No matter how long you’re traveling for, whether it’s two weeks or a year, you need a budget in your life.
I know, I know, budgeting is boring, but budgeting is also necessary if you want to see yourself to the end of your trip, and not end up home with your tail between your legs after a month. I am not the world’s best saver, and I am certainly not the world’s best budgeter, but I did it, and believe me, if I can, anyone can!
It basically comes down to being careful, and pre-planning.
Research is your friend
You need to head online and research the cost of living in the place(s) you’re heading to. I moved to Turkey for a year last year, and I had no point of reference of how much it would cost me for rent, bills, food, travel etc, so I had to do a little digging. What I found was that other countries compared to your own can differ hugely in terms of what it costs to live there. When I found out information on rent and bills, I compared it to that in the UK, and it was startling. I guess what I’m saying is that you can’t base it on where you are now, so research is the only way you will know. Many bloggers have spending reports for popular backpacking countries, so online is certainly your friend.
Save as much as you can beforehand
It’s always better to have a little extra, than have a shortfall. This is common sense, but in the weeks and even months leading up to your departure, you’re going to have forego your social life a little, in order to have more in your pocket for when you’re away. This is a pain, I know this myself, but it’s a case of priorities. How much do you want to see the world?
Don’t be afraid to ask for advice
I asked a few people who had done the same thing as me what it cost them. Now, money is a dodgy subject to talk about for many people, and for me especially, it’s a terribly un-British thing to discuss! Having said that, I found people to be very helpful if I tactfully asked them a question, and if you can find someone like that, be it online or a friend, then you’ll get the most honest advice.
Change your mind-set, you’re not on holiday
This is the hardest stumbling block I came up against, because I’d always been to Turkey on holiday, so switching the way I thought about the place was quite hard at first. Living somewhere, and seeing somewhere on a travel adventure, is totally different to a two weeks’ holiday in the sun.
Look at accommodation costs
You might be booking your accommodation before you go, or you might be finding it on the fly, but it’s always a good idea to have the regular cost in your mind. This also helps if you get somewhere and they tell you an over-inflated price, because if you have no marker to go by, how do you know if you’re getting ripped off or not? Look online at the price of a hostel dorm room in advance, so you have an idea, and if you’re planning on rocking up on the day, triple the price, and you won’t be far wrong.
Separate your money
I worked out a budget for travel, accommodation, special occasions, food, sundries. I had pots in my mind, not literally, but my money was separated into amounts for different things, so I didn’t run short and end up borrowing from elsewhere. The same can be said for your weekly money. I gave myself a realistic amount of money per week, based on my research, and I split it equally throughout the days. What I didn’t spend one day, went onto the next, and if I had any spare at the end of the week, it was saved for a rainy day.
Budgeting isn’t easy, but it is necessary. Finding out the correct information is the best starting point, so head online and get searching!