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Ready to take the hassle out of planning and managing your vacation budget? Our online Free Travel Budget Calculator is simple, and easy to use, and can help you plan and track your vacation expenses in just a few clicks.
I’ve used these same methods and categories of expenses for every trip I’ve taken over the last 25 years. From multiple 3 month solo adventures through Europe and South America, to weeks long trips to Cuba and Vancouver Island, Canada with my family.
Now online with automatic calculations, so you don’t have to mess around with spreadsheets or hand write in printables that clutter up your home.
In this post you’ll get access to this free tool, plus, you’ll get my top tips for planning your budget effectively for your trips and how to save money on travel. All the advice you need for smarter travel planning is right here.
How to Use the Travel Budget Calculator & Try It Out!
Make sure to bookmark this page so you can come back to it anytime you need to track your vacation expenses and make travel plans.
This free vacation budget calculator will give you an estimate of total travel costs for your trip and whether your budget is enough to cover what you want to do.
It can help you identify areas you can potentially save money on trip expenses. Whether it’s choosing more budget-friendly hotels, walking or taking the bus instead of taxis, or prioritizing your top not-to-miss activities.
You can also start with your budget.
Then play around with the length of your trip, how much hotels, flights etc will cost to help you determine your price range for each travel expense as well.
- Enter 0 (zero) if there are certain categories you don’t need. The calculator will output an error ($NaN) if you don’t.
- Instructions for the calculator are below the Travel Budget Calculator, to give you an idea of what you should include under each budget item.
Vacation Budget Calculator
Enter all your estimated expenses you’ve gathered during your vacation research.
Make sure it’s actually a realistic travel budget. For a family trip with young kids, you’ll also need to factor other things like diapers, baby wipes etc.
- Travel Budget: Enter your overall vacation budget you have for this trip.
- Number of Travellers: Enter the number of people you are paying for on this trip
- Number of Nights: Enter the number of nights you will need accommodations for. This will be used to calculate hotel costs.
- Number of Vacation Days: Enter the number of days you will be on vacation. Include travel days to be safe. This will be used to calculate your overall food & drink, daily transportation and activity costs.
- Total Flight Costs: Enter the estimated total of flight costs for everyone travelling. Be sure to include any baggage fees.
- Transportation Costs: Enter the total transportation costs for the trip. This is for any major transport costs that aren’t flights like trains, city transfers, car or RV rentals.
- Daily Transportation Costs: Enter your anticipated daily transport costs. This is for things like taxis, buses, Ubers, parking costs etc, you might need to get around every day.
- Hotel Costs (Per Night): Enter the amount your accommodations will cost each night. Don’t forget to include any tips for housekeeping staff etc. you may need to pay.
- Total Tour Costs: Enter your overall total budget or cost for tours, including guide tips.
- Activity Costs (Per Day): Enter the amount you expect to spend on activities daily (do not include tours). These are for things like seeing movies, souvenirs, shopping, trips to a rec centre / pool, bowling, seeing a hockey game or a concert etc.
- Food & Drink Costs (per Day): Enter your overall daily food & drink budget or expected costs for everyone. Don’t forget to include tips.
- Miscellaneous Expenses: Enter an amount of money you will have overall for unexpected expenses or miscellaneous costs that pop up. Be sure to also include extra travel expenses not covered elsewhere.
- Travel Insurance: Enter the overall amount of money you will pay for travel insurance for everyone. This is for things like travel health insurance, trip cancellation insurance etc.
Currency Note: While the output is in dollars (uses the $ symbol), you can really use any numerical currency you’d like. Just ignore the $ symbol.
Once you hit the calculate button, you will get 4 pieces of info based on the numbers you provided:
- Total Vacation Costs: This is the estimated cost for your vacation based on the info you provided.
- Over Budget / Under Budget: This is the amount you are either over or under budget. If your expenses are over your vacation budget, it will say Over Budget and the number will be negative. If it says Under Budget, that is the amount you are under your estimated budget.
- Travel Costs Per Day: This is the amount of money your trip will cost you each day.
- Cost Per Person Per Day: This is the amount of money your trip will cost you per person, each day.
