How to Calculate Your Total Trip Cost in Advance

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For many travelers, one of the biggest stressers is the cost of their trip. Traveling (especially internationally) can be expensive, but there are also tons of ways you can make it more affordable. Either way, it’s a good idea to calculate your trip cost in advance so you can figure out a plan that works with your budget. Plus, in order to be fully covered by travel insurance at the lowest price, you need to calculate your trip cost as accurately as possible. Once you’ve done it, you can get a price quote for the best insurance package for you here.

How do you go about calculating trip costs, you ask? While the total amount will vary a lot depending on where you’re headed and how you like to travel, the basic elements that you need to budget for generally remain the same. When it comes to travel insurance, you’re going to want to differentiate between what is included in the “insurable trip cost” and what isn’t. “Insurable trip cost” refers to prepaid, non-refundable expenses for your trip. Let’s break it down:

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Airfare

Because you prepay for flights when you book them and they are often non-refundable, airfare will likely account for a significant portion of your insurable trip cost. If your tickets are refundable, don’t include them in the cost. One important thing to note is that if you book your flight with frequent flyer miles or points rather than money, you cannot add this to the trip cost. In this case, all you should log as insurable trip cost are taxes and fees associated with the purchase.

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Accommodations

Any hotels, Airbnbs, or other nonrefundable accommodations that you pay for in advance of your trip would be part of the insurable trip cost. Even if you only have to pay a deposit upfront, include that, as well as any fees that are nonrefundable. Read more about travel insurance and Airbnbs in our detailed blog post.

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Experiences

The types of excursions you’re planning on going on will depend on where you’re going and what kinds of things you’re into, but this bucket includes expenses such as fees for museums, parks, and other paid entry, equipment rentals, or tours. If you purchase these experiences in advance of your trip, count them as part of your insurable trip cost. If you don’t have to pay for them in advance, you guessed it…leave them out.

Basically, any expense that you purchase in advance of your trip and that you won’t get back if you have to cancel your trip should be included in the insurable trip cost you use to calculate the cost of your insurance package.

These are the categories that don’t fall within the “insurable trip cost” category, but that may be helpful for you to calculate for budgeting and planning purposes:

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Meals

This may be the hardest category to calculate in advance, but you can get a good estimate if you really think it through. If you have a list of restaurants that you definitely plan to visit, you can do your best to estimate the total that you could spend at each. Then, think about the number of meals you will need to eat while you’re away, including while you’re at the airport. If you’re staying at a place where you can make your own meals, consider whether you’ll make some of your meals with groceries from a local shop or farmers market. Because it’s unlikely that you’ll predict exact food costs and appetite, this is going to a rough budget, so be sure to tack on a bit extra in your total trip cost for wiggle room if possible.

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Transit

Once you get to your destination, how do you plan to get around? If you’re going to opt for public transportation, you can likely find the cost online. Take a minute to calculate whether it’ll be more cost-effective to pay for each ride individually or go for a several day or week-long pass, depending on your time-frame and plans. Because you will be charged for this expense once you arrive, this is not a prepaid cost and won’t count as part of your insurable trip cost that you use for insurance purposes.

Note: If you pay in advance for any transportation for which you cannot be refunded if you don’t use it, such as an airport shuttle, you should include that amount in the trip cost.

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Miscellaneous Expenses

This section includes things like shopping and salon treatments, which you can budget for in advance (for the most part). If you set a dollar amount that you’re able to spend on those types of things, you’ll know what you can and cannot do and buy to stay within that budget. That said, no matter how well you budget out the sections outlined above, it’s just not possible to account for every single purchase you’ll need to make on your trip. Things come up, like having to buy new sunscreen or forgetting your packed lunch and having to eat at a restaurant instead. Make sure that in addition to any shopping you might want to do, you set aside a bit extra for any extra expenses that might come up. Again, none of this will be included in your insurable trip cost, since you won’t have paid for any of it in advance of your trip.

Once you’ve calculated your insurable trip cost, you’re ready to get started on your free insurance quote here. Choosing the right travel insurance for your experience and trip cost could save you a ton of money if anything comes up in advance of or during your trip! If this is your first international adventure, make sure you’re as prepared as you can be with our checklist.

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