The world really is becoming smaller. With flights becoming more readily available and cheaper, meaning more of us can afford to go on holiday to places we never thought possible, there is nothing standing in our way now to just jump on a plane and head wherever we fancy. No matter where it is that you want to go, the dream is real: all you need to do is budget correctly and put together all the pieces of the puzzle and before you know it, you’ll be on your trip of a lifetime. Follow this guide and you’ll know exactly what you need to get the ball rolling.

Choose your destination

This is the easiest part. Chances are you’re here because you’ve always wanted go to a certain place but certain circumstances have just meant that that hasn’t been possible. Well, lucky for you, it definitely is possible. Here’s what you need to consider when assessing the viability of your trip and how long it will take to save:

  • The general cost of living is an important thing to consider. Although you aren’t going to be living in this place, the general pricing will affect you for the time you’re there. Most websites that assess this kind of criteria will usually take into consideration ‘downtown’ pricing and the more ‘touristy’ areas, so take a look and see how much the general items will cost you.
  • Using Skyscanner, you will be able to see when the cheapest months to go to your destination are. You can also see when the cheapest dates within any month are. That means, if you want to go to your destination in summer, you can see when the cheapest dates are for your flights.
  • Does your destination require you to first obtain a visa before visiting? For the majority of countries around the world, short term stay for British citizens will usually be granted without a visa; however, there are still countries that require a visa or a visa-waiver pass to enter, such as: United States; Canada; China; Russia; Pakistan; and more.
  • Do you need to get vaccinations before you go to your destination. This does not necessarily mean that your chosen country is ‘dirty’ or ‘unhegienic’, it simply means that your immune system is not prepared to deal with certain viruses that circulate in these areas.
  • How much will travel insurance cost you for going to this place? Generally, travel insurance premiums will not change much nowadays depending on location, but it is still worth having a look on a comparison engine.

Start your budget

Just to help you out with the basic outline of your budget, here’s a premade example. Here we’ve chosen Los Angeles, USA and we want to go between 6th March 2018 – 14 March 2018. That gives me 6 months to save up (from September 2017).  Here’s the basics of the budget:


Technically you don’t need a visa per se to enter the United States for leisure purposes; however, you do need a visa-waiver which still needs to be presented on arrival. You need to apply for an ESTA , which is the Electronic System for Travel Authorization. Here’s what you need:

  • Passport valid for at least 6 months
  • Payment online of 14$ (£10.60) per applicant
  • Contact details
  • Your trip is for 90 days or less


Vaccinations are not needed outside of your regular treatment as a child in the United Kingdom. However, you may need some additional treatment if you are going to travel across the border to Mexico or any other Latin country.


The price of your flight will depend on where you are travelling from, of course, so we’ve added a variety of locations in the UK to get a more comprehensive idea of pricing.

London Heathrow – £290 return (direct)

Manchester – £351 return (1 stop)

Glasgow – £391 return (1 stop)

Belfast – £393 return (1 stop)


Los Angeles is a very expensive place when it comes to hotels. Also, due to the sheer size of the city, prices will vary greatly depending on your chosen area, but due to it being the most popular place and having the most to do in general, we have chosen the Downtown area. Here’s the average pricing:

Decent 4 star hotel – £228 per night (£1,823 total)

Nice Airbnb apartment – £40 per night (£320 total)


Healthcare in the United States without insurance is unbelievably high. The average price for a broken bone, for example, would be around £25,000. As such, it is essential that you get a comprehensive travel insurance policy before you head there, even if nothing happens. This will cost you, for a 5 star policy, around £20. This will cover you for up to £15 million in medical bills.

Spending money 

Travel money will really depend on the type of person that you are and how much you can actually afford to take with you. That said, if it means waiting a little longer to go in order to take a little bit more with you, it is certainly worth doing that. You’re saving up to have an amazing time; the last thing that you want is to be constrained to a tight financial budget. Here’s how much a few essentials cost in comparison to two major UK cities:


Los Angeles Manchester London
3 course meal for two in a mid-priced Italian restaurant £65 £56 £63
1 pint of beer £5.13 £3.97 £4.99
5 miles in a taxi £15 £16 £19
Fast food meal £5.84 £5.66 £5.97

As you can see in the above, LA isn’t that much more expensive than either of these two places. If you live in London, you may even find it to be cheaper. As a general daily budget you should bring anything between $50 – 100 (£40 – 75), depending on how much you want to spend and what activities you want to partake in. If you are going to see some of the paid sights, you may want to budget separately for them.

Total budget 

(From London, staying in Airbnb, medium spend) £1,120

How to save up

The minimum wage in the UK would have you earning around £13,071.68 per year after tax given that you work 40 hour per week. By this logic, you would need to save roughly 8.5% of your yearly earnings to pay for your trip to LA. Obviously the higher your wage is, the quicker you’ll be able to save.

If you could save 10% of your wage for the next 10 months, you would have all the money that you need to make the trip happen. If you can bump that up to 15%, you could have the money in less than 7 months. That equates to around £163 per month.

Bear in mind that you don’t have to pay for everything all in one go. You can do things gradually to take the stress of you. Saving for your trip doesn’t need to be rushed; you can do things over a period of 6-12 months.

Money saving tips

  • Switch your gas and electricity deal
  • Lower your broadband and/or mobile contract
  • Limit your nights out
  • Look for a new job that pays above minimum wage
  • Do freelance work on the side of your day job
  • Utilise coupons and discount cards