Budgeting As A Couple: Sharing Expenses When You Travel

Today we’re talking about budgeting as a couple on a trip and three different ways you can share expenses while you travel!

Reader Question:

I’m looking for advice on sharing travel expenses as a couple. My boyfriend and I are leaving for a “rtw” trip this coming November. We have only recently started living together and we currently maintain separate finances. We (aka: ME) are a little stressed and concerned about how deal with our finances on the road. I am very uptight about my money and how “my” money is spent.

What type of advice do you have for a travelling couple who have never shared expenses and both of our “travel funds” have been saved independently of one another?

Budgeting As A Couple: Sharing Expenses When You Travel: Audrey and Sam in Melaka, Malaysia

Somewhere in between the dreaming, the scrolling through photos of idyllic islands, applying for visas, and working a myriad of jobs to fund your travels, comes the budgeting.

Oh, yes, money matters!

Growing up we’re often discouraged to talk about finances (along with other taboo topics like politics and religion), but if you’re going to be travelling as a couple, there’s no getting around it – you need to discuss budgeting and you need to do so before you set out on your trip.

While there is no right way to go about budgeting for two, here are a few suggestions on ways you can handle your shared or separate finances on the road.

Keeping separate travel funds

If you haven’t been with your significant other too long and are worried about the prospect of combining your finances, that is absolutely okay! No one says you need to pool all your hard earned money together just because you are going travelling as a couple.

Booking your flights and other transportation is the easy part – use your own personal credit cards.

The tricky part comes in when it comes to expenses that will vary from one destination to the next, namely food and accommodations.

If you aren’t too picky about splitting the costs exactly in half, then you can consider taking turns booking accommodations – one person could pay for the first 3 nights in Paris, and the other could cover the next 4 days in Florence (or whatever averages out).

Same with meals – one person can cover breakfast and a quick lunch of Knackwurst with Sauerkraut from a local vendor, and the other person can pay for dinner for two at a little Italian bistro.

Yes, one person is always bound to spend a few more euros or rupees than the other along the way, but if you’re not too bothered about a few bucks here and there, then it’s a relatively fair system.

If you really want to keep things even, here is what I think is an even better system!

Having a partially shared travel fund

Another way to go about it is to set up a travel fund where you both contribute half of the full amount each month.

For example, if you think you’ll be spending a grand total of $1,500 for a month of travel in Thailand, then you would each put $750 into the account.

This can be used to cover mutual expenses like transportation, accommodations and food, but then when it comes to additional expenses like shopping for cute dresses, picking up souvenirs, and drinking buckets when you go out at night, you can each keep separate tabs and pay for your individual spending.

Common costs are shared and you also eliminate any possible disagreements since you still have your personal fund to do as you please.

Pooling your money together

If you and your hubby are on the same page when it comes to spending, then pooling your travel funds is something to consider.

However, I would only recommend this method if you are both in a very very committed place in the relationship.

You don’t want finances to be the cause of the rift between the two of you, or even worse, have the other person asking to be repaid for the money they spent on you if the relationship goes sour (which did actually happen to a friend of mine!)

Pooling money together may work for some couples, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. Just because you’re not ready to combine your travel fund with your partner on your first trip doesn’t mean you care for them any less.

These are just a few different ways to go about, but I think the key here is to sit down and talk things through with your partner and see what you both feel most comfortable with.

Do you have any budgeting tips you’d like to share with a travelling couple?