How much money do you need to go travelling?

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Wherever you plan to go in the world, you will need to determine how much money to take on your travels. Here is what you need to consider before you set out.
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Going travelling is considered a rite of passage for many university-leavers, not to mention the growing number of people taking sabbaticals from work. But it’s difficult enough planning how much money you’ll need for a short holiday, let alone a longer trip where you may not have a fixed plan.

You’ll want to make sure you’ve got enough money to fund your travels and that you’re getting a good deal on foreign currency. Follow our step-by-step guide to make sure you’ve got enough to last throughout your voyage, whatever your plans might be.

What to budget for

There are several costs you need to budget for before you travel. The main costs to factor are:

Accommodation

Accommodation can vary hugely depending on which countries you visit and the type of lodgings you choose.

While hostels and campsites can be an affordable solution, if you prefer a little more privacy or need your creature comforts, you will need to budget accordingly.

Booking accommodation in advance can help ensure that you’ve budgeted enough and know the costs upfront. But if you want to be more spontaneous, make sure you’ve researched typical rates and set aside cash at the higher end of the range to pay as you go.

Food and drink

If you need to buy food while you are away, do not forget to budget for at least three meals a day and consider if you will cook for yourself or eat out. Look at local guides to see how much typical meals might cost. If there are specific restaurants you want to visit, look at the menus and bring enough money to cover the cost. Don’t forget to review tipping cultures in every country you plan to visit and set aside enough money to cover this, too.

Transport

Getting around on a day-to-day basis will eat into your funds unless you plan for it in advance.

Check out the public transport facilities at each of your locations, as well as taxi and private transport rates, to get an idea of how much money you might require.

Activities and entertainment

Research each of your destinations, list any must-do activities at each one and set a daily budget for entertainment and sightseeing. 

Make sure you’re aware of ticket prices at the sights you want to visit. Often it’s better to buy your tickets in advance – this frequently allows you to skip lines when visiting museums or art galleries. 

Save an extra 10%

After you work out how much you need, add 10% because unplanned expenses always arise.

An additional 10% will not only give you a little breathing space while you are away but can also be used as an emergency fund.

You could also save a lot of money by reviewing the way you spend overseas, this guide shows you how choosing the right account can help cut your costs while you’re abroad.

Work abroad for extra cash

If you are away for a long period, a part-time job could help support you financially and still give your enough time to explore the places you want to visit.

Although the jobs are likely to be low-paid and menial, they could make a big difference to your spending power.

The Alliance Abroad Group website can help you look for work and internships overseas and put you in touch with exchange companies.

The BUNAC Working Adventures Worldwide website can give you information on work exchange packages, summer jobs and volunteer schemes worldwide.

Are there any more costs?

Not usually, but some countries charge an entry (or visa) fee before letting you into the country. Fees change regularly but can easily cost £100 or more.

To qualify for some visas, you will need to prove you have a set amount of money in your bank account.

Find out more about visas on the Visa HQ website

Spending abroad can be costly, so make sure you compare the market for the best exchange rates available on your travel money before jetting off.

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