Create Travel Budget in Few Simple Steps!

Smartchoice Editorial
May 16, 2021

Travel is a desire, a need, and exposure to many and a breath of fresh air from our routine. We have always seen that people living anywhere apart from Pakistan travel more than people living in Pakistan. There are few reasons that we can understand and related to…

• The tickets from Pakistan are too expensive and not many promotional offers are available
• Green passport doesn’t top the list in attracting visas
• Lack of clarity on travelling Pro-Tips that can help in saving money
• Difficulty to travel extensively due to huge difference in currency with other currencies

And the list continues…

We understand that everything cannot be controlled and is not under the human capacity to manage it. There are still certain aspects that we can control and increase our chances and ways to travel more and more!!
Budgeting is one thing that is required not only for home but anything that you plan to endeavour in life. Even a simple and planned budgeting can take you a long way when travelling alone, with friends, family or any of your loved or dear ones!

Create a Travel Budget in 6 Simple Steps

Now that you know all the cheap travel hacks that we shared in our previous blog, and how we afford to travel around the world, let’s create a travel budget just for you, so you can travel more than ever and enjoy life.
Your budget will govern how much money you need to save for your travels, and it will also kind of shape your trip. For instance, if your travel budget is insignificant, you might leave out certain cities, places or activities. And if you’ve got a lot of dough (money) to spend, you can do detailed research on all the fun things you can do with it!

In this blog, we will share with you exactly how we do it, in 6 simple steps. The beauty of this exercise is that you can cater it to fit whatever your dream trip may be – whether it be a one-week vacay in Hawaii or a one-year journey around the world or the budget allows travel to your very own northern areas only.
And what more attractive is, it only takes about 20 minutes to sketch out a really solid plan of how much money you’ll need to save for your trip. So what are you waiting for?

Let’s take the first step in turning your daydreams into reality…

Step 1: Define and understand your Travel Style

Travel is completely and fundamentally personal, and there’s no one “right” or “wrong” way to travel. But to define your budget, you’ve first got to figure out your travel style.
We have listed down a different type of travellers keeping in view their preferences, likes and dislikes, read the following types and see which one sounds most like you:

Budget Traveler

The budget traveller usually says that ” they don’t mind sleeping in dorm rooms or taking local means of transportation (even though it’s at times slower and crowded)”. They prefer eating at authentic “hole-in-the-wall” type eateries and don’t typically take up organized and guided tours. They believe that travelling on a budget allows them to interact with locals and every so often brings more adventure than when you are paying a lot of money.

Mid-Range Traveler

A mid-range traveller is said to be the average budget traveller according to them “they like a mix of comfort and authentic adventure”.

They don’t want to sleep in dorm rooms with people they don’t know, but also don’t need a 5-star hotel every night of their trip. When travelling, they tend to enjoy eating at a variety of places –ranging from street stands to nice cafes. These range travellers enjoy splurging every once in a while but do balance it out by being okay roughing it a bit too. For mid-range travelling balancing the budget is the key.

Luxury Traveler

Well well a luxury traveller, wen travels “they like to enjoy the finer things in their travel, from posh hotels to the top-rated restaurants and entertainment during their travel.” They believe that a vacation should be full of fun and expensive things, and don’t like holding back on anything at all. They feel that they should enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience and feel happy and comfortable to have all the details arranged for them, even if it costs more on their travel budget. They take Traveling as their time to relax and explore and don’t want to miss out by following a strict budget.

So which one is it?

We believe that maybe you are between two styles. Not quite on the “budget” kind, but not exactly “mid-range” traveller either. Or perhaps you’re somewhere between “mid-range” and “luxury”.
Please rest assured, there is no right or wrong way to feel about the way you travel. But understanding what type of travel style you identify with is the first step towards coming up with a realistic budget.

Step 2: Find your Daily Budget

Do a quick and swift Google search for a daily budget/expenditure of a country you’re thinking to visit. A good place to plan your visit is to start with the budget of Your Trip. We recommend choosing a country, your travel style and desire (Step #1) and the one that suits your currency, and you’ll get a pretty good assessment of how much to expect to spend each day while you are there.

Write this number down because you’ll need it for the next steps of the travel budget.

Step 3: Get your Preliminary Total

In the next step multiply the number you got in step #2 (Daily Budget) by how many days you plan to stay in that country. This will give you the initial cost of your overall trip. But, hold your horses – you’re not done just yet!

Step 4: Give yourself some “Padding” that can also be known as “Cushion”

Now, calculate 10-20% of the preliminary total you got in Step 3.
You know yourself best. If you’re great at managing and calculative that you stick to your budget, maybe you can travel with an additional 10%. But if managing the budgets aren’t your thing, maybe an extra 25% than the expenditure calculated is more realistic. We usually advise the addition of 15% padding.
Add this added percentage number to your total, but don’t include the amount in your daily spending funds (Step 2). Remember, you are not required to and should not want to spend this money. Simply put it’s just there as a buffer for souvenirs, last-minute splurges or accidental expenses.

