If there’s one perennial topic that never seems to get completely answered here at vagablogging it’s inevitably the question of “how much” — how much money does it take to travel the world? Whether it’s your friends back home or strangers you meet on the road, just about everyone seems curious to know how much it “really costs” to travel the world.
The answer is, well, it depends. Your costs for a trip around the world depend on where you go and how you travel. That said, the average vagabond seems to get by on about $15-20,000 per year.
Of course averages aren’t as useful as cold, hard numbers. And while it might never occur to most people to keep track of these sorts of things, fortunately for us, some vagabonds do track their spending on the road.
Keep in mind of course that your budget might be considerably different than the following examples and fluctuations in currency can also have a dramatic effect on your travel costs. Still, if you’re in the planning stage of a round the world trip, hopefully these spreadsheets and travel expense numbers will prove helpful.
First up is David Lee’s handy Google Spreadsheet, which breaks down his travel expenses by country and includes a per day average for each country. Lee, who blogs at GoBackpacking.com, spent just under $30,000 in 20 months of traveling (2007-2009).
Be sure to take a look at notes in the spreadsheet where Lee explains some things in more detail — like visa expenses for a failed trip to Tibet or purchasing a new digital camera in Thailand.
While those might not be the particular items that run up your budget, rest assured that something will. Also compare that spreadsheet with David’s initial, pre-trip estimates and you’ll see some of the unexpected expenses that can eat into your budget.
Another helpful set of real-world numbers comes from Megan, who has a very similar breakdown of country and daily expenses as well as notes about her budget. Megan ended up spending about $31,000 in 22 months of traveling.
As you can see both of these expense tracking vagabonds fall inside the sort of unofficial vagabond yearly expense estimate of $15-20,000 per year. Can you do it for less? Sure, but always leave yourself a little cushion, you never know when a bout of dysentery will trap you in an expensive capital city for longer than you planned or when that precious laptop battery will decided to crap out. Like you, your budget needs to be prepared for the unexpected when you’re on the road.