How to create the ultimate budget and savings plan for your travel

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And welcome to guide 3 of our Ultimate travel planning series, how to create the ultimate budgeting and savings plan. If you are new here, check out our summary showing you all the guides in this series.

Your trip is all planned. But before you make it official and get it booked, how much is it going to cost you? From how to make a budget and save for your trip, to useful ways to do it. This guide and its tools are full of practical tips and advice to help.

What we have covered

A few points are specific to the UK but they can be used to guide you wherever you call home. All the links we have included are from sources that we use and highly recommend. They are reliable, up to date, and in our view awesome.

So here we go, let us help you be a travel planning pro!

Your ultimate Budgeting and savings plan

67% of Brits planning on traveling abroad feared overspending, according to a survey by Travelex. But it does not have to be this way. It might not be the most exciting part of travel planning, but it is important and rewarding.

To help you when budgeting and saving for your trip we have created a tool for you to use, the Travel Pro Planner. You can use this for every trip. From short weekend getaways to dream family holidays and everything in between. As soon as you have a trip in mind it is time to start budgeting and saving for it.

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Look out for our logo throughout this post. This will guide you through the Travel Pro Planner.

Why should you budget?

A budget helps you plan for how to spend your money over a set period. It is a key part of travel planning and an invaluable tool to have in your arsenal. It helps you to:

  • Work out how much you can afford to spend
  • Plan your spending
  • Set your spending limits
  • Stay within your limits

Why have a savings plan?

A savings plan helps you to save your travel budget before you leave. It gives you:

  • A way of working out what you can afford to save and when
  • A way of tracking your progress
  • A sense of achievement when reaching your goal
  • Peace of mind knowing that you have saved the money to cover your trip ahead of time

What’s in a travel budget?

A calculator would be needed to work out your budgeting and saving goals.

Every part of your trip should be included when creating a travel budget. Budgeting for all these in advance avoids any unexpected trip costs. These include:

  • Accommodation: where you plan on staying during your trip, including any accommodation needed before your departure.
  • Experiences: All activities, excursions, and entertainment, everything you want to see, do, and experience on your trip.
  • Food and drink: including all meals, snacks, and drinks.
  • Fuel: getting you to and from the airport/train station, or, when renting a car while at your destination. The RAC has a good calculator to estimate fuel costs within the UK.
  • International calling costs and data roaming: any costs for using your phone abroad. Speak to your provider for a breakdown of these costs.
  • Parking: for your car at the airport/train station or your rental at your accommodation.
  • Passports: cost for new applications or renewals for you and your family (for further details see our essentials guide).
  • Shopping: anything needed to be purchased before your trip, holiday clothes, sun cream, and toiletries.
  • Souvenirs: how much spending money you want to take with you.
  • Tipping: customary in some countries and should be budgeted for as can be up to 20% of your total food bill.
  • Transport: any form of transport that you will be using while on your trip including flights, trains, buses, car rental, taxis, local transport, or transfers.
  • Travel insurance: one of the most important purchases of your whole trip (for further details see our essentials guide).
  • Vaccinations: can add up to a pretty penny (for further details see our essentials guide).
  • Visas: a legal requirement that could incur an additional cost for each traveling guest (for further details see our essentials guide).

Creating your plan

You can use our directory for links to the sites we use for budgeting and saving for our trips. These sites include Trip Advisor for accommodation and Skyscanner for flights. By using sites like these you can get a rough price for all your trip costs.

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In the sections below we will give you a step by step guide on how to create the ultimate budgeting and savings plan using the Travel Pro Planner.

Step 1: your details

Your details page in Travel Pro Planner tool. That can be used when planning and booking your travel.

In the main menu select the your details button.

In your details fill out the details of your trip in the orange type here cells. This includes your family name, destination, number of guests, departure, and return dates.

The duration will update automatically once you have put these details in.

Click on the next button to get to step 2: budget.

Step 2: budget

The budget page from our Travel Pro Planner. This can be used when booking any type of travels.

Your budget

This is the first part of your journey to creating your ultimate budgeting and savings plan.

Using the list in this post above what goes in a travel budget you can start to create your ultimate budgeting and savings plan.

In the orange cells under category type the categories such as flights, accommodation, travel insurance etc.

Then, using the drop-down list under trip cost or spending money choose whether this is a trip cost (a cost before you leave) or spending money (a cost during your trip).

Finally, type in your estimated cost total for all members of your travel party under the total cost (all guests) column. 

Food and drink

We have calculated food and drink which will update automatically once you fill in the your details section of the tool.

The amount is based on an estimated average of £60 per day per guest. If you like you can change this, just type over the amount.


Tipping is updated automatically and is calculated at 20% of your total food and drink cost. You can remove or change this if needed.

If you keep both the food and drink and tipping costs, then it will be added into your total budget.

