How We Have Stuck To Our Budget While Traveling For Over Two Years



Making a budget and actually sticking to that budget are two completely different things. Staying within your budget is hard to do at home. Add some traveling to that, and the task becomes nearly impossible. But you can do it! Sticking to your travel budget doesn’t have to be as hard as it sounds!



While preparing to backpack through South America, we learned a lot about budgeting our money. We aren’t big spenders, and we like to believe we spend our money wisely, but we still needed a travel budget. Budgeting money for us started long before we hit the road, and we carried over a few budgeting ideas into our travels. Check out our travel prep budget, and continue reading this post to find out how you can stick to your budget while traveling.




We’ll be the first to tell you that you don’t have to be a millionaire to travel. Yes, to travel you do have to have some money. However, it’s probably not as much money as you may think.


When we were backpacking in South America, we were living at right around 300 USD per week for two people… We’re talking roughly 20 USD per day per person including transportation, accommodation, food, and even a few tours!


Could we have traveled for less than that?? Yes! And we sometimes did, but we definitely can’t travel for free – at least not all the time. While we sometimes spent more per week than our budget allowed, we also sometimes spent less. Always making sure our budget balanced out to 300 USD per week.


Our top secret is to not let your money determine what you can or can’t do. If you need to spend more one week, that’s okay.. just make sure you spend less than your budget the next week! Check out this post to find ways to save money abroad.





Before you set a budget, you need to decide how long you want to travel and determine how much money you want to have when you’re done traveling. Whether you’re traveling for six months or two weeks, figuring out these two things is a must! After figuring out how much you can spend, subtract the amount your flights will cost. This will be completely different depending on where you’re traveling.


{Traveler’s Tip… We’re working on a post about how to find cheap flights! Subscribe to our weekly newsletter and you’ll be the first to get it when it’s ready… And FYI… It’s going to save you loads! 🙂  In the meantime, check out HacktheFlight to find some killer flights!}


Alright, now you have what you can work with for your travels. Take the total amount of cash, divide it by the duration of your traveling, and there you have it… your daily traveling budget. Are you confused yet?! 😉  Maybe it will make more sense in equation form!


Travel Budget Equation Time

(Total Money) – (Desired Savings) = (Travel Money)

(Travel Money) – (Flight Costs) = (Travel Budget)

(Travel Budget) ÷ (Travel Duration) = (Daily Travel Budget)

(Daily Travel Budget) x (7) = (Weekly Travel Budget)


If traveling long term, we highly suggest doing a weekly budget… it’s much more realistic to keep a weekly budget rather than a daily one.


The biggest thing we have learned about budgeting money is that a travel budget should be a guideline to traveling. Use it as a guideline, and it’s easy to stick to. If you think the world is going to fall apart once you go over your budget (which trust us, at times you will), then you’re going to be feeling like budget traveling is impossible! Having a weekly budget allows you to make up for the extra expenses throughout the week, instead of day by day!





Here’s the deal… Like we said above, we didn’t always stick to 300 USD per week. Sometimes we had to spend more due to transportation costs or for things like the killer wine cycling tour we did, however, the important thing was making up for that extra expense.


When we knew we had bigger spending coming up, we ate things like lentils, rice, and avocado for dinner instead of a fancier meal or going out. (BTW..great combination – and avocado was super cheap!)  We hitchhiked for a month before getting into Patagonia, because we knew we would be spending more on transportation in that region. We camped loads when we needed to save some cash on accommodation, and we even volunteered for a week to balance out our budget after a pricey Salt Flats Tour.


Get the idea?! If you need to spend more one week, that’s okay… Just figure out a way to balance out the extra spending in the weeks before or after!


If you try and stick to a precise budget each and every day, you’re going to drive yourself mad! There will be times when you don’t think you can do it. When too many expenses add up out of nowhere for the week, just remember, you can always balance out your budget.  This doesn’t mean going and spending loads and always telling yourself you can save later – that’s not going to happen. It just means that you can still have fun and enjoy yourself, however, be aware that you’re going to have to make up for the extra expenses by cutting back something in weeks to come.




Building a budget and sticking to it is part of what allows people to stay on the road. Budget traveling isn’t all luxury hotels, fancy meals, and loads of drinking. Yes, a lot of traveler’s want to experience those three things, but if you’re on a budget you probably won’t be able to. You’ve got to decide what is important for you to experience while traveling and go from there.


If you’re interested in more budget travel ideas, check out our other travel tips here.  If you really want to travel, but don’t think you have enough money, check out our 10 Ways to Travel for FREE!!


And don’t forget… Don’t let your money determine what you can or can’t do.



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As always, we’re here to help you travel. If you have any other questions, ask away! Do you have budget travel advice to share?! Let other readers know below! 🙂



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