Make sure to review your results. If your over budget are there things you can do to bring the costs down? Or is there a way you can save or make more money before your trip?
Why You Need A Travel Budget
Listen, I am all for spending a little extra to do things our family doesn’t get to do at home.
But there is nothing more anxiety-inducing than running out of money on a trip, or having to pay off huge credit card bills at 28% interest because you didn’t plan ahead.
This is where a vacation budget can really help.
It doesn’t mean you can’t have fun or spend money.
Creating a budget will actually help you be able to afford your dreams. Plus be able to relax & have fun on your vacation knowing you won’t be in debt when you get back home.
The trip budget calculator will make financial planning fun, and easy.
How To Set Your Travel Budget & Determine Expenses
1. Determine Your Overall Travel Budget
First things first. Decide on your overall vacation budget or the money you are willing to spend on this trip.
When determining your overall vacation budget, you’ll want to consider a few things:
- How much money are you willing to spend on this trip?
- How much have you already saved?
- How long do you plan to go for? (more or less time can impact your budget)
- How many people will be travelling? (some places like Europe limit 4 people to a hotel room, this can significantly impact cost)
- When do you want to travel and how much time do you have to add to your vacation fund?
- How much extra can you afford to put away every week / month on top of your regular bills & household expenses?
- Is there any way you can decrease household expenses, or increase your income to add to your vacation fund faster?
Just make sure it’s a realistic budget. It doesn’t do anybody any good to use too low or too high numbers as a starting point.
2. Do Your Research
The type of trip you want to take, the length and the type of activities you want to do, will really impact your budget.
For example a week long trip to Thailand will be much different than a week in Japan, or a trip to Disneyworld.
Do some intial research to give you an idea of what your basic travel expenses will costs, so you can have ballpark figures to enter in the travel cost calculator.
You can always google average costs of living / travelling at your destination.
Careful planning is an important part of any travel budget.
3. Find Ways to Cut Costs
Unless you have a rich benefactor, or suddenly won the lottery, it’s a good idea to consider ways you can cut costs, save money and use your travel budget wisely.
Besides using our holiday budget calculator, our favourite ways to save money on travel expenses.
Transportation & Accommodation
- Find flight deals & error fares: The best way is with Going (Formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights) Flight tickets can be a big expense and make up a good portion of the total cost usually.
- Consider housesitting: Trusted Housesitters is our go-to site for housesitting around the world.
- Rent a place with a kitchen: Save money on food with a vacation rental. They can also be cheaper than renting multiple hotel rooms if you have a large family or group.
- Compare car rentals: Using Discover Cars can help you save up to 70% by quickly comparing rental cars options.
- Book early: Hotels, flights and trains are generally cheaper booked in advance. You won’t want to risk paying significantly more waiting until last minute.
- Take public transportation: If it’s safe to do so, take the local bus, or walk instead of relying on expensive taxis all the time.
General Money Saving Tips
- Travel off season or peak season: Not only is it usually much cheaper, there’s usually fewer tourists.
- Use a credit card with no foreign transaction fees: Those transaction fees can really add up. Also consider if travel credit cards with points are for you.
- Eat where the locals eat: Avoiding the touristy restuarants, and eating where the locals eat will not only save you lots of money, it will give you a more authentic look into their local cuisine and culture.
- Avoid popular destinations: The most popular touristy destinations often cost a lot of money, compared to smaller, lesser known destinations.
- Consider using travel agents: Sometimes a travel agent can find you a great deal, with much less work on your part.
- Adjust your travel style: Luxury resorts may be out of your price range. Road trips, camping trips can be just as memorable for for a family vacation.
- Plan free activities: Pick some free activities to do in between your more expensive tours, theme parks, & day trips to ancient ruins.
Final Thoughts Using The Vacation Budget Calendar
Creating a vacation budget might seem challenging, but don’t worry! Equipped with the right tools and a bit of strategic planning, your next epic adventure is closer than you think.
Using a vacation budget calculator can help guide you to make smart, affordable choices, allowing you to experience the journey you’ve always dreamed of, without stressing about expenses.
Travel can be exciting and enjoyable at all budget levels. So here’s to making memories with your family, and friends.
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