Budget while traveling

I am a details orientated person which makes planning and maintaining my budget almost fun. I know, I know, I’m a weirdo.

For my current eight month trip I did an extensive budget. In total I had about 10,000 usd; a product of selling my car, graduation gifts, and working 60 hours a week for three months.

Using this base line I divided my budget into two parts: South East Asia and South America. I did some research on daily living costs which helped me decide how much to save for each location.

South East Asia
I put 4,000 usd aside for just over three months of travel.
I ended up spending 4,400 usd.
I spent between 35-25 dollars a day (25 dollars meant living pretty sparsely).
The 4,400 includes two major splurges: a 350 usd zip lining experience in Laos and a 800 usd divers certification in Thailand (I received both my open and advanced).

The rest of the 10,000 went to my South America trip meaning I had 6,000 dollars for just over three and a half months. Now I’m just at the beginning of my trip so I will have to update this post in May, but I have already had to adjust my original 45 dollars a day down to 30/35 dollars a day. I have a couple of major trips or flights planned during the next couple of months which I pulled out of my daily budget.

How do I make my daily budget?
To make my daily budget I put the total amount I have, subtract any major, future purchases (Machu Picchu, flight Galapagos island) and then divide the remaining total by the number of days. I then take that number and typically subtract five dollars to give me some leeway.( I always try to round down because I know there will be extra purchases)

Keeping my daily budget.

I write down everything I spend, every day (I told you I was a weirdo). Using an old check book registry (thank you Laura and Beth) I keep track of all the money I spend using five columns.

1. The first column is long and I write down the individual amounts there.
2. In the next column I write the total amount spent that day in local currency and usd.
3. In the following column I write the amount I wanted to spend (calculated based on the method above).
4. Then I put the sum of amount spent and target cost. (I subtract the money I spent with the number I wanted to spend).
5. In the final column I keep a running total of how much I am over or under my budget. (See example below)


*** Tip**
I find it’s helpful to have a general idea of how much I can spend in the local currency everyday.

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