When you go travelling, how much money will you need? This question is a bit like asking how long a piece of string is because there are so many factors that contribute to the answer. Considerations such as your destination country, travel style and planned activities are the most important of them.
Calculating a travel budget is an important part of your travel planning. It can become complex but it doesn't need to be if you follow these simple guidelines:
1. Initial expenses
If you are saving for a trip, many people forget about the expenses involved before you even get on the plane. These can be very significant because they include your airfare and travel insurance. If you don't have a backpack or passport you'll need to purchase them and there may also be a visa required for your destination. Think about any clothing or travel accessories that you may need and include these items in your calculations.
2. Daily costs
A guidebook will be a useful tool in creating your travel budget. It'll actually give you an approximate daily cost for travelling the particular country it's been written for. Do remember that this is only a broad estimation and tends to include those who have more money available to them. For a more accurate guide do some research online. Travel forums are especially useful and you can post a specific question that someone is likely to know the answer to.
3. Special activities
Keep in mind that your average daily costs are calculated largely on the basic expenses of transport, accommodation and food. Think about the nature of your trip and if you are planning on doing activities along the way that have a significant cost, you'll need to include them in your overall budget. Sometimes, if you are booking a tour then a deposit may be requested. This can be added to your initial expenses and the balance worked into your overall daily budget.
4. Unexpected events
If possible, it's always a good idea to include something in your budget for anything unforeseen. This may be the opportunity to participate in an activity that you didn't originally plan or it could be to cover something like a medical problem. If you are using a guidebook that is a few years old, keep in mind that prices are constantly rising. What you put aside for this depends largely on the costs of the region you are travelling but it is just a way of keeping something up your sleeve. I'd recommend about 10% of your daily budget with a minimum of $200.
5. Put it together
Now that you have you various components, you can put it all together to create your travel budget. To do this, firstly multiply your average daily costs by the number of days you'll be travelling. Add in your initial expenses and whatever you have allowed for unexpected contingencies. The result will be the total you require for your trip. Remember that it's not an exact science and it's only your best estimation. Still, if you've put some thought into your calculations, I've found from my travel experience that it's something that you can rely on with confidence.