How to Create a Travel Budget

One of the biggest barriers for many people is the cost of travel. It is perceived to be something that only the wealthy can afford and seemingly unattainable by many. This is a misconception that I bought into for quite some time. I would dismiss my inability to travel because of my income all the time. I wasn’t until I started making my trips a daily priority that I discovered I had been lying to myself about what was keeping me from traveling.

Here are the steps you can take to break past this mindset and take actionable steps toward your dreams of travel.

1. Get honest with yourself about what your monetary priorities are. This goes beyond the basics of shelter, food, basic savings, etc. After you have taken care of your NEEDS, where is the left over money going to? Going out with friends? New clothing? House decor? This will show you where you are currently prioritizing your spending.

2. One of the first steps to planning any trip is to figure out your budget. Sit down and do the research. A great place to start getting a ballpark estimate about how much a trip will cost is by visiting

I firmly believe you can visit any place on a budget, it just takes the right planning.

From there it is time to put on your research hat and pull out your spreadsheet. Start with the basics: plane ticket, lodging, transportation, meals, and attractions. Research the cost of each of these items. It’s ok if they are estimates, especially on items that can fluctuate, just make sure you are estimating on the high end. From there give yourself an allowance amount for items like souvenirs and then finally add a budget for unexpected costs. They almost always happen on every trip so you might as well account for them now.

This will give you a total budget for your trip. You now have a real, solid goal that you can work towards.

Here is an example of my budget for my 2018 trip to Tokyo.

3. Divide the total budget of your trip by the number of months until you want to take your trip. This is how much you need to save each month to hit your goal. Now you will need a place to store your travel funds, I recommend looking into a high-yield savings account so that your money grows while you wait to go on your trip. Name that account the destination of your trip for added incentive! Need help picking a HYSA? Check out this article.

4. Finally here’s what I have found helps me the most to save for my travels: As you go about your daily spending and you are tempted with purchasing a new shirt or going out for a meal you can look at your spreadsheet and say to yourself, “If I spend that $25 on a top, that’s the same price as what I have on my budget for tickets to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower.” You will now be able to put your spending in perspective of your travel goals and decide if that shirt is worth delaying the trip your have been saving for.

And finally, once you have decided you’d rather not buy that top now, take that money and put it away for your trip – immediately.

If you are interested in some advanced techniques for saving money on your travels check out my blog posts about finding cheap flights and how I responsibly use credit cards to fund my wanderlust.