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Sitting down with pen and paper (or virtual pen and paper) is one of the best ways to think through a trip and create a realistic travel budget.

You’ve finally decided where you are going on your dream holiday and it is time to start planning. But before you empty your wallet, take some precautions and create a realistic travel budget for your trip. It will help you keep realistic goals for what you can accomplish without breaking the bank. Thankfully in this digital age there are countless resources online that can help you plan your travel budget. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when you sit down to create your own travel budget.

How are you going to get there?

Whether it’s by boat, car, plane or train, you will need to take some form of transportation to get to your destination. When you are planning your travel budget, take into account the costs you’ll accrue from airfare, rental cars, taxis, parking, gas, bus fare, and any other form of transportation you may use on your trip.

Where are you going to stay?

You may prefer the comforts of a hotel room, or you may enjoy the affordable hostels in your city. No matter which you choose, when you plan a budget for lodging, plan night by night so you know what you have to work with. If you’d like to cut costs on lodging, look past a traditional hotel room. Consider staying in local bed and breakfasts, or consider a resort package that bundles lodging, food and entertainment into one fee.

What are you going to eat?

Once you know where you are staying, you’ll know whether or not a kitchen will be available to you. Most hostels offer a communal space to put together a meal and most hotel rooms do not. Adjust your budget to reflect this opportunity and save a few dollars by cooking for yourself instead of relying on eating out every night. Also, be sure to think about what you will eat for all three meals of the day, plus snacks and drinks (water, soda, etc.).

What are you going to while you’re there?

A holiday trip can be a lot of things—relaxing, invigorating, adventurous or laid back. Regardless of your favourite kind of holiday, you will likely want to visit at least a couple popular spots. Think about the admission costs that will come along with the locations and incorporate them into your travel budget. Go online to research your list of places to see (any museums, amusement parks, national parks, tickets, shows, walking tours, concerts, etc.) and get an idea of how much each event will cost so your budget is prepared for all the fun you’ll have and all the cool things you want to do on your holiday. You probably want to visit at least a few popular places, and often times those places have admission costs.

What if something unexpected happens?

Be prepared for something unexpected to occur on your holiday. If you are going somewhere sunny, plan to buy extra sunscreen and even aloe if you burn easily. If you are going somewhere cold, plan to buy hand-warmers, gloves, cosy socks and other things to keep you warm. Also, budget an extra 10-15% of your miscellaneous amount for any unexpected emergencies that come up. Forget your toothpaste? Planning ahead will let you pick up that tube of toothpaste without completely throwing off your budget.

By taking precautions and thinking about all aspects of travel before you take off, you will be better prepared for any unexpected curveballs that may come your way. Protect your trip and your hard-earned money with the Essentials travel insurance plan from Cover-More New Zealand. All your bases will be covered and you’ll have peace of mind knowing that the Cover-More experts will always be at your back.

Image courtesy of Flickr user francois