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MintLife Blog > Travel Tips > The Clumsy Traveler’s First Steps to Planning a Vacation

The Clumsy Traveler’s First Steps to Planning a Vacation

Travel Tips


Welcome to the very first installment featuring Mint and The Clumsy Traveler! Follow along as I give you monthly financial advice to budget the trip of your dreams, whether you’re off to Southeast Asia or backpacking through Europe.

So What Exactly Am I Doing Here?

If you’re trying to take your own trip overseas and do so affordably, then you’ve come to the right place. I’ve teamed up with Mint to show you exactly how you can save for a trip abroad. Over the next 6 months, I’m going to be planning a birthday trip (mark it in your calendars, June 24th. You can buy me a present later). I’m going to take you through my money-saving journey where you will see firsthand how I save for an exotic trip abroad.

After traveling internationally for 10 years, visiting 5 continents and living abroad in Europe, I have made plenty of mistakes when it comes to spending money on travel. Like a lot of mistakes.

That’s why you can trust me when I say that I can help you with your travel plans. I’m going to provide you with travel-planning hacks, apps and websites, money-saving techniques and budgeting guides to help you plan the ultimate vacation.

 The Clumsy Traveler

First Things First…

When deciding a vacation, there are a few things you need to consider outside of your budget. Ask yourself the following:

  • When is the best time for me to travel/can I get work off during this time?
  • Is that a reasonable amount of time to save enough money?
  • Where do I want to go?
  • What is the weather like there? Is it tourist season? What are the current state of affairs?

All of these questions not only affect your budget, but how much fun you might have on your journey. So with these in mind, I’ve come up with a few destinations I see myself going to this summer for my birthday:

  • Peru
  • Ireland
  • Tanzania

Five months seems like more than enough time to save for all three of these locations. And while it is in the height of tourist season, they’re still reasonably affordable (not like major attractions like Rome or Paris midsummer) and the weather will be wonderful.

The First Step

Before I do anything at all, I make a very general first draft budget.

Not only does this help give me an idea of what I need to save before my trip, but it also helps me figure out where I’m leaning towards as far as best destination. Am I leaning towards one place more than another? Is a certain city’s attractions more desirable than another? Am I going to go for the more expensive option because it just looks cooler? All is answered during the initial budgeting.

To give you a general idea of my budgeting technique, I’ve provided an example of a 1st draft travel budget for each destination:

Budget for Peru

Ireland BudgetTanzania Budget

Most of these figures were found from a variety of travel blogs, travel websites and airline websites. Again, this doesn’t need to be 100% accurate, or even 75% accurate. But if one budget is way more expensive than another (say Ireland vs Peru), it will help me make my decision.

As you can see, Tanzania is about double the price of Ireland or Peru. Meanwhile, Peru and Ireland are very similar in price. Still, I’ve been wanting to visit Tanzania for a very long time and I would love to see Peru (adding my 6th continent to my list). Knowing how much of all these locations cost helps me figure out a couple of things:

  • Do I want to go with the affordable option?
  • If I choose the more expensive option, am I willing to work harder and sacrifice?
  • What does my heart tell me? What does my wallet tell me?

Follow Along!

Next month, I’ll discuss exactly what I do to save and start putting together a more detailed budget of my chosen location. Make sure to follow along so you can learn insider tips and tricks to making a luxury vacation on a budget actually happen.

Question: have you ever been to one of these countries? I’d love to hear your recommendations and tips in the comments!


Sebrin The Clumsy Traveler
Credit: Brooke Borough Photography

Meet the Clumsy Traveler:

My name is Sebrin Elms, a twenty-something newlywed with two kitties and a serious obsession with travel. I started my blog, The Clumsy Traveler, in anticipation of my husband’s and my 3-month long honeymoon around the world. When I came back, I didn’t want to stop writing and traveling! You can learn more about my story on my blog or follow me on Instagram @theclumsytraveler.

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