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Stop Overspending! How to Travel on a Budget in 2023!

Introduction: 

Have you ever came back from your dream vacation, just to dread, or even avoid looking at your bank account? 

Or worse, you had to cancel your vacation because you realize your trip is way out of your budget? 

Well, you’re not alone. In fact, every traveler experiences concerns on how to travel on a budget. 

But, you may be think that it’s too complicated or overwhelming to start saving money and budget for your trip. 

But I assure you that it’s easy to save money and travel in a budget friendly way!

We will break down every core travel cost and how to budget for your traveling preferences. Plus, you can learn some of the best budget travel tips to keep your trip adventurous and cost’s low. 

So let’s break it down in an extremely easy for you to understand and use the next time you travel!

How to travel on a budget

Summary: Cost Breakdown for How to Travel on a Budget:

Daily Budget While Traveling: 

(Money Saved – Core Travel Expenses) / Number of Days Traveling = Daily Travel Budget

Breakdown of the estimated percentage of your core traveling expenses: 

Core Traveling Costs% of Your Budget
Lodging:20-25%
Transportation:20-22%
Travel Insurance: 1-3%

Estimate for How to Travel on a Budget:

  • Accommodations: 25%
  • Transportation (Flights, Local Transport, etc.): 22% 
  • Food and Drinks: 17%
  • Activities (Tours, Entrance Fees, Excursions, etc.): 19%
  • Souvenirs and Shopping: 6%
  • Emergency Fund: 5%
  • Travel Insurance: 4%
    • Cost can vary depending on coverage
  • Miscellaneous (Local SIM cards, toiletries, etc.): 2%

Understand Your Travel Priorities

What do you value most in your travels? Traveling should be a fun vacation for you to enjoy and splurge yourself on (you deserve it)!  Do you enjoy luxury views at an exclusive resort or do you prefer to share a dorm room with other budget travelers to save money? 

To identify your travel priorities, ask yourself:

  • What experiences make your trips memorable?
  • Do you prefer luxurious comfort or to save as much money as possible ?
  • Which travel memories make you the happiest?
  • Exotic adventures or quality time with your friends?

There is no right answer. 

But by being realistic with yourself, you can understand what you want to gain or enjoy the most out of your vacation, so you can set realistic expectations for yourself. 

Decide Where You Want to Go

Dream about where you want to travel. Then be realistic and research the potential cost of the trip.

Keep in mind that the place you choose will have a major influence on how much money you will spend. 

But don’t let the travel cost stop you from enjoying your dream vacation, as there are plenty of amazing travel destinations on the cheap

Set a Budget

Now that you know your travel priorities and where you want to go, it’s time to start setting a budget. 

EHHH….

I know, I know. But stay with me. 

We will easily break down how much of your budget you should estimate for your core traveling expenses. 

Percentage of estimate travel costs
Percentage of estimate travel costs

Estimated Breakdown of Core Traveling Expenses: 

Core Traveling Costs% of Your Budget
Lodging:20-25%
Transportation:20-22%
Travel Insurance: 3-4%

Estimate For How to Travel on a Budget:

  • Transportation (Flight costs, Local Transport, etc.): 22% 
  • Accommodations: 25%
  • Food and Drinks: 17%
  • Activities (Tours, Entrance Fees, Excursions, etc.): 19%
  • Souvenirs and Shopping: 6%
  • Emergency Fund: 5%
  • Travel Insurance: 4%
    • Cost can vary depending on coverage
  • Miscellaneous (Local SIM cards, toiletries, etc.): 2%

So once you know how much you should aim for your overall trip budget. Here’s how you can break down your daily budget:

Daily Budget While Traveling: 

(Money Saved – Core Travel Expenses) / Number of Days Traveling = Daily Budget For Your Preference style traveling

This gives you a clear idea of how much you can spend on your activities, food, shopping, and any other preference style traveling costs. 

By checking your expenses every couple of days, you can avoid a high bill at the end of the trip and reduce your overall financial stress and anxiety when traveling. 

Calculate Your Core Travel Expenses: 

Budget For Lodging

Accommodations and transportation are often one of the biggest expenses when traveling and can take up most of your total traveling budget. 

But you should try to aim for your lodging to be 20-25% of your overall travel budget. 

Of course, your budget may change based on your traveling style from cheap to luxurious.

If you want to travel on a budget look into staying in hostels or a cheap hotel room. 

In hostels, you pay per night typically in a dorm style room. Hostels are great for solo or budget travelers. They are extremely affordable, in central locations, and you can meet other cool travelers. Some hostels even offer private rooms for couples or families!  

If you love to splurge on the finer things in life, then look into luxurious hotel rooms or resorts. 

