transport to and from. Researching offered accommodation is also important to ensure you don’t end up with a horror story on your hands. If a place is really cheap, why is it so cheap? Check up on reviews on websites such as TripAdvisor to see if it’s really offering a good stay.

By budgeting travels with the main expenses, you can identify how much you need to save, doing all this research also offers incentives to start saving. Travelling doesn’t have to be out of reach, with organisation, research, budgeting, and cutting out wasteful spending, a trip could be more accessible than you think.

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