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How to Budget for International Travel

suitcase with travel documents
The COVID-19 pandemic has had many of us itching to get outside and even get out of the country. Traveling has pretty much been put on pause for the time being, but you can still plan ahead and budget for your ideal trip. It’s important to know where to start and what steps you need to take to have a successful excursion across the pond.
Pre-travel expenses
Unless you’ve got tons of expendable cash, you need to set realistic expectations for the timing of your trip. You probably won’t be able to drop everything and fly to Paris on a whim or head to Bali for the weekend. Knowing when you can travel starts with how much money you have and how much you’ll need. It’s vital to think of every last detail of your trip and if there is a monetary value attached to it. Before you fly, do you need to get a passport or update your old one? Are there any other travel documents you need and are there fees involved? Do you need new luggage? Do you need to get local currency from your bank? Does your credit card charge for overseas use?
Flights and additional travel
Once you’ve got the pre-travel list complete, head to the flight planning section of your agenda. There are various ways to search for flights and endless online resources on how to get the most bang for your buck, so we won’t go into too much detail on this. But be sure to budget for any possible additional fees at the airport, as well as things like meals and drinks while waiting during layovers. Don’t forget to budget travel to and from the airport, both when you leave and when you land at your destination. Many countries have rideshare services like Uber or Lyft, but you’ll want to see what is specifically available for your trip and how much that costs.
Food and drink
Planning a domestic trip can be a bit easier for food and drink because you can pack a bag or cooler of your favorite items, especially if you’re driving. But traveling internationally means you’ll have to either dine out constantly or find a local grocery store to stock up your hotel room with snacks. Do some research before leaving to find good, cheap restaurants. If you have any food allergies, try to search for a store that sells things you can eat before you even leave home. This will help relieve any potential headaches when you’re in a bind and need sustenance. Don’t forget to budget for any trips to the bar for a fun night out or your usual morning coffee run.
Sightseeing and souvenirs
Before giving in to the popular paid tours or gimmicky souvenirs that cost a fortune, try to search for free attractions. A site like TripAdvisor is a great place to start because you get verified information about a location or attraction as well as genuine reviews from fellow tourists. When you’re actually in your destination, try not to give in to any roadside sellers of fine wares, which are usually cheaply made. Instead, find a city center with actual shops and peruse for things that are unique to you and your tastes; they’ll make much more memorable souvenirs than a license plate with your name on it.
These are just some of the basic things to do when budgeting for an international trip. The key is to be smart about where you spend your money and to think of every possible expense you may encounter. It’s best to be over-prepared than be stuck in a precarious situation, especially in an unfamiliar country.
This article is presented by North Park Lexus of San Antonio.
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