Have you ever made a mistake and thought, “I won’t do that ever again?” Well, I have, and it was during a recent college spring break. By sharing this experience, I hope to help save you from the same mistake!
To start, I want to ask a couple of questions:
1. Have you ever gone on a trip and spent more than you thought you would spend?
2. When you went on your trip, did you budget for that trip and then find that things may have been more expensive then you had originally thought?
I recently went on a trip to Los Angeles, California for spring break. I had planned out a specific amount of money to spend, which I had thought was a normal amount of money to spend during my five days of travel. I am from a small town in Indiana so I also wasn’t used to big city spending. Long story short, I ended up spending about a hundred dollars more than I had intended in LA. Now, I budgeted for this trip but there are a few things that I wish I would have personally done before going.
The first thing I wish I would have done before going was to look at transportation and how we were going to get around in more detail. I looked into Uber and Lift prices and thought to myself, “wow these prices aren’t so bad!” It turns out looking at those prices at about 1 pm LA time wasn’t so bad! What I didn’t realize is that there is this thing called “surge pricing” that Uber and Lyft implement during busy traffic times for which I hadn’t accounted. If you are going on a trip and plan to use Uber or Lyft, make sure you look at pricing during “rush hour traffic.” My trip ended up being more expensive for travel because we needed to travel during rush hour. The reality is, sometimes you just get caught in rush hour traffic, but it would have at least been nice to know about those charges before the trip rather than getting hit with a higher Uber or Lyft bill than originally planned.
The second thing I wish I would have looked into more was the cost of food on our trip. I had mainly looked at fast-food restaurants before going on my trip and thought to myself again, “Well, I am not going to spend that much. I mean, I am pretty in control when it comes to food.” It didn’t come down to my control of eating too much on our trip as much as it came down to food just generally being more expensive in LA. I felt like everywhere we went the food was about five to eight dollars more than I thought it was going to be simply because the cost of living in LA is higher than small towns in Indiana. This may differ depending on the place you are visiting; however, I would highly encourage you before you take your trip to LA, find yourself in Florida, or in another vacation spot to look up places to eat before you go. It is better to do your research rather than just assume prices are the same as where you are currently located. It definitely pays to be prepared so that you don’t feel guilty about your purchases on vacation.
The third thing that I wish I would have done was to look at more fun inexpensive things to do. There are different websites that you can look at to learn about more fun things to do in the places you are visiting. I found that we did a lot of walking around, hiking, walking the town, and ended up just enjoying LA, but it would have been a lot more fun if we would have planned to do things ahead of time that were low cost.
It’s likely that you have put a lot of thought into going on your next big trip, but I would encourage you to put a little extra thought into your budget so that you don’t end up in the same spot I found myself in after my most recent trip. Doing so will help you truly enjoy your trip knowing you already have the financial resources needed to cover the costs. Along with that, you also won’t have the stress after the trip by trying to figure out where the “extra” money is going to come from due to overspending. Ultimately, we hope you enjoy your trip! If you have any questions or would like help scheduling your next trip, feel free to schedule a NEXUS Coaching Session for free today: http://www.ronblueinstitute.com/nexus-financial-discipleship-center.