Starting a Trip Budget

I will admit, I am not good at following a budget.  But I like to track my numbers to get an idea of what I am spending.  But when it comes to a trip, I like to have the cash to pay for it before I leave.  I don’t like the idea of coming home to a mountain of debt from a trip.

budget (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)

As I am in the very beginning stages of my next big trip, I have started a budget to give me an idea of the funds I need.  I know approximately when I am planning to go (based on the best time to be a tourist not based on when I would prefer to go) and I know approximately where I want to go.

Last night, I did a bit more research.  I travelled with Intrepid in 2011 so I started with their website.  I plan to do a tour so I started looking for the tours that go where I want.  Their website allows you to search by country, month of travel, how long you want your trip to be and how much you want to spend.  I left the spending area empty as that varies depending on trip length and other factors.

When the details pulled up, I went through then and clicked on the ones that looked interesting and then discarded the ones that did not go where I want.  There was one or two that were discarded due to the price (They were over $7,000 for 22 days or so.  Definitely not in my budget)

From there, I looked at the flight website (I am flying on points) to see where I could fly to and if I could do an open jaw flight (fly in to one place and fly out of another) to save myself some funds.  Unfortunately, the tour that is high on my list does not fly out of the ending location of my tour so I would have to add in a flight back to my start location for a flight home.

All this goes into the spreadsheet.

I also went through the tour itinerary to look at what types of excursions are included and which are optional to know what ones I would need to budget for.   Many are 50 dollars or less but there are some big ones that cost more.   For instance, helicopter rides are more expensive and activities like scuba diving cost more.    While the cost can seem extreme, some of these are once in a lifetime opportunities which makes it easier to justify.

So far my budget is around 6,500 for the trip.  This includes:

  • Flights and fees

  • Tour for 24 days

  • Flight from end point back to start point

  • Suggested cost of meals not included in tour

  • Excursions I want to do

  • Money for shopping, excursions not included, extra hotel nights

While I could switch to a different tour and save over $1,000 due to the trip and flight being cheaper and less excursions I want to do, chances are I will never get back to this area.  Therefore, why not do the things that I really want to do and are on my bucket list?
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