Best Trip Budget Planner Apps for iPhone Before the Trip vs Booking the Trip vs During the Trip
Edited by Jasmin, Eng, Maria Quinney
Traveling is super easy because you can just spend money on whatever you want and not worry about it ruining your finances. Said no one, ever. That's a nice fantasy to dream about though. Except, your travel dreams can become a reality (to an extent) when you plan ahead and develop a detailed trip budget. After all, spending more money doesn't necessarily mean your trip will be superior. There are plenty of ways to see the world, or just the next city over, for much less than you'd expect.
There are several steps you can take, and iPhone apps you can use, while booking your trip and during travel to optimize your funds. Before we get to that stage, however, you need to create a comprehensive budget. Research every aspect of the trip you hope to take from transportation methods, accommodations, tours, shopping, dining, etc., so you can estimate an average amount of what you'll need to save to make that possible. Feel free to round up on the cost so you have a bit of wiggle room. Then all you need to worry about is actually saving the money. For that, check out the tips below.
Method 1: Before the Trip
Money Saving Tips
- 1Create a budget for your essential monthly expenditures; rent, groceries, utility bills, etc. Then decide where you can trim excessive spending on things like fancy coffee drinks, going to the movies, shopping, and eating out. Save that money for buying souvenirs, and experiencing local culture and cuisine while on your trip.Advertisement
- 2Consider cutting your cable off for just a few months. No need to feel deprived of great TV when you can access streaming services for much cheaper. You can always get the cable hooked back up after your trip.Advertisement
- 3If you don't already have one, consider applying for a credit card with a rewards program that will benefit travel costs. Then use the credit card for all your necessary purchases and start wracking up the points.
- 4Set up automatic transfers on every payday to a special savings account that you cannot easily withdraw from. Piggy banks can be fun to look at while you watch your wealth amass, but it's also a temptation you don't need.
- 5If your birthday or another gift-giving holiday is coming up, ask for cash or travel-related gift cards. While not necessarily a way to save money, these types of gifts will still get you closer to that dream vacation.
- 6Sell items you no longer need. This tip is especially useful for anyone about to embark on long-term travel. In the same vein, you may want to think about subletting your apartment while you're gone. Both options are easier and cheaper than finding long-term storage solutions.
- 7Ask for additional shifts at work or earn extra cash with a side job. Of course, this is only applicable in certain situations, but if your job has open shifts take them when you can. Or, consider looking for freelance work; if you're traveling long-term it might be a gig you can keep up while away.
- 8Use one of the apps outlined below to help you stay on track with finances in the months leading up to your trip. Be sure to download all of your chosen apps before getting started on your travels.
- Qapital. Set up spending rules for the app to track so you don't have to constantly worry about them. Free, automatic transfers between bank accounts are triggered by daily activities, making it a simple way to save. Download here.
- Tip Yourself. Set goals and grow your savings account. Every time you meet a daily or weekly goal, a pre-determined dollar amount will be transferred from your regular bank account to a special savings account. There are no fees and it's a great way to stay motivated in meeting your budget. Download here.
- Unsplurge. Get inspired by and read tips from a community of savers, while saving money for your trip. Your progress is tracked using percentages making for a very visual and encouraging budget experience. Download here.
Method 2: Booking the Trip
Getting The Best Deal On Travel
- 1Allow for some flexibility in either your trip's dates or location. If you can only travel during a certain time, be open to where your destination might be. If you've always dreamed of traveling to a specific city or country, don't tie yourself down to one set time. The less strict you can be about these details, the more you'll allow for better possibilities in flight and hotel deals.Advertisement
- 2If you've decided to be flexible on the destination rather than dates, request time off from work starting and ending in the middle of a week. These tend to be times when flights are the cheapest.
- 3Traveling during the off-seasons (typically January, April, and September) will also get you a cheaper flight. These times change depending on destination, so do your research.
- 4Two one-way tickets and flights with stopovers can sometimes be cheaper than a round-trip. Be sure to give those options a chance first.
- 5If you're traveling out of the country, set up an international data plan for your phone.
- 6Make it your second (or third) job to be on the lookout out for deals. Whether it's flights, buses, hotels, tours, or any other deals specific to your trip, monitor prices and buy when they've dropped.
- 7Sign up for email alerts from travel sites and join travel-focused groups on sites like Facebook.
- 8Check out the apps below for easy ways to save while booking your trip.
- The Hopper app can predict the best time for you to fly and sends alerts when your preferred trip has been reduced in cost.
- Hostels are usually the cheapest option for accommodations and the Hostelworld app has more than 30,000 options worldwide.
- If you're partial to hotels check out the HotelTonight app, which connects you with hotels looking to get their vacant rooms rented out at short notice for much cheaper than usual.
- Road trippers and anyone looking to rent a car should check out CarzUp. The app is partnered with 25 car companies throughout Canada, the U.S., and Europe, so you can compare a ton of price points. You don't even need credit card info to book. Download here.
- There's nothing worse than being miles away from home and realizing you forgot something. OK, maybe a few things are worse, but having to purchase an essential item you already own is no way to save money while traveling. The PackPoint app maker certain you don't forget anything. In addition to being a basic checklist, PackPoint bases your list on what activities you'll be doing when traveling and what the weather will be like during your stay. Download here.
Method 3: During the Trip
Plan Ahead For Cost Cutting Measures
- 1If you're traveling by plane bring your own food and snacks for the flight. Everything at the airport is over priced and no one likes airplane food, so why not save your money and your taste buds by packing your own meal? Be sure to check airport restrictions first so you don't wind up throwing out restricted items.
- Skype and WhatsApp let you communicate with friends and family back home for cheap (or free.) Download Skype. Download WhatsApp.
- WiFi Finder provides you with a map of where to find WiFi hotspots so you can save money and conserve data everywhere you go. Download here.
- Using public transit whenever possible is not just the cheaper option; it's also a great way to get a true, local-style experience of the place you're visiting. The Transit app works in over 125 cities across North America and Europe. Download here.
- Instead of paying for tours and excursions give the Field Trip app a try first. Whether you want to see tourist attractions or experience life like the locals, Field Trip has you covered. You'll never miss a point of interest, as the app sends alerts every time you get close to one. Download here.
- The Gas Buddy app helps road trippers find the cheapest pumps possible. Search by distance, price, or gas type and read reviews of each station from other users. Download here.
- Use the expense-tracking apps found in this article to help you stay on budget during your trip.