Here is a section to help you work around your budget for a trip around the world or a long travel.
Read also some advice about Travel Destinations to help you choose the countries you want to include in your big trip.
What’s on this page?
Travel Budget page content:
The Budget! Probably one of the main thing people look for on around the world travel advice websites, looking at all the existing pages on the question. I have seen full tables listing all the costs by categories, per country, etc. Well, it gives you some ideas but I don’t find it relevant as everyone is so different when it comes to spending money.
I would say, all included (yes, everything), it would be somewhere around 400€ to 800€ per month per person for a trip of at least 12-16 months (very precise brackets I know).
It helps you a lot right? 😉 Well, what did you expect? It is very hard to tell but I can tell you this bracket is doable and it includes doing 2 or 3 continents (taking 2 or 3 long distance flights). No ATW plane tickets sorry (Read more about ATW ticket here)
If Europe (at least Western), the United States, Australia or New Zealand are on the list, then it is about doing more camping and saving on transport (2 areas of spending more expensive than in other continents).
The difference of budget is then depending on the following:
- Choice and number of countries, the more = the faster = the more expensive (see Choosing Destinations)
- How good you are with overland travelling Vs flying
- How many costly must do tourist attractions you do
- How bad you are with drinking
- How bad you are with choosing a trendy place to stay when you want to go drinking 😉
- How bad you are with eating choices when you wake up hangover in a trendy place after you went drinking
I travelled slow but I still did many countries and that included quite a few not so cheap destinations (Caribbean, South Korea, Japan, Australia). I kept a reasonable budget but it could have been way way cheaper if I had stuck to the cheaper countries.
Here is a rough basic list of some cheaper countries per continent:
- Europe: Eastern Europe is typically cheap for Europe (Ukraine, Albania, Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Turkey) as is some southern places (Greece, Spain and Portugal)
- South America: Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Argentina (in the North only and depending on current market rate), Colombia (if you go local), Venezuela (due to the exchange situation too)
- Central America: Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, Mexico (in some parts)
- Asia: everything Except Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates. Cheapest would be maybe South East Asia (Cambodia/Laos/Vietnam/Thailand), India and Nepal.
- Africa (doesn’t include safaris ;): South Africa, Namibia and Botswana (because of the SA Rand exchange rate situation), Malawi, Egypt, Morocco, Gambia, Uganda, Nigeria, Chad, Rwanda, Togo (not exhaustive list, still hard to know in Africa, things varies quite a lot)
- Caribbean: Cuba (special mention to this quickly changing country that remained the cheapest country I have been the whole trip, that was in 2014)
Here are some tools you can have a look at, even if Cost of Living and Consumer Price Index doesn’t mean the standard of prices for tourists. But if you go local, out of the tourism system in place, it still does mean a bit :
For a recent trip with my partner, we gave it a go to this travel budget app (see more in Travel Apps page). The trip was shorter, some not so cheap places (Patagonia, Caribbean islands) and the budget limited so we had to watch out a bit more.
I didn’t do this exercice on my previous trips but I reckon this is quite accurate, here are the main types of expenses, per categories:
- 1st: Transport: even if you are careful about not taking too many flights, there are always small spending around it, almost every day. Consider shortening distances to avoid breaking your budget only on that (and I’am not even talking about inter continent transport, this trip spending example above was in 1 continent only). Read about Travel Transport Advice.
- 2nd: Food: you eat 3 times a day and it feels good! Many countries are really cheap when it comes to food but very tempting too with a lot of delicious options so it adds up at the end of the day. Western countries would be more about buying products and cook it yourself but it will still cost you a bit, every day. Read about Travel Food Advice.
- 3rd: Accommodation: this is the category that can make the difference I reckon. This example above is for a couple trip, which is always a way to share and reduce that budget when travelling. Sleeping in nice places, trendy hostel became a fashion and you can find Western prices all around the world. Being careful, trying to find cheap local or free options can make a huge difference on your budget. Read about Travel Accommodation Advice.
Travelling on your own is logically a bit more expensive because you share your spending less often. However, it’s only you so it might be easier to remain constant with your spending and having less temptation to break the bank.
Being on your own is usually easier to meet locals (= cheap way of living), get invited to sleep at someone’s place (Cf CouchSurfing), hitchhike, doing some volunteering, join some people and share some food with them, etc. so you could manage to keep your budget under control.
In a general way, travelling with someone should make the whole thing cheaper because there are quite a few costs that can be shared:
- Accommodation: apart from staying in a cheap big dorm, a cheap room for 2 in a cheap local hotel comes always cheaper. It’s also easier to travel with some proper camping equipment and that means free stay under the stars!
- Food: falling for all these food temptation cost you less when shared. Easy. Same thing about cooking and you will probably cook a bit more sharing with someone (also easier deciding on taking some proper cooking gear in your backpack)