What Is a Travel Expense Proposal? 

A travel expense proposal is a formal proposal that outlines and details all possible expenses of an upcoming trip. The travel proposal may be used for business trips, vacations or even educational field trips.  

According to an article by Bankrate, the average cost of a one-week vacation for two pax in the United States is estimated to be around $3,116. In addition, the same article also rounded up the average cost of transportation. A domestic round-trip flight averaged $275 while an international round-trip airfare was estimated to be at $735. A rental car was also pegged at about $99 per day.  

Examples of Travel Expenses

An individual’s travel expenses would obviously depend on how much the person spends or is willing to spend on any given trip. A traveler can incur both small expenses and large amounts while on holiday or on a business trip. The following examples categorizes and describes just some of the most universal travel expenses.

Accommodation Expenses. One of the first things to cross out in a trip checklist is lodging or accommodation. Having a place to stay while in a foreign place or in unfamiliar territory is as basic as they come. So for anyone who is planning a trip, you can expect to allot a portion of your budget to pay for a hotel or an Airbnb. The range of accommodation expenses can vary, of course, based on your tastes and preferences. For budget travelers and backpackers, staying at a simple inn or hostel is far cheaper than a luxurious five-star hotel. In other words, your lodging costs are directly tied to your choices and decisions. But if you are keen on saving money for accommodation, staying at a relative or a friend’s house rent-free will significantly cut costs. Transportation Expenses. Another basic expense to be expected while traveling is transportation cost. Whatever mode of transportation- via air, sea or land- there is always some cost incurred. Today, many people prefer to fly commercially because it is a more efficient and convenient way to get around. Still, others prefer taking the scenic route with road trips and cruises. Bus tickets and airfare are common travel expenses that should be calculated into any travel budget. Just like accommodation and lodging, transportation costs are basic and should be one of the first things to settle prior to any trip. In addition to flights and other big-ticket expenses, don’t forget to incorporate transport-related minor or daily expenses as well. You need allowance for taxi rates, ride-sharing costs, train tickets, bus rides, etc. Shopping Expenses. When people go on vacation, it is typical to want to purchase items for yourself and for your loved ones back home. It is surprisingly easy to lose track of your expenses while going on shopping sprees. Shopping is not inherently wrong, it is unregulated and mindless buying that poses a threat. To avoid draining your wallets and bank accounts on shopping, it is important to have a plan for when you go shopping. You can keep a list of people you intend to buy gifts or souvenirs for. This way, you do not end up purchasing unnecessary items. Gift shops are easily accessible for a reason, the accessibility makes it easier to spend and purchase without second thought. Anywhere around the world you will find all kinds of bazaars, malls, flea markets, and night markets. One way to resist the temptation of spending all your pocket money in one place is by earmarking shopping or personal money before stepping into a mall or a bargain market. Miscellaneous Expenses. Throughout an entire trip, you can unknowingly incur several miscellaneous expenses that eventually can pile up. These small and seemingly minor costs usually do not create any significant dent in your budget. But if left unchecked, these could accumulate and you could end up going over your travel budget. Miscellaneous expenses could be for entertainment purposes, various entrance fees, personal tips, and other incidental costs. To illustrate, a couple of hours spent in a karaoke bar with several rounds of drinks placed on your tab can come with an expensive price tag; or maybe you find yourself tipping hotel staff generously. Whatever the reason for the miscellaneous expenses, try to always take note of them or keep track of it. Because if you are trying to be frugal and prudent about your money, you might want to think twice about spending lavishly on unnecessary expenses. Meals Expenses. Food is a basic necessity. And when on vacation or traveling, the chances of you dining out is far greater. Rarely do people stay at home and cook while on holiday, unless of course it is an extended or long-stay vacation. Just like accommodation, daily meals can take up a large chunk of your budget. Thus, it is important to plan out your budget for both food and drinks. Food served in hotels is generally pricier. If you are looking to save money on food, you can leave your hotel and find more budget-friendly restaurants instead. Be cautious too with the drinks you buy. Buying one cocktail can usually lead to buying another and another. Avoid touching the items in your hotel room mini bar as well since their prices are widely known to be inflated. In sum, you can think of all kinds of practical and creative ways to cut meal costs, you just need to plan ahead and stick to your budget throughout your trip.

Tips for Creating a Travel Expense Proposal

A good travel expense proposal needs to be both informative and persuasive. Since it is a proposal, your aim is to persuade the reader or recipient of the proposal that your trip is justified or worth the trouble. The following examples are some simple tips on how you can improve your travel expense proposal.  

