Last month I provided tips on How to Choose a Travel Destination. So now that you know where you’re going, it’s time to put a travel budget in place. I’ve been on trips where I had the time of my life, but upon return, I had to face the raw reality of how much was spent and the challenge of paying it off. This can easily be avoided if you create a travel budget and plan accordingly for your trip.
There are travel apps and online budgets you can use to initiate a travel budget, such as Budget Your Trip, but if you want to keep it simple then try an Excel spreadsheet. The first thing to do is add categories to your spreadsheet. I like using the following:
- Transportation (airfare, train, bus, subway, cabs, car rental, etc)
- Gas (road trips)
- Fees (resort, check-in luggage, airport parking, travel insurance, highway tolls, pet boarding, babysitting, etc)
- Excursions (national parks, amusement parks, shows, events, tours, etc)
- Spending/Souvenirs (spa activities, gifts, memorabilia, etc)
- Tips (restaurants, hotel staff, valet, etc)
- Food – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner for each day, snacks, and/or groceries
- Drinks – I like to keep this separate because I love a good glass of wine and a bar tab can run you
- Incidentals – a cushion for those unexpected emergencies
Once you’ve determined the categories that pertain to your trip, then next research or estimate the category cost and set up another column to highlight expenses. Note that you may not have the exact amount for everything, but at least you have an estimate. Below is a sample travel budget to give an idea and to help get you started. Feel free to mix categories and have sub-categories or outline any way you see fit.Travel-Budget-Travel-Elixir
After researching and adding each expense, you now have a grand total (estimated total) of your trip. Establishing your travel budget in advance will provide time to save money – set aside a set amount each month to put towards your travel.
Also, if you plan to use a credit card, leave the cash behind. You don’t want to accidentally spend the cash intended to pay off your card.
Got any other travel tips or categories that should be added to a travel budget?
Please share in the comments below and happy budgeting!