During my ten-month backpacking trip in 2018 and 2019, I kept track of every single dollar and penny spent and visited both western and non-western countries to keep it varied. I processed this pile of data into several tables so you can use them to plan your next adventure! I’ll break down and discuss my total world trip cost. Let’s get right into it.
First off, I’ll describe my travel style so that you can put the figures below into perspective:
- I travelled solo during the majority of my trip
- I stayed in hostels (with excellent ratings) or at campsites (while on roadtrips)
- The majority of my activities were free: exploring cities, hiking, photography, etc.
- I cooked my own (healthy!) meals 99% of the time, except in Asia
- I neither drink or smoke (a big one for some!)
Total around the world trip cost
My trip lasted for a total of approximately ten months (293 days). During this time, I visited 11 countries and territories. All costs included, I spent a total of €12569, or about US$14300 at the time of writing. That includes everything, including stuff I bought before leaving such as my backpack and camping gear. This means that on average, I spent approximately €1250 per month or €43 per day. I’d say that’s very reasonable! Then again, I put quite a lot of effort into making sure I didn’t spend more than was necessary. You can too!
Couples can sometimes save on accommodation as you might find private rooms that are less expensive than two dorm beds. Additionally, couples can share the cost of rental cars, fuel, taxis, tuktuks and motorbikes. Don’t assume couples will simply spend twice as much as solo travelers! You’ll save a lot of money on shared purchases and costs.
I assigned a category to each of my expenditures and did some work to turn it into a fine table. Have a look:
|Category||Cost||% of total|
|Accommodation – Hostels, campsites, Airbnb etc.||€ 3620||29 %|
|Private transport – Rental cars and (motor)bikes including fuel, taxis||€ 1924||15 %|
|Public transport – Trains, buses and ferries||€ 1799||14 %|
|Flights – National and international||€ 1545||12 %|
|Food – Self-prepared, restaurants, snacks and drinks||€ 1384||11 %|
|Clothes and gear – Backpack, camping gear, replacing worn clothes||€ 922||8 %|
|Activities – Admission fees, tours, attractions etc.||€ 734||6 %|
|Health & hygiene – Toiletries, medicine, haircuts||€ 248||2 %|
|Miscellaneous – Sending post and parcels, gifts, souvenirs||€ 167||1 %|
|Connectivity – SIM cards, data plans and Wi-Fi||€ 127||1 %|
|Travel insurance – Excludes health insurance!||€ 100||1 %|
|Total||€ 12569||100 %|
- Accommodation by far covers the largest chunk of my expenses. This is mainly caused by the fact that hostels in the U.S. are (very) expensive, compared to other countries. In fact, over 60% of my total accommodation expenses were in the U.S. and Canada alone, even though I only spent a quarter of my time there!
- I saved a lot of money by hunting for the cheapest flight deals. See my article on finding cheap flight tickets to find out how this works.
- Even though the majority of my days were filled with activities, only 10% of my total spending went towards activities. Exploring cities and hiking usually are great budget-friendly activities.
Daily spending per country
Development comes at a price and that’s why some Asian countries are up to three times cheaper to travel in than western countries like the United States. (I’m not saying that you shouldn’t visit western countries!) The table below gives you an idea of the amount of money you’ll spend in each of the countries I visited on my round the world trip.
|Country or territory||Days||Avg. daily spending||Notes|
|United States||67||€ 65,04|
|New Zealand||117||€ 22,22||Stayed with family for 60 days|
|Bali, Indonesia||17||€ 25,78|
|Hongkong||4||€12,20||Stayed with family during entire stay|
As you can see, the United States are by far my most expensive destination and the main reason for this is that U.S. hostels are quite expensive. Additionally, I heavily relied on Amtrak trains to move around the country. I spent €800 on a 45-day flexible train pass, which also significantly added to the final figure. My travels in Malaysia had the lowest daily spending, even though the country is surprisingly developed. Recommended!
Had I not been able to stay with friends and family in New Zealand and Hongkong, my daily budgets for both destinations would have been at least twice as high. In that case, I estimate the figures would have been €50 per day for New Zealand and €30 per day for Hongkong. If I adjust my average daily spending figure for that, it increases from €43 per day to somewhere around €50 per day.
I doubt that my itinerary and travel style are the same as yours, so your spending pattern will most likely be different than mine. However, €50 per day is a very good starting point to estimate your total world trip cost. You can totally do it for less if you’re dedicated and are willing to adhere to a somewhat alternative travel style! It doesn’t matter much, as long as you enjoy the experience.
What do you think? Have you done a simliar trip yourself and did you record your spending? Share your findings in the comment section below!