Budgeting for travel is not the same as traveling on a budget. A Europe travel budget is not the same as budget travel in Europe.
It’s important to know the difference.
It’s equally important to under-stand why creating a travel budget is key to traveling in Europe with-out worry, no matter how much or how little you plan to spend.
It’s about knowing where your money will go and being confi-dent it will last until the end of your journey.
Whether you’re watching every penny, or traveling in unadulter-ated luxury, knowing up front what your travel expenses will be, allows you to focus on your experience and the excitement of your trip.
Budgeting for travel before you go creates a roadmap for how your adventure will unfold.
Without it, you can only guess where you’re going - and the outcome of your trip remains uncertain.
In our article on some of the ways to get travel ready, we bulleted a list of the primary items to consider when planning a trip to Europe.
Each of these items, along with every other thing you include in your Europe travel plan, results in an associated travel expense.
Your major costs are straightforward: airline flight tickets, hotel reserva-tions, ground transportation, travel document expense, package or group tours, and in-Europe touring.*
These account for the largest part of your travel expense, and their costs are centermost, when budgeting for travel in Europe.
But there are other, less obvious travel expenses that you need to include in any Europe travel bud-get, to make sure the costs of your trip are covered, and your travel funds will last for the duration of your trip.
There's nothing worse than being forced to end your trip early, because you've run out of money.
Many travelers fail to take into account the myriad daily expenses that occur when traveling overseas.
A great way to project potential daily expenses is to create a spreadsheet for what you anticipate will be your secondary costs, better known as daily living expenses.
Start your spreadsheet with the costs of your major expenses, as noted above.*
Next, expand your list by adding what you anticipate will be your normal daily expenses, like meals, sightseeing, ancillary entrance fees or exhibit donations, snacks and beverages, service tips, taxi rides, and other local transportation.
Arrange your anticipated travel costs by category. Think of what your proposed day-to-day activities might be, ie., meals, sightseeing, attractions, entrance fees, local tours, and daily transportation costs.
Include a category of funds for souvenirs, gifts for family or friends, adult bev-erages, and evening entertainment.
The following categories - with their potential costs - will get you started. These include pre-trip expenses, as well as in country costs:
Travel Preparation & Documents [associated costs: reservation fees, tour deposits, travel agent fees, passports and visas, maps and guidebooks, audio apps, trip insurance, final payments for packages and tours]
Transportation [airline tickets, train reservations, change/cancel fees, rental cars, fuel & tolls, parking fees, auto insurance, local transport: bus, ferry, taxi]
Accommodations [hotel reservations, booking fees, service gratuities, room tax, sales tax, resort fees, cancel fees, local phone/internet charges]
Food [meals, snacks, drinks, night-time entertainment, alcoholic beverages]
Local [attractions, sightseeing, day tours, special events and exhibits, public transit, entrance fees, gratuities, entertainment]
Medical [health/accident insurance, medical prescriptions, pre-travel check-ups, immunizations, eyewear, vitamins, OTC meds]
Luggage [travel bags, baggage insurance, baggage handling, travel clothes, walking shoes, inclement weather apparel, toiletries, personal accessories]
Travel Memories [postcards, stamps, local phone or SIM card, camera, memory cards, souvenirs, shopping]
Money [exchange fees, credit/debit card fees, ATM fees, cash]
Home [child sitter, home sitter, pet sitter, lawn care, home security]
Electronics [phones, tablets, charging accessories, electrical converters, wi-fi fees, and support gadgets]
You can add to this list of categories, expanding them to suit your personal travel needs and including potential costs for each.
Budgeting for travel is central to preparing for your European trip. Once you've created a workable travel budget for one overseas trip, you can use it as the basis for future trips, adapting where necessary.
Budgeting for travel makes covering your daily travel expenses easy.
Once you've determined the total amount you'll need to cover your entire Euro-pean trip, deduct the major costs [airfare, hotels, tours, etc.,] you usually pay up front.
The balance is what you have to cover your day-to-day expenses.
The goal is to be sure this balance is equal to - or greater than - the total of your anticipated daily costs.
Be sure to include a 'reserve' fund for unplanned activities, unforeseen costs, or travel emergencies that always seem to occur along the way.
And I highly recommend a bit of 'just in case' funds, which you should hide away to use only when, or if, you need it. [Anything you don't use, bring home to put toward your next trip!]
Budgeting for travel might seem like time you could use for more exciting endeavors, like planning or packing or learning about where you're going.
But taking the time to create a Europe travel budget, and knowing up front your funds will last, is worth its weight in exchange fees!
For more tips on planning a European trip, try the following pages:
Planning a Trip to Europe? Include the most important thing to
insure your trip’s success.
Use your Travel Budget to keep your travel costs under control.
Does your Europe Travel Plan include everything you want to
see and do in Europe?
Create a Travel Itinerary for Europe and bring your trip to life.
Can your Travel Attitude increase the benefits of traveling?
Return to Getting Travel Ready
When you're budgeting for travel, remember to set a bit aside for a treat or two along the way:
By presetting an amount for an out-of-the-ordinary purchase during your travel, you'll reduce your emotional spending. Just be sure to stick with your plan!
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