how to budget for a trip

How to Budget For a Trip

I know traveling is probably the last thing on your mind right now with the coronavirus. Like many people I had to cancel my trips this year. However, now is a great time to start to budget for a future trip. I will share with you how to budget for a trip. 

As someone who has traveled and lived all over the world I have mastered the ability to budget for any type of trip. From the luxury trips, to the solo weekend trips, I have done it all. Today I’m going to share with you all my secrets and best tips for scheduling trips on a budget. 

Before you can begin to budget, you must first identify where you are going. A trip to Paris, France is going to be more expensive than a trip to Vietnam. Once you’ve identified your location, the planning and the budgeting process begins! Aka the fun part!

Calculate the Big Ticket Items such as flights, accommodations, and transportation

The biggest expense of your trip are going to be your flight, accommodations, and local transportation. I highly recommend you use google flights to try to find a flight. I always do this in incognito mode. The best advice is to be flexible if possible. Can you leave during the week? If you plan to travel on the weekends expect to pay a premium. 

The next piece of advice, is if you are going to book a hotel, then definitely book direct. Did you know sites like and expedia take 20% away from the hotels? Well I always say knowledge is power, and if you are looking to book a hotel then go directly to their website, 9 times out of 10 it’s cheaper with the same great flexibility. 

how to budget for a trip
How to Budget for a Trip

If you are booking with airbnb or an apartment rental service make sure that the place has good reviews. Try to avoid a place that has no reviews. Also, I recommend booking a place with a good flexible cancellation plan.

In most cities you can do private transportation such as Uber, or public transport. One thing I learned traveling across Europe is that each country has their own “Uber type service” For example in Spain you’ll pay a premium if you use Uber and most locals use Cabify. Search google for. “Uber alternatives in Spain” or whatever city you will be traveling too.

Prioritize the Activities

When you are traveling and on holiday there is probably so much you want to do and see. Many of these things will cost money. I highly recommend that you make a list and prioritize what’s the most important activity to the least important activity. This will ensure that when you arrive in the city you are visiting you won’t be impulsive and do a bunch of additional activities that weren’t on the list. One of the most important things when it comes to how to budget for a trip is to preplan so you don’t overspend while you are visiting the city.  

how to budget a trip
travel on a budget
how to travel on a small budget

Track Travel Expenses During your Trip

One thing that is typically overlooked is tracking expenses during the trip. I make an excel sheet like the one listed below where I show what I budgeted for the trip and actual. That way have a clear visual of what you actually spent during the trip, and will allow you to see if you can add another activity or maybe buy a souvenir from your trip. 

Before you travel make sure you have your Visa, Vaccines, Travel Insurance, and local currency  

Before you travel to your destination, it’s important to check to see if you need a special visa or vaccines for that destination. In addition, I highly recommend you get local currency. Many banks such as Bank of America offer free currency exchange. There is a 30 day waiting period, so make sure you do this in advance. If you wait until you arrive in that foreign country you will pay a premium for currency at the currency exchange counters. 

In addition, don’t forget to book travel insurance, if for whatever reason something goes wrong, at least you have insurance and have peace of mind. This is one piece of advice I highly recommend when it comes to how to budget for a trip. Before you go out and buy travel insurance though, check with your credit card to see if it’s offered. Many times credit cards have travel insurance as one of the perks for using the credit card.

Time to Start Saving or Add an additional Side Hustle

Now that you know what your expenses for a trip will be, it’s time to start saving money for the trip. I always look at planning a trip in two folds, how can I make passive income to help cover the costs of this trip, or how can I cut costs to save for the trip. One thing I limit to help me save is not buying an alcoholic drink when I go out to eat.  

If you are looking to make additional income or start a side hustle to fund your trip, I’ve written an article about 4 ideas that generate additional income from home!

Recap on How to Budget for a Trip

In short when it comes to how to budget for a trip I highly recommend you follow these steps. Figure out the total cost, and then start saving / add an additional side hustle to generate income. First, Identify the big ticket items such as flights, then prioritize the most important things you want to do, don’t forget to track your expenses during your trip,

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