Table format

If you have any orange cells remaining and would like these removed just select those cells and press delete. These will then change to white.

When your budget is complete click on the next button to get to step 3: savings.

Step 3: savings

The savings page from our Travel Pro Planner tool. This can be used when booking any type of travel.

Total budget

Now you have completed your budget you can see the total cost of your trip, your savings goal.

You can make changes at any time to your budget. It will update your savings goal as soon as a new cost is entered.

1. saving dates

Using the date, month, and year format (DD/MM/YY) enter your saving start and end date in the orange cells under box 1.

This will then calculate how many weeks of savings you will have based on those dates.

These dates can be changed at any point allowing you to see your savings options over different time periods.

2. saving frequency

In the orange select here cells in box 2, select how often you would like to save over (day, week, month).

Once selected it will calculate how many savings you will need to reach your goal.  

3. savings over different times

Box 3 shows how much you will need to save to reach your savings goal, over the period you have set.

Here you can alter the savings time frame giving you more flexibility in your savings plan. The drop-down list in orange allows you to see yearly, monthly, and weekly savings costs for your budget over 6 months to 5 years.

4. ways to save more

Box 4 is calculated automatically from your savings goal and the period you have chosen to save over.

It gives you several quick win examples. Showing you how much more you could save based on how many weeks you are saving over. For example, if you are saving over 52 weeks, one less coffee per week in those 52 weeks could save you and extra £130 by the time you reach your savings goal date.

5. extra savings

If you can afford to save a little extra put that amount in the orange type here cell in box 5. This will then calculate how much quicker you could reach your goal if you increased your savings by that amount.

For example, if you were saving £1000 for over a year you would need to save £85 per month. If you could afford to save £15 extra a month, taking your total monthly saves to £100, you could reach your goal 2 months quicker.

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The other sheets in the Travel Pro Planner will be explained in the next post of the travel pro series: The ultimate guide to booking travel

Your savings tracker

Keep your ultimate budgeting and savings plan somewhere you can see it every day and track your progress. To help check out our savings tracker tool. It makes saving fun and something the whole family can get involved in. We have made one for the kids too, see here.

If you use these trackers divide your savings goal amount by 50. Each time you save up that amount color in a coin. For example, if you were saving £1000 each coin would symbolize £20 in the pot. For every £20 you save, color in a coin.

Ways to save

Along with cutting down on those daily trips to the coffee shop, here are a few more ways to help you save for your trip.

Track your spending

Take some time to go through your accounts to study your spending habits. Tracking where you spend your money can help you see where you are overspending. And where you could cut back. Knowing how and where you spend will help you towards your saving goals.

Cut back on spending

Once you have tracked your spending consider your wants and needs. Draw a line in the middle of a piece of paper. On the left-hand side list, your “unnecessary” spends. And on the right-hand side list, your “necessary” spends. From this place everything you already buy, into one of these two columns.

Add up the items in the “unnecessary” column. This total is what you could save a month if you cut back.

Develop new saving habits

Look into ways to form new saving habits. This could be by biking or walking to work saving you fuel or transport costs. Or instead of going out for a meal or having a takeaway you could find a new recipe and try cooking it at home.

Where you can save

Someone saving money in a small piggy bank for their trip.

By setting up a separate savings account it makes saving even easier. This way your savings can be transferred directly by standing order. And it reduces the risk of any of your savings being spent by accident. There are several savings accounts available including:

  • Bank accounts: some regular bank accounts can beat savings accounts as they can offer higher in-credit rates.
  • Easy access savings accounts: great if you need to access your money, you can put money in and out as you wish.
  • Fixed-rate cash ISA accounts: like savings accounts but any interest earned is tax-free.
  • Fixed-rate savings accounts: usually they pay you a higher rate of interest, but your money is locked away for longer.
  • Regular savings accounts: can pay high amounts of interest but normally only on small amounts.

Use a money pot

If you have loose change, or find some, you can save it in a money pot. It can add up quite quickly. Smaller pots hold up to £600 in gold coins. The larger pot holds up to £3000. A bonus that could pay for a special experience for you and your family. If you smash it before your trip you could deposit the amount into your savings account and earn interest. For current options and prices see Terramundi.

Serendipitous tip 

When budgeting it does not hurt to save a little extra, just in case. Look to add around 10% extra to your overall savings goal, for any serendipitous expenses. You can add this to your budget or save it separately. Any additional money you save is more to spend on your trip or to bring back to start your next travel savings pot.

Next steps

Budgeting and saving can be an easy and enjoyable part of travel planning and one the whole family can get involved in. The next steps in the series make your plans official: The ultimate guide to booking your travel

For all our guides in the series see the Travel planning series summary.

Thank you for reading

We hope you found it valuable. Our site and its content are for you our readers, and as such your comments are welcomed and appreciated. If you have any suggestions for future topics and content, please do share them with us.

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