Travel is an addiction. Once you are hooked to it, you cannot stop. But traveling costs money and you need to have that kind of finances. Except for the lucky situation that you have millions of dollars bequeathed to you by an unknown benefactor, you have to provide for your travels.
Travel is indeed an expensive option no matter where you are and where you are travelling to. The various components of travel expenses that you would need to budget for are as under:
Flights to and from form a major chunk of the travel expense. Whether you want to book Mumbai to London flight tickets or tickets from London to Zurich, the expense is definitely going to burn a hole in your pocket.
Another substantial contributor to the travel expenses is what you need to shell out on accommodation. Of course you can save on this if you are ready to compromise on luxury and quality. But for luxury travelers for whom nothing but star hotels will do, this is definitely going to eat away a significant portion of the travel budget.
Sightseeing & Activities
When you reach your destination, you are of course going to take in the sights and experiences of the place. You have to pay for entry tickets, logistics and incidental expenses which can be substantial depending on where you are. For example the entry tickets to some amusement parks and safaris cost close to a fortune.
Just because you are travelling does not mean you have to forego those meals. You need to have your three or four meals of the day. In fact travelling makes you more hungry and the temptation to try exotic food and drink will fuel more expenditure.
Visa & Documentation
Depending on your home country and where you are traveling to, the visa formalities and other documentation could eat into a significant chunk of your travel budget. Travel Insurance is also a cost that needs to provisioned for.
So now we know what all expenses need to be provisioned for when planning to travel, in addition one always has to provide for a contingency fund for emergencies. Let us see what steps will help in saving money for your travels.
How To Save For Your Travels
Plan for Your Travel in Advance
You cannot just pack your bags and leave. You need to have planned and have sufficient funds in your coffers to embark on your travels. The best way is to save consistently and regularly. Allocate a percentage of your income to a travel fund and do not touch it for any other purpose. It would be good to invest that amount if it is substantial in safe investments so that the fund is not idle and also keeps growing.
Review The Plan Periodically
So now you have a travel fund which hopefully is growing. But finances and life itself is dynamic and subject to change. So review your income and expenditure periodically to see if you can divert more funds to the travel fund or need to cut back on it.
Increase Your Income
Though this is easier said than done, see if there are any avenues to increase your monthly income. Can you put in an hour of extra work and get paid for it? Can you take on another part time job or freelance for some additional income? Of course the extra income generated goes straight to the travel fund.
Cut Down On Your Costs
Always adopt a two pronged strategy for savings. On the one hand focus on trying to increase the income and on the other try tightening up the spending. Review all your expenditure and classify them as essential, can manage without, totally frivolous and unnecessary. Weed out the ones that fall under totally frivolous and unnecessary and try to minimize expenses that fall under the category, can manage without. This exercise is sure to result in some savings which again can be allotted to the travel fund.
Optimize on The Travel Costs Itself
So finally the day for which you had been saving has arrived and you are all set to plan for your travels.So there is no point in emptying the coffers of the money you have saved. After all travel is an ongoing process and the more money left in your coffers, the earlier you can plan for your next travel. So plan your current travel wisely. Look at various flight options and choose the most economical route and time. If you are flexible travel during the off season as flight costs come down drastically. Also traveling off season means hotels have reduced tariffs as compared to the peak tourist seasons. Of course an added bonus is there will be lesser crowds everywhere and you will enjoy your travel experience more.