Travel Budgeting: Common Mistakes

We all think we know about travel budgeting for a vacation, but just to be sure your affordable trip doesn’t spiral into eating top ramen for a month, lets chat about common travel budgeting mistakes and how to avoid them!

Exchange Rate

One aspect of traveling internationally that’s often forgotten is to check the exchange rate between your home country and the country you’re visiting. Even if the exchange rate seems minimal, it will add up over time. In addition to keeping an eye on the exchange rate in the time leading up to your trip, consider the following:

  • When you’re booking accommodations notice whether the total is in your home or the local currency. 
  • You will pay a premium for exchanging currency at the airport as opposed to a bank or an ATM. 
  • Know if your credit cards charge an international foreign transactions fee and/or an ATM fee.
  • When asked during a purchase, pay in the local currency to avoid paying conversion fees and/or an inflated exchange rate.
Transportation

Many people only include plane tickets when budgeting for transportation. Do research to find out if walking is feasible or if you will need to use a taxi, public transportation, or rent a vehicle during your trip. There is nothing wrong with paying for convenience, but it does add up over the course of a trip. 

  • If you’re bringing a lot of luggage, you may need to use a taxi to get to your hotel (if a shuttle isn’t complimentary). If you use public transportation, try to avoid rush hour. 
  • See if tourists get a discounted rate on public transportation fares. 
  • If you’re renting a vehicle know that you may be charged fees for additional drivers, insurance, and gas. 
Tips

In some countries a tip for services is customary and in some it might be consider an insult. Look to see what is appropriate in the country you’re visiting, and the rate at which they tip.

  • Find a list of all services that expect a tip. If locals tip in restaurants for instance, think about only eating in a restaurant for dinner to keep costs low. 
  • Think about whether or not you will need to carry extra cash in order to tip.
  • Research how tips are given to the person providing the service. In some places handing currency is acceptable, but in other countries it may need to be placed in a small envelope. 

Resources

Budget Your Trip
Lonely Planet

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