This week’s travel theme from Where’s My Backpack has me thinking about numbers, budget numbers. Do you set a budget and work within it when you travel? I do and I don’t. I don’t set a specific number as such but I do set limits for what I’m willing to pay for hotels and other expenses. I wait for seat sales, buy train tickets in advance, and book attractions online where they often have a little discount. Yes, you might be restricted to a particular day but that’s the…er..price you pay.
I lob all the prices and costs into a spreadsheet, add on a ballpark amount for “spending” money which would include food, gas, transportation (cabs, bus etc.), phone top ups and other miscellaneous purchases. Then I make a column to record how much has been put in the savings account and later, how much I’ve paid on my credit card once things are purchased or charged (flight, hotels, etc) so I can see how much more I need to save/pay. There’s X dollars that generally go towards the travel fund each pay so when I’m ready to book, there’s a good bit there already.
Most of the time, the bulk of the trip is paid for by the time I leave. Yep, sometimes I splurge while away, sometimes spend more than the allotted X dollars spending money. That’s ok, though. I’m pretty good for staying within the budget or reasonably so.
The travel has other advantages. Other numbers that add up. I’m a registered Aeroplan member and have a credit card that gets me points. I watch the miles add up and currently I’ve got enough for two flights in North America. Notice I don’t say “Free”. When I started using Aeroplan, there was a small fee to book using points. Now they charge you all the taxes and surcharges and your “free” ticket isn’t so free anymore. A flight to London from Halifax most of the time costs, with taxes and charges all in, about $1100 to $1200 depending on when you go and if you can get a seat sale. A “free” ticket on Aeroplan points costs over $600. It sometimes costs more than the price of the airfare. I can remember when a ticket to London on Air Canada would cost about that much with all the fees and now it’s double.
Ah well. More numbers. The days always count down to the next trip. We don’t start counting “sleeps” until the plane ticket is bought. Now, however, we aren’t planning a trip, we’re planning a wedding. (196 sleeps in case you’re wondering)
And a few photos for the number challenge