It’s almost impossible to answer that question because it depends where you’re going, when you’re going and how exactly you plan to travel. Tiny variations in how you travel can have a huge impact on your trip costs. Do you plan to eat street food or sit down to five-course spreads every night? Love to hit the local bars? Sharing a room? Traveling alone?
We’ve pointed to a few good, example budgets in the past and suggested that $14,000/year is a good average, but we recently stumbled across a new site, Budget Your Trip, that’s hoping to make it even easier to figure out how much cash you need for your dream trip.
Plug in your destination and Budget Your Trip will show you an average of how much the site’s members spent there. Budget Your Trip also breaks down those costs into common categories — food, accommodation, water, transportation, etc — so you can see where your money is going. There’s also a handy currency converter so you can quickly see the average in local or your own currency.
The planning tools allow you to create a trip from scratch (based on, for example, how much money you have set aside) or build your trip budget using the site’s existing averages and sample budgets.
One potential problem with using Budget Your Trip as planning tool is that there’s no indication of what sort of travelers are adding their costs to the site. For example, Budget Your Trip’s Bangkok averages suggest it costs $40 a day to get by, when in fact we, and many people we know, have gotten by on far less. Have prices in Bangkok gone up recently or are not-so-budget travelers skewing the results?
Currently there’s no way to tell the answer to that question, but fortunately, fixing that is on Budget Your Trip’s short-list of coming improvements.
Laurie, who founded Budget Your Trip with her husband after the two returned from a round the world trip last year, says that there are plans to add tools for narrowing estimates according to your budget. Currently, when you “estimate costs” for a potential trip you can only search by city or country. Laurie says they will be adding additional search parameters including “budget type” (budget, mid-range, or luxury), “trip type” (personal or business) and “group size” (solo traveler, couple, or group) in the near future.
The ability to narrow cost projections by budget and group size will no doubt make the site more useful for vagabonds.
We should also point out that Budget Your Trip isn’t just a planning tool. Once you’re actually on the road you can keep track of your costs, entering the data into your budget and making adjustments as you go. For example, you might find you’re spending less than you planned in Thailand, leaving you more to spend in Vietnam or perhaps just allowing you to extend your trip.
The site also offers graphs, charts and other very nice visual breakdowns that can quickly show you where your money is going. Not really the type of traveler that keeps receipts? As Laurie says, “it may not be necessary to track your expenses to the last penny, but seeing a breakdown of what percentage you’re spending on accommodation, food, or souvenirs can motivate you to save a little more.”
For example, becoming aware of that one thing that busts your budget everyday is a great way to stop the excess spending, potentially extending your time on the road.
If, like us, you tend to avoid the internet cafes while you’re on the road then Budget Your Trip might be more useful as a planning tool, however, Laurie did tell use that eventually the site is hoping to offer a spreadsheet you download and print for offline budget tracking.
In the mean time, if you’re looking for yet another data source to help answer the age old question of how much it costs to travel the world, check out Budget Your Trip.