Is it hard to believe that you can travel around the world for less than $ 10 per person and day?
Dubai, Thailand, New Zealand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, India, Austria
Do you hesitate whether even nowadays you can still travel cheaply? Read on how we traveled around the world in 408 days, through 9 countries, experienced and explored loads and all of that for less than $ 10 per person and day!!
Even today, in times of cheap flights and huge competition across the hotel and aerospace industry, many people still think that long-term traveling around the world is a purely luxury matter and in many ways an impossible dream. Many people postpone fulfillment of this dream to a later age, saying: "when I achieve the desired work experience, when I save enough money, when the children get independent, when I have enough time" and so on...
One of the main reasons for creating my website was to make it easier for ordinary people to travel independently, motivate them, share many travel tips and stories, and highlight the fact that traveling around the world can be really cheap. When one has a little discipline and knows how to do it, this way, I would like to encourage all indecisive people who would like to travel, leave everything behind and go out to explore the beauty of the world. You may lack courage, money, or determination. I only advise the following - if you really feel that traveling is what would fulfill your life's purpose, throw away all doubts and fears, plan the trip thoroughly, save money and head off! You will never regret it!
In the following article, I would like to focus in detail on the total costs of our last trip. I'm financially evaluating 13.5 months of traveling, and the result is more than striking. Well, see for yourself.
First of all, I would like to mention a list of countries we visited last year. We started off our long journey in early November 2014. As the target country, we chose one of the farthest possible - New Zealand. We traveled to Auckland from Prague in the Czech Republic. During the trip, we made a stop in Dubai and explored Bangkok too.
We lived in New Zealand for a little over half a year, worked on an apple farm and traveled through the North and even more thoroughly through the South Island. Just before winter came in New Zeland, we ran away into the warmer climate of Bali, Indonesia. We fully enjoyed Indonesia for 2 months, traveled through Bali, Lombok, and Java. From Jakarta, we headed for another Asian adventure in Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City. From Saigon, as is this city also called, we headed off for a one-month journey across all Vietnam, to the world-famous Vietnamese metropolis of Hanoi. After that, we passed through the local land border crossing to northern Laos, where we stayed for 2 weeks. From Laotian Vientiane, we traveled to Bangkok, Thailand, where we rested for another 10 days. From there, we returned to New Zealand. In Auckland, however, we had an unusually strong desire to go back to Asia, so in a few days we boarded the plane and flew back to our favorite Bali. After having spent a beautiful month in Bali, we decided to visit India for the second time (first half-year journey we made in 2013). We started our Indian adventure in the coastal state of Goa, from where we continued to the State of Karnataka and then further north to New Delhi. Next cities we visited were Jaipur and Ahmedabad. In Ahmedabad, we took a flight to Vienna, Austria. In Vienna, we admired the charming Christmas markets, and for Christmas (2015) we returned home (CZE).
Our travel itinerary was extensive indeed. And how much did it all cost?
Throughout my travels, I have methodically recorded all the data of my expenses and income. In 408 days, I spent in total almost 310,000 CZK (12,750 USD). Adding my earnings from New Zealand of 194,000 (8,000 USD) for about 5.5 months of work, the balance changes substantially. Working Holiday visa entitles you to work legally in New Zealand for up to one year, with the option of extending your visa for another 3 months. It is clear that if I had used the whole year and worked most of the time, the overall balance would have reached the positive values.
The whole trip cost me 116,000 CZK (4,800 USD). If I deduct purely personal expenses (buying a laptop, broken surfboard in the wild waves of Bali), I get down to an incredible 98,000 CZK (4,100 USD)!
Worth to mention that we have tried to keep our expenses under control at all times. In New Zealand, we lived a low-cost life on a farm, while traveling in Asia we focused on cheap local transport options and affordable accommodation. Find out more on how to reduce your travel costs in the next articles.
Let's take a closer look at the cost structure.
The following table will show you how much I spent in each country.
A more telling example is the comparison of daily average costs in individual countries.
