How much does a life of constant travel cost?
It’s a fair question, as it’s a relatively curious and out of the box thing I’ve been doing over the past 18 months.
If you’ve been following along with my ‘cost of travel’ posts over the last year and a half, you’ll know that I keep a pretty dang detailed record of how much I spend whilst traveling.
Each month, I let you know how much I spent on accommodation, food, travel, sightseeing, and other random things that crop up now and again. I like to break it down into the total amount spent that month as well as the daily average.
Since I had several months throughout the past year and a half that I was back in the US and not traveling, I have been waiting to get this post out until I had officially been on the road a cumulative 365 days – and, as of the end of February, that time has come!
In the past year of travel I’ve traveled through 18 different countries spanning 4 continents. I’ve had the privilege to trek to the base of the highest mountain in the world, SCUBA dive between tectonic plates, road trip around Ireland for 2 weeks, eat as much green curry as humanly possible in Thailand, watch the sunset over the Sahara Desert, and so so so much more.
365 days of travel. 365 days of adventures. 365 days of good times, bad times, fun times, scary times.
365 days of stories to last a lifetime.
So if you’ve ever wondered what the travel cost for a full 365 days might be, this post is for you!
*DISCLAIMER: Everyone has a different way of traveling, different budgets, and different expectations. This is just my own travel budget, reflecting the way I personally travel. You might spend more, you might spend less! Each trip is different.
Accommodation is one of the biggest travel costs, and it is in fact my largest expense as well. But I was able to manage those costs by staying in shared hostel dorm rooms, house/pet sitting, and staying with friends or relatives when available.
TOTAL COST: $4,278.41
AVERAGE: $356.53/month or $11.72/day
To put that into perspective, I paid a relatively cheap $565/month for rent when I was living in San Diego, CA. Multiply that by 12 months, and it comes out to $6780/year – and that’s without factoring in utilities. My apartment in Connecticut was $650/month, or $7800/year – again, without factoring in utilities.
So it was actually cheaper for me to live on the road! Now of course, in both San Diego and Connecticut I had my own room, not having to share my space with 12 strangers, but in most hostels I still had a kitchen, wifi, and oftentimes a bar just downstairs – and all utilities included. Sharing a room with a bunch of backpackers does get old, but you can’t deny it’s cheap.
Except in London. Because nothing in London is cheap, not even a bed in an 18 person dorm room (located in the very lovely hostel pictured above).
I spent way more on food than I was expecting I ever would. Though I suppose, if you look at it, it does kind of make sense. I don’t eat out very often at all (except in Asia where it’s actually cheaper to do so generally), and while I might have access to a kitchen at most hotels, there isn’t a lot of room to store too much.
I’d be buying food every few days, because again, lack of storage room, but also because I’d be packing up and moving to a new location and didn’t want to be hauling around too many groceries with me. I did do that a few times, but it’s really annoying.
TOTAL COST: $3,392.23
AVERAGE: $282.69/month or $9.29/day
This category includes it all! The SCUBA diving, the walking tours, the guided tours around the Highlands of Scotland, Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany, and through the rice terraces in the Philippines, as well as entrance fees to countless museums and attractions. If it’s an activity of some sort, it’s included in this travel cost.
TOTAL COST: $2,198.27
AVERAGE: $183.19/month or $6.02/day
I just happened to count it up in my head the other day, and since the start of my travels, I have been on 34 flights. And I can’t even begin to count the bus rides, train journeys, ferries, subways, motorbikes, taxis, etc.
So if it got me from point A to point B, it’s included in this category!
TOTAL COST: $3,939.64
AVERAGE: $328.30/month or $10.79/day
Despite having been on 34 flights like I mentioned before, I’ve spent very little on those flights. Airline miles are my saving grace, so when you consider those 34 flights, plus countless other modes of transportation from one place to the next over 18 countries and 4 continents, just shy of $4000 for the whole shebang isn’t half bad!
This category is basically the cost of anything that doesn’t fit into one of the above categories. Things like shampoo, movie tickets, gym memberships, insurance, visa costs, souvenirs, medicine and first aid items, laundry, and really just any other random things.
TOTAL COST: $1,378.71
AVERAGE: $114.89/month, or $3.78/day
SO WHAT’S THE FINAL COST OF TRAVELING FOR 365 DAYS?
$1,265.61/month or $41.61/day
So there you have it folks! As it turned out, traveling wasn’t all that expensive after all.
When you factor in all your monthly expenses for wherever you live, does it come out to under $1,300/month? Between rent/mortgages, food, car insurance, gasoline, and other extraneous items or activities, I think you’ll find you probably spend at least that!
Travel style and comfort levels differ for everyone though. Some people might spend way more than I did, others might say I spent way too much! But this was what was comfortable for me. And I think spending less than $50/day to travel as much as I did, and experiencing all that I have over the past year, is pretty darn great.
What do you think? Did I spend too much? Curious how I spent so little?