How to plan your Travel Budget

Do you have an upcoming trip that you're beginning to plan for? Look at our overview on how to plan your travel budget for your next adventure! Traveling and seeing what our world has to offer is an adventure everyone should experience.

Ravel Team
May 28, 2023

Traveling and seeing what our world has to offer is an adventure everyone should experience. From a quick weekend getaway to a long international vacation, travel comes in many different forms. While for some, planning a trip can be exciting, it can also be stressful. Often, the biggest obstacles that people come across when planning their vacation are finding the time and money to fulfill their adventures. Here, at Ravel Trips, we can take the time for planning off your hands by having a travel expert create a detailed itinerary for you. Part of the process is understanding how to plan your travel budget. This post will discuss tips to help you determine how to plan your travel budget.

There are a lot of different factors that can determine your travel budget. Your destination and travel style are big determinants, and it ultimately boils down to what your priorities are. Once you look at where you want to go and how you want to travel, it will be easier to understand what your travel budget should be. Here are a few steps to take when setting your budget for your next trip.

Analyze your previous travel spending

calculate previous travel spending for how to plan your travel budget

If this is your first time setting your travel budget, an important step you might want to consider is analyzing how much you spent on a previous trip. While it might sound tedious, it is important to see where your money is going on your trips. Seeing a total cost for what you’ve spent on a past trip, will help you understand when you set future travel budget ranges.

Look at your previous vacation and see your total cost – from airfare, transportation, lodging, activities, food, and anything you bought or prepared for this trip. Once you add up all these amounts, you might find that you spent way more than you would’ve intended to. Or maybe it is around the amount you expect to spend, and one you are comfortable with for future trips. With this number in mind, it’ll help you decide what you want to spend or expect to spend on any future travels.

To help with the breakdown process, try using your bank’s app to find expenditures related to your trip. Then, using an excel spreadsheet, you can input what you spent, and organize into categories. In addition to seeing your total amount, you can also see what you prioritized for spending, whether it was your stay, food, excursions, etc. If you’ve never traveled before, you can analyze by looking at the section below to plan a trip and see the approximate cost.

To help me keep track of all my travel spendings, I typically put all my travel spending on one travel credit card. This makes it easier to track my spending, plus utilize the benefits that come with a travel credit card!

Start Saving

savings account for how to plan your travel budget

Once you’ve looked at your previous travel expenses in the past, you can begin to prepare for your next trip and how you want to budget. If you found that you spent more than you wanted, find ways to save and store extra money away. Plan to put away a certain amount (dependent upon your goal), from your checking into your savings. Keep a separate account for travel funds so that you don’t touch it until your next trip.

It’s easier to budget for a trip if you have travel funds that you can pull from. Whether you’re saving up for a big trip of a lifetime, or just having extra stored for a quick trip away. It’s less stressful to pull from savings dedicated to just travel rather than scrambling to come up with the funds.

As an avid traveler, traveling is important to me where I know how much I want to save up and budget for my traveling expenditures. A traveling savings account will look different for everyone depending on how important travel is to them. It’s important to look at how travel plays a part in your life, and decide for yourself what your travel savings should look like for you.

Determine what travel expenses to budget for you next trip

Now that you’ve analyzed your spending and set up a travel fund that you can pull from if needed, you’re ready to plan out your budget for your next trip! After you know your destination and what kind of trip you want, you can begin to determine some approximate costs for traveling and visiting a location. Below are the big and the small items to price out to calculate the cost. You might already know to include the bigger expenses but forget to include smaller expenses.

Big Ticket Items

big expenses to inlcude when you start to plan your travel budget

Your big-ticket items will take up most of the budget for your trip. These items include airfare, lodging, transportation, big excursions, etc. Depending on the type of traveler you are, lodging can vary, whether you want to stay in a hotel, or prefer to book an Airbnb. Also dependent on your location, you might need a rental car, or maybe purchase train tickets. Getting an approximate cost for these big factors will give you a good starting point for establishing the cost of your trip.

Smaller Items

smaller expenses to include for your plan for your travel budget

While your big-ticket items can take up a majority of your cost estimate, it is important to also include the smaller expenses. Even though individually, they might not seem like a big impact, added together, they can add up on your vacation. These costs can easily cause you to go over budget if not factored initially. Some of these smaller items include smaller activities (usually varies from your big excursions), food and drink, souvenirs, etc.

Remember, the breakdown of these items are to help you get an approximate cost of your trip. It is not necessary to spend a lot of time going into detail to get an exact dollar amount for your trip. Having an approximate cost and what you would need to budget for a trip, can help you decide whether this destination or type of travel works for you. The next section talks about flexibility and how you can help achieve your travel goal without canceling your trip altogether if it is one you can’t budget for.

This part can help you realize where your priorities land when traveling. I love to splurge on my hotel stay so that I can be in the center of all the major activities, and this will usually bring my ridesharing or car rental cost down overall. Knowing what you want to prioritize on your trip can help you decide what you need to budget more for.

Importance of Flexibility

flexibility when it comes to planning your travel budget

Travel does not have to cost you an arm and a leg just to get out and explore the world. There are many ways you can find ways to save or reduce the cost of your trip just by being flexible. Sometimes, there are certain things you can’t budge on, travel dates, lodging, or certain excursions. But if you are in a situation where you can be flexible, you’ll find that you can reduce your overall cost.

Flying to certain destinations during shoulder seasons can reduce flight prices instead of traveling during high season. And even down to the day you fly out, certain days can be cheaper to fly. It's also worth comparing the costs of staying in a hotel or Airbnb as sometimes one can give you a better price than the other. You’ll find that if you can budge and compare on certain elements, you can find ways to bring down your travel expenses. Google flights is a great tool to compare costs of flying during different days and months of the year.

If you find that even after making small changes, you are falling short of what your travel budget is, increase your range of flexibility. Changing the location of your travel destination can greatly impact your overall budget. Ravel Trips can help you choose destinations where you will not lose out on important experiences, while staying in your travel budget.

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