Monday, May 9, 2011

Boston Trip Budget

Hey guys! I didn't have time to load this before I left for my trip, so now that I have "down time" and internet access, I can post it. Please note that this budget was established before the trip. I'll report my results ASAP!

If you've been reading my blog, you'll know that I've been planning a total of 3 trips this year. Two of which are reunions to see my friends; the other one is to attend to a wedding. In order to travel without going broke, I came up with a monthly discretionary budget of $100. The intent is to set a limit I can base my spending off of. If I can manage to do this for even just a few months, I'd be able to save a good amount of money for traveling and still leave some cash in my savings.

It's been 4 months since I implemented the plan and finally, the time has come for my first trip. This trip takes me back to my Alma Mater in Boston, MA. It's a weekend to reconnect with old friends and meet/network with older alumni. However, because I'll see some of the same people at the class reunion in July, I was kind of iffy on whether to go or not. After a lot of thinking, I promised myself to only go if I can avoid paying for the biggest expenses of traveling to Boston: flight and housing.

I managed to find a way to receive enough mileage points on United's Mileage Plus program to exchange for one round trip air ticket (I'll share how I did it in a later post). As for housing, having graduated just a few years ago, I still have quite a few friends in the area. When I decided to try to make this trip happen, I let them know and asked whether I can crash with them. Within a few days, I received confirmation of several places to stay for free.

Compare to finding free flight and a place to stay, deciding on an amount of money to budget for the rest of the trip seemed harder. When I made travel plans in the past, I didn't really keep track of how much I was spending. I mean I know how much I paid for flights, hotels, and other forms of transportation, but I had never really tracked how much I spent on everything else related to those trips. So now I can only guesstimate the damage to be $200. I came up with this number by budgeting about $10 per meal. I'll be spending a total of 4 days away, so that will set me back by around $120, assuming I eat every meal. I left $80 to use on drinks and other miscellaneous expenses such as cab fare, souvenirs, or anything else that may come up. This time around, I'll be more active in noting my own habits for future references and improvements. Hopefully, I'll spend less than I budgeted for!


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