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How to Calculate Those Last Minute Travel Expenses

Travel Tips

As I write this, I’m 2 weeks away from my departure to Peru! I can’t tell you how excited I am! But even though I’m stoked to be heading to my 6th continent, there’s still a bit of work to be done.

I’ve paid for my flights and booked most of my accommodation at this point. Now I need to go over my last-minute incidentals that travelers so often forget about. These are just a few of those last minute things that you’re going to have to budget, but might have forgotten about.


Odds are you probably didn’t forget about food as a major cost on your trip. However you probably don’t know exactly how to budget for it. Every country is incredibly different with its own economy, currency value and type of cuisine, so there aren’t a lot of general rules here.

To help you budget how much you’re going to need to eat, check these resources:

After using these tools and finding that your food budget is way too high, try some of these tips to avoid spending too much on your food budget.

  • Cook meals from your airbnb kitchen or hostel kitchen
  • Order every dinner course, but split with your travel partner
  • Avoid eating at restaurants near historical landmarks or ‘touristy’ areas
  • Bring snacks with you
  • Drink a lot of water

Ground Transportation

A lot of people forget about ground transportation and how much it will cost! It’s a tedious job, but try to map out a very loose schedule during your vacation. Questions you may ask yourself include ‘How are you getting to your hotel from the airport?,’ ‘Is your hotel located far from the city center, meaning you need transport in?’ and ‘Are you going clubbing every night and need a taxi?’

Here are some resources to help you calculate your ground transportation costs:

This will not only allow you to budget more accurately but will help you figure out how much cash you’re going to need with you to tip drivers or buy tickets.

Tips, Gratuity and Scams

Speaking of tips, that’s something you’re going to need to consider for just about every activity you try. Whether you’re driving somewhere, taking a tour or dining out, you’ll most likely need to tip. There are some countries where you don’t need to worry about this and in that case, you’re saving money you lucky duck!

I hate to say this one, but scams. You’re just gonna have to budget for it. You never know exactly how much to budget for this. Sometimes a taxi driver will charge too much or take the long way home. Maybe some scammers hassle you at the Eiffel Tower until you give them a few Euro. Either way, be prepared for it.

It’s a pain to have to accept this harsh truth, but better to get scammed than constantly staying on high alert and count every single penny. That will not only ruin your vacation, but make you look at the world with a very poor mindset. Just add it to your ‘Miscellaneous’ part of your budget, keep an eye out and try not to overthink it.

Here are some resources that will help you with international scams:

Travel Insurance and Medication

This may be last, but it’s certainly not least! Travel insurance and medication is imperative for you to have a safe and stress-free trip. As ‘The Clumsy Traveler,’ I’ve had plenty of experiences that required me to use my travel insurance (like going to the hospital in Nice France or calling an ambulance in Budapest, Hungary). But that doesn’t mean you should pay an arm and a leg!

World Nomads is what I use often as it is incredibly easy to use (for both signing up and reimbursement). But as far as price, it’s one of the more mid-range to expensive options. Check out to compare different companies and coverage options.

My advice with medications and vaccinations is a tad more vague since every state offers different plans based on your current insurance provider. My only note here is to do your research! Rather than rely on the internet to help you, it’s better to call the doctor/clinic/provider directly to get up-to-date medication information and costs. But know that there are a lot of malaria and bug repellant options for budgets of all shapes and sizes. Also know that the less expensive medications often have many annoying (but not dangerous) side effects.


Sebrin Elms is a twenty-something newlywed with two kitties and a serious obsession with travel. She started her blog, The Clumsy Traveler, in anticipation of a 3-month long honeymoon around the world. When she came back, she wasn’t ready to stop writing and traveling! You can learn more about her story on her blog or follow her on Instagram @theclumsytraveler.

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