I’m excited for 2018 because not only is it a New Year, but I have a trip coming up! In a couple days, I’ll be going to Costa Rica with my twin for our birthday! Because it’s a milestone birthday, we wanted to do an international trip. However, the initial planning wasn’t that easy since we didn’t want to spend a ton of money. I want to share with you the breakdown of costs we considered when planning the trip:
- Plane ticket: The cheapest tickets always has layovers (which could extend your flight time) or are always at random times in the middle of the day or week. You may want to splurge a bit if you don’t have much time for your trip and you’re looking for exact dates. It’s better if you can be flexible.
- Bonus: If you want insurance, that will cost you extra as well. So will baggage fees (depends on your airline)
- Visas: Luckily, we didn’t need a visa for Costa Rica, but make sure that your destination doesn’t need one either. Check with your consulate to make sure.
- Lodging: Depending on what matters to you most, costs could really differ depending if you’re staying at a hostel, airbnb, or 5 star resort. If you’re not looking to stay much in the hotel, I would opt for the cheaper option.
- Transportation: Consider if you’re going to be taking the train, bus, taxi or other modes of transportation and how often. Every trip adds up so do your research to see if you can get a pass or extra discount. There are also discounts for foreigners depending on what country you go to.
- Food & Beverages: This is definitely what I spend the most money on. To save money, you can see if your hotel offers breakfast or if any other meals are offered on tours that you do. I know I tend to get splurgy on this because I eat all breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. Make an estimate of what you need based on how many meals you usually eat (and if you get drinks or appetizers). Don’t forget to account for big splurges if it’s a special occasion or if you plan to go out drinking.
- Activities/Entertainment: Depending on whether you book a tour or do your own thing, a good way to see how much you will spend is to do some research in advance. While you don’t have to necessarily plan everything out, it’s a good idea to compare costs (if applicable) before you leave.
- Bonus: You may be able to save if you book in advance
- Souvenirs: If you are planning to bring back souvenirs, think about who you want to bring back something and how much you are willing to spend on them. Also, consider what type of items you want to bring back for yourself as well!
- Tip: Depending on the country, you may need to give a tip to drivers, hotel attendants, restaurants, etc. Make sure to check beforehand if the country you’re visiting expects it.
- Rentals: You can’t always bring everything with you so you’ll have to rent. Some items include pocket wifi and a cell phone.
- Emergency Fund: As much as we plan, somethings things come up so allocate some extra cash around just in case. Don’t expect to spend exactly how you plan and know that you may go over. Having some extra money will give you a buffer and will save you from stressing out.
These are all the categories I consider before planning a trip so I can get a good idea of how much I will be spending. The last thing I want to do is have fun, and then come back from a trip to find out that I used up all my money! Planning for vacations can be fun, but stressful as well so don’t hesitate to ask for advice from people who’s already gone.