What's YOUR number?

One of the toughest questions I get from my clients goes something like this... "What does a 7 day trip to (insert destination here) cost?" Similarly one of the toughest questions my clients have to answer is "What is your budget for this trip?" While most clients know WHEN and WHERE they want to go, rarely do they have a pre-planned budget or even an idea of what their desired travel experience will cost. So here are some tips to help you have the "number" conversation with your travel professional.

1. Research airfares. Chances are this will be one of the biggest contributors of travel cost so it's worth doing a bit of homework to see what airfares to your desired destination will be during your desired months of travel. Airfare pricing is based on availability so this price will vary significantly over time.

2. Calculate a "per diem." A per diem is a daily budget. You can do this per person or for your family/group. This should include the desired cost of your nightly accommodation, meals, transportation and activities such as entry fees, and touring. For example a daily per diem might look something like this - Hotel ($200), Meals - lunch and dinner ($50), Drinks ($20), Transportation ($20), Activities ($50), Spending Money ($10). That's a total of $350. For a 7 day trip you have a budget of $2,450. However you may want to round that number up to make sure your budget has enough wiggle room to cover your "must see's/haves/do's" as well as the unexpected "must do" last minute dining or activity splurge.

3. Be honest about what you can afford. The last thing your travel professional wants to do is spend time creating an itinerary for you only to discover that it doesn't match up with your travel budget -either by being too low-end OR by being too expensive.  Costs for the same itinerary will vary widely depending on the client's personal style of travel. If you are really uncomfortable talking money, share an example of the last trip you took that really exemplifies your travel style.