How to Calculate Your Travel Expenses Properly

Vinnie VanGO likes to splurge every now and then and has trouble sticking to a budget when he travels. So he asked expert Berta Melder for her advice:

Many of us like to travel because it’s a fun and exciting way to escape our everyday stresses. People want to forget about their troubles for a while and take a break, however, planning a travel budget doesn’t seem relaxing and fun. According to research by the American Psychological Association, money is the most common reason why Americans feel stressed out, and it’s the main concern for most people who want to see the world.

Some people think that the solution is obvious — it’s enough to use a credit card and you won’t need to worry about unforeseen expenses. The truth is that such an approach may cause you even more problems, increasing a financial burden and leading to a considerable anxiety when you finally see the bills that need to be paid. Is there any other way to make your dreams come true? The answer is yes — all you need to do is plan your vacation budget wisely, without cutting the necessary expenses but also being able to keep your priorities in order.

The Basics of Travel Planning

Perhaps, the best way to plan your budget is to draw up a list of the necessary expenses. When calculating your budget, you should take into account travel expenses and entertainment expenses — that’s how much money you need to have in order not to stress out. If you’re planning a business trip, then your necessary and ordinary expenses are deductible.

The most common types of travel expenses are baggage fees, airfare or bus fare, meals, car rental or taxi services, hotels, telephone, Wi-Fi, and tips. As for the entertainment expenses, think of whether or not you’re going to visit nightclubs, restaurants, sporting events, theaters, etc. If some categories have a high priority for you, we suggest looking for prices and reviews on the internet so that you can understand what you can actually afford. If you see that the entertainment costs are too high, think of other kinds of activities. Don’t forget that there are many affordable or even free things to do in any city.

How to Stick to Your Travel Budget

Evaluate your current expenses and think of whether or not you can cut them

You have to figure out what makes you spend most of your money. It will help you understand what you’re doing wrong and what you’re doing right. Just track all your expenses for at least a month. If it seems to be a hard task, try using apps like Clarity, which help you monitor main expenses, including your favorite streaming services or electronic bills.

Invest in your travel fund

Some people even have a particular account for their travel fund. The best way to organize such an investment is to create an account that is not easy to withdraw from. You can also try various apps, for example, Acorns. It rounds up your purchases from a debit or credit card and puts the remaining money in another account.

Don’t spend too much on food

Many people love to treat themselves, and there’s nothing wrong with it. However, you don’t need to order huge steaks and to drink expensive wine every night. Don’t skip breakfasts if you have them in your hotel. Go to the nearest grocery store and buy some snacks instead of going to a restaurant. Another great way to spend less is to talk to the locals and ask about their favorite restaurants. Most likely, you’ll find some affordable places with delicious food.

How to Calculate Your Travel Expenses

1. Start with the cost of transportation

Usually, transportation is the largest part of the total travel costs. It may be a price of your plane or bus ticket, however, if you’re driving, you have to calculate the necessary amount of gas and the cost of the rental, if you need it. Evaluate the overall distance, divide it by the fuel economy of your car, and multiply this number by the average cost of fuel. Don’t forget that if you rent a car, the company will charge you a fixed price per mile and you’ll also need to pay for car insurance.

Don’t forget to factor in the the cost of getting to and from the airport! Vinnie knows that the safest, most economical and earth-friendly way to begin and end your trip is with GO! GO offers shared rides, private vans, limos and SUVs. All GO’s drivers are trained professionals and directionally savvy! You can alway trust GO to get you to and from the airport in style, comfort and on time!

2. Calculate all the other costs

Along with the cost of transportation, you should think of how much you will likely spend on food, lodging, parking, etc. If you’re driving, keep in mind that some routes imply paying tolls. You also should consider such indirect costs as government taxes, road maintenance, land use, pollution, and accidents. We suggest using a simple formula that will help you estimate those kinds of indirect costs: multiply the number of miles by .05 cents (or multiply the number of kilometers by .01 cents).

3. Calculate the cost of your vacation

When you take time off work, it means that you earn less. This factor is very important but also quite easy to forget. Calculate how many hours you’re going to miss and multiply this number by the amount of money you earn per hour. You also have to add this number to your travel expenses.


Vacations can be quite expensive, but you can always afford a trip if you plan your travel expenses in advance. Find more information about your destination, think of what is most important to you and set priorities. Explore a new city and look for affordable restaurants popular among the locals. Plan all your trip in advance, take into account indirect costs and possible difficulties, and you won’t have any problems with calculating the expenses.

About the Author

Berta Melder is a content strategist and co-founder of the Masterra professional content writers. Specializing in brand management, she cooperates with different education courses covering a broad range of digital topics as a guest lecturer. Enjoys creative writing and blogging. Follow her on Twitter.

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