Let me introduce to you my to-go travel tool.
I initially created it for myself, close friends, and family. But now I’m sharing it with you too.
It has helped me in making my travel dreams come true over the years.
📖 Table of Contents
- What the Tool Can Show You:
- How to Access the Tool:
- Why It’s Useful
- How to Sort Each Area of the List With Two Easy Steps
- How To Find Your Numbers
- How To Lower Your Expenses
- How to Save Up to 90% On Your Next Flight
- Consider Working or Volunteering While Traveling
What the Tool Can Show You:
- ⏳ How many months you have left of saving money for a trip based on your income and expenses (before, during, and after the trip)
- 📈 The impact even your small income and expenses have over time (before, during, and after the trip)
- 🔎 Give you 360-degree insights into expenses you might haven’t thought of related to traveling.
And no, I don’t ask for your email or anything else. You can download the template with one click down below.
How to Access the Tool:
- Visit this page on your desktop/laptop 💻
- Open tool (Google Sheets) 🔗
- Choose: “File” and then “Make a copy” to start editing 📝
Why It’s Useful
Planning and budgeting a trip can be a crucial part of achieving it. And with the right tool, it can help you do it as efficiently as possible.
Especially if you’re going on a longer trip (for example a world trip). Or maybe you are just like me and almost love planning as much as traveling itself.
How to Sort Each Area of the List With Two Easy Steps
- Mark the area you want to sort by first clicking the top of the values by which you want to sort.
- Go to the top menu and choose “Data” then “Sort range” and then “Sort range by column X (A to Z)” or “Sort range by column X (Z to A)”
📌 TIP: Choosing (A to Z) will sort after the lowest value first. And choosing (Z to A) will sort after the highest value first.
If You Want to Sort Columns L to R
This has to be done a little differently:
- Mark all the values in the area from L to R.
- Go to the top menu and first choose “Data” then “Sort range” and then “Advanced range sorting options”
- Select the column you want to sort by (L to R) and whether you want to sort by the lowest (A-Z) or highest (Z-A) value.
- Click “Sort”.
How To Find Your Numbers
1. Define Your Traveling Style & Budget
The four primary expenses of traveling can be categorized into:
Let’s take a closer look at each of them to find your travel style.
The point of doing this is to estimate the daily budget you’ll need for each destination you intend to visit.
And remember that one traveling style doesn’t exclude the other.
- Transportation: Mainly traveling by land by hitchhiking or public transportation
- Food: Local fooderies or groceries for cooking meals*
- Accommodation: Couchsurfing, camping, or cheap hostels*
- Activities: Free activities such as sightseeing, hiking, and occasional drinks
*Or through volunteering
- Transportation: A mix of flights and public transportation
- Food: Like a budget backpacker but with occasional restaurant visits*
- Accommodation: Hostels with an occasional private room or hotels*
- Activities: Like a budget backpacker but including typical tourists attractions and more drinks
*Or through volunteering
- Transportation: Flying premium class and above, using private drivers and taxies
- Food: Everything included fine dining and champagne for breakfast
- Accommodation: Hotels and resorts
- Activities: Most you can think of including space traveling
2. Estimate Your Daily Travel Budget
To get the best daily estimated budget for traveling in a specific country, you must research more than one source. And the more the better.
From my experience, the estimates you can find online are often optimistically low or imaginary high.
I think it’s a result of websites copying one another. And in that case, if the first source doesn’t get it right no one will.
How to Find Sources With Reliable Estimates:
- Look for sources documenting and using actual expenses from their trips
- Compare as many resources as possible to find a realistic average
- (If you’re serious): Once you’ve made your daily estimated budgets share them on specific social media forums for feedback.
I recommend using Reddit subreddits matching your destination. If you’re not familiar with Reddit here’s an example of the subreddit for traveling to Thailand.
3. Adding Safety Buffers to Your Budget (Optional)
The buffers are added to your dynamic expenses such as transport or your daily budget for each country.
This is to make sure you have a little extra cash in case you need it.
