We all know how it goes. You’ve spent months, maybe even years (or a few hours in transit, no judgement) thinking about all those precious dollars you have for your travels. You want them to last as long as possible, to be stretched to their very limit over the course of your trip. Fast forward a month or two and suddenly you’re re-assessing. Where’s all your money gone? You swear your bank account was looking a whole lot fatter than it is now. Where did this lean, mean bank account come from??
Even the best-laid budgets can fall by the wayside, but you don’t have to suffer through that. Here’s my top budget ruin-ers, based on way too many mistakes on my part. Learn away!
One For The Road
So you’ve budgeted for food, congratulations! But have you budgeted for alcohol? Most of the party hard people will probably be nodding their heads thinking, “Hell yeah I have, budget thought numero uno!” If you haven’t, definitely do that RIGHT NOW! Even if you’re ‘not really thing party type’ it’s still worth getting that into the budget because believe me, people change on the travel circuit.
If you have budgeted for alcohol, well done. But what about water? I’m a big fan of travelling in Asia, and one thing I’m always blown away by (hey, I made this mistake too) is that people don’t budget for buying bottled water. In most Asian countries tap water is not drinkable, so you really have to beef up your daily budget to keep yourself hydrated. Annoying? Maybe. But for Asia, totally worth it!
Research, Research, Research!
So you’ve heard a whole lot from everyone who has travelled to this place you’re going about how damn cheap everything is. Awesome. You can totally stay everywhere for $5 including breakfast, and food? That’s basically free!
There’s nothing travellers love more than telling stories of the cheap destinations they go to, and then exaggerating that tiny little bit extra. Don’t just listen to your friends. Get a third, fourth or even fifth opinion from somewhere reputable, like the internet. Well, maybe not reputable, but at least you get a wide range of opinions, and there has to be somebody telling the truth in all that madness.
Maybe you do want to stay at places that are $5 a night including breakfast. If that’s the case, be ready to accept what $5 a night means. In most places (but not all) it doesn’t mean a villa on the rice fields or a bungalow with a front step straight to the beach. It probably means something a little bit more modest, and probably nothing luxurious at all. I know people who seek out these places and enjoy them (I’m one of them). But if that’s your budget don’t go on a rage about how your bathroom tap leaks or your floor tiles are uneven. Welcome to budget living.
Where To Now?
At some point in your travels, you’re going to throw away one travel idea for another. If you’re a super organised traveller, this might mean losing money on an airfare/bus ticket/activity that you’d pre-booked. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do this for the sake of your budget. As far as I’m concerned this is what travel is all about (probably why I rarely book in advance).
Even if you’re not super organised and you haven’t booked in advance, this new travel idea might end up costing more than you’d budgeted for. Does this mean you shouldn’t do it? Well, if you’re smart, no. And why is that? That is because smart people always OVER budget, so when the opportunity comes to do wild stuff (and possibly make some bad decisions) they have the coinage to accomplish that. Moral of the story, the shoestring is great, but have a little tucked away for a crazy day.
Have you had any travel experiences that have ruined your budget? Let us know in the comments below!