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Budget for Your Trip Using This Custom Google Doc

Spreadsheet junkies, delight. I’ve gone all geeky for you and have taken all the guesswork out for you in trying to budget for a trip. So while this Google Docs spreadsheet isn’t as automatic as other online organizers such as TripIt (or even Mint), it should help you gauge your spending. It’s not a travel calendar, but a simple budget planning tool that will hopefully break down the main complexities down for any traveler.

And if you happen to be on the up-and-up while on the road, this will also help you calculate your exact costs to the T. It’s definitely not perfect by any means, but it will give you a more accurate view of your finances.

You’ll need to sign in to your Google account to see the template. Definitely throw any questions, suggestions or issues you have our way!

Ladies and gents, we present the…

What does it do in a nutshell?

  • Breaks down expenses into eight categories for domestic or international trips.
  • Calculates your physical cash in hand, while accounting for this in your overall spending total.
  • Accommodates itineraries up to five different cities or countries.
  • Calculates foreign costs into your home currency (changeable, default is USD).

Now, how do I use this thing?

The template, by default, is set for U.S. dollars as the home currency. This is easily changeable so that your main currency of choice is reflected – just edit all references to USD.

To start, rename or delete the City sheets to the cities that you are traveling to. Unfortunately at the moment, you will also have to rename (and delete) the corresponding city rows in the Overview page where the names appear to match.

To set the budget for each city, set it in the Overview page in the Total Budget column. Everything else will automatically tabulate. The template will also calculate the leftover cash you have from the ATM withdrawals you have made.

The FX Rate in the overview budget is set to “1” for domestic trips. For foreign countries/cities, finding the rate is easy. Type “1 USD (or your home currency) to 1 XXX” while replacing XXX with the foreign currency code into Google. The number that comes up is the number that you need.

Each city is preset with a few expenses. Once you’ve entered known quantities, this will give you a better idea as to how much you should allocate to your budget (also figure in cost of living differences). You can also set a per diem column for other allowances.

While the specific city sheets are pretty much self-explanatory, here is a bit of clarification if anyone gets confused:

Date: Date of purchase.
Category: Pick from a dropdown menu: Airfare, Visa, Lodging, Phone, Transport, Food, Activities, Cash, Misc. Other categories of your own choosing are accepted but will NOT automatically display on the Overview page.
Item: However you want to describe the purchase you made.
Cost: Cost in foreign currency. For domestic trips, either delete/ignore this column.
USD Total (incl. currency fee): Total cost in USD or home currency including all fees. As of now, this must be manually done as different purchases can be made at different currency rates for better accuracy. Fees are often not reflected in the foreign cost as well.
Card: Form of payment. You can to specify individual credit cards.
Notes: Your little space for you to remind things for yourself or each purchase.

IMPORTANT: To account correctly for cash in the spreadsheet, ATM withdrawals must be input as ATM in the Item column and cash purchases must have Cash in the Card column.

Okay, yeah. I know it’s quite not perfect.1

  • The Cost column for each city can only display the foreign currency at the moment and doesn’t support multiple currencies.
  • Adding new categories that aren’t included will not automatically display.
  • Renaming city sheets does not rename cities in Overview page. This must be done manually and is a Google Docs limitation.

1 footnote

  1. Hopefully we’ll be able to fix these at a later date.



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