A Life Engaged

Travel Budgeting Part 1: Trip Expenses

The stuff no one wants to talk about. From time to time we meet people in our lives that take round-the-world trips or hop from country to country seemingly without a care in the world. We often ask ourselves, how on earth can they afford to do it? But we’re too afraid to ask. In this three-part series, we will walk you through how to financially plan for a trip:

1) Budgeting trip expenses

2) Pre-trip expenses and ongoing bills

3) Tips on how to reach your savings goals

In this post we will give guidelines to outline your trip expenses and start your travel budget. At this point, you should have a general idea for your trip including purpose, destination and number of days abroad. If you don’t have those outlined yet, start here.


Travel Style

One of the most important factors when considering your budget is to first decide on your travel style. This will be important to keep in mind for the entirety of your trip to make sure you stay on track. Will you be staying exclusively in hostels or will you want to splurge now and then on a hotel? A Life Engaged believes in traveling on a conservative budget and our posts will focus on this style of travel. For accommodations, we have stayed at a mixture of hostels, guesthouses, AirBNB apartments and budget hotels. We split most of our meals but never skimp on desserts or mid-day snacks.

Our series will help you plan for the following travel style:

  • Hostels
  • Airbnb apartments
  • Occasional cheap hotels
  • Street food
  • Moderately priced restaurants
  • Bus travel
  • Ride sharing
  • Occasional train travel
  • Occasional air travel

We will have more posts on how to save once on the road. For now, a general idea will help you start your budget.

Travel Inspiration Quote


One of the best ways to estimate your budget is to break up your trip by region. Try and create an average cost for each region: Southeast Asia, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, etc. Below are some examples to get you started.

  • Southeast Asia = $40/person/day
  • Western Europe = $75/person/day
  • Eastern Europe = $60/person/day
  • United Kingdom = $80/person/day
  • Australia & Oceania = $80/person/day

There are many different resources out there for estimating your travel costs. We have used BudgetYourTrip as a general guide, but typically subtract about $10-$20 per day per person as traveling as a couple enables us to save on meals and accommodations. Download this spreadsheet and adjust based on your specific trip as a starting point.

[embeddoc url=”http://alifeengaged.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Budget-by-Region-by-Day2.xlsx” download=”all” viewer=”microsoft”]

What these daily budgets include

The daily budgets laid out above include the following:

  • Food
  • Accommodations
  • Intercity travel
  • Cross country travel
  • Moderate activities/sightseeing

Extra Activities

Based on the exercises provided in our previous blog, you should have some activities lined out. Are there any bucket-list or other activities you wish to experience/fulfill? It is inevitable that you will want to take specific excursions that are unique to a country or region on your trip. Sometimes these big-ticket items like skydiving over the Swiss Alps, may cost you some serious cash so make sure to consider these activities when planning. List these activities out as separate items when budgeting. You may find that you need to prioritize or cut some of the more extravagant activities to reach your overall budgeting goals of the trip.

You can continue to read and build your budgeting spreadsheet with Part 2: Pre-Trip Expenses. These are often forgotten costs that are important to keep in mind when creating your travel saving budget. Drop us a note if you have any questions – we’re here to help. Happy calculating!