If you’re traveling with a big family or group of people, then look into vacation rentals that offer a home or apartment. This is also a great way to save money while enjoying luxurious living and splitting the cost per traveler. 

Budget for Your Transportation

After your accommodations, transportation is typically the second largest expense within your travel budget. 

Decide how to travel to your intended destination. Are you going to look into cheap flights, or perhaps you’re taking a train ride.

Once you get to your intended destination, decide how you are going to move around the country. Are you going to use rental cars or take public transportation? 

Either way, aim for your transportation costs to be around 20-22% of your overall trip budget. 

Unfortunately, if you’re traveling with a family of 4 or more, your transportation expenses are going to significantly increase, as you’re naturally going to spend more money compared to a person traveling alone. 

To ensure you’re finding the cheapest flights, use tools like Skyscanner, Rome2rio, or Google Flights. 

These platforms allow you to compare prices across different modes of transportation and providers, ensuring you get the best deal possible.

Budget For Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance coverage questions to ask yourself

Have you ever lost your luggage, or had a flight canceled at the last minute? Or an unexpected illness that prevented you from traveling?

Unfortunately, these things happen. Which is why it is essential to protect your trip by budgeting for travelers insurance. 

I know it may seem like a cost that you can go without.

 But trust me, if you’re investing in a once in a lifetime trip or a well deserved vacation, you may want to ensure that every aspect of your trip is protected. 

Plus, it doesn’t have to be that much! Try budgeting around 1-4% of your overall trip’s cost. 

If you’re a solo traveler, then look into these best solo travel insurance companies

If you’re traveling with your family, then make sure your group trip is covered with travelers insurance

While you cannot prevent what life may throw at you, you can prepare for them and budget for travel insurance within your core travel expenses. 

Calculate Your Preference Style Travel Expenses 

Budget For Your Food

Of course, we all must eat to live. However, your preference style of what you love to eat will largely dictate your food budget. 

Are you a foodie and love exploring new places to eat? Eating local street food is a fantastic way to indulge without splurging. 

If you love to sit down and dine, then treat yourself to local and upscale restaurants that offer the authentic flavor of the region. 

If you’re feeding a big group of people, then I recommend looking into lodging that offer kitchen facilities and consider doing a quick run to the local market. This can be a fun experience for you to cook your own meals and enjoy your own snacks! 

Personally, I love to eat but I hate to spending money. So I book my hotel stays that offer free or included breakfast and take a couple items to go for the road. Then I save money on street food and mix in upscale restaurants a couple times throughout the trip. 

After all, you are on vacation, so treat yourself!

Budget For Your Activities

The best part of traveling is to enjoy the experiences that you are creating. While these life long memories can be created completely free, I love to do unique activities that are specific to the area. 

I truly love to immerse myself in the culture, and unfortunately, this can sometimes be very expensive. 

African safari rides, hot air balloons, paragliding (all done within the last year), you name it, I spare no expense when it comes to doing the activities that I enjoy. 

So for me, my activities take up 17-25% of my budget, and this area has the most wiggle room. 

If you want to have amazing experiences on a tight budget, then I highly recommend participating in activities in nature! You simply pay a small entrance fee to the park, and you can enjoy hiking, kayaking, rock climbing, or any other special opportunities that your destination offers. 

This ensures that you have an amazing experience, for a little money, for a full day of adventure! 

Also, if you’re visiting big cities with many major attractions, then you should get a tourist pass, also known as a city pass or discount cards. You can easily purchase them online, gain entrance to the best attractions, and most times you can skip to the front of the line. Best of all, you can save a significant amount of money when using a tourist card!!!!!! 

Stick to Your Budget:

Use Budgeting Apps: Tools like ‘Trail Wallet’ or ‘Mint’ can be your best friend. Input your expenses on the go and always know where you stand.

Every few days, take a moment to review your budget and traveling costs:

How to set your daily travel budget

Daily Budget While Traveling: 

(Money Saved – Core Travel Costs) / Number of Days Traveling = Daily Budget For Your Preference Style traveling

 No, this does not take away from the spontaneous fun. 

Instead, it allows you to be aware of your spending, so you’re not anxiously avoiding looking at your bank account, until after a huge bill comes. 

Trust me, I have been there, and it’s not fun. So now, every 2-4 days, I check my account and ensure that I am on budget, which provides me peace of mind so I can further enjoy my vacation! 

Conclusion: 

Learning how to travel on a budget is not rocket science. 

And it can apply to all types of travelers and traveling styles. Even if you spending money on fabulous luxury or have a little money in the bank, you can learn how to travel on a budget and stick to it! 

Budgeting is simple, easy, and can allow you to have a stress free trip. 

Don’t let financial hurdles hold you back. Start planning and go on your next budget travel adventure. You’ve got this and safe travels!

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