How to Estimate Entertainment Costs When Traveling: Your Ultimate Guide

How to estimate attraction and entertainment costs - F*ckity bye - funny travel blog - Ryan Somohano dressed saftey swimwear like a toddler while snorkeling in Nha Trang Vietnam

Enjoying the spirited hand gestures of Italian guides as they walk you through vineyards in Tuscany, floating like a toddler (me pictured above) while attempting to snorkel the crystal blue oceans of Vietnam, dipping in the waters of century-old bathhouses in the vibrant city of Budapest while...wait...Is that a naked Hungarian dude swimming next to you?

Yes. Yes, it is.

Now you’re really seeing the world!

The experiences you can part-take in when traversing the globe are virtually limitless. Some of this entertainment is necessary  for rounding out your visit to a place, others are essential  to preserving your sanity after a bad day on the road (I’m looking at you fifth round of beer in Cambodia), and most are shameless cash grabs.

If you’re traveling, odds are you’re going to end up spending money on a mixture of all types of entertainment. So how then can you accurately budget for all that museum hopping, binge drinking, and taking a $20.00 picture with the sloppy guy dressed like a Roman soldier outside of the Colosseum fun?

By reading my step-by-step how to estimate attraction and entertainment costs guide below!

Step 1: What Do You Want to Do and See?

The first step to estimating attraction and entertainment costs when traveling is understanding what you want to do and writing those things down!

Don’t know what attractions you want to do at your destination? No problem!

Head on over to Google and ask, “top things to do in X” (replacing X with your destination). This search will turn up a ton of material on all the different experiences your destination is known for.

For example, let's say I'm taking a trip to Rome and need some suggestions on what attractions I should budget for. I'd ask Google, "top things to do in Rome" and Google would show me:

Top things to do in Rome Google results

As you can see above, right away Google has offered me some topical suggestions (Colosseum, St. Peter's Basilica, Roman Forum, etc.) but if I click on the "More Rome Sights" option I've circled above in yellow...

Google Rome attractions results expanded

I get this expanded list of attractions in the city which I can then click on to learn more about each site and decide whether or not I'm interested seeing it!

Pretty simple!

For the most part Google will only have the fancy attraction breakdown I'm showing you above for popular destinations, so, if you're traveling to a place that's unique, be aware that you might have to dig a deeper into your search results for attraction suggestions (Trip Advisor is an excellent resource for unique location attraction suggestions).

After you're done researching what there is to see at your destination, write down all of the attractions that interest you!

For my example trip to Rome, I've come up with the following:

  • Colosseum
  • Vatican Museum
  • Trevi Fountain
  • Pantheon
  • Roman Forum

With this list in hand, I can now get to work on the second step of estimating attraction and entertainment costs...

Step 2: Research the Price of the Attractions on Your List

Now that I know what I'd like to do, it's time to head back over to Google to do some research on how much the attractions I want to see cost.

For my example trip, I'll start with the first attraction on my list by asking: “How much does it cost to see The Colosseum in Rome”

In the case of the Colosseum (and probably in the case of what you're looking up as well) the attraction’s official website should pop-up near the top of your results and let you know if the attraction is free to access (many attractions are) and if not, how much it costs.

Roman Colosseum ticket website - F*ckity bye - funny travel blog
The official ticket website for the Roman Colosseum

A word of caution: Try your hardest when going through your Google results to not get tricked by third party websites that may give you misinformation about ticket prices and try to sell you expensive, unnecessary tour packages. These 3rd party websites are usually flashy and have a lot of buttons that say "BOOK NOW" "BUY NOW" "SALE" etc.

After you've gone through each of the attractions on your list and have figured out how much each costs to access, write your findings down in a list like this:

Rome Attractions Costs:

Colosseum – 12€

Vatican Museum - 17€

Trevi Fountain - Free

Pantheon - Free

Roman Forum – Free with Colosseum ticket

Step 3: Miscellaneous Entertainment Costs

With the big attractions budgeted for, now it's time to get a grip on how much your smaller entertainment expenses are going to cost you. I'm talking things like getting drinks at a bar every other night, picking up a game of shuffleboard, renting bikes and riding them along the beach, etc.

There's no perfect way to come up with a number for miscellaneous entertainment costs because a lot of this activity is spontaneous. The way I approach coming up with an estimate is by asking myself how much "fun-money" I want to spend per day. I then multiply that amount by that number of days I'm going to be in a city.

For the sake of example, I'll say I'm spending 4 days in Rome and want 5€ per day to spend on whatever bit of entertainment catches my eye. That's 20€ worth of miscellaneous entertainment costs for my trip.

After you understand what you want to budget for miscellaneous entertainment, you now have everything you need to move onto our final step!

Step 4: Adding Everything Together and Adding Wiggle Room

This step is as easy as adding your attractions expenses you figured out in step 2 to your entertainment costs you came up with in step 3 and adding a little padding onto your final number.

