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March 8, 2024
How to

How to make a group trip budget spreadsheet (+template)

Splitting costs between group members during a trip can be excruciating. Learn the best way to stay in range while making sure all debts are paid and get the most out of your travel budget.

Arzu Özkan-  Digital Marketing Manager
Hilal Çökeli
Content Marketing Specialist

Traveling is fun, especially with friends or with a group that gets along and has similar interests. But it’s almost impossible to split expenses on the spot for some group activities. In those cases, a group trip budget spreadsheet can be a lifesaver to track if you are still within budget, and to see if everyone is on the same page.  

There are going to be a lot of online reservations that need to be paid by one person, or sometimes, one of the group members can just run out of cash. Instead of paying ATM fees for every expense and carrying a lot of change, the best way to track your travel budget is to have an online spreadsheet and allow everyone to pay similar amounts for different things. In this article, I will share my own template with you and teach you how to create yours easily. Let’s start!

Table of contents

What are the main expenses for a group trip?

Every trip is going to be different. Your plans and budget could change for most of them, but there are a few expenses that are set-in-stone for all trips. Those are:

  1. Transportation: Wherever you are going for your group travel, you need to get there somehow. Your plane tickets, the taxi fares, public transportation, or the train you took will cost you money. For most trips, the transportation cost is one of the two major costs, so, you might want to have an accurate view of your costs in this category for your group travel budget spreadsheet.
  1. Accommodation: Depending on the location your group is visiting, accommodation can be either the cheapest or the most expensive thing you have to budget for. For a group trip budget, this means that the amount you can allocate for accommodation will change how much you will have to pay for taxis or whether you will have to pay for breakfast or not.
  1. Food: Speaking from experience, no matter what you do, you will go over the initially planned group travel budget for food. If you have reservations and think you don’t need anything else, wait until you get to a grocery store in a new country and find something that piques your interest. And also, let’s not forget the places that won’t split the bill, even if you do the math yourself. That is where the group trip budget spreadsheet comes in, to also show you how much money you have left.
  1. Tours and Attractions: Tours, museum entrances, concerts, festival fees, hot air balloons, or whatever it is you are on the group trip in the first place. This is the category where I have rarely changed anything in my travel budget or my budget planner spreadsheet. Still, it is mostly difficult to separate between tour members since most of the time, we don’t have enough cash, or the facility won’t split the price for each member.
  1. Personal expenses: These are the souvenirs, the personal grocery store expenses, or anything personal. You get the point. Everyone pays for themselves, there is nothing to split, and it is just easy... If you know how much budget you have left – and a trip budget spreadsheet template makes things a whole lot easier.

How do you split travel expenses with friends or a group?

Let me skip the chit-chat and give you the real deal. Here is my lifesaver spreadsheet from Retable that saved my mental health during my last two trips:

📌 To copy and customize the grouptrip budget tracking spreadsheet template to your own Retable dashboard, click the "Copy to workspace" button in the upper right corner of the template!

This spreadsheet makes it easy. Just put in who spent how much, and now you can create:

  • A map view where you can see all the expenses, just like receipts pinned on a map.
  • A chart that shows how many expenses each person covered,
  • An automated expense summary table that shows how much money each person has left or how much they spent,

And so on, and so forth. I say go check it out right here.

But, well, you may like or dislike it, so I’m going to walk you through how to create your own as well.

Let’s begin with:

1. Prepare a spreadsheet in advance

The obvious part. No matter what tool you use to create your group travel budget spreadsheet, it is very likely that you will need automations for the spreadsheet and the spreadsheet template to actually be of any help. Make sure your travel spreadsheet template can:

  • Sum up the totals for each person – or even better, each expense type,
  • Tell you how much money you have left for the whole group on the trip,
  • Show you who has paid off their debt and who hasn’t,
  • And be dynamic to change – because your calculations will have to change. If you know, you know. If you don’t, trust me.

2. Allocate a budget per person

There are 2 things to keep in mind while deciding on a personal budget:

  1. How much money can you spare for this trip? This solely depends on you.
  1. How much money will you possibly need at your destination? If you have no idea, this website can give you an estimation based on your travel type.

3. Allocate a budget per expense type

This is one of the mistakes I made during my first group trip with a crowded group and tight-ish budget. We didn’t really know how much we could spend per expense type, so we chose the safe option and stayed in a very low-budget hotel. It was sort of nightmarish – hygiene was definitely a concern. Turns out, we did have the budget to stay at a 5-star hotel with more amenities, and we took the burden for nothing.

Well, lesson learned. Ever since I started using the spreadsheet template above, I didn’t have to just guess how much we can spare, since I can just type in the numbers and calculate before planning.

