As I’m gearing up to go back to Australia for three months, one of the very first things I did before I ever even booked my flight or made any concrete plans, was to make a budget. This encompassed approximately how much money I thought I would be spending on the following; accommodation/rent, food, transportation/gas, flights, insurance, visas, phone/internet, utilities, as well as your every day spending expenses (shopping/gifts, going to a movie, festivals, concerts, drinks with friends, etc).
Since I will be spending the majority of my time in Melbourne visiting my boyfriend, the budget I’ve created reflects those plans. For example, I will need little money for accommodations since I’ll be staying at his house, while I’ve allotted $1000 for “travel” expenses, since we plan to do several camping trips together.
Also in my budget I included expenses at home I still need to pay for while I’m away, and finally an emergency fund. After adding up all those numbers, I was left with a total amount I projected I would need to save up. Lastly, something you’ll need to consider when creating your budget is the currency conversion rate of the country you’re travelling to. Since some of my expenses (flights, insurance, emergency fund) I will be paying for in Canadian dollars, while my rent, food, transportation, visa, etc. will be paid for in Australian dollars. It’s important to note the difference in currencies and calculate that into your budget.
My budget for Australia looks something like this:
Flights – $2000 CAD
Travel Insurance – $200 CAD
Tourist VISA – $130 AUD
Transportation – $150/month ($450) AUD
Rent/Utilities – $300 AUD
Food/Groceries – $100/week ($1200) AUD
Phone – $50 sim card + $50/month ($200) AUD
Travel – $1000 AUD
Misc. Spending Money – $100/week ($1200) AUD
Emergency Fund – $500 CAD
Expenses at Home – $250 CAD
Total Expenses: $2950 CAD + $4480 AUD ($4457 CAD) = $7407 CAD
Again, this budget was approximate. I tend to over-estimate a bit when I create a budget because I never want to find myself in a situation where I’ve run out of money, but if I were to strip everything down and keep my spending to a minimum while away (and not use my emergency fund), the amount I would spend would probably be at least $1000 less (or $6407 total). Last year when I was in Melbourne I spent a few months living on only $50/week. This included transportation, phone and any other spending money I used, but it did not include accommodation or food – these I got for free as part of my au pair arrangement.
As I mentioned earlier, my “travel” budget within my budget for Australia includes any addition costs I can expect from any other trips I decide to take while in Australia. This might include a small camping trip to the Grampians or a larger trip to Cairns to do some scuba diving. The money I spend from these possible trips will be taken out of my “travel” budget (and will include accommodations, transportation, food, tours/excursions, etc.) If I wanted, I could also take the money I spend on any food while travelling from my “food” budget, or any money I spend on tours from my “misc spending money” budget, as the money in these budgets can be used interchangeably. If I spend less money in one area, I can simply add it on to another area, or visa versa.
Since I’ve been to Melbourne before, I am positive I have created a fairly accurate budget for myself, as I’m already aware of approximately how much things cost there.
In cases where I have never been to the country I am travelling to before and have no idea of how much things cost, I definitely do my research. Asking friends/family, reading travel blogs, and a few google searches can certainly give you a good example of how much you can expect to pay while abroad.