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On the first of March, there was so much sunshine in Manchester that I had to wear sunscreen indoors. It’s been a while since I’d seen that much sun and the only thing I could do was scream internally, Yass! Spring is here! Which also means my next international trip is close. (Hopefully, the coronavirus outbreak is over). For those of us in the UK, we have two bank holidays coming up in May. This gives us ample time to plan and budget ahead.
Budgeting has never exactly an issue for me. I used to plan and create budgets for different things. So creating one for travel is simply a no-brainer. For my solo trips, I started with one formula, duplicated it and just ran with it. I use different budgets for both my domestic and international trips.
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If you’re creating a budget for your next Spring Break Destination, what are the key things to include?
If you live in the UK and you’re thinking of a nearby European city for your spring break destination, you’ll obviously need to take one of those budget airlines. Wherever you decide to go, especially if you’re on a budget, your flight will typically take a chunk of your budget. Well, except you book as far ahead as possible. So make up your mind and put a cap on the figure you’re allowed to spend. For me, I check Skyscanner to have an idea of the prices of flight tickets during a particular period. Then I pick a destination that works with my budget.
Of course, not everyone is a single woman who enjoys backpacking on a budget. Some people prefer to splurge on hotels at their spring break destinations. This is completely fine. It is up to you to decide what works for your budget. Is it a cheap hostel, a bed and breakfast or a 4* hotel. Put a price on the amount you want to spend on accommodation. Then look for one on Booking.com for instance, that fits your budget and try not to exceed it. It’s really that simple.
This is one of those things in your budget that sometimes manages to fall through the cracks because you don’t fully account for moving around. You need to make a budget for airport transportation to and fro. You also need to make a budget for moving around your destination. To save time and money, research the best means of transportation in that city ahead. You could save some coins by buying either a Day Pass or a Visitor/Tourist pass especially if you’re going to a European city. Don’t forget to budget for your Ubers to the airports to avoid delay and missing your flights. You don’t want to be stuck in the RER train just fifteen minutes to take off like I was in Paris.
Food & Drink
Some people are foodies who prefer to explore the best restaurants in town. While some are like me that can get by with street food. All I can say is, whatever your budget is, there is something for you. So, research the best restaurants you would like to visit and include them in your budget. Thankfully, a lot of restaurants have their menu and prices online. This guides you in budgeting for your meals. If you’re on a budget, also research the average cost of each street food you’ll be eating. For instance, in Paris, a croissant is about €1.50, a baguette €1 while a sandwich goes for about €3 and above. In Blackpool, you can get a nice hot dog meal for £5. All of this research gives you an idea of the amount you’ll be spending on food. This helps you plan accordingly.
When I go on trips, I mostly never really shop. This is because I’m usually on a tight budget and I’m not about to pay for excess luggage for my carry-on. The only exceptions I made were in Paris where I got a nice charm bracelet by the Effiel Tower and some skincare products at the airport. In Birmingham, there were a number of shops having clearance sales, so I took advantage of them to spend my coins. Other than that, the only shopping I do particularly on my day trips is fridge magnet souvenirs. But this might not be the case for you. If you want to spend a significant amount on shopping, you gotta plan for it! Otherwise, you’re gonna end up dipping into your savings and going broke because you couldn’t control your spending.
In Europe, most tourist attractions are free to visit. But the very popular ones always cost a fee to experience. So try to plan well. Use Google Maps Lists to plan all the attractions you would like to visit. Check each of them for their prices if applicable. Then decide how much you want to spend on them. If you’re in a budget, prioritise all the free attractions. Then pick one or two paid ones to spice up your itinerary. Some times, you can actually save money by buying tickets ahead online.
This is a fool-proof budget that I use for travel that works every time. I never miss out anything since I have planned them well ahead. As you can see, it also requires a bit of research on your part. Except you decide to hire a travel agent to sort you out.
I hope you find this handy for your next spring break destination.