Sticking to a budget for any reason can be challenging; sticking to a budget while traveling is even tougher. I am, and probably always will be, a budget traveler. I believe traveling on a tight budget gives you more unique opportunities and challenges you might not face if you had a luxurious budget. While sometimes that means you will not be able to do everything everywhere you go, you will probably be meeting more locals and seeing how they live.
Lately, my budget is $50 USD a day while traveling full time. This is flexible depending on location. For example, when I was traveling in New Zealand, Australia, Europe and the United States my budget grew to $70 USD per day. While traveling through Asia, I lowered my budget to $30 USD per day. This budget can be a bit restrictive at times, but also it has allowed me to visit almost 40 countries! These are the apps I have on my phone that help me keep track of my finances and stay within my tight, backpacker budget.
Being aware of how much you are spending in every category is the best way to stay on budget. Having a place that you can actually see the exact numbers of how much money you are spending a night on beers, I mean, museum tickets, is really important.
Tripcoin is the best app there is to keep track of finances while traveling to help keep you on a budget. In the app, you can create specific trips for a specific duration of time and enter in your expenses day by day. I use this app every single day when I am traveling. It easily tells me whether I am over or under budget every day and the daily average for the entire trip.
When adding an expense, you can name it, add the amount (in the specific countries currency), add it to a category (i.e. accommodation, food, laundry, visas, or activities), how you paid for it (cash or card), any comments, the specific date the expense was, which city it was in, a photo of the receipt and how many days to split it into.
Travel Tip- If you are looking for a travel credit card, click here to read more about my favorite travel credit cards.
To the right, I have a screen shot of some days we spent in Athens, Greece. There you can see how I enter my expenses in the Tripcoin app. For example, the Acropolis and co tickets were used on several days so the total was divided by the number of days we would be using the tickets. You can summarize your expenses by days or look into them by country, spending category, or even payment method. In the end of your trip you can even export the data to Excel to run your own statistics.
Splitwise is an app I have been using for years, thanks to some fellow travelers I met once in Frankfurt, Germany. They suggested this app when we were all purchasing some drinks with our friends. The app can keep track of all the expenses you have with friends and family.
I now use this app in every aspect of my life with a bunch of different people. My friends and I use it all the time, even when not traveling.
One of the great things is you can create groups just for specific trips. I have two friends coming to visit my boyfriend and I in a few weeks in Germany and I’ve started booking some of our accommodations. I easily created a group on the app so we can all see how much we will owe one another.
Even if I have some expenses with a friend individually, then that friend is also in a group expense it will summarize the expenses in both to see only the total amount owed.
When making expenses, you can name it, add the amount, and determine how much each person owes. The super helpful section is the part where you can enter an expense, choose who paid and how to split it. The app allows you to split the expense equally, by exact amounts, by percentages, by shares, or by adjustment.
For example, let’s say you go out to dinner with 3 other friends (4 people total) and you pay but want to add the expense into Splitwise so everyone can pay their share. This app lets you enter the exact amount of money that each person owes for their meal when everyone ordered different things. Pretty useful when on a trip and trying to remember how much each person owes each other and when your dollars count!
This one may seem odd, but it is my favorite app for converting currency because Units Plus is much more than a currency converter. Everytime I am wondering what the celsius temperature is in when I am traveling in Europe, I just bring out this app. This app can convert area, currency, data, fuel-milage, length, power, pressure, speed, temperature, time, volume and weight! Honestly, I haven’t even used some of the functions it offers, but if I ever need to convert how many days are in a decade, it is there for me! Typically, I most often use it for currency conversions, then length, temperature, weight and volume.
In this app you can convert any currency super easily. Just select on the left hand side which currency you are paying with, then on the right side your home currency to see how much you are spending. When we are traveling to several countries a month, this is so helpful to understand how much you are paying for different items.
This truly helped us be under budget while we were visiting Australia for a month. Trusted Housesitters is a website and app that connects people who need their house (and usually a pet) to be watched while they are away. We have house sat two times, both in Australia and for 10 days each. During those stays we took care of a dog at each house. This gave us free accomodation for 20 nights in Australia! It was wonderful and we cannot wait to use it again in the future.
You can easily find house sitting opportunities all over the world with this app. There is a yearly membership fee, but you can potentially be eliminating one of your biggest travel expenses- accommodation!
To read more about the wonderful world of housesitting, you can click here.
Worldpackers lets you connect with hosts from around the world that need volunteer work in exchange for housing and food. This is such a great way to see the world I cannot wait to utilize it. This is an app I’ve had on my phone for years, but have yet to put into motion. I’m always on it, favoriting potential volunteer positions, but nothing has lined up yet.
Within the app, you can see top hosts, potential volunteer positions that include anything from teaching English, to helping small organizations with marketing, to helping paint and decorate beach houses, all in exchange for housing, free laundry and more! I cannot wait for the day I can finally make one of these positions work with my travel schedule!
Budget traveling has allowed me to visit almost 40 countries. Without these apps I would be overspending every day and I would not be able to travel as much as I do. Hopefully now you can download some useful apps to help you travel on a budget! Safe travels and let me know below if you use any of these apps 🙂
Cairns is a coastal city in Northern Queensland, Australia. The area surrounding Cairns is full of wildlife and beautiful nature, in both the sea and land, just waiting for an adventure. The area is home to the Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Rainforest, Atherton Tablelands and much more! Northern Queensland is not to be missed on a trip to Australia. Here are 5 fun, budget friendly things to do while visiting the Cairns area.
The Daintree Rainforest is a marvelous rainforest in Northern Queensland, Australia. If you will be visiting the Great Barrier Reef and Cairns area, I suggest spending a couple of days visiting the Daintree Rainforest. Did you know the Daintree Rainforest is supposed to be the oldest tropical rainforest in the world? They think it is… Read more
This has to be one of the best day trips from Cairns, North Queensland, Australia! It features 10+ beautiful waterfalls with stunning views all day long. Grab your hiking shoes and get ready for an absolutely unforgettable day stuffed full of waterfalls.
Scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef is on almost every person’s bucket list, but scuba diving is an expensive hobby. If you’re a budget backpacker, like I am, finding affordable places to scuba dive can be a challenge. Here is my secret tip to dive in the Great Barrier Reef on a budget!
Learning how to travel on a budget has taken me years to learn. It is a balance, but it has given way to wonderful life that brings me a lot of joy. If you learn to travel in unique ways, limit your spending, are intentional with your actions, and use credit card points, I am sure you can travel the world too!