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.
The first column is the big picture view and the bottom line.
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.
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!
Reoccurring costs are periodic (usually monthly) expenses you’ll have to pay while you travel.
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.
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.
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.