Budgeting and money management

When planning a trip, one of the first things on everyone’s mind is undoubtedly the budget. “How much will I have to save?”, “How much will I have to spend?”.


Evaluating how much you need to spend on your trip is not always easy. It all depends on the length of your trip, your destination, exchange rate fluctuations, the way you want to travel and your comfort requirements. Quite often, whatever the budget, it’s highly likely that it will be used to the maximum, and even exceeded.

Travel budget

You adapt the calculation according to the expenses you plan to incur. The travel budget given is first of all the bare minimum, then according to your travel profile.

There are two ways to define a travel budget:

  • Define an approximate overall cost (transport, accommodation, meals, activities, insurance, etc.) and draw up a budget.
  • Define an allocated sum of money and then determine the specifics of the trip. Once the overall budget for your trip has been defined, you still need to add some “slack”, i.e. a margin of at least 20% on your initial budget. This additional sum will serve as an emergency fund in case of unpleasant surprises.

Anticipated expenses

When planning your trip, and therefore your budget, there are a number of factors to take into account:

  • Transport: Flight, train, bus, cab, car rental, fuel…
  • Accommodation : Hotel, apartment, youth hostel…
  • Meals: restaurant, individual supermarket purchase.
  • Activities: sightseeing, national parks, festivities, equipment rental, sports, etc.
  • Shopping: souvenirs, gifts, basic travel equipment (bag, camera, clothes)…
  • Miscellaneous: passports, visas, vaccinations, travel insurance, bank charges, taxes, telephone calls abroad, exchange rates, etc.
  • Many of the details concerning transport, accommodation and activities are available on the Internet via booking websites. For other elements, some prices are also available on the internet via simple Google searches.

To manage your budget as effectively as possible, it’s a good idea to draw up a provisional budget for your trip in advance, using an Excel file that will give you a general idea of the total cost of your expenses.

Budget balance

In some cases, for longer trips (over 1 month), it may be possible to offset your budget by working in the country you’re in, as earning money will reduce your expenses. Simply put, a good travel budget is the balance between our expenses and income according to the time spent in a given place.

Budget management abroad


Although in France we’re used to paying for the smallest purchase by credit card, when we’re in a foreign country, payment by card is not always accepted, or even non-existent. As the Euro is used in 19 European Union countries, it is not accepted in other countries. That’s why it’s essential to have cash on hand in a foreign country.

Two ways to get cash:

  • The one you bring from France (which can be exchanged for local currency)
  • Cash withdrawn from an ATM (in local currency)

Blue card

A bank card is an essential part of any trip, as it will enable you to make purchases on the Internet, on the spot, but above all to withdraw money from ATMs abroad, giving you local currency.

It’s often better to travel with two credit cards rather than one, because if they’re lost, stolen, forgotten or the limit is reached, you’ll find yourself with no cash and no means of payment.

Note that some bank cards offer significant advantages: free services, higher credit line, preferential interest rates, insurance, assistance services abroad. So if you’re eligible, it’s a good idea to get one.

Changing money

There are two possible ways to change your money:

  • At a bureau de change in France
  • At a foreign exchange office

This step is essential, as it will give you access to local currency and enable you to pay for your various purchases. It should be noted that foreign currency exchange is generally not recommended due to poor exchange rates and extravagant commissions. The same applies to airport bureaux de change, where exchange is sometimes more expensive.

In this case, it is advisable to use an ATM, which is present in 99% of all airports.
So, to be prepared for all kinds of financial situations, it seems important to plan a budget for your trip, taking several factors into account. This will help you manage your money and make the most of your stay!


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