How to Calculate Your Total Trip Cost for Travel Insurance [GUIDE]

For many travelers, one of the biggest stressors is the cost of their trip. Traveling (especially internationally) can be expensive, but there are also tons of ways you can make it more affordable. Either way, it’s a good idea to know how to calculate your trip cost in advance so you can figure out a travel insurance plan that works with your budget. 

Plus, to be fully covered by travel insurance at the lowest price, you need to calculate your trip cost as accurately as possible. Budgeting for your next journey can be difficult, so check out our in-depth guide on exactly how to come up with a budget based on your destination. Once you’ve created your trip budget, you can get a price quote for the best insurance package.

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Jumping Ahead

blue outline of arrow pointing right How to Calculate Trip Cost for Travel Insurance

While the total cost of each trip will vary a lot depending on where you’re headed and how you like to travel, the basic elements generally remain the same. 

Here’s a good formula to follow when calculating your trip cost for travel insurance:

Airfare Expenses + Accommodation Expenses + Experience Expenses = Total Trip Cost

Within each of these areas are expenses you should and should not insure. Let’s first explain what an “insurable” trip cost is.

blue outline of arrow pointing right What Trip Expenses Can You Insure Under Travel Insurance?

“Insurable trip cost” or “total trip cost” refers to prepaid, non-refundable travel expenses. The reason why you might want to insure these expenses under travel insurance is in case you suddenly have to cancel your trip. Not many travel suppliers or tour operators will issue you a full reimbursement of these costs if you suddenly can’t make the trip. 

Insuring these expenses under travel insurance would allow you to get a reimbursement from the travel insurance provider if you cancel for a covered event

Pro Tip: When calculating your trip expenses, sum up the costs you were charged for each person. For example, if you’re a family of 5, be sure to include prepaid costs associated with each family member in your total trip cost.

Here are some examples of common insurable travel cost categories to help you calculate your trip cost for travel insurance:

Airfare Expenses

Because you prepay for flights when you book them and they are often non-refundable, air tickets will likely account for a significant portion of your insurable trip cost. Science or not, booking flights at certain times could save you money. If your tickets are refundable, don’t include them in the cost.

One important thing to note is that if you book your flight with frequent flyer miles or points rather than money, you cannot add this to the travel cost. In this case, all you should log as insurable trip costs are taxes and fees associated with the purchase. You can even find a travel insurance policy that would cover the fee to redeposit your points into your account.

landscape looking out an airplane window

If your airline would reimburse your air tickets in the form of a voucher or credit if you had to cancel, you could omit your airfare expense from your trip cost calculation. 

“The benefit of insuring your nonrefundable airfare under travel insurance is being able to get a cash reimbursement of the tickets through your travel insurance if you meet all policy requirements,” says Terry Boynton, co-founder and president of Yonder Travel Insurance. 

Where to Find Your Airfare Expenses: You can usually see how much you owed for air tickets via your booking confirmation email or in the airline’s app or website. 

Accommodation Expenses

Any hotels, Airbnbs, or other nonrefundable accommodations that you pay for in advance of your trip should be added to your total trip cost. Even if you only have to pay a deposit upfront, include that amount, as well as any nonrefundable fees. Read more about travel insurance and if you can insure your Airbnb in our detailed blog post.

“You can always increase the amount of your trip expenses insured under your travel insurance policy, even after purchase. So if you’ve only paid your deposit thus far, insure that expense and increase the amount insured on your plan again once you’ve made your next deposit or payment,” says Boynton.

Where to Find Your Accommodation Expenses: After booking, you should receive some sort of confirmation email or receipt from the company if you’re booking in advance. It should list the total amount you paid for your accommodations.

Experience Expenses

The types of excursions you’re planning on taking will depend on where you’re going and what kinds of things you’re into. This bucket includes expenses such as fees for museums, parks, and other paid entry, equipment rentals, or tours. 

