Travel Abroad: Budget and saving money on your travels abroad

  Chapter

What do you spend on a trip?

  • Of course expenses differ per person and also per destination. You can spend a fortune anywhere, but traveling on a shoestring is not always an option. With a 1000 Euro it is going to be hard to survive in the US for a month, but in India the same budget is plenty to enjoy yourself. It is easy to calculate how much you will spend in a country when prices are more or less the same as in your home country, but when you go to countries with different living standards this can be tricky.
  • Indications per destination (do take into consideration that all estimations here are relative): how many days can a backpacker survive with a € 1000 in Japan: 14 days, France: 20 days, England / Italy: 22 days, Australia: 30 days, Mexico: 44 days, South Africa: 45 days. Nepal: 50 days, Bolivia: 54 days. India 67 days.
  • Save money by not traveling too much and avoiding the most expensive spots in a country (usually the big cities and all the tourist highlights)


  • Avoiding the high seasons will probably save you a lot money on accommodation.
  • Staying at one place for a long time might save you money, because you will have some time to figure out where the cheapest place is to eat, to sleep and to get a beer.
  • A sudden financial crisis in country might give you the opportunity to spend the night in the most luxurious hotels for the price of an average hostel. Also you might be able to book local flights for a nickel and a dime.
  • By traveling at night you can save some money on accommodation.

Saving money

  • Sleeping in a dormitory will save you a lot of money, compared to staying in private rooms all the time. A lot of hostels for backpackers have rooms for the extreme low budget travelers. Be careful though, the rooms can be very revolting and sometimes your roommates are not trustworthy. On the other hand these rooms are an excellent way of meeting other people.
  • When you arrive at your destination search a little longer for the cheapest place to stay as that will save you a lot of money.
  • In bars always order the local brew instead of the familiar Western drinks.
  • If you are traveling with someone else you can share the costs of your accommodation, which will eventually make quite a difference in your budget.

What does an around-the-world trip, volunteer project, working holiday or any far away trip cost?

  • There is no simple answer to this question. Many factors influence your budget: are you going alone or with an organization? If you are going with an organization, are the costs for eating, drinking and accommodation included or do they only offer you a place in the project? Is your travel insurance included? How long are you going for? What else do you need to arrange for yourself?
  • Costs in advance: Also see the sections about tickets, transportation, health/vaccinations, insurance, visa and other requirements.

Below you will find an indication of your daily expenses:

  • Costs are per person
  • The amounts mentioned in “traveling” section are based on independent trips for two persons.
  • If you are going to visit countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan and the USA expect the costs to be much higher.

Projects, volunteer work, Internships

  • 5-10 euro per day: Longterm projects in Asia/Africa/Latin America sometimes without board and lodging, projects in Europe for a couple of weeks.
  • 10-25 euro per day: projects in Asia/Africa/Latin America often with board and lodging, projects in Europe involving wild life conservation, social projects, in Europe projects for a few weeks.
  • 25-50 euro per day: Long term projects in Asia/Africa/Latin America often with board and lodging, occasionally insurance and language courses are included, rare projects in the field of wildlife conservation.


  • 5-10 euro per day: Spend almost every night in dormitories, or share rooms in the cheapest hostels, especially in Asia. Don’t travel around in Africa or Latin America, and if you do, bring your own tent. Always arrange the cheapest form of transportation, take your time for everything. Always bargain for prices, do not undertake too many fun activities such as diving, rafting, jungle tours etc. Travel at night and only rest at the cheap spots on the beaches.

  • 10-25 euro per day: In Africa and Latin America a lot of camping or sleeping at cheap places, every now and then some fun activities, be careful with your budget, but a, especially in Asia, you will be able to find a room with a private bathroom most of the time.

  • 25-50 euro per day: Your own bamboo tent/cottage with private bathroom, plenty nice meals with a cold beer, traveling by bus or train with AC (air conditioning) instead of that crappy train that leaves at 4 in the morning and brakes down somewhere along the way. You don’t mind spending some extra baht on the Tuk tuk driver, you do a lot of fun stuff like jungletreks, scuba diving, renting motorcycles etc, and of course you send home a few fancy souvenirs.

Around the world in a year


  • Tickets: ranging from 1000-2000 euro pp
    • Of course you can also buy a ticket to Thailand for a few hundred euros and return from there or buy a Transsiberia train ticket available from a couple of a hundred euros. You will have to spend a lot more, if you have to buy expensive transportation tickets during traveling.
  • Travel insurance: On average between 500-1500 pp.
  • Health Expenses: On average between 100-250 pp
    • If you have not had any vaccinations than it might cost you a lot of money depending on your destination and how long you are going for.
    • If you are going to a malaria area the term of your stay and your choice of medication can make a huge financial difference.
  • Travel equipment: On average between 250-500 euro pp.
    • Of course you will spend more if you purchase new gear and a lot smart gadgets.
  • Visa: On average between 25-50 euro per country.
    • These expenses can be quite annoying when you visit a large number of countries.
  • On the road expect expenses per day between 15-35 euro.
  • Continuous costs: very different per person.
    • Take your rent, mortgage, subscriptions, insurances, taxes etc. into consideration.
    • Realize that fewer countries means less visa, less exchange fees, etc., This means you will save money!

How much 'cash' do you need to take with you?

  • Take between 250-500 dollars cash with you (or, depending on the region, some of it in euros). Half of that amount should be considered money for emergencies, do not keep all of it at the same spot. The other part should be used when paying cash is your only option.
  • Whether you have to take debit cards, or other means, with you, depends on where you are going, for how long you, what sort of trip, what kind of transportation.

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