Sunday, July 9, 2017

10 Bucket items to estimate expenses accurately for any foreign destination/trip!

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” – Saint Augustine
Photo Credit : Pixabay

While self-planning a trip is everyone's desire, estimating expenses accurately for the same is a big headache. With some intelligent planning, you can estimate expenses with high precision and relax during the trip.

Major 10 bucket items that go into estimating expenses are as under :

  1. Flights from Home Country/City to Foreign Country/City
  2. Inter-City Transport via Train/Bus/Flights
  3. Hotels/Accommodation
  4. Visa
  5. Travel Insurance
  6. City Transport (Metro/Tram/Taxi)
  7. Food 
  8. Sightseeing
  9. Pay at Hotel Taxes
  10. Shopping Budget
We will discuss each of the bucket items in detail below :







Flights from Home Country/City to Foreign Country/City
This is generally the first step in planning a foreign destination.  For this you will need to do some research on the flights to your aspired destination.  I generally identify airlines which would travel to the destination and would visit the airline website to see the route map. Through route map, I would try to find the cheapest way to reach my destination. 

For example, if you want to visit Europe from Mumbai(India) and you know AirFrance is one of the airlines which has directly flights to Europe.  So you can visit the Route Map on Airfrance website and click on options to Europe.

Clicking on Europe gives you below options :

Depending on which part of Europe you want to go and the cheapest option nearby, you can estimate the expenses for your international flights from home country to foreign destination. 

Inter-City Transport via Train/Bus/Flights

If your itinerary includes visit to multiple cities, you would want to know how you would travel between the cities. For this, you can use the below travel tool and estimate the possible expenses for inter-city travel.



Hotels/Accommodation

For Hotels, I would recommend visiting Tripadvisor.com and see the average price of top 25 hotels to make an estimate of the hotels in each city you plan to visit.  







Visa

This is a pretty straightforward estimate. You can visit the embassy/visa website for your country and see the visa fee for the foreign destination. If you are pressed for time, you can pay some premium to travel agents and get the visa done. 

Travel Insurance

The embassy/visa website for your country would mention the documents required for applying the visa. One of the documents is Travel insurance and it would mention the minimum coverage required for your destination.  There are lot of private companies selling Travel Insurance with almost similar prices and is easy to estimate. 

City Transport (Metro/Tram/Taxi)

While this bucket item is relatively small contributor, it's important you know about the expenses so that you can carry enough forex as cash/currency.  The estimation for this bucket depends on the nature of public transport at your destination. For example, if you are planning to travel to Europe, most big cities have excellent public transport and you can buy a daily pass for the same. You can simply visit the public transport website and find out the cost of pass.

For example, Amsterdam 1 day pass costs EUR 20 per person.

If you are planning to visit India or other developing countries, you would mostly travel by taxi and you would need to estimate accordingly.

For taxi fares in various cities across the world, you can visit an excellent website www.numbeo.com . Example for Mumbai (India) and Paris below:

Food 

This bucket item is the toughest to predict since cost of living of each city is different across the world. Also you would need enough forex for this bucket item depending on the duration of your travel and hence estimating it accurately becomes very important.

To estimate expenses for food, you can use www.numbeo.com again.
You can visit Cost of Living Comparison tool and input your home city and foreign destination as below:


On clicking compare, you would be able to see one of the sections as under:
Using the above analysis, you can easily estimate the cost of food you would need to plan for. I have used this tool at-least 10 times in the past 3 years and it's been pretty accurate.






Sightseeing

For sightseeing, you can either pre-book or plan run-time. Either ways, you would need to estimate the expenses depending on your interests.

You can use below websites to either pre-book or estimate forex for runtime bookings:

Example for Sightseeing Tours in Dubrovnik are as below:



'Pay at Hotel' Taxes

Many tourist destinations charge city tax to be paid directly at the hotel. While it's a very small component, it's good to know this information. For example, Milan (Italy) charges city tax as Eur 5 per person per night for a 3 star property. Once you book the hotels, you would have this information in the vouchers.

Shopping Budget

I have kept this bucket item at the end since you can plan for shopping budget depending on the total budget remaining after estimating the above buckets.  It's a good practice to keep this at last .

With the above ways of estimating expenses for your awesome trip, you can plan early, research and set aside budget for the most important things for your travel.

Happy travelling!