From time to time AirTreks is asked travel questions via email. Here is the first in a series of Q&A’s revealed:
How much spending money should I bring with me on an around the world trip? Any help would be appreciated.
Thank you very much,
This is a difficult question to answer because everyone travels differently, but it can be put into perspective if you ask yourself a few questions:
- How long will you be traveling? Forming (and keeping) a daily budget based on the number of days, weeks or months you’ll be traveling will help you complete your trip with money still in your pocket. It’s extremely easy to burn through your nest egg over the first portion of the trip thinking you have plenty of money at your disposal.
- What places are you visiting? Certain destinations are far more expensive to visit than others. For example, Europe and Japan both are more expensive (per day) than say Cambodia, Central America or India. If you’re on a budget and just want to spend more time traveling, developing nations will stretch your dollar farther. If that’s not an issue for you, European cities are some of the most beautiful anywhere.
- How many stops are you making? If you’re looking to keep your daily expenses down, transfers to and from airports can get expensive. Not to mention finding accommodations that fit into your daily budget in an new and unfamiliar city can lead to overspending. Found something good? Might as well stick around.
- What level of comfort do you need when you travel, sleep and eat? Holing up in 4-star hotels and restaurants will kill a budget in no time. If you’re not willing to slum it all the time, perhaps think of a sprinkling a hostel or guest house into the mix. Remember, the place you sleep does not determine how incredible your trip is. Account for how many nights you just want that oceanview room.
- Will you be dining in restaurants three meals a day or will you eat from food stalls? Street food is some of the most finely prepared and authentic food anywhere. Don’t overlook it. And don’t worry about cleanliness, you can watch the cooks prepare your food! Pepper some street meals into the daily routine.
- Will you be staying in big cities, suburbs or the countryside? Without fail, a downtown location in a city will be more expensive than less convenient spots. But if you plan on returning downtown you may save money on transportation getting there. Villages in the country can allow you two weeks at the price of two nights in the city.
- Do you plan to participate in adventure travel, ie, safari, scuba diving; trekking or skiing? These activities will cost you. If adventure tours and excitement are the way you roll, you may want to book ahead of time so you have time to research the cheapest options.
- How much overland travel are you doing and by what means: train, car rental, public buses? In the cities public transportation can be a fraction of the cost of personal service and help preserve that hard fought budget. So don’t be afraid to get on a bus. Not only can it be an experience, it will surely allow you to see new parts of the city. Trains are a great way to see the country but also are more time-consuming than a low-cost domestic flight. Research your options before getting a train ticket. Don’t forget, trains usually depart from the city center as opposed to an outlying airport.
Knowing how flexible or rigid you are with you plans will give you a good idea about how much money you’ll be spending on you travels.
Lastly, once you get a good number to go with, add 25% on top of that per day and you should be covered for incidentals and surprise expenses.
** photo credits Creative Commons