5 steps to help you make a travel budget
1. Set your goals.
Figuring out what you want your vacation to look like will help you figure out how much money you may need. Are you hoping to live it up at a 5-star resort, or are you happy roughing it on an adventurous road trip? Do you want to eat out or eat in? Go on day trips or stay local? Whatever the case, setting goals will help you understand how much you will need to save.
2. Consider your income, expenses and savings.
If you’re going to create a travel budget, you’ll have to figure out how much you can save from your personal budget first. A budget calculator like the TD Personal Cash Flow Calculator can give you a better understanding of where your money goes, and how much you may be able to spend on your vacation.
3. Crunch some numbers.
Get your calculator, pen, spreadsheets, and start calculating your budget. You'll need to include all costs whether big or small, such as transportation to and from your destination and accommodations, as well as local transportation, meals and entertainment. Also, don’t forget to include the cost of travel insurance and, just in case, an emergency fund for your trip.
4. Do your research and consider all your options.
The cost of airfare and accommodations can surge during peak season times. If your budget requires you to cut down on expenses, keep in mind that it may be more affordable to travel during the off season. For example, you may find better deals on European vacations during Spring or Fall—when the weather can still be quite pleasant—versus the busy Summer season. And you can also keep an eye out for seat sales that may be offered by some airlines.
Similarly, there may be ways to save on expenses when you get to your destination. Perhaps a guided city tour is out of your budget, but a great audio guide could do the trick. A little research can go a long way to helping you decide if you can stretch your budget.
5. Stay on track.
Keeping tabs on your budget while travelling can help you relax because you'll know that you’re not overspending. It can also help you be more aware of any unexpected expenses that come up along the way.