As can be seen in the comparison table of average daily expenses, the cheapest ranked India and Indonesia. Here, you can comfortably live for $ 15 per day. The average daily amount includes everything - all food, transport, accommodation, other expenses, fun or beer, trips, and visa fees. Do not be fooled by what is being said about India as one of the cheapest countries in the world. It's not entirely true. In India, we paradoxically had to save much harder and spend much more time looking for more suitable/cheaper accommodation and dining option than in Indonesia. Also, the quality you get for your money in India is in most cases very low, sometimes even upsetting. Of course, you can pay extra for a meal in better restaurants and more comfortable accommodation in luxury hotels. However, consider that in some cases the higher price may not automatically mean an increase in the quality of the services provided. At times, Indian prices are getting up to the European level! Believe it or not, but if you already know that you can get a standard meal in India for less than a dollar, you don't want to pay the European price for a parody of European cuisine, knowing that after lunch you'll get sick anyway. More useful details on traveling in India can be found in the section India.
In other Asian countries, you will not be burdening your budget either. In contrast to various online forums discussing the optimal daily travel budget for SE Asia, mostly by spoiled American teenagers, I can say, that you can comfortably travel through SE Asia with a daily budget of $ 15-20 per person.
The top cheapest Asian countries are from my point of view: indisputably Indonesia - super quality at fantastic prices, Vietnam with tasty cuisine and good beer. Thai classics is also worth considering. Thai prices are slightly higher than the average of Indonesia and Vietnam, moderately influenced by mass tourism, but you still get a lot of bang for your buck (outside the popular tourist hubs).
Another Asian paradox is Laos. I expected it to be a backward country lacking stable electricity and internet connection that stretches somewhere in the middle of the tropical jungle. Reality is somewhat different. Over the last few years, Laos has significantly improved the tourist infrastructure. Therefore, it is not a problem to get affordable accommodation with hot water, internet, and without power outages. But you're going to pay nice money for it. During our 2-week stay, my average daily costs in Laos climbed up to nearly $ 20. Taking into consideration they offer still fairly simple accommodation options and average cuisine, I have to say $ 20 is quite pricey.
Cambodia, with its $ 29 a day, was ranked the penultimate spot thanks to shortness of our stay (5 days only) in one of the most touristy areas of Asia - Siem Reap at the world-famous Angkor Wat Temple Complex. A high $ 40 3-day Angkor Wat entry fee also significantly reflected in the daily budget. I did not have the opportunity nor desire to travel further in Cambodia. However, in general, it is definitely not an expensive country, and the usual budget could range from $ 15 to $ 20 per day.
New Zealand with a daily $ 28 pleasantly surprised us. As one of the most expensive countries in the world, it swallows a substantial part of your travel budget. Regular tourists who travel around New Zealand for 2 to 3 weeks tops in a rented car or campervan and include popular tourist attractions in their itinerary (such as Hobbiton) might spend daily an estimated average of $ 80-100 per person. New Zealand is indeed an expensive country. No doubt about that, since the most basic accommodation in a double room comes at 30-40 NZD per person, the cheapest minivan costs 100 NZD per day, and for a cheap meal at the restaurant, you will spend easily 20 NZD per person.
But there's one big "but" ... You come, buy some van, optimally with a built-in bed. So you save for accommodation. You find a farm job, sometimes even with housing provided, and start earning your first dollars. Cook on the stove at home, drink bottled beer with your mates in the orchard and believe or not, there's not much you will miss. More about prices and conditions in New Zealand you can read in the New Zealand section.
I wouldn't even say that Austria is an expensive country. We got excellent accommodation at a huge discount on Expedia for 20 EUR per person in a luxury double room with breakfast buffet included. If you add some inexpensive meals throughout the day and a 3-day public transport ticket, you get to an unacceptable $ 46.5 per day.
For the sake of completeness, I would like to mention my overall average daily travel costs (excl. laptop and surfboard). I reiterate that these costs are total costs, i.e., inclusive of all expenses on food, accommodation, transport, entertainment, trips (scooters, etc.), visas, fees, travel insurance, and all flight ticket costs. Everything is included!
Finally, there is only one question left. Was our traveling expensive?
An average of 713 CZK per day (29.34 USD) is less than 22,000 CZK (920 USD) at the end of the month. This figure is not too high, on the contrary, happy memories and the experience gained are priceless.
In reality, 22,000 CZK a month is the usual amount being spent by a regular citizen living in Prague ...
By including our incomes from New Zealand within the overall balance, the average daily expenses fall significantly.
And here you have the proof that traveling can be dirt cheap. In our case, traveling in New Zealand and SE Asia cost us less than $ 10 per person and day!! That's less than 7,200 CZK a month (300 USD), inclusive of everything!