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How To Budget For A Backpacking Trip

Updated: Jul 21, 2022

Money, money, money, must be funny in a…backpackers world. If you want to live your best Mamma Mia dream in Greece or backpack through Patagonia, you’re gonna need some cold hard cash to fund your adventures. Today we’re talking all things green by uncovering how to budget for a backpacking trip. Let’s take a look!

How To Get Started

You don’t need thousands of dollars to travel the world. In fact, the cost to backpack for a month can be cheaper than the cost of rent in some cities! Whether you’re a digital nomad who has a monthly salary you need to budget for or a backpacker who has a lump sum saved for your trip, budgeting your money accordingly will help! The key to budgeting for a backpacking trip is in the planning. Before you even set foot on an airplane, have your budget already in mind.

Pro Tip: Plan with ease by avoiding these Common Travel Planning Mistakes most people make!

Set A Daily Spend Number

When planning your budget, set a goal amount of money you want to spend each day. This number should cover all of your expenses like accommodation, food and fun. Different travel experts will recommend different daily values. Of course, the country you’re traveling in will have different costs of living making the number fluctuate. Plus, depending on your travel style the cost will change. If you’re okay with penny pinching, then the number might be lower than if you want a little extra luxury on your trip. Generally $30-50 USD per day is a safe bet. Regardless of what you decide, use that to plan your activities on your trip.

Budget and calculator on desk
Keep track of all of your spending while traveling to ensure you're staying on budget.

Don’t Forget The Important Things

While accommodation, food and fun are the main parts of your budget, don’t forget any other important expenses you might have and need to budget for. Have to make student loan payments or pay for your health insurance? Make sure all expenses are included in your planning.

Track Each Cent Spent

Taking time out of your adventures to track your spending is no fun, but you must do it to know how you’re doing with your budget. If you splurged and went over budget one day, you’ll want to watch your spending the next day. Knowing where you’re at with your daily spend will ensure you don’t run out of money before your trip ends! Use an app like TravelSpend to track each purchase you make. The app converts currencies for you making it easy to see how much you’ve spent in your home country's currency. Plus, if you’re traveling with friends you can share your trip with them and track who paid for what to make sure everybody pays their fair share.

Pro Tip: TravelSpend isn’t the only amazing travel app you can use. Check out these Best Apps For Trip Planning we think you’ll enjoy using!

Person holding pile of one hundred dollar bills
Fund your adventures by budgeting before you go!

Set A Realistic Budget

The fact of the matter is, you’ll probably spend more money than you budgeted for. One way to prevent this is to set a realistic budget. Research the general cost of the activities you’ll want to do at your destination before you go so you can make sure you’re budgeting accordingly. Know your objectives for your trip too. If you want to have a fun party adventure, you’ll need money to cover booze. Don’t cut your plans short, because you’re short on cash.

Set Your Boundaries

If you’re traveling with friends, or simply bad at not over spending, set your financial boundaries beforehand so you know what you can say yes to and what to sit out on. Verbalizing your spending boundaries to your travel companions will save you a lot of money in the long run.


Budgeting might not be the most fun thing to do on your trip, but it is necessary to make your trip a success. Before you go, start a spreadsheet to track your spending and prepare yourself financially for fun!

What are your go to budgeting tips? Tell us your tricks and tips in the comments!


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