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Sample Travel Budget

Written by Jared on March 20, 2011

Download the sample budget here. This article explains how to use this sample travel budget. The article Creating a Travel Budget will help you to better understand what each category means and give a bit more explanation about the way you should use the budget.

The budget is divided into five categories: income, start up costs, reoccurring costs, one-time travel expenses and daily expenses. Breaking down expenses into these categories is necessary to keep yourself organized. It also lets you see where your money is going, giving you flexibility when things don’t go as planned. Knowing where costs can be reduced lets you absorb unknown expenses with minimal stress.

Travel budgeting spreadsheet totals column.

The first column is the big picture view and the bottom line.

Totaling your trip length in days and months lets you easily calculate reoccurring expenses. Trip length number are pulled from the daily expenses category.

Expense totals are sums of the amounts entered in those categories, further described below.

The total cost of the trip.

Enter your current, future and withheld savings numbers here.

If you’re working and traveling, fill out conservative estimates for income you may make on the road.

The bottom line. If it’s green, you’re good to go, if it’s red, you have some work to do


Sample travel budget start costs column

Start up costs include your expenses before leaving.

Gear is a major expense, especially for new travelers. Use new purchases as incentives for meeting your savings goals.

Moving out, or at least, moving on, always costs money. And don’t forget about getting back home!

Paperwork can be expensive and never ending. Best to start on this right away, both in terms of budgeting and preparing for your trip.


Sample travel budget reoccurring expenses column.

Reoccurring costs are periodic (usually monthly) expenses you’ll have to pay while you travel.

Even if you’re leaving town for a while, you still may need to pay insurance for the stuff you left behind. Plus travel/medical/gear insurance while you’re on the road.

Loans, credit card payments, pet boarding fees? All of these should be factored in.

If you have personal financial goals (and even if you don’t) you should continue to invest in your future while you travel.

The total is calculated based on the monthly total multiplied by the number of months you’ll be traveling as per the Daily Expenses category.


Sample travel budget one time expenses column.

One-time travel expenses include any big costs you know you’ll have to deal with on the road.

If you are covering long distances or frequently use private transportation, have a good idea what it costs.

Special trips or tours you do while you travel will add up. Especially in popular areas. Record estimates here.

Sample travel budget daily expenses breakdown

The daily expenses section will require more research and fine tuning than any other area of your budget. Accurately summarizing your day to day expenses across weeks or month is difficult. Although with a lot of Googling, a couple guide books and a little patience you should be able to come up with meaningful numbers.

To keep this list manageable, a “Location” in our spreadsheet usually equates to a city, state, country or other regional boundary. It is possible to factor the daily costs of an entire trip on a single row, but it’s only worth it if daily expenses are easy to average for the whole trip. If your expenses will vary a lot as you travel, make each leg of your trip a separate record in the list.

You can enter your own per diem amounts if you find that easier than dividing costs into food, lodging, transportation and spending money categories. We’re fans of dividing up our per diems. When the bottom line turns out to be red, the extra detail here lets us fine tune the numbers and alter how we’ll be spending our time at each location.

For example, if we were planning a week in a luxury wildlife lodge and our budget needed to be cut, we’d have a few options. Decide to prepare own own meals, rather than paying the resort premium. Camp instead of staying in the hotel, lowering lodging costs and potentially food costs too. Or cut some daily activities to reduce spending money. With multiple categories these items can be easily adjusted.


#1 Carolina 2012-03-22 19:43
Thank you for the sample budget ! I pulled some of your categories for my one month trip.

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