Step 5: Plan your big fat expenditures

Even if you have a budget to stick to, some luxury and fun expenses are just part of travelling. Don’t let the shortage of money hold you back from something you’ve been dreaming and constantly planning about, like diving in the Galápagos or taking a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia. It may be expensive and costly, sure, but it’s part of your journey. And if you really want to do it badly enough, it’s definitely worth it.
A point to remember is that plan out your splurges in advance so you’re ready when you have to undertake them.
Pro-Tip: do include this cost in your total budget, but don’t divide it into your daily spending.
And when you do some affluent spending, make sure it’s with an ethical company (by ethical company we mean, the ones) who are giving back to the local community and environment.

Step 6: Add on Airfare and Travel Insurance

Note: When you search for a daily budget in a particular country, it will typically NOT include airfare or travel insurance. You will have to add these costs in as well.
For airfare: We like getting airfare estimates on sastaticket. pk because you can search for all the flights available for the destination and see the cheapest day or cheapest flight to fly with.
For travel insurance: We like World Nomads for travel insurance. Get a super quick quote here.
And there you have it: Your own fully-customized travel budget! CONGRATS!

Tip: You can also do this exercise in reverse order. What I mean is if you have PKR 300,000 saved up, and you want to visit Thailand or any East-Asian country, start with Step #6 and work backwards by subtracting the costs. You’ll be able to see how many days a rational budget will bring you with PKR 300,000 to spend.
It depends on the country you choose and then the budget required to be set, or it can be the amount in hand and then set the budget accordingly.

Step 7: Get Insured!

Okay, since we have covered all the main steps that need to be kept in mind while making a budget. But one main thing that needs to be kept in mind is “buying travel insurance” is very important. It is the invisible 7th step that needs to be taken to ensure that you stay on your budget. Travel insurance acts as a cushion and takes away your financial stress and worries.
Travel insurance helps you stay within the planned budget and enjoy stress-free travel by paying a very minimal amount to cover your risks and any unforeseen circumstances and situations.

So Peeps! Don’t forget to follow Step 7 when planning your vacations!

Reasons to Embrace Budget Travel

Most travellers throw themselves into a category or two of traveller- backpacker, luxury, tourist, adventurer, long-term, volunteer, etc.
Most categories are ones that the traveller chooses to identify with. But there is one category that most people, travellers included, assume is a category that one belongs to out of circumstance, not a choice:

Why?

1. Traveling on a budget keeps our feet firmly planted on the ground

While travelling one does not need anyone waiting on us, picking up our dirty towels, or otherwise being felt like royalty. Travel is taken as an opportunity to dig into the world, not take a break from living. We are humans. The surest way to remember that common playing field is to not place ourselves within a hierarchy that may feel false. When travelling one prefers to avoid the false hierarchy whenever one can and to try not to accept service without offering some of our own in return. Travelling on a budget doesn’t allow people to pay for luxury services and that’s the way we like it.

2. Budget travel keeps people from adding one more barrier to connecting with the local population

Being South Asian and having brown skin there’s no getting around the privilege that these two factors afford us, wherever we travel, whether we like it or not. These factors also give multiple levels of engagement before they interact with us as a tourist, no matter where we go. There are assumptions about Asian particularly South Asians who travel the world. And by local standards, we often are people who others are little conscious about.

Staying in good hotels that cost more than a Pakistani’s salary for a month or dining at preposterously overpriced restaurants all the time while travelling. A point to be noted can be and should be added to this the fact that many upmarket hotels instruct their staff to paint the greater area as somewhat unsafe and you have a recipe for disconnection. When you are on a budget it requires individuals and families to eat in local eateries and stay in hostels, at least most of the time. Given the option, one should always choose to stay, eat, and do things that, at the very least, do not add to the gulf between the tourist and the local population.

3. It makes us less of a target for deceitful characters.

Usually, people have always been of the view that some travellers disseminate that staying in a nicer, more expensive hotel or neighbourhood will keep them safe from theft and physical harm that may happen to them in other localities. Many people travel with tour operators because they think they will be “safer” at tourist attractions and would be well guided. Now, this may or may not be true (and certain neighbourhoods are “safer” than others, all over the world), so what it seems like if I were going to rob someone, I would rob someone I was pretty sure that they had something to steal, right?

Most travellers should know not to flash around their wallet, iPhone, or Rolex to help avoid the unwanted attention of something unwanted. But often some of those travellers will proudly boast about the fancy hotel they are staying in and loudly explore tourist trap areas with a large group of fellow targets. Seems like telling the world that you are staying at the Pearl Continental while walking the beach in Karachi with 10 other fellow travellers to have just as much potential to draw negative attention to you as the Rolex a tourist is wearing.
Travelling on a budget means you can walk more often than ride in taxis, are seen entering and exiting basic accommodations, and pay for lunch at local eateries with lesser bills. Our entire being exudes “we don’t have much,” and I think ultimately leads to less potentially negative attention. It’s not foolproof, but it helps.

