When you have a big trip ahead of you and a certain amount of money in your bank account, it’s a bit difficult to figure out if that amount is going to last you for the entire journey or if you’re going to have to watch your spending in order to make it stretch. Some travelers are extremely well versed in making their money last, but it doesn’t come without practice and knowing where you can make the savings. A lot of it comes from knowing that if you make small changes to your daily lifestyle on the road, you can make big differences to your bank balance.If it’s your first time having to budget out a trip, here are a few pointers to help you create a travel budget and to stick with it.

Figure out a daily spending

Your daily spending will depend on how much money you have in the bank to start out with, where in the world you’re traveling to, and the kind of sacrifices you’re willing to make. The first things you’ll need to include in your budget are accommodation and food costs. Have a look at how much hotels or hostels cost in the area and see if they’re within your means. You need to choose wisely. A lot of different hotels use modern softwate systems for their daily tasks by HotelFriend that make a lot of comfort for lodgers. Modern hotels and hostels must pay attention at it. If not, perhaps take a look into Couchsurfing or other hosting website, as these will allow you to travel for free and will help make your daily budget more flexible in other ways.

A bit of light research should tell you how much the average meals might cost in the area you’re headed to but sometimes you can’t really tell until you arrive. Additionally, it’s fine if someone on the internet tells you how much a meal should cost but sometimes the cheaper places can be hard to hunt down and you might ending up spending more if you just can’t find a low cost restaurant. By all means, when you create a travel budget, set aside a specific amount for food so that you will do your best to try and locate the budget eating establishments wherever you travel.

Find alternatives to the expensive activities

When it comes to big cities, there always one or two tourist spots that are apparently unmissable. Many of these, especially in the more expensive places like Western Europe and North America, can be very expensive to visit and are way beyond the means of a budget traveler. Do your research into possible alternatives and you might find there is a free or low cost version of a similar activity, which will also have the added bonus of being far loss packed with foreigners.

Learn to say ‘No’

In an ideal world or traveling, you wouldn’t have to think about the money you’re spending and you’d be able to take every opportunity available to you. When you’re on a budget however, you don’t have that luxury and there are times when you’ll have to turn down things when you really don’t want to.

This is always a personal decision and there will of course be exceptions that you can’t possible turn down.

For example, when I was in Peru I couldn’t bear the thought of not getting to visit Machu Picchu even though it’s incredibly expensive to go there. So I splashed out for a day trip but made changes in other ways like used Couchsurfing and cooked for myself in order to balance out my finances elsewhere.

It’s always going to take some time in a new place to settle into a solid budget and be able to hold to it, and it takes a lot of discipline to always be aware of what you can and can’t afford. But once you get this fine art down to a tee, it’ll come naturally to you and it will stop feeling like you’re being held back by a lack of money. It won’t occur to you to eat out in restaurants much, those expensive tourist spots won’t even be on your radar, and you’ll find happiness in the more simple pleasures of travel that are completely free.