Table of Contents
Budgeting wrong your vacation can be a real nightmare. It could prevent you to truly enjoy them, and in some cases, even take you back home sooner than expected.
That is why we have created the vacation cost calculator, to make sure that never happens to you. Keep reading to learn how this works and also to learn some useful tips and techniques for how to budget a trip.
When you want to plan a trip, there are actually 2 different ways to approach it:
- Plan your trip according to your budget. This means that you will need to know what is your budget before leaving and choose a destination and travel style accordingly.
- Plan your trip according to your destination. Sometimes you simply want to go to a place. In that case, you need to know how much you are going to need to travel to that place with the travel style you want.
Either way, you need to know your budget. We’ll explain you how to make it with the vacation cost calculator later.
In order to create your travel budget, there are several factors you need to consider.
The most important one is your travel style. This means what kind of accommodations are you looking for: are you planning to stay mainly in hotels or maybe hostels. Same for the food, eating local food in local places will bring your price down considerably compared to eat on restaurants every day. So you need to think about what kind of trip you want to do to get a better estimation of your costs.
As mentioned before, in order to perfectly budget your trip you need to know where are you planning to stay.
If your plan is going to camping or hostels, definitively your budget accommodation will go down.
The best way to have an idea of the exact budget you need for accommodation is to do a bit of research ahead. To do that, just go into the options we give you below according to your travel style and check out the prices on your planned destination on your selected dates.
If you are a budget traveler, we recommend you to check here in Hostelworld, since the offer for budget accommodation is bigger.
Otherwise, just use booking to have a quick estimate:
With transportation we mean how are you planning to move internally. Are you taking internal flights or renting a car? or are you moving around with public transportation?
As you can imagine, those factors have a big impact on your budget. And the more you move the most expensive it will be.
We love to take the time to explore the places we visit. By doing that you won’t only cut on travel expenses, but you learn a lot more about how locals live and get to know all those hidden gems you will miss otherwise since you have the time only to cover the highlights, normally being hot spots.
This can be a tricky one though. If you are visiting a place with many islands or need to cover huge distances, a flight might be your best option. So we really recommend you to plan thoroughly your itinerary to have a much better estimation. By no means we are saying not to have flexibility, you should always allow a margin for that. But with a better understanding of the places you want to explore, you will not only have a more pleasant experience, but you will also be likely to cut your travel expenses.
If you need to book a flight, using these tips can help cut down the costs:
- Always use an incognito or private window in your browser. In most of the browsers, you can simply do this by clicking on the “file” tab and selecting this option.
- Book the flights on a Tuesday morning. So far, we have seen most of the best deals by booking on Tuesdays mornings.
- Avoid traveling during weekends if possible. One day up or down can have a massive price different
- Last but not least, be open-minded and you can find amazing deals. Want to know how? Skyscanner made it easy. Click here, and on the fare finder, where it says “from” enter from where you are leaving, and in the “to” field select “everywhere”. Then just simply put your dates and wait for the magic!
Finally, to have an idea of how much your travel expenses will be, we recommend you to check our travel resources. There you will find the best deals and resources you need to plan any trip. And the best is all on a single page so you don’t have to lose any time looking around.
Like most of the other factors, the food will depend on where you normally eat.
If your plan is to go regularly to restaurants, you will be much more than if you go for street food or local places.
Maybe the easiest thing to do with the food is to look for the right balance. Maybe eat something fast and cheap while you are visiting a place, and when you stop for dinner you can to a restaurant.
The best way to have an estimation for your food expenses is by checking on Tripadvisor restaurants. This way, you will not only find the best restaurants people recommend but also can filter by cheap eats or local food. Most of the time, you should be able to find some prices reference or even the menu to give you an idea of how much you will need to budget for your food.
When it comes to entertainment can be more complicated to budget. The reason is that most of the time we do not really know what we want to do until we actually arrive at our destination.
There will be instances where you actually travel because you want to do or see something in particular. In that case, is easy to check the price of that by simply asking google.
But if you do not know if you will do something or no, something we always do is to add an extra 10% of the total cost of the expenses between accommodation, food, and transport.
