When you’re dreaming about your next family holiday, imagining where you’ll go or the activities you’ll do once you get there is part of the fun. Thinking about how to pay for it usually isn’t.

But if you take just a little time to budget for travel, it’ll make it that much easier to turn your holiday daydreams into reality. Getting a few key costs down on paper (or in a spreadsheet) will show you what your travel options are—and they may be even greater than you realised!

How to create a travel budget

The key is to make sure your travel budget is complete. You don’t want any unhappy surprises when you reach your destination and discover you’ve forgotten to include the costs for something important, like transportation from the airport to your hotel.

However you like to plan your budgets, make sure you include the following key items, making sure to multiply by the number of travellers when applicable:

  • Lodging: Hotel, hostel, motel or other overnight lodging costs. Don’t forget hidden fees like taxes; some locations in the U.S. have multiple tourism and tax fees.
  • Transportation: Not just airfare or coach tickets; remember to include ground transportation, like airport shuttles, taxis, trams, tuk-tuks or any other mode of getting around that has a fee. If you’re renting a car, including petrol as well.
  • Meals: Costs can vary greatly by location. Do a little research online to see what’s typical, then give yourself a little extra padding for snacks, drinks or splashing out on a really nice meal.
  • Activities: Will you be taking a guided tour? Hiring a private surfing instructor? Paying entrance fees at a museum? Renting an umbrella on the beach? Any planned activities must be budgeted for.
  • Incidentals: Whether you forgot to pack toothpaste or need to replace something you lost, build in some budget for picking up incidentals along the way.
  • Souvenirs, shopping and gifts: Save some room in your suitcase and room in your budget to pick up a few things for yourself and friends and family back home.
  • Emergency expenses: If you’re taken ill or otherwise encounter an emergency, be prepared with some cash on hand and factor this amount into your travel budget.
  • Travel insurance: If you ask us, this is the most important travel budget item of all! With a travel insurance policy, you can get protection for some of the things you’ve already paid money for—like airline tickets or non-refundable lodging—and save the expense of others, such as emergency medical assistance or evacuation. Once you have all of your other costs figured out, consider using those numbers to get a fast, free quote on travel insurance with Cover-more.

If you’re not sure what costs will be for different destinations, use an online travel budget planner like Budget Your Trip or travel budget calculators from Independent Traveler and Five Dollar Traveller.

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Be sure you’re covered for the unexpected on your next family holiday. Consider getting a quote today from Cover-More to find out how affordable it can be to cover your trip costs.