In the last two months I’ve found myself spending a lot of time on the road for both pleasure and work. I’ve also learned that, although I tried my best to save money and budget according to my travels, there have been a couple of surprises that left me feeling crazed as I learn about managing finances while traveling.
As amazing as traveling can be, it can throw you for a loop when managing your life, and that includes managing finances. For example, a client recently flew me to Orlando to film a few entrepreneurship classes for them. Although most of my expenses were covered by the client, there are still some unexpected things like food when your flight is delayed or needing to grab toothpaste because you forgot to pack some. These things may be tiny, but boy do they add up.
Additionally, it’s not like you’re not going to want to explore if you’ve got some downtime while traveling for work. I had a day off in between filming and flying back home, so naturally I decided to explore instead of being holed up in my hotel room.
And finally, perhaps the biggest hurdle to managing finances while traveling is the fact that often times you’re not making money while on the road. Or, at the very least, you may not be as focused because you’re not in your element. This is especially true when your travel is less business and more pleasure.
3 Keys to Managing Finances While Traveling
If you also happen to find yourself on the road, whether for work or pleasure, here are three keys to managing finances while traveling.
Budget for the unexpected stuff.
As much as you can try to plan every detail of your travels, the truth is there is a lot that is out of your control. Maybe you need to change your flight. Maybe you need to grab a taxi because your ride can’t make it. Maybe your flight gets delayed and you’re stranded at the airport for hours and need to eat. All of these surprises can really throw a wrench into your plan for managing finances while traveling.
These things happen, and while we may not know exactly what’s going to transpire, the least we can do is add some extra padding in our budget in case these things do happen.
One aspect many people forget about when managing finances while traveling is budgeting for the fun stuff.
Let’s be frank, we tend to want to spend money on comforts while we’re traveling. This could look like grabbing a $4 latte from Starbucks before a 7:00am flight. It may look like scheduling a mani pedi or a massage to help you wind down after running around airports. It may look like ordering room service because you really don’t feel like looking for food. I’ve definitely done all three – especially if I’m traveling for business and worked my tail off.
For me, personally, I tend to use my Digit savings account for discretionary spending (Derek’s Note: I still hate Digit for some reason – Can’t we just make a plan to save instead of doing it accidentally??). This has come really in handy as I begin to travel more. One of the reasons budgets don’t work, especially when managing finances while traveling, is that we forget to allow ourselves some flexibility to spend money on stuff we want.
Find ways of earning passive income.
Even though I travel for business and may be making money, I know there will be at least two travel days were I’m a bit tied up and perhaps can’t work as much as I’d like to. If I’m traveling for pleasure, I know to possibly expect a dip in revenue because I’m not around. This is the real kicker when managing finances while traveling.
This is one of the reasons I’ve begun to incorporate forms of passive income into my business over time. This is income I can generate without having to be physically present or trade my time. While I still have a ways to go in terms of how much I want to earn from passive income, I at least now I’ll be bringing in something each month.
You don’t have to let travel completely throw off your finances. With proper planning for unexpected and discretionary spending you’ll be able to absorb the costs that add up while traveling. Additionally, by creating other forms of income you know you’ll be covered when you can’t physically work.
Do you travel often? How are you managing finances while traveling?
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.