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2. Set Up Your Spreadsheet and Start Your Research

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This video will offer suggestions for setting up the budget spreadsheet for your vacation.

You can design your spreadsheet however you’d like, but it must contain a few elements.

Click the link on the webpage to read the project requirements.

After setting up the spreadsheet, you will research attractions, activities, food, and travel costs for your location.

First, create a summary table where you can easily see: The amount of money you have budgeted for your trip, or “Amount Allotted”; The costs you have accounted for during your research; And the balance, or the amount you have left over after you’ve paid your expenses.

You probably won’t calculate these values until after you’ve researched and added some vacation costs.

Next, build an itinerary, or schedule for the trip, into your spreadsheet.

Then, add cells for each day’s expenses in the cells beneath it.

Include transportation, lodging, food, and attractions for each day of your trip.

You might find it easiest to add label cells for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; attractions for the morning and afternoon; and any transportation costs you might have each day, like taxis, bus fare, or gas mileage.

Then, you can add more specifics as you research costs.

Add a column for costs, where you will record the costs you research; And a column for category, just like you did when you were categorizing monthly expenses.

If you have one-time expenses, like a round-trip flight or bus ticket, you might add these to a separate section of your spreadsheet.

Remember: the spreadsheet you see here is just an example.

Your spreadsheet can look different, but make sure you include all of the required elements.

It’s a good idea to calculate your expenses as you research them, so you can keep track of your budget.

To do this, add a sum formula beside the “Total Costs” cell that adds all the values in the Costs column.

If you don’t remember how to do this, watch the formulas video included in this unit.

Keep track of how much you are spending in each category.

If your costs get too high, figure out a way to spend less in one or more categories.

You can add other elements to your spreadsheet if you have time--like data validation lists, heading colors, or images.

These are not required, but can make your spreadsheet more legible and accurate.

Return to previous activities if you forgot how to add these features, or ask a neighbor when you get to that point.

After you’ve set up your spreadsheet, research transportation, lodging, food, and attractions for your vacation.

Keep in mind your total budget, and try to plan the best vacation with the money you have.

To help research a potential vacation, use the videos on the following page.

Watch these videos in whatever order you like.The videos will give you tips for taking a vacation to almost any location on almost any budget!

You might want to start your research with the most expensive items.

Transportation and lodging costs can add up in a hurry, especially if you plan to fly or book a hotel.

Or, you might really want to go to Disney World or a sporting event.

You could start by budgeting for tickets for events or attractions, then work out the other details with the money you have left.

Use whatever strategy is best for you.

Just make sure to include all of the requirements in your spreadsheet.

Now, it’s your turn Click the link on this page to open the project requirements.

Set up your spreadsheet so that it includes space for all the requirements.

Then, start researching each of these elements of your trip in any order, using the videos provided for help.


  1. Click the link to open the project requirements.
  2. Set up your spreadsheet to include all the requirements.
  3. Start your research using the videos for help.