5 Budgeting Tips For Your Gap Year Adventures
May 31, 2018
Written by Barry Sun
Budgeting is the process of creating a plan to spend your money. A budget is beneficial because it allows you to estimate how much money you need to do the things you want to do. It is also a way of being intentional about the way you spend and save your money. You control your money and not the other way around. Budgeting before traveling relieves the stress associated with suddenly not having enough money for a plane ticket back home or accommodation for the night. If you plan to take a gap year it is crucial to budget ahead of time to make sure you have the funds to enjoy your time without accumulating unnecessary debt.
1. Plan Ahead
a. Budget your expenses and set yourself of a limit what you can afford
b. Start estimating how much transportation, accommodation, food, and entertainment cost
c. If you are short on money, don’t deplete your savings or take out loans. Work for a couple of months until you have enough money to do what you want to do. You can also line up a job abroad, but make sure to be aware of the work visas involved.
2. Avoid Tourist Traps
a. Tourist traps are establishments created with the sole purpose of attracting tourists and their money
b. The prices of food, entertainment, and souvenirs at these traps are always inflated
c. Scammers are most active at tourist traps because they view tourists as potential vulnerable targets
d. However, if you genuinely enjoy the destination or activity, you should still get to experience it. But if you regret paying for it or doing it, then it’s a tourist trap.
e. For example, a light breakfast in Paris can cost up to 20 US dollars, whereas in Thailand, a full course breakfast cost less than 2 US dollars.
3. Fly Cheaply
a. Google Flights is your best friend when it comes to finding the cheapest flights. Once you select your desired dates, you will have the option to track it. Google Flights will notify you if the price is at its all time low. You can also compare different airlines.
b. For domestic flights the cheapest days to fly are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Sundays
c. For international flights, weekdays are usually cheaper than the weekends.
c. Buy your plane ticket at least 1 month prior to your departure
d. Utilize credit card reward points to offset your cost
a. Airbnbs are a great way to stay at a unique home for much cheaper than a hotel.
b. Hostels are even cheaper and they are a fantastic place to meet fellow travelers
c. If you don’t mind working for a couple of hours a day in exchange for food and housing, then you should utilize Workaway. I highly recommended this platform if you want a more authentic experience.
d. Couchsurf is another great way to meet new people and travel cheaply, however you need to do your due diligence and research for a suitable host.
5. Never Exchange Currency at The Airport
a. Travelex is the most common currency exchanger at airports and they will charge you a $9.95 service fee if you convert less than $500 into a foreign currency.
b. There is no service fee for over $500 transactions, but you are still paying a high exchange rate, sometimes up to 30%.
c. Exchange your desired currecny at your local bank or credit union
d. Discover, Capital One, Charles Schwab all have no foreign ATM and debit card transaction fees.
e. Although it is convenient to exchange currency at the airport, do your wallet a favor and plan ahead.