Budget Basics: Creating your Trip Budget

Figuring out how to pay for a trip can be one of the most stressful components of travel. I highly recommend creating a budget before any trip for three reasons: 1) you have a ballpark idea of how much money you need to save for your trip to meet you expectations, and 2) recording your expenses in your budget as you spend them can help you keep track of your spending and ensure you don’t run out of cash before your trip is over, and 3) writing down what you spent, when you spent it, and where you made a purchase gives you a bullet-point journal of everything you did which is super helpful if you want to go back later and journal about your adventures.

My budget basics always include the following categories:

  • Travel Expenses (I usually split these into two sub categories, primary & secondary travel expenses. Primary travel expenses include: international flights, rental car for road trips, or anything that gets you to/from your major destinations. Secondary travel expenses include:parking, gas, shorter domestic flights on international trips, taxis)
  • Accommodations
  • Food
  • Miscellaneous (sometimes I’ll split up further into categories like “excursions” or “souvenirs”)

I usually create two documents based on these categories. The first is an budget estimate like the one photo above, and the second is a where I start recording all my actual expenses as I spend money or make reservations like the template below. As I start planning my trip and locking down details, I update these documents to reflect my spending and always bring a print copy of both documents with me on my adventures so I can easily record spending even if I don’t have my laptop with me.

What are your strategies for budgeting?




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