If you’re a regular traveler like me, you know what travel is like. Its excitement, cultural diversity, new sights and sounds mixed with a little homesickness and missing my Spectrum internet service. Travel is called food for the soul and should be a part of everyone’s lives at least once. Travel offers you opportunities to grow, broaden your horizons and meet new people. From a business standpoint, it offers you networking and new business opportunities. But one thing that is common while traveling is budgeting for expenses that may arise. The bulk of these expenses are made up of living expenses i.e. your hotel rooms, meals, amenities, and commuting. Especially when traveling long-term, it’s important to manage your living expenses effectively. Otherwise, you may find yourself in a foreign land with all your reserves depleted.
Read How To Manage Your Living Expenses During Travel!
This blog looks at some effective ways to manage living expenses during long-term travel.
- Extensive Budgeting
The first thing you need to do before you begin traveling is budgeting for your journey(s). First, start with the list of places you will be going to. From a monetary point of view, it’s best to include a mix of cheaper places like Africa and Asia as well as expensive ones like Australia and Europe. You need to decide the maximum amount of money you can fork out for your long-term travel plans. Your budget should ideally start budgeting 6-8 months before you travel. This allows you time to save money that will come in very useful while traveling. One important thing to do is make a daily travel budget. That means you spend a certain amount or below it every day while traveling. Managing your money on a daily budget is the best way to keep your spending on track. Remember, you need every dollar while traveling.
- Saving Money
Once you’ve defined your long-term travel budget, it’s time to start saving up money. For most people, this is a gradual process. There’s not going to be a set date for you to cut down on your expenditures and start saving. You’re just going to have to start spreading your dollars thin. You will have to cut back on some expenditures and actively put money aside for your travel plans. A good way to do this is to replace big spending activities like clubbing or bar hopping with cheaper or free activities. I know people who only bought 5 articles of clothing for the whole year because they were saving up for a long travel plan. Tighten your belt and start saving.
- Download a Spending Tracker
While traveling, your priority expenditures will be as follows:
- Food and drinks
- Local transport
- Others (sim cards, medication, souvenirs etc.)
Obviously, the upfront costs of airfare are not included in this. The amount you spend on these expenses varies from place to place. Australia is bound to be much more expensive than say, Nigeria. Free apps like Tripcoin help you stay on top of your spending. It shows you how much you have spent in a day as well as what percentage of your total budget has been spent so far. You will need to get into the habit of keeping track of all your daily expenditures and entering that information into the app. It may sound tedious but it doesn’t take more than 30 seconds to enter your spending information in the app. Being aware of how much money you’re spending will help you manage your money effectively.
- Extend your Travel Budget
One good way to stay safe from money depletion is to find ways to strengthen your budget while traveling. To stay within a small daily budget can be impossible at times. So its good to find other ways to supplement your budget or reduce its depletion.
Look for exchanges, barter or paid work while traveling. Using your skills abroad can earn you enough money to keep your travel plans afloat. For example, native English teachers can help teach hotel staff English in exchange for reduced or free accommodation. Photographers and videographers can do some work for local businesses in return for money or in-kind benefits. Just be very careful when negotiating terms because foreigners are the most common and easiest targets for fraud.
You can also become what is known as “WorkAwayers”. You can stay with hosts in foreign countries and work for them in exchange for money. One important thing to note here is there is no “free” accommodation or food in such an arrangement. You get accommodation and food in return for your services. Again, it’s important while negotiating such agreements to be very careful. Many local hosts will expect much more of you than what they are offering in return so stay wary.
You can also save money by ditching flights and cabs and opting to slog it out on public transport. A flight from Nairobi to Cape Town may cost you $400. The same trip overland via bus would cost much less. Overland, you get to take in all the natural beauty and scenery. After all, the journey is just as important as the destination.
That’s most of what you need to know about managing living expenses during long-term travel. A stringent budget means you won’t be stuck at a foreign restaurant trying to explain why your card was denied. Remember, angry locals, are not as understanding as Spectrum Customer Support representatives back home. Happy traveling!
Stephen N. Mills is an entrepreneur, marketer, and writer. As San Francisco resident, he loves reading books and writing on different topics like SEO, Branding, Health and etc. That’s where he finds his inspiration to author in-depth guides that teach E-commerce store owners ways to manage, grow and scale their business.
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