So, this is how you create your own spreadsheet and what you need to know to do so:

How to create your own group travel budget spreadsheet

Here is a step-by step walkthrough of how you can create your own group travel budget spreadsheet  template in Retable, just in case you have specific needs that the provided template won’t cut:

  1. Sign up to Retable: Retable is free of charge for the first 30 days of use. Create your account to start creating your first travel budget spreadsheet template.
  1. Create your first project: Once you are in, feel free to explore the tool a bit. And when you are ready, click “add project” on the right side of your dashboard, and chose the start type you prefer (“blank” if you don’t have a prior template, “export” if you had a previous .csv or .xlsx file).
create your first retable project to create group trip planning spreadsheet
Create your first Retable project
  1. Build and customize your spreadsheet: Right click on the column header and choose “customize column” from the top. Then, edit the column to your liking.
    Pro Tip: Select multiple, currency, number, and location type columns are really handy for travel spreadsheets. You can learn more about the column types here.
  1. Create your travel expense reports: Now, it’s time to create a summary (or report) spreadsheet. On your screen. Click on the upper right side, right next to your table’s name to create a second sheet. The rule of thumb is to make the first column a reference column where you import the data from the first table. Then, you need another column to sum up all the expenses from the descripted fields in the first row, this would be a rollup column. Again, this column will import all the data from the first sheet and give you a summary.  
  1. Create custom data views: Once you fill your spreadsheet and edit the columns to your liking, it is time to create different view types. The map view and the card view are my personal favorites for travel planning. Feel free to learn more about each view type here.
  1. Collaborate with your travel group: Once you are happy with your table, share it with your travel group so that everyone can have full control over their budget while traveling. No more sad faces for monetary reasons, no more fighting over debt, and no more counting pocket change every night during your trip to re-calculate how much you have left.

But if you chose to skip the burden and use my travel budget spreadsheet template, then this is how you can make the most out of it:

How to keep track of your group trip budget

So, now that we have a travel budget spreadsheet template to work with, let’s get into how to make the most out of it:

1. Note down expenses in your spreadsheet

As soon as you spend any money, try to note it into the spreadsheet. Once you forget an expense and remember about it two weeks later, it becomes difficult to ask your group members to pay for it.

With this template, it’s easy to note down what you have spent. Just select what kind of an expense it is, put in the amount and location and who spent the money, and voi-la! The spreadsheet will take care of the rest – with the rest being the sums and budget calculations.

2. Check available resources at the end of each day

Since the template will be doing 75% of the work for you, the only things left for you to do will be putting in the numbers and checking the results at the end of each day. Check group trip common budget tracking spreadsheet template.

To prevent anyone from going over budget, try to check the second page of the template as often as possible. Once you:

  • Hover over the column and edit column type,
  • Turn it into a rollup column
  • Choose “Include all values in the same category in the calculation”,
  • And type in the formula “SUM(VALUES)”,

Your travel budget tracking spreadsheet will automatically calculate how much each person has spent and how much they have left.

But of course, you can do the same thing to see how much you have spent in total for that certain type of expense.

3. Try not to split personal expenses

This might sound like an obvious one, but personal travel expenses added to the debt can cause big complications in your calculations. It is very difficult to split everything into *number of travelers* and later realize that not everyone was supposed to pay for that one expense.

And even if you do realize it in the beginning, it adds a ton more calculations into the formula, and even the most complicated excel formulas can’t get out of the mess.


And that is how you budget for a group trip and successfully end it with no one’s heart broken. If you want me to summarize it, the process goes something like this:

  • Using the template above, put in the expenses everyone makes,
  • Try to note down any and every expense the second they happen,
  • Check the calculations at the end of each day to see how your budget is doing,
  • And for good memories, you can always use the map view to mark your expenses along with funny travel pictures and create the perfect social media post.

Frequently asked questions

Check the frequently asked questions about group trip budget planning and budget tracking spreadsheet templates.

How do I create a travel budget plan?

The best way to budget and split expenses for a trip is to use a template where you can note down the expense type, expense amount, who paid for it, and who is responsible for it. Also, using a spreadsheet that calculates how much you have spent in total and tells you how much you have left in your budget will make things a lot easier.

How do you split travel expenses with friends?

You can use a spreadsheet template that sums up and calculates how much each person has spent, how much they have left and whether they owe anyone or if anyone owes them. Use Retable’s group travel budget template to save time and focus on your trip.

How do you create a group travel budget spreadsheet template with Retable?

Once you create a Retable account, create a new project from the mid-right of the screen, and start editing your columns. It is a good practice to use the currency column type for expenses and the multi-select column type for people and expense types. Once you fill your table, create another sheet in the same project and add one reference and one rollup column to do the math for you.

Can I use Retable’s group travel budget plan spreadsheet for free?

You can sign up to Retable free of charge and try all the other spreadsheet templates as well as the travel budget plan spreadsheet for 30 days. You can find out more about Retable’s pricing here.

Where can I find more spreadsheet templates such as the group travel budget planner spreadsheet?

You can find all of the Retable spreadsheet templates from the Retable’s spreadsheet template archive. You can also try them out for free for 30 days and decide if Retable is a good fit for you, free of charge during the period.

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