When planning a big trip, it can be tricky to set a budget and save up money. It’s tempting to just go ahead and book flights, but the sensible thing to do is to work out your costs prior to booking. If you’re not sure how to set a budget for travel, here are a few simple pointers.

Note your ‘big ticket’ items

What will be the most expensive part of your trip? Usually it’s flights, but it could also be a particular experience (such as a safari) or accommodation (if you have your heart set on a fancy hotel). Write down the costs for these parts of your trip and consider if there is a way to get these costs down – could you travel on a different day for a cheaper flight or time your visit for the shoulder season when the hotel would be cheaper?

How to Budget for Travel - The Wise Traveller - StationSet a daily budget for other essential costs

Consider how much you want to spend overall and use this figure to set a daily budget for other essential costs. This includes accommodation if not already considered, airport transfers, meals and getting around your destination. If you don’t want to blow all your budget on eating out, plan to stay in self-catering accommodation. Likewise, if you want to save money on public transport, ensure that you are staying within walking distance of everything you want to see.

Consider hidden costs

Don’t forget all the less exciting costs involved with planning a trip. Travel insurance, visas, vaccinations and pet/house sitters. These costs may not be the first thing you think of and definitely aren’t as exciting as booking your hotel, but they’re all factors that add extra expense to travelling.

Budget for your priorities

Don’t forget that you will want to spend money when you reach your destination. Identify your priorities for the trip and ensure you have plenty of money saved to experience everything you would like to do. Whether that’s a shopping spree, white-knuckle sports, animal encounters or gallery visits – make sure your budget covers you.

AllHow to Budget for Travel - The Wise Traveller - Piggy bankow for the unexpected

Even the most detailed trips involve unexpected changes. Be prepared for situations where you may need to head home early or experience a complete upheaval of your plans by having a section of your budget set aside for emergencies. It’s not all doom and gloom – it’s also good to have an emergency reserve in case an amazing opportunity pops up that you otherwise may not be able to afford.

Start saving as soon as possible

As soon as the idea of your trip arises, start saving money. Perhaps you could have a goal to work towards prior to booking your trip, or you could start saving spending money once your flights are booked. Not only will setting a saving goal help you to budget for your trip, but it will also build up anticipation of your upcoming adventure.

Emma Lavelle is a UK based writer and photographer and has her own blog Field and Nest.