However, GetYourGuide might be able to help you with that. Not only to have a cost estimation but also to discover some cool activities and things to do in your destination.
Although you have to take all the previous points into account, remember that there are some other expenses to consider.
This would be things like special clothes you need, visas, immunizations, etc.
The easiest way to check all you need for your destination is by simply getting our Free Trip Planning Toolkit. In there, you will not only find the cheapest resources to plan your trips but also all the relevant information. Like how safe it is, do you need a visa or not, which vaccinations you may need and much more.
We have spent a long time collecting all these resources to plan our trips, and now we are giving them to you for free! So take advantage of it. You can download it from here.
What if my trip is a short one and I just want a quick cost estimation?
If your trip is only a 3 or 4-day trips, you might want something quick and a bit less elaborated. In that case, a rule that normally works pretty good is to find the average price of the accommodation per night and multiply x3 (to cover food, transportation, and entertainment).
Let me explain this a bit more. So for example, if you are traveling to Vietnam and the average cost of a hotel where you would stay is $9, you multiply it 3 times as an estimation for the rest of the expenses. So it will be $9 x 3= $27. That would be the average cost per day in your destination.
The reason behind it is because the accommodation is normally the highest expense. So by doing this calculation, you can have a pretty quick cost estimation for your trip. Again, this will really depend on activities you want to do also but is a good starting point.
If your trip is longer than 5 days or you want to have total control of your budget, then you should really consider the vacation cost calculator. But we’ll talk about it further down.
A good practice to become a master budgeting your trips is to track your expenses. You will soon learn from experience when visiting similar countries.
There are many ways to do this, but the easiest might be simply with a phone app. The one we used and works great and is easy to use is Money Manager.
To track your expenses properly you should be committed and spend the time to fill it at least every night to make sure you don’t forget the prices. This will help you to understand better where your money is going and where you tend to spend more. We actually used this method before leaving to travel around the world for a year to understand better where to cut expenses.
If you want a pretty accurate estimation, then your best option is with no doubt the vacation cost calculator.
What is the vacation cost calculator?
Is a spreadsheet with a lot of formulae that will provide you with a lot of information to properly budget any trip. To fill this, you just need to do a bit of the research given below and it will put all the numbers together for you.
The amazing thing about this spreadsheet is that we created it to know how long until we could travel the world for a year. This was considering what we could save per month, our current savings, our saving plans and all against the total cost of our trip. Then we engineered it to show all the numbers we were interested in.
As you can imagine, budgeting for a 6 days trip, has nothing to do with a 1-year trip or even a one month trip. There are too many factors to consider and all the things explained before can become really hard to put together for long trips. That is why we created this helpful spreadsheet where you only need to fill the blanks and it will calculate all for you.
This is a powerful tool that you can use to budget all your trips accurately. The only thing you need to know is that this or any other tool or estimation will never work unless you really budget your trip realistically. This means, that you will really end up staying in the kind of accommodation you budgeted and eating in places you budgeted for.
In our case, it was absolutely accurate with a slip of $2 or $3 maximum for each location. To me, that was quite impressive.
It does require a bit of work if you have a big trip, but we can guarantee you it will pay off quickly with the amount of money you can save when doing it properly.
Summarising, the vacation cost calculator is for you if:
- You are planning a long trip (over 7 days)
- You want to be as close as possible to the real cost of your vacations
- You want a tool to budget all your trips from now on.
- You want to have total control on how much time you need to save X amount of money for your next trip
- You don’t want to come back home from your trip before because you did not budget properly
It is not for you if:
- You don’t want to spend any time researching the cost of the different factors
- Your vacation is really short. Although if you want to know the real cost, might still help
What is in the vacation cost calculator?
Is a single spreadsheet with 3 tabs where you can find
Failing in budget your trip properly can result in your ending your holidays sooner than expected. Or also missing the opportunity to do some more things.
So take the time and do a bit of research and you will not only learn a lot more about your destination, but it will prevent you to spend more!
Do you guys have any other tips for budgeting your trips? Let us know in the comments below!