To round off my posts on budgeting, I wanted to dive deeper into creating a travel budget. Now, this isn’t to say you need to account for every penny before travelling, or even take your spreadsheets with you, but the handy thing about starting to really budget for your travel is that it can go hand in hand with your trip planning. It allows you to “get real” with how much you might need to save to make the trip a reality!
My travel aspirations for the rest of the year have been thrown for a loop since we bought a house, but at the beginning of the year I started budgeting for a trip to the Amalfi Coast in Italy. It’s unlikely we will get to take the trip this year, but at least I have some ground work in place for when we do feel like these kind of trips are an option again.
Planning the itinerary:
You don’t need to be setting in stone the itinerary you will take, but you should have a general idea of where you want to go, especially if it isn’t a city trip you are taking.
Our Amalfi Coast Simplified Itinerary:
Trip length: 14 days (Friday/Saturday to Saturday/Sunday depending on accommodation costs versus flight costs)
Days 1 – 7: Salerno for Italian language school
Days 7 – 14: Travel from Salerno to Naples visiting Amalfi, Positano, Sorrento, Capri
Note: I’ve left the details for the language school out of the budget for now; we aren’t sure if we would both do it, or which school/formula we would take.
Depending on where you are going, this could be the biggest ticket item of your trip. For us, travelling from Belgium to Italy is pretty low-cost thanks to all the cheaper airlines available.
However, you also need to think about things like airport transfers, parking, and how you will get around once you are there. Perhaps you will be taking the train from one place to the next, or renting a car. Maybe on a city trip you can get a pass for the local transit system. You can find most of this information online, it just takes a bit of planning on your part for what will make the most sense! And depending on the country you visit, make sure to account for possibly getting a visa or potential vaccinations before visiting.
Our transportation budget:
Taxi/Uber to the airport: 25 euro each way, 50 euro total
Airfare (Brussels to Naples with Easyjet): 200 euro total (2 people) plus one checked bag for an additional 22 euro
Train from Naples to Salerno: 16 euro for two, one-way
Various buses between towns: 50 euro for two, estimated total
Ferry to Capri: 60 euro for two round-trip
Total transportation: 398 euro total or 199 euro per person
Here is where you need to start diving deeper into your research! Maybe you already have a good idea of the type of accommodation you want to do, so this is quite easy. It’s probably one of the most important sections of the plan as it is one of the biggest portions of the budget.
Be realistic with what you want and expect for your accommodations. Can you sleep anywhere and hostel-living is no-sweat for you? Or do you need a quiet place to relax in the evening with little noise? Make sure to take this into account, as if you can’t stand noise, being in a hostel for two weeks could mean sleepless nights and two week of exhaustion!
For us, we knew if we did the language school in Salerno, we would likely take an Airbnb private apartment for the week. For the rest, I compared prices on Airbnb and booking.com to see what was the best. Perhaps hostels are more your thing, so add in research there as well! For us, we tend to stick with jumping from one Airbnb to the next, although this does require more up-front planning and less flexibility on where you sleep each night.
Make sure when using Airbnb or similar to look at the listings to see the added cleaning fees or service charges on top of the “per night” rate.
Our accommodation budget:
Salerno: around 75 euro per night
Rest: around 110 euro per night on average (this is a mix of private rooms, full apartments, or B&Bs depending on the city)
Total for 14 days: 1,295 euro total or 647.50 euro per person
This section of course takes some forethought from you on sights you will want to visit while you are travelling. I would recommend doing some research and having of list of “must-see” locations to get you going, and then bump up the budget a bit beyond that to take into account any additional things you may want to do. Include here museums and historic sights, but also any tours you would want to do or activities and excursions.
We didn’t plan a lot of structured sights, and this is probably one area of the budget that needs more work and research.
Our sightseeing budget:
Pompeii: 40 euro for two, access to all five sights valid for three days, plus 10 euro for two audio guides
Hiking Mt. Vesuvius: 20 euro for access for two
Additionals: 150 for two people, various sights and excusions
Total sights: 220 euro total or 110 euro per person
Pretty much what any holiday revolves around, especially when one is planning to go to Italy! This part of your budget could vary so much, depending on the importance you attribute to it, where you are going, and whether you stay at places that offer included meals.
Our budget is a bit on the low side, mainly because we like to stay in places with kitchen facilities and plan to cook most of our breakfasts and a few dinners ourselves. Depending on what we are doing, we might also prepare packed lunches, so a good chunk of the food budget goes to grocery shopping.
I don’t tend to work this one out a lot, because it is going to fluctuate throughout the days depending where you eat and what you do. A good way to get a general idea is to google where you are going and cost of food, there are a lot of other people looking for the same information and helpful tips already given!
We budgeted 60 euros each per day for food.
Of course you need to do some shopping while travelling; those souvenirs will always remind you of your trip! I like to take this into account in my monthly budget, and assume around 80-90% of that “shopping” budget will be spent on my trip.
My travel shopping budget is 120 euro, but I’m pretty flexible. I have no idea what my boyfriend’s would be!
That rounds out the big areas of a travel budget. Or course you should always take into account a bit of a buffer on top for unforeseen costs. You also don’t want to feel so bound to your budget that you can’t be spontaneous when you hear about a great excursion or see a beautiful souvenir that just doesn’t quite fit in the limits you set. Be flexible, and realize that it won’t ever be exactly how you planned it!
So my total for the proposed trip to Italy: 1146.50 euro
Let’s just say, after writing this all up and looking at the budget again, I am seriously having some travel jealousy and wondering if there is a way to still make this trip work this year!
Let me know your thoughts in the comments! Have you been to the Amalfi coast, and am I being unreasonable somewhere in my budget assumptions? I’m curious to know!
All photos from our trip to Morocco in 2011