You want to plan more trips.
but, how can you be sure that you can afford the next one?
There’s one thing you can do - plan wisely.
Here are my top tips for planning your next short trip or vacation.
Got your destination?
I recommend Google Flights. Make sure you take full advantage of their calendar view which allows you to find the best days to fly (cheapest options will be highlighted).
Don’t miss their feature to track flights. From the moment you start tracking, it will show you a chart with price changes, and most importantly, it will tell you when the price is about to go up or down.
Do your research
Then, start researching accommodations, activities, landmarks, restaurants, tours that you definitely want to see. Also, best transportation option like from the airport to your hotel.
How do you pick the best options though?
The key is in the planning, and for this portion of the plan, you gotta’ compare your top 2 options.
I use a chart and list the options, the prices, pros and cons. Then, pick a winner for each of your needs - from tours to hotels to transportation to get to a town nearby.
To find the coolest, off-the-beaten path options I: read blogs and watch vlogs, find online reviews, go deeper than the “top 10 things to do,” ask locals.
But, will I afford all of it?
You gotta’ have a total budget. What can you realistically spend on this trip?
Write it down, and what we’ll do next is try to find all the ways in which we can fit as many expenses as possible into that budget. Imma’ break it down step by step:
List all expenses.
Categorize them by accomodations, transportation (including flights), meals, fun & miscellaneous. In miscellaneous I include cash to have daily for tips, etc.
This is important: give them a level of priority from 1 - 3.
I do all of this in a spreadsheet that automatically tells me how much I’m spending per category & per priority level.
What if you’re over budget?
You are going to start eliminating expenses in the lowest priority level. Then, from the mid-level, and so on.
What I usually end up cutting - any type of guided tours. Doing it on my own is usually cheaper and gives me more freedom to explore!
sPENDING BY CATEGORY
Know how much you’re spending by category to make sure you’re not putting too much towards meals or realize you’ve gone overboard with the fun category.
My spreadsheet totals these up for me automatically. You can buy it here.
Expenses by priority
This is why it’s important to give your expenses a priority. Once you see them added up, you will notice if your trip could be cheaper by eliminating expenses in your lowest priority level. This is how I named the priorities in my spreadsheet.
These are costs I usually cut:
Guided tours, expensive restaurants, a fancy hotel (after all you’ll be out exploring, right?), car rentals when it’s not totally necessary.
BUT, BUDGETING Is NOT ALL…
I also have a checklist I use for every trip. It has 20 pre-trip tasks. From investigating visa information to prepping for being ‘out of the office.’
Always use a checklist. You don’t want to get to the airport and realize you left your power-plug adapter at home (unnecessary avoidable expenses kill travel budgets!)
The first time I planned a trip using this travel-planning tool, I realized I was about to spend $300 more than necessary…
Now, you know what’s important…
To research options accordingly to pick the best one - value for the price.
To make sure you have everything you need before the trip.
To budget wisely and eliminate unnecessary expenses.
if you want my help, the #overdoseintravel planner is an excel spreadsheet that will help you do just that.
It includes all of that.
The itinerary picker, the checklist and the budgeting tool.