We really appreciated budget-related information on other blogs during our planning process so we want to pay it forward by sharing our experience.
We spent 315 days traveling through 14 countries. After lots, and I mean LOTS, of budgeting research before we left home, we came to our magic numbers. For the two of us, we budgeted to spend on average about:
- $100/ day for daily expenses (accommodation, food, activities, local transport.)
- $38/ day for flights
- $17/ day for reoccuring costs at home (car payment, student loans etc).
By some miracle, we were $7,600 under budget in the end.
We should add that we are not SUPER DUPER budget travelers. We don’t stay in the cheapest places and we don’t take the cheapest flights. We do our best to find good value, which means a decent place to stay that is clean, comfortable and doesn’t have electrical wires coming out of the wall and into the shower (which we found in one place). We describe ourselves as “value travelers.”
Budgets vs. Actual Expenses
We brokedown the budget pie into three slices and budgeted the following daily averages for each category. All the numbers below are for the two of us.
1) Daily Expenses
This includes all travel expenses that we would incur on a daily basis. We did not include flights in this category. See the next pie slice for more details on flights.
Budgeted Amount: $103.77 /day
Actual Amount Spent: $93.14 /day
Under Budget: $10.63 /day or $3,348.35 for the trip
2) Flight Expenses
Air travel is a big ticket item so we budgeted separately for this. Other forms of transportation (bus, train, tuk-tuk) were included in our daily expenses.
Budgeted Amount: $37.74 /day
Actual Amount Spent: $26.70 /day
Under Budget: $11.04 /day or $3,477.60 for the trip
3) At Home Expenses
In addition to travel expenses, we had a few at-home expenses that we continued to pay while on the road. These included things like a car payment, student loans, gifts for friends and family etc.
Budgeted Amount: $17.47 /day
Actual Amount Spent: $14.98 /day
Under Budget: $2.49 /day or $784.35 for the trip
Actual Expenses by Country
Below is a snapshot of how we spent our money by country. For more details you can check out the country specific budgets in our money section.
*We omitted Singapore, Canada and the time we spent at home in the US from the charts since we were only in those countries for a very short time and we stayed with friends and family in those places. So we felt that those were less interesting budget-wise.
So, Where Did We Spend Our Time?
As travelers, our philosophy is to generally spend more time in fewer places. In addition to the cultural and beyond-the-guide-book experiences you get, traveling this way has the nice benefit of saving money. As you would expect, the more time you spend moving from place to place, the more money you spend.
On average, we spent about 24 days in each country we visited. In the countries we spent more than 24 days, we averaged about $83 /day in daily expenses. While countries where we spent less than 24 days, we averaged about $94 /day.
How Did We Track Our Money?
Mint.com is one of the best FREE services ever. We used it before we traveled and we still use it. It makes managing your money and tracking your spending super easy. It syncs across devices. It automatically adds any items purchased using your debit or credit cards. It is very convenient. We want to hug the creators of this amazing tool. We couldn’t have tracked our money without mint. Get it.
What Was The One Thing That Saved The Most Money While Traveling?
House and dog sitting. It is an exchange of services between homeowner and sitters. Sitters stay in a house for free in exchange for looking after home and pets. At the beginning of our trip, we did not expect to secure any house sitting opportunities. We had no idea if things would actually work out so we budgeted accordingly. The good news is that we had five fantastic house and pet sitting opportunities.
In the end, we spent about 12 weeks house sitting and saved about $1,800 on accommodation. In addition, there were many days that we didn’t spend any money because we bought groceries for a few days and cooked at home. We loved it. If you’re interested in doing the same, check out trusted house sitters.
To learn more about where we saved money in each country, check out the Money section.
To learn more about how we saved for our aroud the trip, check out this post.