Traveling is Not as Expensive as You Think

by Gigi Griffis

For a lot of people, travel (especially long-term, round-the-world type travel) seems cost prohibitive. I think people conjure up visions of fancy hotel rooms and olympic sized pools, five-star dinners and evening booze cruising. And for some that may be the reality of travel. But for many of us, travel looks quite different.

There’s the just-out-of-school poor schniglets who snuggle up in hostel dorm rooms around the world and munch on street vendor food while stretching their last dime to its limits. There are the two-weeks-of-bliss vacationers who splurge on that fancy hotel room and the fancy cuisine. And there are many, many of us who fall in between those two things.

Since cost questions are so clearly on people’s minds, I’ve started compiling a list of budget and cost breakdowns from a variety of world travelers around the web. And if you know of another resource, please send it my way! I’d love to get tons of great perspectives in one place.

Without further ado, then, travel budgeting and cost resources:

Budgeting for a round-the-world trip:
Round the world expenses from one traveling couple

Budgeting for Europe:
One month in Split, Croatia
One month in Edinburgh, Scotland
How to budget for Switzerland’s Bernese Oberland
One month in Perugia (Umbria), Italy
5 days in Stockholm for $100
Traveling around Europe for two months, solo
One month in Paris

Budgeting for Asia:
Two months in Southeast Asia
Another experience in Southeast Asia
Budgeting for India

Budgeting for Australia/New Zealand:
Melbourne in 10 days

Budgeting for North America:
How much does it cost to road trip from Colorado to California?
Sayulita, Mexico for one month
Playa del Carmen, Mexico for one month

If all else fails, you can always busk with a hat box.

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Tami Heaton November 26, 2012 - 11:11 am

gigi, i have several links for expenses specific to cost of living in bali, if you’d like those…

Gigi Griffis November 26, 2012 - 11:13 am

Absolutely! You can paste them here in the comments or shoot them to me on FB.

Ali November 26, 2012 - 2:53 pm

It’s definitely NOT as expensive as people think. Definitely ways of traveling inexpensively. Thanks for linking my posts!

Mary-Alice November 27, 2012 - 3:48 pm

Love this list — how really useful to collect these resources! They’ll help people who are already planning, and they’ll get on-the-fencers thinking seriously about taking that step. I only have one more resource to add: My friends Betsy and Warren, of Married with Luggage, sold everything and have been traveling for a year plus now, and they’ve written posts about their financing/budgeting, as well as a book called “Dream Save Do”: They’re sensible, articulate, interesting, delightful people, and they’ve got good things to share.

Gigi Griffis November 27, 2012 - 9:33 pm

Thanks! I believe that first link is Betsy and Warren’s budgeting microsite. They rock.

pomputius November 27, 2012 - 9:46 pm

Well, hell — I clicked on it and didn’t recognize it. I’m so sorry for the misfire, Gigi!

Gigi Griffis November 27, 2012 - 10:11 pm

No problem at all! It’s actually good to have their main link in the comments. And I’m glad you mentioned their book as a resource.

This Month in Links: So Inappropriate | the ramble November 30, 2012 - 9:56 am

[…] The most popular post of November (not counting the giveaway) was: Traveling is Not As Expensive As You Think. […]

Budget Your Trip December 6, 2012 - 10:03 pm

A few years ago we started to help travelers learn about travel costs for destinations around the world. All of the average travel costs on our site come from actual travelers, and can be used as a guideline to find out how much stuff costs around the world. By signing up (for free) and entering your travel expenses, you can help contribute to the daily costs and keep track of your own travel budget, too. I hope you find it useful!

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Andrea January 26, 2013 - 4:36 pm

How did you manage with the dog? e.g. quarantine issues

gigigriffis January 26, 2013 - 4:40 pm

Hi Andrea,

There are no current quarantines for dogs coming into Europe from the US (as long as you follow the regulations – making sure they’re microchipped, up-to-date on rabies vaccines, and have the proper paperwork to travel), so so far it’s been easy. There are still some places with quarantines in place, but things have been changing (in favor of no quarantine) at a good pace for the past couple years (with both Hawaii and the UK, both previously strict, changing their laws), so I am hopeful that by the time we get around to those other countries, their laws will have changed too. :)

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[…] Looking for more cost breakdowns? Check out my full list of travel cost blog posts. […]

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[…] Looking for more cost breakdowns? Check out my full list of travel cost blog posts. […]

Val Ter August 16, 2013 - 2:32 pm

What a great info, thank you. Now i really think that i can change my habit to spend my vacation in traditional way

gigigriffis August 16, 2013 - 2:41 pm

Glad to help!

Melissa Adams August 16, 2013 - 11:22 pm

Couchsurfing is great for both budget travelers and those who just want to stay with locals and extend their travel funds. Learn more about this alternative accommodation here:

gigigriffis August 17, 2013 - 10:47 am

I’m actually becoming less and less of an advocate of CS over time. For a long time, I used it and met great people and had great experiences, but in the past year or two I’ve noticed a huge uptick in men who think that it’s a hookup site and who create awkward, intimidating, or even dangerous situations. I have on particular friend in mind who did everything right – she read the references, she met the guy in public, everything…but when he got her back to his place, he started being aggressive with her. She felt totally shaken up after she left…

Not to pooh pooh other people’s experiences. I’ll still use CS for meetups and such, but I don’t think I’m going to specifically recommend it for sleeping anymore.

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[…] Realize that once you get to your dream destination, your day-to-day expenses can be similar to your expenses at home.
 Look for by-owner vacation rentals instead of hotels and visit local markets or food stands for […]


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