If your New Year’s resolution is to travel more, then I’m going to let you in on a secret. Specifically, how exactly I took 7 international trips in a single year!
Since we all managed to survive the carnage that was 2016, I think taking your mind off world events for a couple of days is a well-deserved treat. Give yourself 3 days or a week to rejuvenate – whether it be by spoiling yourself silly in an exotic beach destination, or having a blast with your squad hiking somewhere remote, I hope 2017 will be an epic year of travel for all of us!
Staycation or vacation – I want to help you (yes, YOU!) to travel more in 2017!
A quick disclaimer before I start…
I want to acknowledge that I am very aware that there are many who has more constraints and less choices in their lifestyle than I do. This post isn’t intended to judge anyone’s habits or lifestyle (because I wouldn’t want anyone telling me what to do either!) I also want to acknowledge that everyone has different style of traveling – some prefer the more laid-back, all-inclusive vacation type of travel whilst there are those who gets by roughing it up.
What I hope to do in this post is share with you is a change of mindset resulting in making constant travel (6 trips a year!) a possibility for me in the last 2 years. I also want to share a treat for all of you – something that I wished I had at the beginning of my travel journey to best understand my costs rather than adding everything up at the end of my trip.
It is also a good idea to peruse my previous travel reports. These should give you an idea of how much a full year of travel costed me and so that you can have a framework in mind.
Are you ready to travel more in 2017?
Let’s be clear – travel can be cheap or expensive, no matter the destination. The biggest takeaway from my 2015 travel and how I was able to optimize my 2016 travel was budgeting and tracking my expenses better.
Yes, big surprise. Budgeting!
Budgeting for travel can be a little bit more intimidating especially when it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the pre-departure preparation and costs associated with getting visa’s, vaccinations and so on. There’s travel insurance to consider, as well as buying all those little things you need (i.e. a new lock, a new carry-on, the list just goes on!) Plus, I don’t think budgeting is anyone’s idea of being motivating or exciting to do in your free time.
I mean, let’s be real – why spend all that time on Excel, when you can be on Pinterest and Instagram to see what kind of activities and sights you should do and see?
What Changed so I Could Travel More?
So guys, yes, travelling more is possible, it just means really sitting down, doing your research and meticulously looking at your costs!
I created (what I think) is a pretty comprehensive travel budget planner and tracker. The idea is that once you have a budget in mind, and you are starting to book things, you can input them into this spreadsheet and track your “spending” progress. This means if you’ve overspent in one category, you could see that very quickly and identify ways to reduce costs in another.
Why do I think Making a Travel Budget Will Help you Travel More?
I don’t think a travel budget will suddenly make everyone able to travel internationally ten times a year, but I firmly believe it will ground your perspective about travel. Travel is often perceived to be expensive (which it can be!) and that I must have the Bank of Mom and Dad to support my travel habits. That is simply not true, and I proved it with the breakdown of my travel annually! To make it less of a financial burden (i.e. to keep my monthly working capital liquid for anyone in the finance industry!) I save about 20% of my monthly salary specifically towards travelling and opt to live at home!
Budgeting will also help you be accountable in your spending before and during your trip. Do you really need to buy that dress now? Wouldn’t that $150 be better spent diving with sharks in Cape Town? What if you skip a month’s worth of Starbucks – that’s another $100 that you could contribute towards your travel fund!
Budgeting will help you by providing a benchmark. When you start to track your travel expenses, you’ll get a better idea whether the cost you’re looking at is a good deal or not. It should make you want to research more if the cost doesn’t look right or is adding up to be more expensive than another category (i.e. should your day trip really cost as much as your flight?)
I’ll also say this, when you’re travelling, you get a case of “vacation brain“! It’s when you justify every little costs and, well, start to loose track of the little things you splurged and spent on! This nifty little budget planner will help you track your costs accurately!
Since you’re always looking at your costs and seeing what’s costing you more, you can learn from the experience and figure out ways to save next time. Is airfare your biggest cost? Think how you can minimize the cost with points, miles, and travel credit on your statements!
My answer on how to travel more… a budget planner AND tracker!
The analyst in me wanter to create something that was going to be valuable for myself but I thought that it would be equally valuable to share with my readers! The idea behind it is so you can plan, track and review your budget as you go. This was something I wished existed when I first started travelling. I went through Pinterest and couldn’t find a template that had any substance whatsoever. The freebies I saw online were often a slapdash work done with very little thought on how to best make that template useful.
I went ahead and created my own version – one that has a detailed breakdown on your cost by destination and category (i.e. airfare, lodging, etc) but also allows you to track your costs as you incur them (listed in separate sheets). Anyone who works on Excel or has done some sort of modelling /analysis knows that it’s important to keep the input and outputs separate so I’ve done exactly just that. I’ve also linked all the formula’s so you don’t have to do any work whatsoever!
Not only does this little worksheet allow you to track your expenses as you incur them, but it also allows you to see how you did compared to your budget. I know that sometimes it is inevitable to incur certain costs that’s going to put you in the red, which is why I also have a third view that allows you to see in which other categories can you save on!
I’ve also broken out each destination so you can accurately keep track of all your expenses. Before, during and after.
There’s also a little pie chart that shoes you how your costs are stacking up. A great visual representation to identify what you could save and reduce as you go!
Pretty neat right?
So, what do you think? Think you’re ready to travel more in 2017? If you are, go ahead and download this little planner! Share the link with your friends, and pin it on Pinterest if you find it useful!
You don’t have to do anything else – I promise!
Give it a shot and let me know what you think ???? Send me feedback so I can update the file as we go and make it as relevant for everyone as possible!