How Much Does It Cost to Travel the World?

How Much Does It Cost to Travel the World? -- One couple answers how they spent four five months traveling Western Europe on less than $20 a day per person. Tons of infographics and explanations.

So… how much does it cost to travel the world? We’ve gotten this question plenty but haven’t given you hard facts and numbers yet. But finally, here they are! We’re overviewing our first five months of full-time travel in Western Europe.

I’m going to break it down for you in a couple ways.

1st  I’ll lay it out based on categories of spending. You’ll get to see how we set up our budget, and the total amount we’ve spent.

2nd I’ll break it down again by month, where you can see how much we’ve spent depending on where we’ve been and what we’re doing.

One of the biggest reasons we want to open up this highly personal aspect of our lives is because we believe so strongly that travel is achievable for anyone! We travel on a very small budget, and we feel like there are lots of places we could cut even more spending if we had to. Hopefully seeing these numbers convinces you that travel is not out of reach.

Ultimately, if travel is a high priority, you can make it happen.

The important thing is to determine what is a priority for you, and to actually live that intentionally. Where you send your dollars goes a long way in turning ideas into activity. We’ve chosen to focus on travel for this season of life and we’re putting our $$ where our mouths are!

So, how much does it cost to travel the world? Let’s see!

How Much Does It Cost to Travel the World? -- One couple answers how they spent four five months traveling Western Europe on less than $20 a day per person. Tons of infographics and explanations.

** I want to point out that the graphs displayed above include our totals for each category, including our flights from London to Kuala Lumpur that show up in our December transportation category. If you take out this huge spike in spending, our daily average per person would be just under $19(!!)

 

Categories

TRANSPORTATION: This is any cost we incurred getting from point A to point B, including international AND domestic/intercontinental flights, trains, car rentals, etc.

FOOD: Any costs associating with feeding ourselves, unless it’s a treat just for one of us, in which case that comes from our personal discretionary funds. We do split this into Groceries and Restaurants in our budget, but decided to keep it all together for the sake of this post.

HOUSING: Almost exclusively Airbnb because we love it and it’s always the cheapest option… sign up here and you’ll get a discount AND you’ll help us keep traveling by giving us site credit! (And in case you’re a new reader, we also housesit, but this is free for us so doesn’t factor into this post. Again, you can use this link to register as a housesitter for a win-win discount for both of us!)

ENTERTAINMENT: This has mostly been for museums, although we have treated ourselves in a few other ways too. We reserve this for special occasions/unique opportunities.

MISCELLANEOUS: Our budget junk drawer, if you will… the cost of a prepaid phone plan in each country takes up the bulk of this category.

 


 

How Much Does It Cost to Travel the World? -- One couple answers how they spent four five months traveling Western Europe on less than $20 a day per person. Tons of infographics and explanations.

 

September

This month, we spent most of our time visiting family. We went on a road trip with my parents for two weeks, and we also stayed with other friends and family members. So many of our needs were generously covered during this time, so you’ll see that housing is ZERO(!) and food and transportation are also quite low. During this time, we visited Switzerland, Italy, and France. At the end of the month, we purchased tickets to fly to London.

I do want to point out that the cost of our flights to Europe are not included in this month’s expenses. Mostly because they weren’t purchased in the month of September. However, keep reading through til December to see how I think this gets balanced out in a big way in our travel finances report.

 


 

How Much Does It Cost to Travel the World? -- One couple answers how they spent four five months traveling Western Europe on less than $20 a day per person. Tons of infographics and explanations.

 

October

This month, we spent the entire time housesitting in England. We really enjoyed exploring London and then relaxing in a small town near Exeter. Our transportation is a bit higher here as public transportation at our second housesit was quite pricey, and we also purchased train tickets back and forth to Exeter and a plane ticket for our November flight to Germany. This month we also had a huge food bill. At this point, we had a “daily” budget that covered pretty much everything we did on a day-to-day basis. We quickly realized that wasn’t going to work for us so we narrowed down to specific categories, including the ones listed.

This is a great of example of how you can learn as you go!! Of course you want to do your research and planning ahead of time, but extend grace to yourselves when you need to change something up along the way. And bonus for us: because we’d had such an inexpensive first month, our average for our five months of eating came out to $373.92, which was still under our budget of $400 a month!

 


 

How Much Does It Cost to Travel the World? -- One couple answers how they spent four five months traveling Western Europe on less than $20 a day per person. Tons of infographics and explanations.

 

November

This month, we thoroughly enjoyed a break from petsitting and simply housesat for a friend in Germany. It was so relaxing and exactly what we needed. We both still look back fondly on this month as one of our favorites of the year. We took a long weekend trip to Berlin as well as finishing the month with a week in the Black Forest, so our housing cost is a bit higher here due to our Airbnb stays. We took lots of trains, buses, and our one and only rental car during this month so transportation is still up even though we spent a lot of the month in one city. As for food, you can see we came absolutely to the max of our $400 budget. This means that at the end of the month, we were eating B-grade spaghetti on Thanksgiving ): But sometimes you have to make sacrifices to reach that priority! #worthit

 


 

How Much Does It Cost to Travel the World? -- One couple answers how they spent four five months traveling Western Europe on less than $20 a day per person. Tons of infographics and explanations.