By doing so you’ll have fewer financial worries resulting in a trip with more peace of mind.
The “Daily Travel Budget Buffer” is set to 10% by default.
This is the recommended minimum. But if you want a bit more space consider making it 20%.
And the “Transport Buffer” is set to 20% by default.
Which is in the middle of the 15-25% recommended.
The price of flight tickets can fluctuate from the time you first look at them to the day you’re ready to book them. Especially if your plans change the dates in the meantime.
But it can also go the other way, resulting in more bang for your buck.
How To Lower Your Expenses
Changing the way we do things can be challenging sometimes.
But it can help a lot if we remind ourselves that if we do something long enough it eventually turns into a habit.
There’s a quote I like on this one (John Dryden):
“We first make our habits, then our habits make us.”
With this important perspective in mind, let’s take a look at the different hacks on how to save money, so you can achieve your travel goal as soon as possible.
Top 15 Money-saving Hacks That Will Help You Travel Sooner:
- Take a close look at your monthly expenses and see how much they cost over time.
When you’re looking at them from a bigger perspective, it’s easy to see that even the small things add up over time.
The trick is to remove as many nice-to-have things or choose cheaper alternatives
- Opt-in for walking, cycling, or public transport when possible instead of the car
- Go for things on sale (especially groceries)
- Eat at home and limit the amount you dine out
- Do free things such as hiking or movie nights with friends
- Experiment with avoiding alcohol for X amount of months. Not only can it be expensive to go out, but it also often indirectly leads to high spending in other areas
- Be a tourist in your city or country next time you feel like taking a trip
- Become a DIY master (for example, washing your car at home instead of visiting the car wash)
- Buy second-hand items or clothes
- Always bring a water bottle with you when leaving your home to avoid buying water
- Shop for Christmas on Black Friday
- Lower your utility bill by turning off electronic sockets you don’t use
- Bundle your cell- and internet services for potential savings
- Share streaming services with family and friends
- Always pay your bills on time to prevent fees and interest
📌 TIP: Selling the things you don't use is also an effective way to speed up your saving. Don't write off the things you think won't sell without giving them a shot. You'll be surprised what people are buying sometimes.
Get a Travel Credit Card
I would never travel without this. It’s almost as essential as clean underwear and a toothbrush.
A travel credit card will not only save you hundreds or potentially thousands of dollars in annoying fees. Some will also reward you with credits to spend on flights, accommodation, and more.
I currently use a Danish credit card (Lunar), so this one I can’t recommend you.
If you’re from the US you can find a list of the top 10 travel credit cards here (The Points Guy).
And if you’re living inside the EU, I recommend N26 if they’re operating in your country. I used them when I was living in Latvia before moving back to Denmark.
📌 TIP: Most cards also come with travel insurance if you use them to book the trip. But do notice that these are often limited to trips not exceeding 30-60 days.
Earn Credit With Your Purchases (Cashback & Rewards)
Besides a travel credit card, there are even more ways to earn from your purchases.
While it’s often not as much, it’s still free and simple.
There are a fair amount of different cashback/reward websites and services out there.
The one I use is Honey.
I’ve been able to rack up a few Amazon gift cards with them paying for a new water filter for my Grayl bottle.
I mainly earned the credits through bookings with Booking.com.
How to Save Up to 90% On Your Next Flight
Before you book your next flight, I highly recommend reading my comprehensive guide on how to save money on flight tickets (and secure the best flights).
With over 9 years of travel experience and booking 300+ flights, I’ve distilled my findings into a 19-step checklist.
By following this guide, you’ll not only gain practical knowledge on finding and securing the best flights but also potentially save thousands of dollars in travel costs.
Including how to:
- Maximize savings by looking up the best time to book flights
- Set up price alerts if the price of your tickets drops and save even more
- Earn cashback and save by using my recommended booking platforms
- Save money on extras like baggage fees through smart planning
- Discover budget-friendly hacks for your flight day and save on seat reservations and food.