Updated: Oct 16, 2019
You can read that in two ways, traveling cost as an absolute or listing the cost of traveling. Either way...traveling costs money. A few weeks ago I did a quick survey (thanks to all who participated!) and in that I found out that some don't realize the real cost of traveling and sorta assume that it's either really lower than reality or even possibly higher.
I also realized that most tend to think only of the flight and lodging when planning a vacation, which is totally not the case. Below are a few quick tips to assist in bringing a dash of reality to your future traveling.
1. The flight. Try to get the best deal you can. This may mean traveling when you least expected to or maybe even wanted to. There is nothing wrong with winter in Paris or the wet season in SE Asia or South America. There aren't any tricks to getting the cheapest flight outside of being diligent in your research, downloading all the flight travel apps AND being ready to purchase when that once in a lifetime sale occurs. Another tip is to purchase the ticket now and pay for the baggage closer to the day of the flight if there is an additional cost. Breaks up your out of pocket expenses.
2. Hotels, hostels or AirBnB's all cost. Set your standards and accept the results of. If you are cheap then you are gonna end up in a room with some standard things not...there. If you are traveling in a group and plan on sharing a room discuss sleeping habits. For instance if you like to sleep in complete darkness and silence and your travel partner falls asleep to the radio and TV along with the overhead lights on, you are going to have major problems. Try to eliminate these before the vacation starts by talking, agreeing and possibly agreeing to get individual rooms or a home vs a hotel.
3. Food. Budget for more not less. You will eat more, snack more and in general want to taste more because it's "different". Pad your food budget "even" if you have a kitchen in your room or AirBnB. Also generally speaking if you are thinking on saving money by eating in due to it being expensive there, then groceries will be expensive as well. I'm looking at you Iceland.
4. All those must must see sights and tours generally cost major money to stand and stare or ride by in a bus and stare. Remember to include all entrance fees in your vacation budget and if possible pay in advance. The hotel and flight aren't the only things that will majorly break your bank if not accounted for. Athens was easily an additional $200 per person for the Acropolis and other things. Barcelona, even more.
5. Transportation while there will cost you and all those Taxi/Uber/Lyft rides will quickly add up. If you are traveling to a city with a great public transportation system, buy the 24-72hr passes and use them! Get a map and work out where you need to go the day before. Athens and Barcelona were perfect for this and we easily saved hundreds by riding the subway and bus lines.
6. Exotic locations cost exotic dollars. This includes Antarctica and those over the water bungalows on the islands that take 30 hrs to get to. Dream in realistic dollars. Plan, save and go!
7. Get trip insurance. It's more than worth it because life happens and sometimes not in your favor. Shop around, there are savings to be had.
8. Hire a travel agent, it won't cost you anything! If you are a once every blue moon traveler or even a seasoned one, a travel agent can help find you deals and savings along with offering seasoned advice!
Hopefully these tips and certainly that last one help you in planning your next great vacation!