My Example Trip To Rome:

Colosseum – 12€

Vatican Museum - 17€

Trevi Fountain - Free

Pantheon - Free

Roman Forum – Free with Colosseum ticket

Miscellaneous Entertainment – 20€ 

Wiggle Room – 10€ (not too much science behind this number, just an amount you feel comfortable with)

Total = 59€, which I’ll round up to 60€ (about $73.00).

Just like that, you have a conservative attractions and entertainment costs estimate for your trip!

If you have more than one destination on your itinerary, simply repeat this process for those additional destinations and add everything together.

Buckets for beer for sale in Seville, Spain | fckitybye.com | picture by Ryan Somohano
Building "wiggle room" into your entertainment budget is essential for those hot summer days where you just so happen to bump into a Spanish restaurant that sells beer by the bucket...

The Best Things in Life (and in travel) are Free

If you’ve added up your entertainment budget and are thinking to yourself, “Man... being entertained while traveling is expensive!”

Let me be the first person to obnoxiously shout in your face that:

IT ABSOLUTELY DOES NOT HAVE TO BE!

I spend well below the average traveler on entertainment/attractions and I have an incredible time everywhere I go!

Imagine your day looking like this... (and also imagine smooth saxophone music playing in the background as you do)

You wake up and grab five or six free pastries at your Paris hotel’s continental breakfast.

After scarfing them down, you’re on your way to working off their flaky deliciousness by walking down Paris’ breathtaking, character-filled streets; eye-balling interesting trinkets, paroozing eclectic stands and stopping to sit on a bench or two where you enjoy some world-class people watching.

Your stomach grumbles.

“Man you’re fat… you just ate!” says the voice in your head.

You tell that voice you’ll murder its family if it ever questions your eating habits again and it quickly pipes down.

Lunch time.

You pop into a local grocery store, pick up a cheap baguette, some cheese, and head to the Eiffel Tower. Upon your arrival, you sit in the park that surrounds this behemoth of a landmark and enjoy a wonderful picnic by its shadow. You munch, take pictures, enjoy some light reading and soak up the sun.

After some time, a breeze blows through and you figure it's time to move again. You mosey on over to Notre Dame and take in its incredible visage from first the outside and then from the church’s inner chapel.

Having gotten your fill of snapping Instagram photos captioned “where Quasi at?”, you exit the church and walk around the surrounding neighborhood.

Street performers! People rollerblading around cones, doing hand-stands, back-flips, etc. You grab an ice cream from a nearby creamery and then proceed to spectate the fun.

Dinner time.

You grab some grub at another grocery store or a fast-food spot, take your meal to-go, and have a final picnic on the banks of the Seine River, watching tour boats light up the water as they sail by.

The scene is a perfect end to the perfect day...

*end saxophone music*

Image labeled for reuse by http://www.aviano.af.mil

Want to know my favorite part of that story?

The only thing that cost any money was the train pass to get around the city and the cheap food.

Alternatively, you could have taken a taxi to all of the locations I mentioned rather than walking or leveraging public transit, taken the elevator to the third floor of the Eiffel Tower to get a look at the surrounding city as opposed to having a picnic beside it, gone up to see the bell towers of Notre Dame rather than walking around its chapel and opted to ride on one of the boats on the Seine River rather than just admiring them from the river’s banks.

All of that would have cost a tremendous amount in attraction and entertainment costs.

As you can see, two similar days can have two very different price-tags and "free" can go a very long way.

Wrapping Up How to Estimate Attraction and Entertainment Costs when Traveling

There you have it! Some sure-fire strategies to accurately budget for all of your attraction and entertainment-related expenses.

I hope you didn't walk away from this article feeling like it's not worth it to pay for premium experiences like seeing the inside of the pyramids while you're' in Egypt. Definitely do that.

You just shouldn't feel pressured into paying for every bell and whistle tourist attraction people try to get you to buy into if you're not really feeling it.

Never lose sight of the fact that the best things a new place has to offer can be experienced by exploring its streets armed with some delicious edible object you can slowly shove into your mouth.

...

I looked like a freakin' doofus snorkeling...

Ryan Somohano looking like a doofus snorkeling in Nha Trang Vietnam Close-Up | fckitybye.com

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Reading this "entertainment costs" article via my Six-Step Course on How To Travel The World? Congratulations on finishing the "planning your trip" step of the program (the hardest one in my opinion)!

Now that you know how to book cheap flights, find accommodation and create food and entertainment budgets, you have everything you need to build yourself a robust travel blueprint  for the trip of your dreams! If you need help with anything you've read so far, contact me. If you're ready to move on, let's talk about how you're going to pay for your trip!

If you have no idea what course I'm talking about and are interested in a fun, free (fun & free, not fun-free... we'll have a lot of fun) comprehensive course on How To Travel The World - Click here!

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