This free online Travel Budget Calculator will help you to budget for a family vacation by allowing you to create your own self-calculating worksheet -- either from scratch or from a sample travel budget. You can include up to 8 categories, each with up to 10 expense items.
This budgeting tool even includes a built-in trip mileage calculator, a built-in trip fuel calculator, and 9 built-in multipliers (per adult, child, travel day, fun day, mile, etc.) for calculating the total cost of an expense from a unit cost. That way, if you make a change to a multiplier, like shorten your trip by one day for example, you will be able to see the cost difference instantly. Cool!
Plus, unlike other online budget calculators, the travel budget calculator on this page will give you the option of printing out a customized blank budget worksheet and/or a completed budget spread sheet. You can even choose whether or not you want blank lines to appear on the printed worksheet, and if so, how many blank lines.
The most important budget travel tip is to never borrow money to pay for a family vacation. Why not? Because if you continue to borrow money to pay for your family vacations you will have less and less money available for future vacations. And the more financial stress you experience as a result of the ever-increasing monthly debt payments, the more you will feel you need an escape (vacation) from the added stress, and the more you will have to borrow to escape. It's a vicious cycle that can lead to financial and emotional bankruptcy.
If you want to avoid jeopardizing future vacations, it is imperative that you create a realistic budget for your trip and then stick to your budget. This is rarely easy since traveling with credit cards is safer than traveling with cash. But unlike an empty wallet, a credit card does not provide a clear indication you've exceeded the amount you budgeted for a given expense category. Therefore, in order to make sure you stay within your travel budget limits, it's important that you keep a running tab of all of your travel spending as it occurs.
One of the best ways I have found to keep a running tab of your travel spending is to use a blank checkbook register. Simply allocate a few pages of the register for each trip expense category, and then record the budgeted amount as the starting balance for each series of pages. Next, record each expenditure as they occur into the appropriate section of the checkbook register and deduct the amount from the balance just as you would when writing a check. When the balance of a category reaches zero you know you have exhausted the funds budgeted for that category. Spending any more for a zero-balance category means you will have to either transfer funds from other sections, or increase your debt.
In order to successfully plan a budget family vacation, it's important to use your imagination for more than just imagining how much fun you will have. You also need to give equal focus to imagining how you will feel about the vacation after it has occurred. You can do that by honestly answering the following types of questions.
The bottom line is, don't be like most people who only use their imaginations to envision how much they will enjoy the "party" aspect of their actions, while failing to use their imaginations to envision the "hangover" aspect of their actions.
With that, let's use the Travel Budget Calculator to create a self-calculating, custom or sample travel budget worksheet to enable you to travel on a budget.
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Amount you have saved up for the trip: Preferably you will enter the amount you have saved up for the trip -- meaning that you will not have to borrow money from your future to pay for the trip.
Number of adults: Optional: If you want to use the built-in multiplier for adults, enter the number of adult travelers here.
Number of children: Optional: If you want to use the built-in multiplier for children, enter the number of child travelers here.
Number of nights of lodging needed: Optional: If you want to use the built-in multiplier for lodging nights, enter the number of lodging nights here.
Number of travel days: Optional: If you want to use the built-in multiplier for travel days, enter the number of travel days here. The travel budget calculator will add travel and fun days to arrive at the total number of days.
Number of fun days: Optional: If you want to use the built-in multiplier for fun days (non-travel days), enter the number of fun days here. The travel budget calculator will add travel and fun days to arrive at the total number of trip days.
Vehicle's miles per gallon rating: Optional: If you want to use the built-in trip mileage calculator, enter the vehicle mile per gallon (MPG) rating here.
Cost per gallon of gasoline: Optional: If you want to use the built-in trip fuel calculator, enter the cost of one gallon of gasoline here.
Miles: Optional: If you want to use the built-in trip mileage calculator, enter the estimated number of drive-miles per travel day and/or the number of drive-miles per fun day, plus any extra miles. Entries to these fields will be multiplied by their corresponding number of days entered above and added together to arrive at the total trip miles. Note that you can skip the first three fields and enter the total miles in the far right-hand total field. If you're not sure how many miles it is to your destination, I suggest you try the Trip Calculator at tripcalculator.org.
Estimated number of gallons of gasoline: If you have completed the prerequisite MPG and total miles entries, this line will show the calculated number of gallons of gas needed for the trip.
Cost of gasoline: If you have completed the prerequisite MPG, cost per gallon, and total miles entries, this line will show the calculated cost of gasoline for the trip. You can then enter this amount in the travel budget worksheet -- usually found under the Transportation category.
Load Sample Travel Budget Descriptions button: Click this button if you would like the travel budget calculator to populate all categories and item fields with sample descriptions.
Clear Worksheet Only button: Click this button if you would like to clear the category and item descriptions and expense amounts in the worksheet only -- leaving the multipliers in tact.
Expand All button: Clicking this button will display the 10 expense rows within each of the 8 categories.
Collapse All button: Clicking this button will hide the 10 expense rows within each of the 8 categories.
Category rows: Click the [+] button to expand this section, which will display 10 separate budget lines wherein you can enter your expected expenses for the category. If the section is already expanded, clicking the [-] button will collapse the category. You can name or rename the category as you see fit. The right hand column will show the total of all expenses entered into this category.
Expense Name column: Enter the names of each expense within this category. Rows with text in the Expense Name field will automatically be included in the printable budget worksheet regardless of whether or not amounts are entered.
Unit Cost: Enter the unit cost that coincides with the selected multiplier (person, day, mile, other, etc.).
Per column: Select the appropriate multiplier for the entered expense amount. If you want to enter a multiplier, select the Other --> option and enter the amount in the field just to the right of the selection menu. Note that in order for the multiplier to work, the corresponding entry must be made in the top section of the travel budget calculator.
Total column: This is a calculated column that displays the total of the amount multiplied by the selected or entered multiplier.
Amount you are budgeting for trip: This is amount you have saved up for the trip as entered in the top section of the travel budget calculator.
Total of all entered trip expenses: This is the total of all expenses you have entered into the travel budget calculator.
Under/-Over budget: This is the amount you are over or under budget. If the result is preceded by a minus sign, your entered expenses exceed the amount you have saved up for the trip.
Allow __ blank categories: Select the number of blank categories you would like included in the printable travel budget worksheet. The maximum number of categories that will display in the worksheet is 8. For example if you have 4 categories with entries, but would like 2 more blanks for later use, select 2 from the drop-down menu. This will include 4 completed categories in the worksheet and 2 blank categories. If you are printing out a blank budgeting form, simply select the total number of categories you would like included.
Allow __ blank rows per category: Select the number of blank rows you would like included for each category in the printable travel budget worksheet. The maximum number of rows that will display for each category in the worksheet is 10. For example if you have a category with only 4 entries, but would like 2 more blank rows for later use, select 2 from the drop-down menu. This will include the 4 completed rows, plus 2 blank rows, for each category in the worksheet . If you are printing out a blank budgeting form, simply select the total number of blank rows you would like included for each category.
Create Printable Travel Budget Worksheet button: To create a printable travel budget worksheet, click this button. This will open a printer friendly window displaying your current travel budget worksheet.
Reset button: If you would like to restore the travel budget calculator to its original state, click this button.