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 open up my Google Sheets travel planner spreadsheet.
I started dreaming about traveling again. Not even to far off destinations, but to local spots for more than a quick day trip. I figured now was the perfect time to introduce to you how I plan my trips using my Google Sheets itinerary template.
I started using this type of travel planning when I quit my job and got to plan a multi-month, multi-destination adventure. It was a fairly overwhelming process, but the way I stayed organized and on budget was by using Google Sheets.
I created spreadsheet upon spreadsheet to track 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 itinerary template to share with you!
This post contains affiliate links, which means that, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a tiny bit of income if you decide to make a purchase or booking. For more, check out my disclosure.
Why Do I Use Google Sheets instead of Excel?
I love using Google Sheets for just about everything in my life. I have my budget there, keep track of my blogging stats, and my client work.
Here are a few reasons why I prefer using Google Sheets for my trip planner:
- Google Sheets is 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.
- I can easily share it with my friends and family. 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 my safety when I travel solo, if they ever need to get a hold of me, they will have all of the necessary and up to date information.
- I am an Apple person through and through and simply PREFER Google Sheets over Excel.
Now, Google Sheets and Excel are basically the same thing, so if you are an Excel person you can take the travel planner templates I share here and apply the idea to Excel.
When to Use a Travel Itinerary Templates?
I suggest using a trip planner template anytime you’re planning a trip with a lot of moving parts. Is it necessary for a weekend getaway? No, probably not.
But if you’re planning anything more than a week and you want to ensure you stay on budget and get to see, do, and eat what you want then using a spreadsheet to track everything is incredibly helpful.
I also find them really helpful for planning road trips, so I created (and included for you) a road trip template.
While I primarily use them for planning my vacation itinerary you could also use them to help you plan a business travel itinerary as that begins to resume.
How to Use a Travel Itinerary Template in Google Sheets?
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 11 individual spreadsheets. You can definitely make these yourself, but if you want them already done for you, you can purchase the templates here.
Quick tip: Add links whenever possible. If you find a cool tour you want to do, save the link to the spreadsheet so you can easily find it when it comes time to book
I’ll show you a screenshot of each of them and a short video, 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
- Road Trip Planner
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 or add the categories to reflect what works best for your situation.
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 yearly 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 in the 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?
One of my biggest travel tips to stay on budget is to prioritize 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 itinerary. Once you make a decision on where you’re staying, your method of transportation, and activities, input 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 Travel Itinerary Daily View 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.
Another one of my top travel tips is to only schedule ONE activity per day. 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.
Add any bonus activities that would make sense on that day if time allows!
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.
To be honest, I use this sheet the least, but I know some people really like seeing a calendar view.
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.
I am a big fan of NOT spending too much in this phase of the travel planning. Try to use what you have, borrow what you can, and only buy something when absolutely necessary.
I’m sure a friend or family member has a piece of carry on luggage you can use and no you don’t need a brand new wardrobe for 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 pairs of 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, no matter the weather, always pack a swimsuit. You just never know when you might encounter a hot spring, hot tub, or lake for a dip!
Road Trip Planner
Last but not least, you’ll find a road trip planner! This road trip itinerary planner gives you space to note your starting location, your ultimate destination, the number of miles you’ll drive, cost of gas and things you’d like to see along the way!
There is also a section at the top for your rental car information if you need to rent one for your road trip.
In the first column, you can put the day of the week, the actual date or leave it numbered as is.
At the bottom of the spreadsheet, it will total up the number of miles driven and the total cost of gas for the trip.
I know that planning a trip, no matter the length, can be really fun, but also a bit 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!