Monday, 12 August 2013

Budgets and Itineraries

Budgets aren't always Boring

So you know where you want to go? You've read the guidebooks, the internet, talked to friends, watched movies. You know how many days/weeks/months you'll be away for. You've talked to the kid's schools, made sure they're ok with an extended absence. (What would you do, you wonder, if they're not?)

And then you check the prices.

Then you pour yourself a drink, tell yourself: 'its a once in a life-time experience', 'they'll remember it for ever', 'if we're going all the way to Europe we do have to be there for a while'.

Once you recover from the shock, you'll probably find its much cheaper to
  1. self cater and
  2. book it yourself.
Here's some tips for controlling and managing a budget while away.

Tip One: draw up an itinerary in advance
- set up an account with TripIt and
- follow instructions on TripIt website.

It took me about 2 hours but then... voila: everything is at the tip of a button. The app will export to your calendar (Note: this is a bit problematic). Check you're not double booked anywhere, or that you don't have a bed for a night (teenagers won't be impressed at sleeping under a bridge.)

Tip Two: set up a spreadsheet with the following headings:
  • Accommodation price
  • Accom paid
  • Accom to pay
This way you can keep track of any reimbursements you are owed for damage deposits.
We've done the same with Attractions and Transport (car-hire, train tickets)

Set the spreadsheet to calculate the totals of each booking. That way you can track how much you've spent, and how much you still have to pay when you arrive

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