4. Budgeting keeps us travelling longer

This is no secret. Stretch the money out and the trip stretch out the trip as well. The money could be spent in a week what can be spent in a month. We can also make what the average tourist spends on a two-week vacation last us for a month or more. Easily. Not everyone wants to or has the capability to travel for a long period of time. But if you are planning a long-term trip, why not stretch the budget as far and as long as it will possibly go so that you can spend more time exploring the vastness that is our world?

5. Traveling on a budget makes us think “outside the box.”

When you have finite resources, no matter where you are, sometimes you need to get creative with what you eat, where you stay, and what you do for entertainment. Some of our best recipes have come from getting creative with what’s in the house, and our last housesit came about as we were wondering how to make our thin budget stretch even further.
Sticking to a budget is like a puzzle that keeps your brain thinking and the creative juices flowing. Bartering, gift economies, trades, and volunteering are all creative ways to exchange for the basics you need. Knowing we have the ability to get creative when times get tough is a valuable life skill.

6. Traveling on a budget really forces us to connect with who we are and what we need.

There are lots of things each individual wants. But very few people actually know, without a doubt, what they need to be the healthiest, most content, most present person they can be. Stripping yourself of the luxury of the first world living and really identifying those things you actually need to make you a whole person is a gift you give yourself when you travel.
Travelling on a budget illuminates this inner knowledge even quicker. No one’s answer is the same, but almost everyone I know is somewhat surprised by the answers they discover and always thankful for the journey they took to realize those answers.

7. It completely redefines can and can’t.

When money is flowing, there are lots of things I hear travellers say they “can’t” do. Travel on a local chicken bus in Guatemala? Can’t do it. Eat street food in India? Can’t do it. Sleep in a hotel room in Mexico without air conditioning? Can’t do it.
Now take away the cash flow. Suddenly a $10 hotel room, without air conditioning, looks pretty great, especially when it happens to offer an ocean view. A bbq corn from a roadside stand in Karahi becomes a delicious daily treat. Those rides on the chicken bus become memories you will relay over and over to friends long after you have returned home.
There are lots of “can’t” that suddenly turn into “cans” when money becomes scarce. It’s a good idea to explore the edges of those “cans” and “cant’s” once in a while to really find out who you are and what you are capable of.

8. Traveling on a budget keeps us moving slowly.

No doubt about it, slow travel costs less than lightning-fast travel. To arrange more cost-effective, long-term accommodations, spread transit costs out over longer periods, and eat in more than we eat out, we need to travel slowly.
Thank goodness budget travel forces us to stick to a slow schedule because slow travel also keeps us in touch with the real reason we are travelling- a deeper connection with the world’s people and time to soak in everything our world has to offer. You can’t do that by zipping through a city in 2 days.

9.Traveling on a budget makes us really consider where our money goes and the impact it may have.

It’s harder to thoughtlessly throw money around when there is a very limited amount of it. Having limited monetary resources means we have a more connected relationship with what we spend. We know where every dollar is going and choose exactly how we want to spend it.

Do we really want to hand over thousands of rupees to a “tour guide” who seems to be taking advantage of the street kids milling hungrily around him? It’s impossible to say “well, it’s only a few thousand” when your daily budget for two people is per day PKR 5000 to 7000. It’s much harder to “look the other way” when literally every dollar matters.

10. Budget travel reminds us day after day that the world is absolutely humungous and completely awe-inspiring.

When you travel on a budget for a long-term trip, you realize very quickly that you cannot “see it all”- your budget won’t allow it. But here’s the thing…. you could never see it all anyway. Money produces the illusion that you “know” India, Mexico, Ghana, or Switzerland by allowing you to buy experiences and visit place after place and site after site, all the while worrying that you “missed something”.
In truth, no matter how many entrance tickets you buy, no matter how many cross country flights you take, and no matter how many “world-class” restaurants you eat in, you will never, ever experience all that a country has to offer. Travelling on a budget creates an immediate sense of freedom.

You can’t see it all, and you know it from the beginning of your journey. So, instead of closing as quickly as possible from place to place, you should slow down, appreciate what lies within and beyond the great sites, focus on what really mesmerizes you, and release the alarm of “missing something.” That sense of wonder that comes from the simple realization that three months, six months, or one year in Pakistan will never be enough, even if you had a ton of money stashed, which quickly exhibits into utter awe at just how much there is to see around, experience, and learn in every corner of the world, not just the country you happen to live in.

That awe is, without a doubt, the best gift we have created for ourselves by travelling on a budget.
Most travellers identify as budget travellers on some level, but unlike other forms of travel, few embrace the concept that budget travel can be a conscious choice rather than a limiting circumstance.
Why not change our perception of what budget travelling means and embrace that budget and all of the unique opportunities that come from it?

Like it, share
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •