How to budget for a Foreign Trip
I hope you agree with me that “How to budget for a foreign trip” is always a challenging aspect.
Don’t you just hate it when you want to plan a trip on your own and you have know idea how much its going to cost you. I do.
The Flights, Visas and Hotels are the easy part. But what about the other stuff like Food, Drinks, Local travel etc.
In the paragraphs below, I am going to show how to budget for a Foreign Trip, without any external help.
Step by step with examples.
We are going to pick our destination as Krabi, Thailand (we are starting with a relatively easy one).
You with me? Lets do this.
Pro Tip: Put your browser in Incognito mode before making bookings. This will turn off cookies and get you the best rates.
A few points with respect to budgeting when booking:
It is almost always cheaper to book onward and return tickets on the same flight.
When booking budget flights, remember that check-in baggage allowance has to be purchased extra. Budget for this if you need it.
In case the fare is presented in a different currency (other than Indian Rupee), pay in that currency itself. Let your bank do the conversion. This is the most economical option.
Don’t forget to look for deals before booking.
This one is again fairly straightforward.
Just go to any online portal and search for accommodation during your period of stay.
From personal experience, my recommendation is booking.com as the whole process is seamless and most properties have free cancellation.
Airbnb is a good option too.
Shortlist properties based on your requirements and you will get a fair idea of the costs.
Again, a Few things to keep in mind.
Book a place where breakfast is included in the room price. Its usually the cheapest and most convenient option. Saves you a lot of time in the morning too
Don’t forget to look at the cancellation policy before doing the booking.
3. Visa Fee
This one is not as easy to figure out as the previous ones.
Countries keep changing Visa Fees, and sources on the Internet may not be updated.
Updated Visa fees are generally available on the immigration websites of the respective countries.
Would take an effort to find the right website though.
We are in the process of adding more countries to the list.
A couple of things to remember with respect to Visa.
- When opting for Visa on arrival, make sure that you are carrying the Visa Fee in the mentioned currency (USD/ Local currency). Credit cards and Indian rupees are usually not accepted.
- Be aware of transit visa requirements. Budget for transit Visa fee if any.
4. Food and Drinks
Ok. Now comes the interesting part.
How do you figure out the cost of food and drinks in a foreign country.
Seems tricky doesnt it?.
Well, the solution is numbeo.
Numbeo is a website that tracks cost of living in various places across the globe.
All you have to do is go to numbeo.com and enter the destination of choice.
In our case, this is Krabi.
Check out the cost of living in Krabi below.
Numbeo will show you latest prices of everything from cost of water to meals and Alcohol.
For. e.g. From the above table, We know that Imported Beer cost Rs. 201 per bottle (330 ml) in Krabi in July 2018.
They update their data regularly and the data is pretty accurate in our experience.
This should give you a fair idea of how much you will be spending on food and accommodation abroad.
The data is displayed in local currency (Thai Baht), but you can change it to Indian rupee.
5. Sight Seeing
Again, this might seem tricky to you. You wont find many sources on the net that give accurate estimates of the cost of sight seeing and other activities, all in one place.
I have a solution to that. Viator.
Viator is basically an activity aggregator.
They let you book tours and activities in foreign destination.
In our case, Krabi is most popular for water activities.
Lets look at results from viator for stuff to do in Krabi.
Fairly straight forward. Just convert the dollar amounts to Indian Rupee.
You don’t need to book anything in advance. You can do all the bookings after arriving at your location. You will also get the cheapest rates when booking locally in your destination.
6: Local Travel
This is the hardest part.
It is fairly difficult to estimate local travel expenses unless you have been there.
That said, here are some basic things to remember.
As a rule, Taxis are very expensive in developed countries (Europe and America).
The best option in that case is walking (no kidding), buses, and metro. Public transport has amazing connectivity in developed countries (except America where you need a car).
Closer home, in South East Asia (think Thailand, Vietnam etc.), the most convenient option is to rent a bike. Its pretty cheap even by Indian standards.
Your hotel can help you rent a bike.
Another popular option is the tuk tuk or Songthaew (pic below). Tuk Tuks offer point to point pick up and drop services for low fares. These are very popular in Thailand.
You can also get a fair idea of the transportation costs at numbeo.
So we are done here. I hope that by now you have a fair idea of how to budget for a foreign trip.
Dont forget to keep 10-20% extra for any contingency expenses. After all, these are only estimates.
Do you think I have missed out something? In that case, please let me know in the comments below.