I spent the first half of this year plotting a potential round-the-world trip for 2011-2012. Finding destinations I wanted to visit wasn’t a problem, but planning for the cost of flights, food, travel insurance, entertainment, and other expenses was enough to make me wonder if it was truly worth it. While I ultimately decided that it was, the reality of this awful recession hit me hard. l could still go on the trip of my dreams, but considering the current state of the global economy, I thought it might be best to wait a little while longer to take the year-long trip of my dreams. I really do want to set foot in at least eighty to a hundred countries in my lifetime, if not by the time I reach thirty. I will get to take that huge trip eventually, but in the mean time, I have to be more sensible about my wanderlust. The rest of the world isn’t going anywhere. Or is it?
Outside of round-the-world trips, global travel is very easy and affordable to do, even in current economy. Being realistic about where you can go, how long you can stay there, and how much you can afford to spend during your stay are critical to enjoying the trip. There’s nothing worse than running out of money and having to spend the remainder of a vacation locked away in your hotel room. Trust me, I’ve done it. It happened to me when I was Las Vegas, and it was awful. I spent and spent and spent, not realizing that the casinos were robbing me blind (I lost $40 at a blackjack table), and cutting into my entertainment funds. Everything that happens in Vegas is supposed to stay in Vegas, but that is one lesson that I think I need to share.
A basic travel budget should look something like this:
Flights (booking fees, taxes, and baggage fees)
Local transportation (taxis, ferry buses, rickshaws, and trains)
If you’re like me and like to plan every (spending) detail ahead of time, take advantage of other travel blogs and sites that focus on helping travelers make the most of their trips. Another resource is online travel calculators, such as the one at SavingForTravel.com. These are mostly geared toward the RTW travel set, but single destination travelers can use them as well. Also, if you’re planning on going abroad, sites as Budget Your Travel have compiled lists that detail how much you can expect to spend in a particular country.