Travel Budgets

The budget template that we use is now a page under the Packing Lists menu item.  This budget helps us determine how much money (cash, travelers cheques etc) we will need once we leave home.  It usually does not include the cost of airfare or anything we have paid up front.  It is strictly how much “money we will need in our pockets”.  It also helps keep us on track so we do not overspend while we are away.  Remember, we do carry credit cards just in case!

To do the estimates, we gather hotel room, dive, meal and transport charges from websites and travel books.  For example, we use a ball park figure for each meal and just multiply it by the number of days away. It may seem excessive to count days and meals, but over a 5 or 6 week trip, these can add up and we don’t want to take more money than we actually need.

This is what our budget looks like for Bonaire:

Hotel – $109 x 8 nights less $250 deposit, plus taxes                     710


  • Diving – $350 x 2 people, plus taxes                                              838
  • Equipment – ($8 + $8) x 2 people x 8 days, plus taxes              256
  • Tips – $20 x 7 days                                                                             140

Vehicle Rental

  • Rental  (our portion)                                                                         200
  • Gas                                                                                                         100


  • Breakfast – $10 x 2 people x 9 days                                                180
  • Lunch – $15 x 2 people x 8 days                                                      240
  • Supper – $25 x 2 people x 8 days                                                    400
  • Snacks/Drinks – $5 x 2 people x 9 days                                           90

Entertainment/Fees – ($25 + $35) x 2 people                               120

Spending/Shopping Money – $100                                                100

To/Fro Flying – $20 x 2 people x 2 meals                                          80

Sub Total                                                                                        3,454

Add 10%                                                                                              345

GRAND TOTAL                                                                            3,799

The hotel cost is set already as we have reservations at the Carib Inn. We have estimated the diving cost based on one of the Carib Inn’s Dive Packages that is close to what we think we will be doing. We rent BCDs and regulators, so the cost for equipment is for these two pieces.  We have estimated a tip amount for the dive crew members.

The vehicles are being shared by the 7 of us going to Bonaire.  The amount is our portion of the rental and the gas.

We have estimated $10 for breakfast, $15 for lunch and $25 for supper. I expect breakfast to be less as we may buy groceries and eat in. We do not need to eat at fancy restaurants, so the supper amount reflects that.  We do not drink alcohol, so the Snacks/Drinks amount is lower than if we did.

The only fee that we think we will need on Bonaire is the $25 Marine Park fee.  We added another $35 in case we rent kayaks or bikes.

We do not do much shopping, so our Spending Money is only $100, which will cover a few trinkets and an ornamental fish to hang on our wall.

Airport food is costly, so we estimated $20 per meal. We thought we may need to eat three airport meals. Since doing the budget, we have eliminated one airport meal.  We are going to take wraps/bagels with us from home as we do not think we will have time to grab food in Calgary as we change flights.  We have adjusted the budget for this change – excel is a wonderful tool!

Once we have the total, we add 10%.  This is a safety valve in case we have totally forgotten something or just plain screwed up. Our “money in the pocket” budget for Bonaire is $3,800.

Last week, Murray and I reviewed the budget to make sure it was still sound. We think the Snacks/Drinks amount may be light and the diving amount may be heavy. Overall, we think that the budget is still good.  Once we are home, we will do a quick calculation to see exactly how much we spent.

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