Hey y’all, Glovis here – checking in with our first featured article on Interliner. We’re excited to be writing here and can’t wait to share all of our tips and tricks with you! Hopefully you’ll find them useful, and they’ll inspire you to start an adventure of your own.
We wanted to start this series off with a travel topic that most people find tricky: budgeting on the road. Let’s face it, the lack of funds is what keeps the majority of us from traveling right. We often think we can’t go to the exotic destinations we want because they’re a bit “out of our range.”
We’re here to tell you that’s not the case! With the tips we’ve listed below, and your own basic budgeting plan, you can travel just about anywhere and see just about anything! So get your notepad out, we’re about to drop some serious adventure-planning knowledge.
Where do I go?
This is the first question you should ask yourself when you’re planning an adventure, and the answer is – wherever you want! Especially for you non-revvers. If your airline doesn’t fly to the destination you want, one of the airlines your company has an agreement with is bound to!
We polled our friends and mixed their suggestions with our own wants to start a plan. Cape Town, Thailand, and Cuba were at the top of our list, and those locations aren’t necessarily close to one another. So we filled in the gaps with other places that sounded interesting, or that people had suggested (like Israel!).
If you don’t even know where to start, jump online and follow a few travel bloggers or visit a few travel sites. They’re chalk full of amazing destination suggestions! Heck, you can even follow a few avid travelers on Instagram. They’ll fill you in on the low-down and hot spots in the cities they’re visiting, as well as keep you inspired.
Now that you’ve got your location, you need to set a price. This can impact your destination choices if your budget is really low, but it need not. At some places you can cut corners, like booking non-rev flights and, of course, using ID90 Travel’s interliner rates.
How do I get there?
This is the second question we asked ourselves. You very lucky ducks get to fly for a steal – whether that’s for free on your own airline, or incredibly discounted on another (thanks to agreements!). So this may be less of an issue for you. Granted it is non-rev so it’s highly unpredictable, but if you’ve got the time why not save the money?
We wanted to guarantee that we made it to certain destinations, though, so we booked our flights next. When you’ve got time on your hands (on a long adventure) you have the freedom to purchase flights on the cheaper days. If you don’t, just make sure you’re giving the flight some advanced booking time.
This price, though, is a fixed issue in your budget, so make sure you put travel first. We tried to keep things cheap by flying out of locations where the connection is common, and filled in destinations to break it up and shorten the cost. Puddle jumpers can be very cost effective.
Also, a lot of countries offer bus and train options. I know this isn’t new news, but it’s an important point – if you’ve got the time, save the money! We recently rode a train from Mumbai to Bangalore, and even “first class” was cost effective.
Where do I stay?
Thanks to ID90 Travel this has become a lot less of an issue than we originally thought! In fact we’re currently looking for cheap beach options in Thailand and ID90 Travel has some serious steals. Again, this is a fixed cost in your adventure so budget it in next.
What it kind of comes down to is your comfort level and trip length. If you’ve got a short trip and more room in your budget than you can spend a little more on your hotels. For our long trip we set a limit of $50 per-night. This way we had more to spend elsewhere!
Again thanks to ID90 Travel, we were able to save in some places that we didn’t think we could. On the other hand, if you find a really good deal on one hotel stay than you can use that saved money on another. Just make sure it all factors out. The math is easy, if you’re staying for 5 nights at $50 per-night then your “hotel budget” should be at $250 for the whole trip.
How do I survive?
This is the last bit we factored into our budget. What you should do is set a limit on what you can spend per-day to “survive.” This includes food, groceries, sightseeing, tours, knick knacks, and in-city travel. So say you’re staying in Paris for 5 nights, and your limit is $150 per day, that means your total Paris budget is $750.
It’s important to try your best to stay within your daily budget every day of the trip. It’s really easy to say, “Wow I’m having such a good time today, I’ll just spend $300 today and then save tomorrow!“ The problem is that you won’t save tomorrow because you’ll have too much fun again. Try to keep the big picture in mind during your trip and think about all the things you still want to do. We promise you can have a ton of fun and still stay on budget. You surely wouldn’t want to miss out on the Louvre because of the Eiffel Tower, or vice versa.
The same concept that applies to your hotel budget applies here. If you save money one day, then you can use that in more expensive places like aforementioned Paris, or London. And again it comes down to what you’re comfortable with spending.
In-city transport is incredibly important, and can rack up your bill, but fortunately you’ve got a few cost-saving options. A lot of cities offer well-priced passes on their “underground” (subway), or busses. Uber or Lyft can sometimes save you a lot, too. In other cases, and in other countries, you need a car. Again, (shameless plug because they’re awesome) ID90 Travel offers some stupid cheap car rentals. But don’t forget to factor this into your “survival” amount!
Time for the nitty-gritty details…
Ok, the final thing we wanted to talk about is the whole card versus cash debate. This is another thing you have to take into account when creating a budget. Long of the short, what we’ve found is that cash is king. Cash is always valuable and you don’t have to worry about it not working (like a card).
But, that doesn’t mean that it’s the only way to go (there’s a reason there’s a debate about it!) Cash costs money to withdraw, but (depending on your bank) card transactions can also cost you an extra percentage per foreign transaction. You’ve got to find the balance of what works for you, and what’s cheapest.
In places it made sense to use our cards for certain transactions, (using MasterCard for Uber gives you free rides in India!) but then it made it harder to track our daily spending. It’s so easy to forget about the small amounts that you put on your card – and they won’t post until days later. In other places, where we could barely find a card reader, it was easier to pull out all of the cash we would need for the next week. That way we knew exactly what we had in hand and how much we could spend each day – easy!
Of course this comes with some downsides; like the ATM that didn’t hold that much cash (in countries with weaker currencies, the equivalent of $100 can be a thick wad of cash that barely fits in one hand!), the lack of small bills (that street vendors couldn’t break), and the danger of carrying that much moo-lah around.
Again, you’ve got to find what works for you and factor that extra spending into your overall limit. And maybe even have a solid discussion with your bank about it before you leave. Whatever you do, make sure you get a conversion app to help you know exactly what you’re spending.
Let’s clean up one myth real quick, please: Do not bring your cash Dollars to your destination! You will get dismal exchange rates in most countries (There are few exceptions and a quick google search can resolve that for your specific destination.). The truth is that when you bring all your hard earned dollars to a country where it is not legal tender (most countries) then you are trapped to accept any exchange rate a changer will offer you – and because these exchangers are good at their job (and they know it!) they’ll low-ball the heck out of you. Usually ATMs give you the best exchange rates upon withdrawal from your bank, so stick to those.
That’s it for this topic. We hope it gave you some good budgeting ideas and adventure inspiration! We promise, it’s not as hard as it sounds. If you follow our guidelines, and give yourself a little buffer room, you’ll be more than fine. As the ID90 Travel team says, safe travels and keep your eyes on the skies! We’ll see you next time, so stay tuned for our next feature!
Author: Emily (@ID90 Travel)
Emily is the Content Marketing Manager here at ID90 Travel. An avid non-rev flyer (she grew up in the industry), and passionate private pilot, Emily can’t get enough of all things aviation. When not writing awesome ID90 Travel content she can be found on a Texas patio, being one with nature, or annoying her ID90T co-workers with her many, many, crowdsourcing questions.