Travel budget: what you’ll forget to plan for

The internet is filled with travel blogs, and most of them cover the subject of budgeting in some form or another, so that’s not what I’m going to get into. But I read those and still ended up with quite a few extra bits to pay that I wish I’d considered from the start. It doesn’t mean I’d done things radically differently, but it’d have saved me from a few late-night spreadsheet panic sessions.

Not all of those are applicable to everyone, but they might come in handy still…

Storing your stuff

You’ll be leaving with only a backpack, so the rest of your stuff will have to go somewhere. As I was packing I donated a lot and threw out even more, but I’m not known for my minimalism so I still ended up with a mountain of things to store while I’d be away. I decided to avoid taking out a storage unit because they’re exceptionally expensive, especially within London.

Instead, I made good use of the boundless generosity of some of my friends, and ended up storing a few boxes with two Londoners. You’ll still have to pay for a cab or a rental van to get those boxes there (unless you’re lucky to have a pal with a car!)

I also decided to send a few boxes home to my parents. I’m obviously in a particular situation since my parents live in a country different from me – most parents can drive down and pick up boxes. If you do end up wanting to ship boxes domestically or internationally, I can recommend Parcel2Go. I used it to ship a box via UPS and one via DPD. They cost me under £20 each, and arrived within three days. Take that, Royal Mail.

Passport and visas

Do you need to renew your passport before you leave for your trip? Kerching! Here goes £100 or so. Top that with whichever visas you need ahead of your trip, and don’t forget to also factor in the price of the visas on arrival you’ll be getting as you go along (they usually cost around $30-40).

At this point, I’d like to refer you to this always valid tweet:

I have done a separate post all about visas. Yay.

Banking fees

Can this blog get any sexier? I mean, banking fees, guys. But seriously, though: travel banking will cost you money. First, because you’ll want to get a credit card if you don’t have one already, which may cost you a fee. You might also want to get one of those cash cards that allow you to pay and withdraw cash without being linked directly to a bank account – there will also be an opening fee. Finally, and most importantly… Card fees! I will be doing a post all about banking to look into this some more, but even with the best planning possible, you can’t dodge the fees altogether, and can expect to pay for both conversion and just ‘cos your bank wants you to.


In Asia, you’ll be spending a lot of time walking in very hot countries where it’s often best to buy bottled water. While this doesn’t amount to much in the grand scheme of things, it’s worth adding £1-£2 to your daily budget for water.


If you’re going long term, get ready for some seriously expensive weeks as you prepare to set off. If you’re like me, you’ll want to make the most of your friends and home city, organise a leaving do or two, and possibly calm your packing nerves with a drink or a takeaway. You may be better at saying no than I was, but still – goodbyes don’t come cheap. (And, I’d argue, they shouldn’t.)

These were the ones that cost me the most and that skipped my mind a little – did you have any other surprises if you went travelling? If so, let me know, as I’ve still got many months to go…


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