If you purchase these experiences before your trip, count them as part of your insurable trip cost. If you don’t have to pay for them in advance, you guessed it…leave them out of the total trip cost for your travel insurance.

museum in Paris

To sum it up, any expense you purchase in advance of your trip that you won’t get back if you have to cancel your trip should be included in the trip cost calculation. Since you have a better idea of what to enter in the “trip cost” field of our travel insurance quote tool, now’s the best time to get your free quote. 

Where to Find Your Experience Expenses: Tally up the total of all your receipts from ticket confirmations or tour bookings.

blue outline of arrow pointing right What Costs Shouldn’t You Insure Under Travel Insurance?

With any trip, there are expenses you’ll likely pay for while you’re on your trip, like the ones below. However, anything purchased after your departure isn’t allowed to be insured under travel insurance. Regardless, it may be helpful for you to calculate these categories for budgeting and planning purposes.

Meal Expenses

This may be the hardest category to calculate before travel, but you can get a good estimate if you really think it through. If you have a list of restaurants that you definitely plan to visit, you can do your best to estimate the total that you could spend on each. A good place to start is viewing the restaurant’s online menus or customer review sites, for example. 

Then, think about the number of meals you will need to eat while you’re away, including while you’re at the airport. If you’re staying at a place where you can make your own meals, consider whether you’ll make some of your meals with groceries from a local shop or farmers market. 

Because it’s unlikely that you’ll predict exact food costs and appetite, this is going to be a rough budget. Be sure to tack on a bit extra in your travel budget for wiggle room if possible.

Transit Expenses

Once you get to your destination, how do you plan to get around? If you’re going to opt for public transportation, you can likely find the cost online. Take a minute to calculate whether it’ll be more cost-effective to pay for each ride individually or go for a several-day or week-long pass. Take your travel time frame and plans into consideration. Because you’ll be charged for this expense once you arrive, this is not a prepaid cost. Therefore, you shouldn’t include transportation expenses as part of your insurable trip cost that you use for insurance purposes.

Pro Tip: If you prepay for any transportation for which you cannot be refunded if you don’t use it, such as an airport shuttle, you should include that amount in your travel costs.

Miscellaneous Expenses

This section includes things like shopping and salon treatments, which you can budget for in advance (for the most part). If you budget a dollar amount for those types of things, you’ll know what you can and cannot do and buy to stay within that budget. 

That said, no matter how well you budget out the sections outlined above, it’s just not possible to plan for every single purchase you’ll need to make on your trip. Things come up, like having to buy new sunscreen or forgetting your packed lunch and having to eat at a restaurant instead. 

In addition to any shopping you might want to do, set aside a bit extra for any additional expenses that might come up. Again, none of this will be included in your insurable trip cost, since you won’t have paid for any of it before your trip.

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Once you’ve calculated your insurable trip cost, you’re ready to get started on your free insurance quote. Choosing the right travel insurance for your experience could save you a ton of money if anything comes up before or during your trip! 

Looking for other answers to top travel insurance related questions? Our Travel Insurance FAQ page is full of helpful travel insurance information to get you started.

blue outline of arrow pointing right Buying Travel Insurance Without Insuring a Trip Cost

There are a few reasons why you might not need or want to insure a trip cost under travel insurance. Check out a few of them below.

  • All your expenses are refundable or paid for during your trip or upon arrival at your destination.
  • You purchased your trip completely with reward points or air miles.
  • You don’t mind self-insuring should something go wrong.
  • You’re only looking for travel medical and travel loss/delay coverage.

In these cases, it’s not necessary to insure your trip cost under travel insurance. Just make sure you’re following policy requirements for specific benefits. When running a travel insurance quote via Yonder, you can just enter “$0” in the trip cost field of the quote tool. This will give you access to medical expense, medical evacuation, and travel loss/delay coverage (baggage and trip delay benefits).

If this is your first international adventure, make sure you’re as prepared as you can be with our checklist. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our team of friendly humans too if you need a travel insurance plan recommendation.

Kate's authoritative voice in travel writing is backed by years of extensive travel experience, allowing her to infuse her writing with the tips and tricks she has gathered over time. This wealth of experience enhances her ability to write authoritatively on travel-related topics.

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