Last week we discussed what a realistic travel budget should be, and how ultimately unique travel budgets are to each individual. And in the past I’ve extolled the virtues of tracking travel expenses as a crucial step to the budgeting process, regardless of whether or not you are traveling.
Ways of Tracking Travel Expenses
I’ve used a few tools to track my expenses while traveling. At first, I used to write everything down in my trusty travel journal and then transpose my chicken scratches to a spreadsheet.
The next step to my expense-tracking-evolution was with Budget Your Trip, which is an online travel budget planning/tracking tool.
(For a review of this free service see: How to Budget and Track Expenses for Your Next Vacation)
But tracking your expenses manually on a spreadsheet or notebook while on the road and potentially juggling multiple currencies can be cumbersome and ultimately leaves room for both user error and laziness.
I also like to export my travel expenses to a spreadsheet where I can manipulate and analyze the data to understand – and ultimately publish – my costs of full-time travel.
So I’m currently using the iPhone/iTouch app called Travel Pocket. It’s cheap ($1.99), juggles multiple currencies, allows me to record expenses in a number of categories, and then export my data into a spreadsheet where I can “have my way” with the data.
(Editor’s Note 2016: I later discovered Trail Wallet for the iPhone, which is expense-tracking heaven for travelers! Now that I have a Windows phone, I haven’t found any apps that work well enough for me, so I track my expenses on a spreadsheet on my phone).
Other Expense Tracking Apps
I’ve also heard of EEBA, which takes the concept of “Envelope Budgeting” and makes it iPhone/Android/Web friendly. I haven’t tested it out myself, but for certain travel expense tracking needs, it looks like a handy app.
To my knowledge, neither of these two applications support tracking multiple currencies for travelers on the move, but they could be a good solution if you’re looking for a simple expense-tracking solution to take control of your finances.
These are just a few ways to budget and track your travel expenses on the road.
How do you do it?