How I budget for traveling in 8 steps

tg_logo_256_altTraveling is an activity to explore all kinds of amazing things the world has to offer. Unfortunately we don’t have infinite money (at lease most of us don’t). So we need to put money aside for traveling and budget our travels.

Here is how I budget for a trip and keep track of it during the trip without too much effort during the traveling. I find it helps me during the trip to know that I am not in deep ship when getting home and it also helps me to estimate the costs of my next trip more accurately.

  1. Pick your destination.
  2. Estimate how much you spend in one day (including hotel, food, small excursions, local travel). To estimate this,  I check what is mentioned in the Lonely Planet.  I multiply it by 2 to account for traveling with 2 and another 2 because we spend about twice as much. So if LP say you can get by with $25 a day I budget $100.
  3. Download this excel TravelingGiraffe-travel-budget-tracker (or make your own). The file attached is filled with some example data. This file has 4 rows for each day. Night, morning, afternoon evening. And a couple of columns for money related entries.
  4. Fill in the excel: If I have booked the accommodation for a day I enter in the  ‘night’ row the accommodation’s name and the price. Note that as the accommodation price is included in the daily budget, the excel will reduce the daily budget with 40%. So, if my daily budget is $100 and I book a $50 hotel, I put 60% * $100 = $60 to the budget for that day. The other rows I use for other activities which are not part of the daily budget. This includes long distance transport, car hire or full day excursions. 
  5. If I prepaid any of the items in the sheet I put it in the ‘already paid’ column.
  6. I now have my budget for the trip. In the ‘expected’ column it now shows what I expected to have spend in total during the trip at the end of each day. Print is out including the empty tables at the end.
  7. Time to track!. While you are traveling you write down on the empty table every time you withdraw money or pay something by card. If you bring cash with you from home write this down as well.
  8. From time to time (every 4 days org when you change city) Count how much you have spend (cash you brought with you plus all withdrawals plus card payments minus cash in your wallet).  Now compare this amount to the amount in the expected column and you know how you are doing against your budget.

Enjoy your travels!

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