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There is a strong relation between money and traveling, in my opinion. While I can travel both cheap (I did it for many years) and in style (medium to luxury), in all occasions I have a travel emergency fund. I didn’t always have one, thus I had some sad experiences over the years. But I learned from them and I am sharing today my recommendations on why it is indicated to have spare money on your trips in a new article part of the travel tips and tricks series.
How to save money for your trips
Now, this is a very wide topic. And there are multiple options, as not all people like to save money in the same way.
You can save a fixed amount each day. I presented this idea and an amount + the result in this article on how to raise money for your vacation without any trouble. You can use a 10% increase in the amount of money you put aside for your travels each week or month. You can make a list of the things you can give up/reduce in order to save money for your travels and so on and so forth.
The idea is simple: there are many ways to save money for your trips, so just pick one that is right for you!
How to save money during your travels
This is another important aspect. You can save money not only before traveling, but also during your trips. For instance, you can be flexible with your vacation period in order to get the best plane and accommodation ticket prices.
You can also opt to eat during the happy hours – many restaurants in many cities have such offers and the food is good and at a great price.
Sometimes, you can even bargain and get better prices for what you want to purchase.
Yes, there are many simple ways to save money on your holiday and you should consider as many of them as possible.
This complete guide to saving money on your travels will help you make the most of your budget on your trips. The guide offers many great ideas of saving money on transportation, accommodation, eating, shopping, and visiting various attractions.
How to budget your travel + the travel emergency fund
When you plan your trip, especially when you make your travel budget, you should include all the costs that you KNOW you will have.
This means that you should include the transportation (airplane tickets/gas plus other taxes if you are traveling by car, etc.) and accommodation. You should also research the local transportation and see how much money you’ll need, as well as the prices for visiting the tourist attractions you plan on seeing. All of these are part of the research step, one of the most important steps in traveling. You should also include expense money – to have in order to purchase souvenirs or other things you might want. Yes, I consider that performing a thorough research is the golden rule of traveling.
But, apart from all these known costs, there should be an travel emergency fund. This will come in handy in emergency situations (see below) or you can use it at the end of your trip to splurge, or even get back home with the money (no one says you have to spend this fund, just that you should have it).
Why do you need an travel emergency fund?
Well, who wants to have problems on their trips? No one, I tell you.
But, unfortunately, problems occur. And, often, you need extra money to solve them.
Again, no one wants them. And yes, you might have insurance. Which means that you are covered. Or you can go to emergency rooms in emergency hospitals – but be prepared. I shared with you the unpleasant experience we had with the dental emergency room in Brno, here: Brno, Czech Republic travel tips: emergency hospital and emergency room rules.
But sometimes you may not use those insurances. For instance, Andrei was on a famous European airport when he had a problem and a visit at the airport’s emergency room costed him 26 euro. Without the prescription – that was separate. See what I mean?
I’m not talking about huge problems – again, usually covered by insurance or in other ways, but of problems that will involve spending some money. For instance, you may have your consultation covered if you get an otitis or a bad flu or something, but you will have to pay for the medicines – and that is an unplanned expenditure – thus part of that travel emergency fund.
Now, the health issues aren’t the only ones that will make you spend more. For instance, if there is a huge emergency and you need to get back home asap, that means changing the airplane ticket – around 100 euro (that’s how much I had to pay).
In another trip we had to have our car toed – long story – and as the nearest auto service, covered by the insurance, was not available (it had a 24hours availability schedule, but no one answered for an hour…, yes that can happen) we had to pay – A LOT.
If you travel by car and there is a problem and you stay for 5-7 hours in a queue – yes, it happened to us – of your trip was already long, you might need to stop at a motel/hotel for a few hours. Again, an unplanned spend.
These are just a few examples of emergencies. Again, no one wants to experience them – or others – but sometimes we find ourselves in bad situations. From papers stolen to money and cards and phones stolen as well to various other hazards, the list is long and it is always better to be safe than sorry.
A moment when I regret I didn’t have MORE spare money
9 years ago I went to Vienna. In one of the souvenir shops near Prater I saw a plush dog that laughed. It laughed so wonderful that you simply could not keep a straight face. But it was 30 euro and I didn’t have that much. Now, let’s be clear. I had a spare money fund – I always have one. But it wasn’t very big, I already spent some of it on something else, so, as I had a few more days and the budget was very tight, I didn’t buy that dog.
But I think of that dog a lot. My husband went to Vienna on two occasions since our trip there. Even though he went to multiple souvenir shops, he never found that dog.
It may be just a simple toy dog, but, for me, it is a sad experience and memory. And, again, I had such an travel emergency fund, just not big enough. Also, this wasn’t a life threatening situation, so it was ok not to buy it. But the regret is still there. And needless to say that I didn’t find such a dog anywhere else either…
I’ve shared above several situations in which we needed money for unplanned expenses. Some we avoided – the plush dog -, but for many others we simply had to find the budget. You cannot play with your health. Nor with emergency situations.
So, after many years of traveling and many experiences when it was so good that I had spare money, I recommend to all the people who travel to have such an travel emergency fund. You may never know when you’ll need it!