How to budget for your holiday (with your FREE spreadsheet)

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Budgeting can be hard and confusing. Believe me, I know! Luckily for me Isaiah is great at it! So here’s our guide for how to budget for your next trip, so that you don’t need to get a loan, increase your debt or run out of money half way through your trip! You CAN do this! Here’s how…

1 | Break it down into categories and start a spreadsheet

Start with breaking your trip down into your main spending type. This is so that when you get to researching you can do it systematically and don’t miss anything major! Here are the areas we suggest, but add other major spending areas if you’ve got a more specific trip planned (for example, gifts for family and friends).

  • Travel
  • Accommodation
  • Food and Drinks
  • Activities
  • Visas and Licensing
  • Extra Gear and Clothing
  • Spending Money

Get a spreadsheet started. This will help keep track of costs, it’s easy to look at from your phone if needed in an emergency and will calculate total expected costs for you. Here is a great free one that we created especially to help you! It’s already all formatted so you can just move right onto the next step! And we’ve even added in a section which will help you save for your trip.

2 | Break it down further with specifics

Now have a think through each area on the spreadsheet and put in specifics. The more specific you can be in your budgeting the better outcome you’ll have.

  • Travel. What mode of transportation are you aiming for, for each leg of your journey? This will greatly impact your budget (i.e. flights are usually more expensive than buses, but are also quicker – so you decide). What type of transportation are you willing to travel in? Is it a bus or hire car? Train or flight? Make sure you’re going through each major leg of the journey and adding it to your budget.
  • Accommodation. Think realistically about what type of accommodation you’re looking to stay in… 5 star hotels for a month is going to be expensive whereas hostels mean you’re sharing facilities and space. So what works for you? If you’re going for any length of time, you could consider WWOOFing where you get accommodation and sometimes food in exchange for a couple of hours work each day. On our upcoming 6 month Europe trip, we’re definitely planning to do this. There is a great cost benefit but we are also excited to get to know the locals!
  • Food and Drinks. Hint: to keep costs down don’t expect to eat out every day for every meal (this gets expensive even in more affordable countries). Rather you could budget for one meal out a week… make it a date night or something fun. We suggest talking about this with your partner, make sure you’re both on board and it will mean you both have the same expectations for the trip (happy couple = happy travel!). Go to the local markets for fresh produce or the grocery store and stock up for each leg in your trip! This is especially cost effective when you’re travelling as a pair. Don’t forget to add tips based on the country you’re travelling too.
  • Activities. Whether it’s zip lining in New Zealand, getting a massage in Bali or seeing the Colosseum in Rome it’s going to cost something. Put the major activities in the budget.
  • Visas, insurance and Licenses. Are you going to be hiring a car or scooter? If so, you need to make sure your licence is valid and get a country-specific one if it isn’t.. Also check with the country’s consulate or official website for what visas you need and when or where you can get this. Having the right visa for your trip can depend on the passport you are travelling on, the length of time you intend on staying in a country, and the main reason for your trip. Travel insurance is also very important!
  • Extra Gear and Clothing. Are you going somewhere wet or cold? You’re going to need some great boots and a jacket, which aren’t cheap! Think through where you’re going, what you’re doing and what items of gear or clothing you’re going to need to buy or hire. Put these in the budget!
  • Spending Money

3 | Research approximate costs

Once you’ve set out your specific cost areas in groups and listed the major things in each area you’ll need to research average costs of each of these things. Remember this is just to give you a realistic cost prediction for how much you need to have to go on your dream trip! You can absolutely readjust these as you go. Put these amount in the spreadsheet as you go. We also suggest adding 10% to your budget for surprise expenses and emergencies.

4 | Start saving!

At the bottom of the spreadsheet there are spaces to input how much you can realistically save per week and it will use all the information you’ve inputted and calculate how many weeks it will take you to save for your trip! You’ll be on your way to your dream holiday in no time!

We hope you find this helpful! Let us know where you’re planning to have your next vacation!

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