We have made one long trip and several shorter ones. However, we do not make much money, and these trips were partially made when one of us was still a student. Yet still we are not in a lot of debt or paying back credit card bills from two years ago. The key to that is to calculate beforehand how much money you will be spending.
Start with the tickets, hotels, transportation, visas etc and add them together. Then, divide it by the number of days you will spend travelling. That way you will get an average number for your daily budget, meaning how much money you will spend. If you want to be more accurate on how much spending money you will need on daily basis, leave out the flights and other transportation, and keep a separate budget for them. The budget here also means the amount of money you will have to have in order to travel the way you want.
Here comes the biggest rule we have been following: get the money together before you go. It took us 2 and half years to save for our trip around the world and we came back with some minor debts but really our balance was close to zero. This time, we are doing the same, and will eventually have enough money to take us around for about 8 months in Asia.
Both in 2013 and now, we made a rough estimation on how much money we will need, and decided how much each should save. We are both in charge of saving our own part of the sum, but do also have one shared account where we keep some together earned savings. Since we have several different accounts, there is really no risk of half accidentally spending all the money at once, or the other one spending all the travel money without telling the other one.
Now, to the difficult part: once on the road, follow the budget. We did this by creating a Google spread sheet, in which we added columns for food, transportation, accommodation and miscellaneous. We then added all our expenses there every day, and the program calculated for us how much we had spent.
The lower the daily expenses get, the higher the average daily budget gets. On the road, this means how much money you can spend in average. As our original daily budget for everything else but transportation was around 80€, it saw a pretty nice increase to up to 120€ since we saved so much money in Goa. That is where our daily expenses were as low as 20€ for two. Naturally, after we left Asia, the expenses started increasing again. This was mainly due to accommodation expenses. However, we had prepared for them, so having a concrete plan and making daily budget calculations a routine helped us save money and afford bigger expenses. This also helps you save on the road; if you notice you mostly spend on accommodation, try and save there!
Have you created your own way to calculate and follow the budget? Let us know in the comments!