I am a budget traveler not because I like traveling on a budget, but rather I have to travel on a budget. Although I consider myself a budget traveler, I am certainly not an extreme one; I definitely indulge in regional dishes and prefer to pay for accommodations over risking it with Couchsurfing. As many times as I’d tried before, I never actually tracked my expenses on a trip. Sure, by the end I had an idea of how much money was MIA, but never broke it down to really see the damage. On my Morocco trip, the excessive amount of time on the minibus allowed me to write it all down.

Pre-Trip Expenses

We Love Spain Sahara Desert Adventure Tour: 325 + 7.50 (booking fee)


– transportation via bus and high-speed ferry from Malaga to Morocco, Morocco to Seville

– four nights accommodation in Morocco

breakfast and dinner each night of the tour

– professional Moroccan tour guides

camel ride into desert and night camping with Berber people

– trip insurance

Cab to Baden Airpark: 17

Normally, I would take the regional train or S-Bahn for less, but our flight was too early in the morning.

Ryanair Flight: 88

Total Pre-Trip Expenses: 437.50

Malaga (2 nights)

Beach front Sangria, priceless (or €7)

Food & Drink: 53.90

Accommodations: 31.50

Transportation: 6

Attractions: 0.60

Sunscreen: 6.50

Total Malaga Expenses:  98.50

Morocco (4 nights)

Food & Drink: 42.15

Accommodations: pre-paid

Attractions: 35.00 (4×4 excursion into the desert)

Souvenirs: 40.9 (rug, handmade Tangine, scarf, spices)

Total Morocco Expenses: 121.05

Seville (1 night)

Food & Drink: 15.50

Accommodations: 15.60

Transportation: 28.24 (cab, train from Seville to Malaga)

Attractions: 2.00

Total Seville Expenses: 61.34

Total Trip Expenses: €718.39

When you break down the cost per day, it comes down to €102.62/night of travel. I’d say this is right in the European travel budget I usually aim for ($100/night + flight). I was definitely pleased with the spending on this trip, particularly since most of it was paid before even arriving in Spain and Morocco and we only shared a room one night in Seville. Although I did not like the idea before (or after, for that matter) of an organized tour, it was the best way to see the isolated parts of Morocco and safely travel through both the cities and the deserts.

Have you ever tracked expenses on a trip? Were you surprised with the results?

  • MontgomeryFest

    I’m justin gonna go ahead and send this to my husband with a note, “see.”

  • Isa // belle + compass

    I love how diligently you broke it down here – I should really do that, because I ALWAYS overspend my travel budgets (and all on food). Plus it looks like you got to do amazing much!

    belle + compass

  • Helene

    thats pretty freaking amazing. $100 in morrocco total?!?!

    • ifs ands & butts

      Well granted a large chunk was prepaid, but ya not bad at all!

  • pollyheath

    I am both envious of your abilities to remember your spending and glad that I’m not that conscientious. Sometimes I just don’t want to know.

    • ifs ands & butts

      It was MUCH easier looking at it nearly 3 months after the trip 😉

  • MeganJoyJaunts

    I really should track my travel expenses more diligently, but I’m afraid it will make me scale back a bit. I only have 18 months left in Germany, and I want to experience as much as I can before I go back to the US. Thank you for breaking this down for us. I’ve always wanted to do a Spain/Morocco tour, and now I’m even more determined to go.

  • Cat of Sunshine and Siestas

    I tried and failed miserably to track my Christmas trip (did just two days). Probably for the best with the missed flight…yikes! Also, you should add that food and drink in Seville was mostly drink.

    • ifs ands & butts

      Haha you bet it was! I still need to blog about Seville, eeek!

  • Jenn

    I think if I ever tried to track my expenses, I’d cry or have a panic attack, haha! We spend too much on vacations!

  • anniewiltse

    I’m usually ballpark my travel expenses, too, but on my most recent trip I kept track of all my spending so I could see afterward how well I’d stuck to my strictly planned budget.

    I think that would’ve worked better if at the end of it the actual and projected numbers actually got compared, as opposed to just having the record of how much was spent. Especially when the trip was four months ago and there was the idea of writing a blog post about it… haha!

  • Steven

    That’s wickedly impressive. I usually wind up spending far more than that because I prefer hotels to hostels and the like. Hotels add up fast!

  • jessicawray

    I still find it hard to get used to the Euro travel budget, after being in Asia for so long. But I’ve been here since September, I should be dealing with these prices by now!

    100 euros a day makes my stomach drop a bit. It all adds up, doesn’t it! If I want to do this same trip I’ll really have to skimp on stuff…..maybe skip a meal or….start street performing! haha

  • Katrin

    I never tracked my expenses but I probably should! I would say you did really well!