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So you have set your budget and saved all of your money and your big adventure is imminent. Now you need to make sure that you manage your money wisely when you are travelling so you can stick to your plans and travel for longer.


Top tips to stick to your travel budget when travelling on a career break or sabbatical

Budgeting when you are on the road is not an easy task! It is so tempting to have that extra cocktail or treat yourself to a snazzy hotel room, getting a taxi instead of walking and ordering a pudding with dinner. All of these extras add up and can potentially mean booking a flight home or having to miss out on those 'once in a lifetime' experiences.


Here are my top tips on how to manage your budget and how I made my money go further:



Set a daily budget for each country


Once you have decided which countries you want to visit, then you need to work out a rough estimate of what you will need for accommodation, food, transport and activities. Depending on how large or small your budget is, this will help you decide how long you can stay in a certain place. When I was planning my trip I wanted to stay in Japan for a month, but once I worked out a daily budget, it would cut the trip short, so we went for two and half weeks instead and then spent more time in Cambodia. One day in Europe or America could be one week in south-east Asia if you are savvy with your money.


Setting a daily budget is vital as you need something to aim towards. Without having a daily budget I think I would have massively overspent.


Keep a track on how much you spend each day


For 9 months while I was travelling, I basically kept a note of every penny that I spent. I know this seems excessive but it really helped me stay on budget or even go under budget. Keeping a note of how much you spend every day can be a drag but it just became part of my daily routine. It also felt really good when I was under budget as I knew that would all add up and mean being able to travel for longer. I managed to come under budget enough over the 9 months to travel around Poland, Lithuania and Latvia as well! I think without my daily spreadsheet I would have struggled to even know if we were under or over budget.


Seeing your expenses written down makes spending your money feel more real and you can learn where you are overspending in the process.


If you don't track your money, your bank balance will most likely go down quicker than you think.


If you go under budget don't go crazy the next day


When you are tracking your daily expenses if you go under budget one day it is very tempting to splurge the next day. DON'T DO IT! Trust me there will be lots of days when you go over budget and you need the days which you are under budget to help you even out at the end.


Top tips to stick to your travel budget when travelling on a career break or sabbatical


Have a separate pot of money for expensive activities


If you have a bucket list as long as mine (which you can read here), then it is highly likely that you will have a few expensive activities on your list. I had a separate account for the activities I knew I wanted to do so this didn't affect my daily budget. I had a pot for activities such as doing a bungee jump in New Zealand, snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef and watching baseball in America. All of these activities would have messed up my daily budget and I am glad that I had a separate pot dedicated to these.


Top tips to stick to your travel budget when travelling on a career break or sabbatical

Don't treat long term travel like a holiday


Travelling long term is not a holiday! When you are on a two week holiday you can afford to splurge on a nice hotel, fancy meals and cocktails, but if you did this when travelling long term you would have to have a hefty budget to maintain this travelling lifestyle.


You need to change your mindset and be realistic of what you can do with your budget.


Re-evaluate your accommodation style


Accommodation will be one of your major expenses and staying in more budget-friendly accommodation is one of the biggest ways of saving money. Hostels, homestays and Airbnb's are a great way to cut your accommodation cost. Hostels are a great way to meet other like-minded travellers and they are usually central and staying with a local family at Airbnb's can be a great authentic experience. Every now and again it is nice to stay in a hotel but I did find them a bit characterless.


Couchsurfing is also a great way to travel on a budget and the biggest bonus is that it's free and you get to stay with a host who is full of knowledge on the local area.


I would highly recommend choosing a homestay if they are on offer in the country you are in. I stayed with a local man called Jose in south India and had an amazing time which you can read about here.


Top tips to stick to your travel budget when travelling on a career break or sabbatical


Avoid hidden costs


With some simple organisation, you can avoid or at least reduce hidden costs. Using a local SIM card scan will avoid you incurring additional fees when using your phone abroad but you need to make sure your phone is unlocked so the SIM card will work. You also want to make sure you have a bank card which doesn't charge banking and conversion fees, as this can add up massively if you are on the road for a long time. I have a Barclays Credit Card which doesn't charge to spend money abroad and I have a direct debit set up to clear the card off at the end of each month, so we didn't risk forgetting to pay and then incurring late payment fees.


Cut back on the booze


When you are travelling full time it is easy to feel like every night is a Saturday night. When I first started travelling I was definitely guilty of this, thinking I had an excuse to go out every night. I started to go over my daily budget and realised that those few beers or cocktails every night were the reason why. I then decided that I would drink with purposes and stopped having as many cheeky beers with my dinner. There is also the added bonus of not having as many hangovers. Cutting back on the alcohol can really help towards sticking to a budget, but you also need to have fun and you don't want to have regrets. Ps look at how big that beer looks compared to my head lol! 


Top tips to stick to your travel budget when travelling on a career break or sabbatical

Eat where the locals eat