Use a spreadsheet. Crafting a proposal that is monotonous or lacking in variety can do little to help your case. In other words, you want to create a proposal that can sustain the readers’ interest. One way to achieve this is by introducing various formats and styles in your proposal. Incorporate several ways of presenting your information as opposed to just sticking to one format. Break the monotony of text or paragraphs by incorporating tables or spreadsheets. Using a spreadsheet can help you organize your data better. It is a much better way to present your information as well, especially when figures or numbers are involved. Further, using a spreadsheet or Excel sheet may even make it easier for the reader to understand or get the gist of your idea. It is important to find ways to guide the recipient of the proposal towards a more comprehensive understanding of your travel expenses. If this means using tools such as tables, charts and spreadsheets, then do so. Anticipate miscellaneous fees. When planning for travel expenses, it is important to give allowance not just for expected costs but also for unexpected ones. Travel is a risk, which is why many companies and firms offer travel insurance. So when you draft your proposal, you need to take into account this element of risk. In other words, it might be wise to anticipate and allot a portion of your proposed budget for emergency or miscellaneous uses. With highly unpredictable circumstances occurring everywhere around the world, the most people can do is to adequately prepare for any unexpected detours or roadblocks. A person can sustain an injury while on vacation abroad or a tourist could be a victim of identity theft in a foreign country. As much as we picture a vacation to be stress-free and perfect, these scenarios are not completely out of the realm of possibility. Budget, budget, budget. A key component in a travel expense proposal is the budget. Travel expenses vary depending on individual circumstances and as discussed earlier, there can be countless expenses while on a trip- whether planned or incidental. Thus, a practical and sound budget is absolutely essential. Not only does this help the recipient of the proposal understand the overall expectation of your trip, but it can also help guide you in your own decision-making. If you need help in estimating the budget of your trip, try doing your own research or seeking input and advice from the right authorities. Ask a friend who has been on a similar trip or consult a trusted travel agent. Essentially, the main purpose of crafting a budget is to avoid any unnecessary spending, especially if your goal is to minimize costs and maximize your savings.

How to Create a Travel Expense Proposal

To create a travel expense proposal, you need to first establish what kind of trip you are going on. But if it’s convenience and efficiency you are looking for, your best bet is a sample template. Browse the collection of editable templates above, download one that suits your needs, and follow the instruction guide below. 

Step 1: Purpose of Travel

To begin drafting a travel expense proposal, you need to identify the purpose of your trip. What is the nature of the trip? Is it a business trip, a holiday vacation or an educational field trip? Whatever the purpose of your travel, it is important to adequately describe and disclose it in your proposal. If it is funding for your trip that you are seeking, then this section cannot be omitted. Stating the purpose of travel in an honest yet persuasive way will give the sponsor, reader or recipient of the proposal an idea of the expenses; and perhaps, even aid in their approval or endorsement of your trip.     

Step 2: Trip Details

Once you have established the purpose and nature of your trip, you need to dive into the specifics. Provide all the necessary travel details that the reader might want to know. Whether it is time, date, airline details, accommodation information, background on the destination, or even price comparisons, you ought to include anything that might help your case. This section is essential because it sets the backdrop for the travel expenses you will detail later on in the proposal. Ensure that the trip details you give are both accurate and updated. If need be, do some prior research to make sure that the information you put in your proposal is verified.   

Step 3: Itinerary Schedule 

A key component of a travel expense proposal is a detailed itinerary or schedule. You need to be able to justify your travel expenses and only by disclosing what your plans are during the trip can this be realized. This section should provide a complete itinerary of your trip, along with the  proposed activities and specific locations. To make it more organized, arrange your itinerary using a simple table or chart. If, for any reason, there is a need to amend or modify your itinerary, simply include a brief note in your proposal announcing that schedules and activities may be subject to change.    

Step 4: Budget Planner 

This section is dedicated to detailing each and every possible expense of your trip. You need to craft a budget planner that’s practical and feasible. The proposed budget should include a complete breakdown of expenses. If you are unsure of where to begin, refer to the previous section for examples on travel expenses and costs. The important thing to keep in mind is to indicate the accurate amount or closest estimate for every travel expense. Do your research on current market prices or on estimated price ranges. As much as possible, you do not want to be complacent when it comes to budget preparation. 


How do you write a travel proposal?

To write a travel proposal, you need to indicate the purpose of your trip, specific travel details, itinerary schedule, and a comprehensive budget or description of travel expenses. Refer to the instruction guide above for more specific details on how to write a travel proposal.

What is a good budget for traveling?

It would depend on individual preferences and tastes. But generally, a good budget allows the traveler or tourist to maximize the travel experience and minimize the costs. A good tip to remember is to always weigh your options. Compare prices for airfare and accommodation and try to get the best deal.

How do you budget for international travel?

You need to do your research first. Research on your airline options, flight routes, and the destination itself. You need this essential information before you can craft a practical budget. You can also engage the services of an accredited travel agency to help you plan your international trip.

Ideally, a travel expense proposal should be accurate and convincing at the same time. Whether your objective is to obtain funding, approval or endorsement for your trip, you need to plan and prepare your proposal responsibly. Browse the sample templates above to get started on your own proposal now!