After reading Get Rich Slowly’s 10 money-saving vacation tips I became convinced that setting a trip budget is a great way to save money without cutting out the experience. The problem is that it takes time and many frequent travelers, be it for business or pleasure, tend to pack, buy tickets, and tell mom at the last minute – let alone leave time for creating a budget.

Setting an upper limit, breaking down your expenses, and making a list of what you’re willing to sacrifice can be done on a large post-it note or jailbroken iPod Touch in roughly 10-15 minutes.

  • Set An Upper Limit – You need an absolute maximum that you will be spending during your entire vacation. Use the POT (price of transportation) vacation budget rule to get this figure, then divide it by the number of days you’ll be traveling. It’s easier to keep a 24 hour budget.
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  • Break Down Your Expenses – Since you’ve followed the first part above, you don’t have to include transportation costs at this point.
    • Focus on the 2 big travel expenses:
      • Food (Bring a water filter to keep things cheaper).
      • Lodging.
      • Cheap airline tickets.
    • Consider these 3 smaller ones:
      • Admissions to museums, tours, etc.
      • Fines or fees.
      • Personal items (shampoo, condoms, toilet paper).
  • Make A List Of Things You’re Willing To Sacrifice – Maybe you’ll avoid meat during your next trip, pass on drinking more than 1 glass of wine, or avoid crap souvenirs. It may be only one or two things and it’s not like you have to completely rule out anything. Just cut back on the things you think you can do without.

Saving money on a trip shouldn’t be a hassle or something you set out to avoid. Budget travel is a way to add some adventure to your trip and really experience the place you’re visiting. The more money you spend the further you insulate yourself from the people who live all around you.

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[photo by: Jaida]