Elin travels

Travel budget – One year of traveling

This post is also available in: svSvenska


Calculating on a travel budget isn’t always that easy. To tell another person that it costs this or that much to travel a year is almost impossible. We are all different and we therefore travel differently. 

How much does it cost to travel a year? To travel a year can cost as much as 100 000 dollars or more, much more, there is really no limit to how much it can cost. Lets say you want to stay in luxury hotels and do expensive activities every few days, then your expenses will increase rapidly.

Stick to street food and national brands of beer, wine and booze

If you instead choose to couch surf as often as possible, volunteer work a bit and use services as  BlaBlaCar or maybe hitchhike, your travel budget will look totally different. Food and drinks is something else you can save money on. Stick to street food and national brands of beer, wine and booze. You can easily get away with 10 000 dollars. If you also stay in one continent and avoid flying it’s going to be even cheaper.

Budget traveling with a touch of luxury and a heck of a lot of adventure 

When it comes to me I would like to call my traveling ‘budget traveling with a touch of luxury and a heck of a lot of adventure‘. Is that something you think is for you? In that case, keep reading. Not for you? Keep reading anyway. 🙂

I often get the question: “How much does it cost to travel the way you do?” 

That is when I, a bit bothered, answer something like: “Eeeh…well, I’m not sure…you know…eeeh…it depends on…eeeh…I mean I stay in cheap places…eeeh…”

Then I change the subject. I just don’t have a good answer, since I don’t really have a clue.

Today, after sitting down doing a bit of calculating, I’m going to try to give you a proper answer to the question.

The travel budget I’m sharing with you now is from my latest trip which lasted about 14 months. I traveled in these continents: Europe, Asia, Africa and North America. Here I have calculated on the cost for one year. 

I have divided my budget in before the trip and during the trip. Very pedagogical, don’t you think?

Before the trip:

–Travel insurance for around the world, one year: 1 300 USD

(if you, unlike me, have a home and therefore a home insurance, it might be a bit cheaper)

A travel insurance is something you must have according to me. It is so easy to think, it is not going to happen to me. Which it usually fortunately doesn’t.  But if something happens you are going to thank your lucky star that you were smart enough to take out an insurance.

There are so many to choose from, make a research before you make a decision. I usually go with Goudas Worldwide. It covers everything and has worked well for me. When I ended up in hospital in Cuba I didn’t have to pay anything at all.

–Vaccines and other drugs: 50 USD 

(cortisone and antihistamine)

If you don’t already have the basic cover this cost will be a lot higher. I already have protection against polio, diphtheria, tetanus, hepatitis A and B, yellow fever (something you need to have to enter some countries)  and typhoid fever.

Dukoral I don’t take any more since, apparently, it’s very rare that you get cholera.

Malarita prophylaxis I bought in Africa for almost nothing. In Sweden it’s super expensive.

Remember, before you leave on a long trip, go and see a doctor to find out what vaccines you might need.

–Other: 0 USD

Here I count things like backpack, flightbag, padlocks, travel towel, travel sheets, small practical containers for schampoo etc. 

This time I was lucky to already have everything I needed.

During the trip:

–Accommodation: 4 000 USD (on average 11 USD/night)

I stay in cheap hostels, on a few occasions I couch surf and I stay one month for free in Tel Aviv and two weeks in the Dominican Republic. Sometimes I pamper myself and stay a night or two in a nicer hotel.

If you are not picky you can easily find accommodation for less than 10 USD in most countries. In South East Asia I have stayed for as little as two dollars a night. On an average the cost for my accommodation this year ends up to be 11 USD/night.

–Transportation: cirka 4 400 USD

I do fly quite a lot.
Sweden – Lithuania
Armenia – South Africa
Kenya – Israel
Israel – Mexico
Mexico – Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic – Cuba
Cuba – Jamaica
Jamaica – Cuba
Cuba – Guatemala
Belize – Sweden

The flights end up at a cost of around 3 300 USD.

Mostly I travel by bus, train, boat or car.

–Food and drinks: 12 000 USD

(I just want to point out that if you don’t drink alcohol the total will be a whole other digitit. 🙂 )

Food is an important part of traveling. I personally love street food and I will gladly try everything that I find in small, sometimes pretty dirty, food stalls. Usually it is really tasty but sometimes I’m unlucky and I’m forced to have a fight with my gag reflexes.

Street food is usually very cheap, some days I end up spending as little as three dollars on food. Other days I spend more, way more. I’m not the person that says no to a glass of good wine, I think one needs a little silver lining in life from time to time. On average I spend about 30 USD a day on food and drinks. 

–Adventure: about 2 500 USD

I love adventures! During this year I skydive, bungee jump, I go white river rafting, climb a vulcano, hike in the jungle to watch wild gorillas, I hang over the edge of the Victoria Fall (Devil’s pool) and I scuba dive. It is worth every penny!

–Visas: 230 USD

Here it obviously depends on which countries you visit. As a Swedish citizen I can, privileged as I am, go to most countries without any visa.

An advice is, in those cases it is possible, to fix your visa at arrival rather than ahead. It is usually both cheaper and easier.

I pay for:
Transit in USA, ESTA, 13 USD.

Visa, Zambia, 50 USD at the border.
Visa, Tanzania, 50 USD.
Visa, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda (East Africa tourist visa) 100 USD at the border going from Tanzania to Kenya.
Tourist card, Cuba, 17 USD when checking in at the airport in the Dominican Republic. It would have costed more than 40 USD if I had applied in Sweden!

However I don’t need to pay anything when I cross the border from Israel to Jordan. Nice surprise 🙂 I had been told that the fee was 50 USD.

–Other: 550 USD

I’m not sure, I just feel like there has to be a “other” heading on a travel budget post like this. I’m pretty sure there is something I have forgotten that can fit in here. 

Oh yeah. Toothpaste, schampoo and stuff like that. Typical “other-things” but still needed while traveling. And yeah, sometimes I do buy some clothes. And flags (padges) for my backpack. And…

Ok, maybe change it to 750, just to be sure. 

It all adds up to 25 230 USD, almost 70 USD per day. Remember you can spend way less than that, and way more. I traveled wherever I felt like and did everything I wanted to do. Mostly I saved money on accommodation.

What is your travel budget when you are out and about? Please write a comment and let me know!

Over and out

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