Unfortunately, slotting a handful of gold coins in a piggy bank at the end of the day won’t get you much further than across the road for a coffee. In order to get that South of France tan, you need to know how to budget – and budget well.
Fortunately for you, we’ve put together a list of tips and tricks that’ll get you halfway around the world before you can say ‘Brexit’, simply follow these seven steps.
Pick your destination
Before you can even begin budgeting for your trip, you need to you know where you’re going because that’ll affect how much you need to save.
Earlier this year, Price Of Travel released its Europe Backpacker Index for 2017, listing 56 of the cheapest and most expensive cities in the whole continent.
Top 10 – most expensive
- Zurich, Switzerland
- Reykjavik, Iceland
- Venice, Italy
- Bergen, Norway
- Oslo, Norway
- Stockholm, Sweden
- London, England
- Interlaken, Switzerland
- Copenhagen, Denmark
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
Top 10 – cheapest
- Sofia, Bulgaria
- Krakow, Poland
- Bucharest, Romania
- Belgrade, Serbia
- Budapest, Hungary
- Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina
- Kiev, Ukraine
- Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic
- Warsaw, Poland
- Zagreb, Croatia
Obviously two weeks in Zurich is going to cost a hell of a lot more than two weeks in Zagreb, so put together a rough idea of your itinerary before you crack open your Excel budget sheet so you don’t get caught penniless in the Lindt chocolate factory.
Decide how long your trip will be
The length of your Euro adventure will affect how much you put away each week, so check your accumulated leave hours AND your bank balance before booking your flights so you know just how much time and money you can afford to spend on your dream holiday.
Choose your trip’s comfort factor
There are basically three comfort levels you can choose to operate at when travelling:
You stay in hostels, make bulk spag bol in the communal kitchens, book the cheapest flights and avoid using taxis at all costs.
You pay the extra cash to avoid the drunks by pooling your money together with your friends for a liveable apartment a few kilometres from the city centre.
You eat out for every meal, buy a souvenir tote bag at every museum and stay in rooms at the heart of the city.
Travelling at each of these levels comes with different price tags, which means choosing your comfort factor is something you need to decide early on to ensure you’ve properly budgeted for your trip.
Research costs & expenses
Once you’ve got your destination and comfort level locked in, it’s time to research travel costs so you know what you’re in for.
Fortunately, a smart cookie out there in the world wide web put together a website where you can check the average daily cost to stay in every city in the world according to three different travel styles: budget, midrange and luxury. You can even map out your whole trip and it’ll give you a rough idea of how much the entire thing will cost. Check out Budget Your Trip here.
Work out how much you can live on
Take a look at your weekly income and expenses and decide just how many lattes you can cut out of your spending. A lot of young Aussies don’t realise how much they can save by trimming the fat from their weekly budgets. Here are just a few ‘wants’ that can be culled from your ‘needs’:
- Entertainment subscriptions
- Eating & drinking out
- Clothing purchases
- Uber rides
- Luxury grocery brands
For a more comprehensive guide to mastering your spending, read our recent blog post, 10 Things To Cut From Your Budget.
Book big tickets
Get the big spend items out of the way first so they’re out of sight and out of mind. This includes things like flights, Eurail passes and travel insurance (ALWAYS fork out for travel insurance or you could wind up with a lifetime of medical bills or out of pocket for a new phone thanks to some sticky fingers in a Spanish Macca’s).
By ticking off these costs immediately, you’re not only saving money by making early bird purchases but you’re also decreasing your weekly savings goal to a figure that feels more achievable.
Save, save, save
Now that you’ve picked your travel destinations and trip length, decided your comfort factor, trimmed your budget and paid for your big ticket items, it’s time to calculate your weekly saving goal.
Take the total trip cost you calculated in step 4 (plus the cost of return flights and travel insurance), add the cost of any equipment and clothing you need to buy beforehand, subtract any previous savings, and then divide that total by the number of weeks until your holiday, write that figure on a piece of paper and Blu Tack it to the wall above your bed – this is your weekly savings goal.
For example, if you’re planning on travelling through Western Europe for three months in one year with a total estimated cost of $15,000, a current holidays savings total of $5,000 and about $1000 worth of clothing and equipment yet to be purchased, then you can find your weekly savings goal with the following equation:
($15,000 + $1,000 – $5,000) ÷ 52 = $211.55 per week
If you’re worried you might be dragged over to the dark side by temptations of double shot lattes, Netflix binges and feed-me menus at ritzy restaurants, you can even set up automatic regular transfers with your bank which mean you don’t even get a look in at that money, until you’re sipping mimosas on the beach in Barcelona.
Even though this might seem like a lot of work, it will set you up well and get you closer to a fun and stress-free Eurotrip. If you’re planning to go, you’ll want to stress as little as possible about running out of money so you can focus on enjoying the trip. Good luck!
Also published on Medium.