Travel SOS: How to share travel expenses

How to avoid fights over travel expenses when you travel with a friend.

How to share travel expenses

Albert wants to avoid any frustration and fighting that could be caused by disputes with his new partner over travel costs. In Travel SOS, Andrea Hendrikx shares her tips for splitting costs and keeping the peace.

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Q. Albert
My partner and I have been dating for four years. We don’t live together and are planning our first holiday together, a three-week trip to Europe in September. I’m not sure how we will organise our finances when we are travelling and am worried that it may cause arguments. Do you have any suggestions?

A. Money can be one of the main reasons that couples fight when travelling together. It is important to sort out finances before you leave to avoid a stressful holiday.

Know each other’s spending habits
A couple of questions to ask to identify potential spending problems.

  • Do you prefer quality, quantity or a mix of both when spending? For example, will you pay more for comfortable accommodation or are you happy to rough it?
  • What are you comfortable spending each day? Figure out a rough amount that you are both happy to agree to, say $100 a day, and aim to stick to this budget as closely as possible.
  • What do you like to splurge on? You might like to splurge on fine dining, while your partner might prefer spending on experiences such as taking a cooking class or a helicopter ride over a special destination. If you are both happy to splurge on the same thing, all well and good. Alternatively, you may come to an agreement where you can increase your daily spend to include a splurge activity each.

Keep track of your expenses
Find a reliable way to keep track of all your expenses. Whichever way you decide to record the expenses, it could be as simple as a sticky note on your smartphone or using a travel-specific budgeting app like Tripcoin, ensure you update it daily.


Decide what will be split
Larger expenses such as flights, accommodation and transport should be split 50:50. Personal spending like clothing and souvenirs is probably not something that you would split, especially considering you do not share living arrangements at home.

For expenses like coffees, snacks and drinks, you might want to consider putting a kitty in a purse for one of you to be in charge of. This can be topped up as and when needed throughout your trip.

Do you have any tips regarding sharing finances for couples or friends travelling together?

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