Unexpected travel.  It’s a big thing in my life so far this year.

How do you budget for these things? 

The answer is simple, although the execution takes some work.

1. Have a budget in place already.   It’s easier to shift and adjust if needed when you know what’s going on.

2. Have an emergency fund in place.   No matter what stage of life you are in, you will experience all manner of emergencies, and emergencies almost always require money to handle.   

Travel for emergencies can be very expensive, particularly since you won’t have much time to price shop or be flexible with dates.

3. Keep a credit card that accumulates travel points with no balance.  If your emergency fund either doesn’t exist or isn’t big enough to cover your travel emergency, sometimes this is the only way to make things work.  Getting into debt is obviously not ideal, but let’s be realistic, sometimes $hit happens. At least you can get a small benefit from accumulating miles or points for the next time.

Here are some bonus tips for keeping your emergency travel costs low:

  1. Use rebate apps to search for deals.  I love launching hotels.com through Ibotta or TopCashBack so I can accumulate nights AND get a rebate at the same time.   Check out my referral page here for rebate referral codes. 
  2. Check to see if you qualify for any discounts through your employer for hotels, flights or rental cars.  Many larger companies have deals with large chains or airlines for a group discount.   It’s worth asking about to see. You never know! 
  3. Do some planning with your food.  Try to find a hotel with free breakfast and find a grocery store to get snacks and drinks.
  4. Stay with family if they have room and make an offer.  Make sure to be a courteous guest so they would let you stay again someday.  🙂