Letters from Dublin

Rachel Scully, Arts & Life Editor

Saving money while traveling can be extremely hard. Every time I have been in a new country or city, I have always told myself the old “Parks and Rec” phrase, “TREAT YO SELF.” However, when I got my credit card statement at the end of last month, I treated myself to a week of eating 20-cent ramen noodles. So much money was spent that didn’t need to be. I decided it was time to start budgeting on this trip.

The most useful tip I learned was writing  down each time I spent money; right now, that means writing down the pack of skittles I just bought at a gas station. This has helped bring more awareness to my spending. Usually around the middle of a trip, I’ll add everything up and decide if I have spent too much or just enough. If I want to get more in-depth with my budgeting, I’ll set an amount that I am allowed to spend on the trip.

Of course, these budgeting tips seem extremely simple and they are  not the only way I solved my problem. I had to focus on what I would allow myself to get. On some trips, it means just essentials, like food and a place to stay. On others, I can get luxury items, such as clothes, jewelry and so on. For example, in Barcelona I only allowed myself to get food and entries into places such as museums or other tourist sites. However, in Rome, I am allowing myself to get some other items. I just had to decide in which place I wanted to spend more money.

I was actually talking about all my budgeting problems with my grandma on the phone the other day. I was worried about my spending and gave her some of the solutions I had been trying. I told her a ridiculously small budget I had wanted to spend by the end of my trip. Her response was “Rachel, what are you going to do? Sit in your room all day and do nothing?” What she said dawned on me. It is obviously great to budget while traveling, however, it is also extremely important enjoy yourself. Treat yourself in small amounts, not every time you want a cute top or pants. Make sure you can have enough money for one nice dinner at the place you’re visiting.

Traveling is expensive; that’s just a fact. Nevertheless, there are ways to make it easier on your wallet. These are some tips that work for me, but the most important detail to note is whether it works for you. Maybe there are other ways to budget that will fit how you travel better. I always like to remember what my grandma said, “This trip is one of a lifetime, so enjoy it. Just keep in mind what you already have.”