Budget Your Trip: Useful Tool When Traveling the World on a Budget

Written By: jeff

Posted On: April 21st, 2011

travel budget, budgettravel, travel the world, travel world, travelling the world, travel the world on a budget, Budget Your Trip

Screenshot of Budget Your Trip's site

Trying to put together a budget with any level of detail for your long-term trip is a frustrating process. Real numbers are hard to come by. And, what is a ¨luxury¨ expense for one is a ¨budget¨ spend for another. Almost anything printed in a guidebook is out of date within a year. I’ve heard lots of travelers say that they take the prices in their Lonely Planet guide and add on 10-20%.

There is a new resource for travelers looking to get a better handle on how much they should take with them. BudgetYourTrip was founded by Bryan and Laurie Tighe after their own career break and round the world travels. They took their model for budgeting and tracking their expenses and scaled it for the general traveling public.

Basic Site Use To Set Your Travel Budget

Travelers from around the world input their actual travel expenses. BudgetYourTrip sorts and normalizes the data making it ready to query. You input a country or a city to see the average costs there. You can go directly to a specific country and get the average costs for things like transportation, food, lodging and many more categories.  You can see the costs in the local currency or get them converted to your home currency. This view then gives you a look at specific cities within the country. So, for example, click on Thailand and you get an average country-wide, but you can also see the costs for Bangkok, Chang Mai, Phuket, Satun and others.  There is also a tab for travel tips that have been left by travelers and a link to book hostels and hotels due to an integration with Hostel Bookers.

Advanced Features

If you want to go beyond the averages, you can use the site to plan and track your trip’s budget. By creating a free account you can start to get more refined costs. This happens because you declare your type of budget you will have: budget, mid-range or luxury. So, depending on what type of travel and budget you’re on, you can get the average costs for travelers like you. One note of caution, the definition for ¨budget,¨ ¨mid-range¨ and ¨luxury¨ is subjective. One person who’s on a mid-range trip might be considered to be a luxury trip by another. But, it gets you in the ballpark. Finally, once your trip is over, the system emails you to prompt you to finish entering your actual spends from your trip.

Interesting Details You May Need to Know

  • There are currently around 6000 users on the site. There about the same number of trips that people have registered
  • Most popular regions with cost data are Europe, US and Southeast Asia
  • Current target is the independent traveler
  • If you use the basic functionality, the numbers you get will be a mix of budget, mid-range and luxury info.
  • Droid app available. Know that you have to be connected to the internet to add and query the database
  • You can make your trip public or private
  • The average data will be better for the more popular countries and cities. Use the data from lesser-traveled locations with more caution

Functionality I’d Like to See

The single biggest change that could improve Budget Your Trip is a more objective definition of ¨Budget¨ ¨Mid-range¨ and ¨Luxury¨. Currently the definitions are defined by the user. It would be great if BudgetYourTrip could give some guidelines to people to better select the category that’s appropriate to make the data more meaningful over time.  Setting objective criteria isn’t easy. Ten bucks in one country could get you through the day whereas in another, it won’t get you past breakfast. But, by establishing the boundaries for the different budgets, the data become more uniform and more usable to the planner.

Postscript: Since publishing this post, Bryan let me know that they have made this change to the system. Here is his post giving the details of the change and why they made it.

I’ve always like what BudgetYourTrip is working to achieve. But, it’s not a perfect tool yet. After talking to Bryan several times about the tool, he’s aware of those and is working to improve the tool and data. Having said that, I think BudgetYourTrip is the best tool out there for getting near-real-time data from a large pool of travelers. You don’t have to rely on a single guidebook or on a single blog post about what one person spent.  The truth is that you never really know how much it’s going to cost until you get on the road. But, with BudgetYourTrip, you can take out much of the guesswork and be much closer to the ballpark.

Give It a Try: Travel Cost Calculator Widget From Budget Your Trip


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