My 2010 Travel Costs

In 2010, I visited 9 countries over the span of 10½ months. I traveled mostly overland, with the exception of a round-trip flight from Miami, Florida to Port of Spain, Trinidad; a one-way flight from Miami to Guatemala; and a one-way flight from Panama City, Panama to Pereira, Colombia.

South America map by Ryan Greenberg, on Flickr

South America map by Ryan Greenberg, on Flickr

My Travel Style

Accommodation: hostels, budget hotels, two-month room rental in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
Food: local food, preparing at home/in hostel kitchens, occasional splurge on a $4 plate
Transport: overland whenever possible, including the odd chicken bus
Activities: rarely do tours, but do pay to visit museums, art galleries, and ruins; lots of wandering around and talking to people
Shopping: have replaced a number of wardrobe items

Don’t Cheat! Before You Scroll Down…

The minimum wage in the US is $7.25 per hour. (Source: Wikipedia)

The average annual salary in the US is $43,460. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)

The annual minimum wage salary in the UK is €1169.49. (Source: Eurostat)

In Australia, the hourly minimum wage is $15 per hour or $569.90 per week. (Source: Fairwork Ombudsman)

For 10 months of travel in 2010, I spent $8019.38. This equates to $801.94 per month and $26.73 per day.

Expenses by Month

March:              $747.21
April:                $557.78
May:                 $762.48
June:                $1098.78
July:                 $828.9
August:             $974.97
September:       $837.64
October:           $1042.79
November:        $757.33
December:        $411.5
Total:                $8019.38

Note: My trip to Trinidad and Tobago the first two weeks of February, including the round-trip flight from Miami to Port of Spain, is not included. I stayed with my family there and had very few expenses, so it wouldn’t represent an accurate depiction of what a trip to T&T during Carnival would cost.

Summary:

It’s a common misconception that traveling is expensive. It can be wildly pricey, or it can be unbelievably cheap, depending on your travel style, the countries you visit, how fast you travel, and the exchange rate of the money you’ll be traveling with.

If you choose private rooms over dormitories, fancy restaurants over local street food, and catch flights instead of sit through 10-hour bus rides, you will spend a lot more.

If you sleep in tents, prepare your own food, hitchhike, and try using a flight comparison site to save money, you’ll spend a lot less.

Resources:

How To Stay in Hostels For Free
Hand to Mouth to India – Hitchhiking Overland with No Money
I Am Walking

Do you still think traveling is too expensive?

  • Gasp, I didn’t know people really could travel for so little. :) Awesome that you kept track so others see it can be done too. As for me, I’m getting too comfortable with private rooms in my 30’s.

  • Gasp, I didn’t know people really could travel for so little. :) Awesome that you kept track so others see it can be done too. As for me, I’m getting too comfortable with private rooms in my 30’s.

  • Great write up and really liked comparing the cost of travel vs minimum-wage in some places. It’s been an idea of mine for a while to start a blog just about that… so don’t steal my idea! ;)

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  • Wade | VagabondJourney.com

    This is a really great showing of how realistically cheap traveling is. I bet you still live pretty well on $26 per day, no? So often people think that I am loaded because I travel, but moving about the world truly does not cost a fortune if a few points of personal discipline are followed. You fully show this here.

  • Wade | VagabondJourney.com

    This is a really great showing of how realistically cheap traveling is. I bet you still live pretty well on $26 per day, no? So often people think that I am loaded because I travel, but moving about the world truly does not cost a fortune if a few points of personal discipline are followed. You fully show this here.

  • WOW, MY JAW JUST DROPPED!!!

    This is amazing… thanks for posting the numbers.

  • mach3

    9 countries, 1 year, 8,000 bucks… awesome man!

  • Hey Wade,

    I do live well on $26, for sure. I was actually surprised that my daily costs were so high to be honest. I attribute it to spending 6 months in Colombia this year and traveling a lot – the buses are really expensive.

    You´re a great example of how to travel slow and with less too, that´s why I included the link to your post. Thanks for stopping by!

    Jasmine

  • Sounds like a great idea Troy! Don´t worry, I won´t… but I will enjoy reading it once you´ve rolled it out :)

  • Dave, I hope in my 30s I´ll be flashpacking in private rooms too :)

  • Dave, I hope in my 30s I´ll be flashpacking in private rooms too :)

  • thanks! definitely affordable, wouldn´t you say?

  • I hope it didn´t hurt too much when it hit the floor ;)

  • Wow that proves that travel really is affordable to many aspiring travelers you just have to know how to do it and where you want to go. You could likely do similar in certain parts of Asia and Africa but this is less likely in the EU especially if you are coming from the US dollar you already start off at a loss.

  • Butterflydiary

    Great post and enlightening, especially during this economy. Well done, Jasmine!

    Charu

  • You’re right, the destination is definitely a factor to consider. I don’t think I’d be living it up in Tokyo with this kind of budget… but there are tons of countries where a budget like this would work.

  • thanks Charu :)

  • Thanks for sharing – this is so much cheaper than I would have expected! And I thought I travelled cheaply…

  • Out of curiosity, what countries were in visiting in what months?

  • up until now I had no idea I was such a cheapie… I´d be interested to know what other people spend

  • Hey Matthew, that´s a good question and one I should´ve answered in my post. I spent the first 2 months in Guatemela with a week in Mexico, between May and June I was in Honduras, Nicaragua, CR, and Panama. June to November was Colombia, December Ecuador :)

  • Politi emilio

    Hi do you have something like this but for what you spent in your time in SEA?

  • Here’s a daily budget I wrote for Bali/Lombok: http://dev.jasminewanders.com/2010/01/daily-travel-budget-indonesia/

    I mostly spent $20/day in all of SE Asia, Indonesia and Vietnam being the cheapest, Cambodia a close 2nd

  • Miles K

    Hi Jasmine, found your blog through Colombia Reports. Just shared this piece on FB because I think price is the #1 excuse for not traveling, at least for many Americans. If you’re ever in the Estadio area, you should drop by for one of our events (Tues: Salsa, Thurs: Language Exchange/Karaoke, Sat: Open mic). 

    Saludos!
    Miles Knowles
    Gerente General
    The Wandering Paisa Backpackers Hostel

  • Cool, thanks Miles