Jun 30, 2017 Travel Tips
I got an email last week from a reader named Jamie. She sent me an email asking for travel advice for like minded wanderlusters planning a summer trip or more. She has some really good questions that I am going to answer. I’ll also go into how we are personally doing this for a year. Hopefully it is helpful. Her question’s are;
Examples of un-expected fees. Even with a fully planned out budget, there are always things that just seem to pop up, so what in your experience are those reoccurring spends?
Tips to cut expenses on bottom-line items in your budget. I think some people would spend less money on apparel if they pack smarter and appropriately for all weather situations – I may have experience with that one 😉
How to finance the trip.
Un-expected fees ( and expenses) that I’ve ran into while traveling:
- Make sure your hotel has all taxes and tourists charges included. These hidden fees can add another $50 on you hotel bill.
- Laundry fees can add up if you don’t have enough to last you. I always travel with a mini bottle of detergent in case of an emergency. Like a makeshift laundromat in your hotel tub.
- If you’re on a budget, taking public transportation is the only way to go. Skip taxi’s, uber, or drivers and blend in with the locals.
- If you rent a car to travel through Europe, remember there will be toll roads!
- Look up whether you need a special road use pass when traveling through Europe. When you drive into Austria for example you have to stop at an automat place to buy a driving sticker. If you don’t it’s a $200 dollar fine. It’s their way of taxing people road tripping through Europe.Those are the big expenses I could think of but the little things add up too.
- Public bathrooms in Europe are always around 1 Euro to use. Keep this in mind, and it’s good to have change on hand, especially if you’re traveling with little kids! 😳
- Compared to the US batteries are always really expensive in other countries
- If you’re going to a beach town, know that Sunscreen can be ridiculously priced. Better to bring some from home.
- Always bring your own bags to grocery stores because they can charge you a lot of money for just a few bags. And I guess that’s better for the environment too 😉
Tips to cut expenses:
- Eating out ALWAYS adds up! Look to rent a place with a kitchen, this will save a lot of money.
- Water gets expensive. We typically look for a place the “locals” would shop, and buy a few of their biggest bottles. They usually cost about $1. Then you can pour it into smaller bottles before you leave for the day.
- When you purchase something of significance (around $100 or more) Ask if they will give you a VAT Refund Form. VAT stands for Value Added Tax… basically sales tax. When you leave the country, turn in your form with the receipts. You can get the tax you paid on that item back! Just make sure you go to the airport early. They kind of make it a pain but it’s fun when they give you money 😀
- Pack clothes that are multi-functional! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to purchase a sweatshirt because the weather decided to take a dip and I was not prepared. I always put in my day pack this Eddie Bauer Down Jacket which compresses down.
- My best basic tip is to always carry plastic bags. For laundry, groceries, garbage etc. Ziplock’s are great because you can see through it and you end up needing them more than you realize
How to finance your trip:
My best advice is to live beneath your means, know your finances, and save! For some reason I am the one in charge of the finances, Derek is much more capable but finds it to be a tedious task. Know that if I die all of our bills will be delinquent because he would have no clue! I am also very frugal. Derek teases me that I must have lived during the great depression because I am an avid saver. For years I have put every bill and payment into an excel spreadsheet. Because I have this very clear and concise knowledge of our finances it helps when budgeting and planning.
We luckily work from home so we are not saving up to go on this trip. We are continuing to work so our income will continue but from different locations. That being said I still had to find out what our budget is it to live on. To budget out this year I started with the average we spent in a month over the past several years. I was able to do this because of how I have tracked our spending/earnings. Next I isolated our bills. The first area was our house. I took everything we spent on our house for the past 4 years and got a monthly average.This included bills, taxes, and home repairs. That number was my budget to work with for our sleeping arrangements. On average we spend X amount to sleep in our house every night so that is what we can spend on hotels a night.
Then I went into other areas of food, gas, car insurance, the boys schooling, and activities. This again was averaged out by a monthly amount that gave me my budget to spend on food, airplane tickets or car rentals, and activities. This is my strategy for the year and I will let you know how it works! I hope it works because I don’t want to be 6 months into this and constantly over budget!
Travel is expensive because there are a lot of unknowns. At home you know the cost of your daily routine. On the road each place charges more or less for food, for car rentals, etc.. so a lot of people end up going over budget. I hope this helps globetrotters stay within their original budget-I guarantee some of you have a lot better travel advice and if so please comment so I can add it in! Once I have been on the road for a few months I will re-visit this post and see what I can add or detract from it. I was also asked if I would do a blog post on outlining what kind of trip I would take for $3,000 dollars. If this is something you would be interested in please let me know! I love when you reach out to me with questions and I love what I learn from you all along the way.