It can take months to save for and plan the *best* travel itinerary. I don’t know about you, but after a year of quarantining and diligently following all of the rules, I am so ready for an epic adventure. As the vaccine rolls out and cases begin to decrease I’m starting to feel the first dash of hope which spurred me to pull up my travel planning spreadsheets.
I dreamt about traveling again. Not even to far off places, but to local destinations for more than a quick day trip. I figured now was the perfect time to introduce to you how I plan my trips using a Google Sheets itinerary template.
I started using this style of travel planning when I quit my job and got to plan a multi-month, multi-destination adventure. I created spreadsheet upon spreadsheet to help me stay organized and on budget for the entire trip.
These spreadsheets kept all of my confirmation numbers, bucket list activities, and trip necessities in one place. I also learned which ones made sense, what information was necessary, and which ones I could delete. Leaving only the best and most useful travel planner template to share with you!
Why Google Sheets instead of Excel?
What I love about using Google Sheets over Excel for my travel itinerary spreadsheets is that they’re more mobile. I have the Google Sheets app on my phone and the spreadsheets are editable offline. This means that if I end up without WiFi or data, which happens all of the time on the road, I can still access any important information or make updates.
Having my travel planner online also allows me to share it with my family and friends. They will be able to see as I make changes to it in real time, compared to having to email them a new Excel document each time.
In terms of safety, if they ever need to get a hold of me, they will have all of the necessary and up to date information.
Now, if I’m being totally honest, which I try to do all the time with you guys. I simply prefer Google Sheets over Excel. I find it more user friendly, even though they’re basically the same thing.
How to Use Google Sheets for Travel Planner Spreadsheet
I’m going to walk you through my tried and tested method for using Google Sheets as your travel planner. My travel spreadsheet template has 10 individual spreadsheets. You can definitely make these yourself, but if you want them already done for you, you can purchase the templates here.
I’ll show you a screenshot of each of them, but here’s the overview.
Travel Planner Spreadsheet Template
- Travel Expense Spreadsheet
- Travel Budget Spreadsheet
- Travel Itinerary
- Travel Itinerary Daily View
- Travel Itinerary Calendar View
- Flight Planner
- Accommodation Planner
- Bucket List Planner
- Pre-Travel Shopping List
- Packing List
Travel Expense Spreadsheet
This is the master spreadsheet, if you will. This is where you’ll put any travel related purchases leading up to and during your trip. You can change the categories to reflect what works best for your situation and add any on.
Let’s say you’re planning a Hawaii getaway! Leading up to the trip, you decide you want to buy a new swimsuit. You’ll add that to this spreadsheet and put it under MISC or add a column for clothing. As you book your accommodation for the trip, you’ll add that here as well. Then as you are exploring the gorgeous Hawaiian islands, you’ll track your expenses for food, activities, gifts, etc.
Then at the end of the month, you’ll know exactly what you spent on your trip, both before the actual trip and during.
This is broken out by months, then at the very bottom, you’ll have a year total for travel expenses.
I hope to have some numbers in there this year!
Travel Budget Spreadsheet
This spreadsheet is your travel budget planner. It’s broken out into locations, because many trips include more than one destination! You’ll enter the number of days you’ll be in each location, then as you move through the spreadsheet add cost for only days worth of food, accommodation etc. The total will calculate at the top!
The travel budget spreadsheet is intended to provide you with an approximate cost of your trip. Once you have this information you can adjust as needed. If the trip is too far out of your budget, don’t give up!
Can you find cheaper accommodations? Can you DIY some of you bucket list activities? Can you cook food instead of eating out?
Choose the activities and experiences that you know will fill you up and bring you joy. Forget the rest. See where that leaves your budget.
Travel Itinerary Spreadsheet
The Travel Itinerary Spreadsheet provides a birds eye view of your entire trip. Once you make a decision on where you’re staying, your transportation, and activities, put that information here. Include the confirmation number, the costs, and any other information that you find valuable for your trip.
Travel Itinerary Daily View
The daily view of the travel itinerary is where you’ll get into the details of your trip. Use this sheet to plan out each day of your trip so you ensure you get to do, see, and eat all of the things. I always suggest having only one activity per day as this allows time for a little bit of spontaneity on the road, while still ensuring you do what you went there to do.
As you research your destination, you’ll likely come across places to eat that you don’t want to forget, so add those here as well. And if time allows, you can add any bonus activities that would make sense on that day!
Travel Itinerary Calendar View
This calendar view provides a way to see how your trip fits into the rest of your year. Does it fall on a holiday? Do you have trips planned each month?
The year and dates are intentionally left blank for you to input so no matter what year you’re planning your travels, you can have the correct dates (Google will tell you the dates!).
Flight Planner Spreadsheet
As you research your flights, use this sheet to track the entire cost of the flight. This will include a checked bag (maybe), food on board etc. Those cheap flights are super tempting, but since you have to pay for everything else, it really adds up. So use this sheet to be sure you know how much that $35 flight will actually cost you.
Accommodation Planner Spreadsheet
Accommodation can be overwhelming to book. There are so many options, which should you choose? First, check out my guide to booking hostels. If you’re not a fan of hostels don’t worry, the tips in there are applicable across all accommodation types.
Then as you research, add the information, including additional amenities (some hotels charge for WiFi) to provide the total cost.
This will help you ensure that you get the biggest bang for your buck out of where you lay your head.
There are multiple destination options in this sheet, as you might be moving about the country!
Bucket List Planner Spreadsheet
The bucket list planner is where the fun stuff lives! Start with your destination and determine your can’t miss, bucket list activities!
Have you ever been planning a trip, read a blog post that mentions an epic activity, and you think, I want to do that. But then you don’t save the link to the tour? Well, add the booking link to this sheet along with other important information (cost, tour operator etc). Then when you’re ready to book, you have the link and all of the information you need!
Pre-Travel Shopping List
Sometimes, you need some gear before a trip. This could be anything from a new swimsuit for your beach vacation to luggage to vaccinations! Keep track of those costs here and factor it in to the overall budget of your trip.
This is a sample packing list, yes, but it also covers just about everything you’ll need for your trip. I know there are 5 shoes mentioned, please don’t bring 5 shoes! It’s just an example of footwear you might need depending on your planned activities. If you’re not hiking, please don’t bring hiking shoes!
But always, not matter the weather, always bring a swimsuit. You just never know when you might encounter a hot spring, hot tub, or lake for a dip!
I know, planning a trip, no matter the length, can be very overwhelming. Especially when you’re trying to stay on budget! These travel planner spreadsheets will help you plan the trip of your dreams (which we all need right about now) while staying on budget and leaving the overwhelm behind.
If you’d like to purchase these templates, they’re available here!