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Saving Your Coins: Traveling on a Budget

Money is a HUGE factor when planning a trip. The fear of spending loads of money on a trip prevents many people from traveling. BUT WHY? Spending “loads of money” can be avoided if you plan ahead! The summer is just starting and it is the perfect time to start planning trips. To achieve the ultimate money saving travel hacks, a major trip should be planned at least a month or two in advance. (Please do not mistake my serious tone about saving money as the lack of love for spontaneous trips.) Planning a trip in advance allows you to analyze travel plans, places to stay, and other expenses instead of  booking the first options available on an impulse.  So, let me break this down for you lovely people: planning ahead = saving money. The key to trip planning is to be cost efficient and stress free. Here are some saving and budgeting hacks:

Realistic Budgeting

Unless you have a disposable income, any trip over $1000 should be planned out over the course of at least 3 months. I recommend any trip that you are trying to cut costs for should be planned out over a couple of months. This ensures that you can also live within your means and not struggle financially saving for a trip.

  • Savings Insight: I save 10% of my monthly income for trips. Start setting aside a certain % of money so that you will always have funds for trips. For example, this winter I spent 4 months saving 10% of my income. Now, I have the money needed to pay for concerts, flights, and rental houses for my summer trips. Its great!

  • Reality Check: Let’s be honest, if you want to plan a trip to to the Greek Islands of Mykonos, Santorini and Paros, you will need to plan at least a year in advance. If you need a year to save then plan ahead! Your planned trip will be more enjoyable knowing you have worked towards your savings goal and lived at peace while doing it.

Cash vs. Credit

A travel budget helps you to reel in your spending. I always travel with cash and a credit/debt card. I use cash when I’m traveling to buy food and snacks. Sometimes we get “lost in the sauce” when we pay with a credit or debit card. I will speak for myself when I say that there have been times when I forget that my card does not have a endless supply of money. Having a cash budget gives you a reality check that the money that you have is real and will end. Leave bigger purchases and splurges for your debit card.

Splitting Expenses

When traveling in a group, there should be a trip leader that has the resources to book lodging, food, and/or other traveling expenses ahead of time until the repayment from the other trip members.

  1. Lodging: Once the hotel or house is booked, the trip leader will divided the costs that are owed and notify the group. A deadline should be set for when the money is due to the trip leader before the trip starts. This allows the trip members to make payments to the trip leader, if they need or save the funds to pay the trip leader upfront.

  2. Food expenses: When planning an extended stay, other trip members can be in charge of buying groceries and household products. At the end of the trip, each trip member will pay their divided share of expenses.

  3. Travel expenses: Traveling within the city can be split amongst the group right away using Uber, Lyft or local Taxi transportation services.  I suggest that each member pay for their own flights for major trips unless someone is willing to pay for it all upfront.

Method of Repayment

I recommend using Venmo when paying the trip leader (or other group member) for the expenses that you owe. Venmo is my favorite. Venmo is a mobile payment service where you can request pay or repay for people debts owed. Venmo is a fast way of getting money to a trip leader. If you are not too keen on electronic apps or online websites having your personal information, that’s understandable just make sure you pay the intended party ASAP. There are the traditional methods of repayment like writing a check and sending it through snail mail. Honestly, who does that anymore?!? Do not be difficult use Venmo.

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