 

December

This month was our super spendy month! All for good reason, and all budgeted for in advance, but man it is a little scary to look at. In case you didn’t notice, the bar for transportation runs off the charts almost double the height it appears to be! Let me explain things a bit here…

During December, we purchased our tickets to leave Europe and fly to SE Asia. I debated removing this cost for the sake of our “five months in Europe” infographics, but I decided to keep them because I think it helps give you a better idea of your potential costs. Since we didn’t include our flights to Europe, here we’re adding that cost back in so that the total brings you up to a more probable amount.

In December we also visited Paris where you have to pay to see almost any museum or attraction, and we celebrated the holidays with friends in London. Because we had budgeted plenty of “fun” money in our entertainment fund, we were able to visit the Louvre in Paris and then have freedom to enjoy sightseeing with our friends during their big trip to Europe. This meant lots of eating out and a night at the theatre watching Wicked. It was really enjoyable and we’re glad we had saved to be able to do this.

 


 

How Much Does It Cost to Travel the World? -- One couple answers how they spent four five months traveling Western Europe on less than $20 a day per person. Tons of infographics and explanations.

 

January

This month, we can pretty much draw a line down the middle and say we only spent half of January actually in Europe. So our post is the tiniest bit misleading at the get-go, but we’re going for simplest format here! But also honesty. It’s a hard line to walk (;

The first half of January, we were visiting my sister and then housesitting in London. We did mostly walking and laying around the house, so transportation was kept to a minimum. We also stuck to free outings so entertainment was actually back to zero this month. The second half of the month, we were in SE Asia! Since we’d already purchased the tickets in December, you’re only seeing the costs for Uber and other local transportation. Our food cost is pretty high because we did lots of cooking the first half and lots of eating out the second half. The good news is, Malaysia is super cheap so it should be fun to see if that affects our food bill for the next several months. And that little housing cost? Those $13 well-spent dollars were for an Airbnb during our layover in Sri Lanka. Believe me guys… it’s the cheapest way to go!

 


 

Well, I hope this answers that pressing question of “how much does it cost to travel the world?!” In a nutshell, I’d say it’s significant but not prohibitory. Traveling on around $20 a day is not easy, but it is totally doable. And most of the time it is truly enjoyable too! We have to be disciplined and diligent, but we aren’t stingy with ourselves. I still drink just as much Starbucks as back at home, and I still paint my nails on a regular basis. Just regular American girl life (; But on the road.

 

If you found this post helpful/inspirational/unbelievable…  I’d love it if you shared this post! Let’s spread the travel encouragement around!

 

February 13, 2016
  • I always wondered about Air b&B. I wondered if it was a safe option or not.

    • It’s totally safe! Both hosts and guests are vetted to be sure they are legit. And you can research all the reviews people have given for each place you’re considering staying. We have had dozens of amazing experiences at airbnb’s around the world. If you have any further questions, let me know!

  • Such great graphics! I love seeing everything laid out so well…thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you!! I have to admit.. it took me so long to make those graphics. haha. But I love a good infographic so I was determined! (;

  • I admire your discipline! One of my goals for this year is to learn how to budget well and stick to it. We are staying in our first airbnb in chiang mai and are really excited!

    • Yay! Let me know how you like your first airbnb experience! And we are big finance nerds. We’ve counseled a few individuals/couples in debt reduction and budget creation. Let me know if you have any questions, or just need a cheerleader! 🙂

  • You guys are definitely getting an awesome deal on the housing–definitely looks like where you’re saving the most money. Sounds like an awesome time! 🙂 When we fly home to visit America someday I figure we’ll probably spend 3k just on the round-trip plane tickets alone, because $1500 is a pretty decent round-trip price from Malaysia to USA. Of course, once there, we’ll stay with family and borrow cars and scrounge food so the only main cost will be gas and/or domestic tickets (my family is in Michigan, Angel’s family is in TX–we can’t go back to the USA and visit only one side of the family, can we?? haha!). But 3k is a rather intimidating number considering that with the current ringgit value Angel makes about $800 a month–liveable here…but saving for a trip is a little different story!

    • Yes, having free housing for much of our trip is really nice! I think we only had to pay for accommodations about one out of the five months (if you add all the nights together). That’s the advantage of having family all over the world! haha. And of course house sitting is huge for us. Although I would say we pay for it in our time as some of the housesits are fairly time/energy intensive. Worth it of course 🙂 And I’m surprised at the plane costs! When we looked at flights to go home (just for fun, we’re not actually planning to) it was around $900 round trip from here to Chicago. I guess it all depends on where you’re flying! And I get you on the currency exchange. We are so lucky to be traveling on the dollar. It may not be great in Europe, but it is so much better than most of the world’s currency. It has put us at an advantage for traveling like we do. Last year in Anchorage, I made about $1000 a month though which is quite low, so I also understand that side of things. Money… what a love/hate thing! 🙂

  • Wow, this is so awesome! I’ve been thinking about how to expand my traveling options in this new year and have been slowly adding to a “Travel” sinking fund so I can achieve this! Thanks for showing us the breakdown of what works for you 🙂

    • Thanks for stopping by! Yes, there are so many ways to budget for traveling. For us, housesitting has been the key to long-term travel. But everyone has their own dream travel plans!! Good luck in saving and planning for yours! 🙂

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