How Much Does it Cost
to Travel the World Cheaply?


budget travel blog half the clothes tells how to travel the world using cheap travel methods and how to create a travel budget for world travel

photo Roderick Eime

The answer, my friend, depends entirely upon you and the level of travel hacking you’re comfortable with.

First off, let’s clarify – If you’re creating a travel budget for “normal” world travel, go read “How Much Does it Cost to Travel the World?

If you’re willing to bust out ninja world travel skills to make your travel budget stretch and then stretch again, you’re in the right place!  Let’s begin:

I firmly agree with this world travel mantra:

“Don’t ask ‘how much does it cost to travel the world?’  Instead, ask ‘how can I tour the world with the money I have?’”

Real budget travel means dividing your bank balance by your daily cost of travel to find out how many days of world travel you can afford.

How much will you spend each day you travel the world?  That depends on how extreme you’re willing to be.  More extreme = lower world travel costs!

Would you:

  • Eat street food?
  • Sleep on overnight busses?
  • Do a work exchange?
  • Hitchhike?
  • Buy picnics from the grocery store?
  • Give up travel quantity for travel quality?
  • Stay in places for more than two or three days?
  • Spend the night on an internet-stranger’s couch?
  • Drink store-bought beer at the hostel instead of going out?
  • Willingly crash at the airport thanks to crazy itineraries on budget travel flights?
  • Replace touristy experiences like Gondolas in Venice with Public Ferries in Venice?

If you answered yes to all of the above, you could consider trying my world travel budget:

$20 USD per day.

“For which country?” you ask?

For all of them!  From Bolivia to Sweden and Cambodia to Australia ain every trip around the world I’ve taken!, I’ve found budget travel hacks to stay on my $20 USD per day travel budget.

half the clothes budget travel blog explains how to travel the world and end up in gorgeous places like Ostuni

On my first world travel adventure I used budget travel tactic #4 – hitchhiking – and ended up on a personal tour of Ostuni, Italy (said to have appeared as the Lord of the Rings city Minas Tirith)!  photo wikipedia

In cheaper countries, I hang around for a few days doing free activities, spending around $10 each day to eat and sleep.  After a day or two, I use the “savings” from those lower-cost days to see tourist sites and travel between places.

In more expensive countries, I do work exchanges where eating and sleeping are free.  After a week or two, I use the “savings” from the lower or no-cost days to see tourist sites and travel between places.

Do you see the pattern?  Find a way to spend a few days or weeks living as cheaply as possible, followed by a few days of “normal” world travel.

Why This Tactic Is Awesome:

It solves both the perma-exhaustion and boredom that make ”normal” world travel suck.

What does one do in Bolivia when restricted to spending only on food and sleep?

Recover from the previous exhausting (and expensive!) days of visiting tourist sites!  Read books. Write post cards.  People-watch in the town plazas.  Wander the alleyways… which often leads to being invited in for tea by locals, discovering a cultural dance practice happening in a local square, or chatting with a fellow traveler busually the best memories one collects when you travel the world!.  After a few days of this relaxing, cheap awesomeness, you can afford another expensive (and tiring!) day of typical world travel – visiting more tourist sites or moving to a new town.

budget travel blog half the clothes discusses how to travel the world with budget travel tactics - hang out at a park like this!

Surely you could enjoy an afternoon among these flowers, listening to the fountain, watching folks wandering, nibbling on delicious cheese and bread from the nearby market, and writing some long overdue postcards?

The process is similar in a more expensive country.

The days you’re not spending cash to eat or sleep, you’re spending four hours of your time work-exchanging instead.  The perks are numerous.  You get the satisfaction of a job well-done – a garden weeded, a wall built, a fence erected, a cord of firewood cut and stacked.  You also get the giver’s high.  You get a peek into the real, local, daily culture cwhich, for most, is the goal of world travel, no?.  You get an ever-changing list of work tasks intermixed with days off.  You also get several hours of the day to explore, read, write, and relax with your hosts.   After a few days filled with satisfaction, the giver’s high, cultural exchange, variety, and time to read, write, and rest, you can afford another expensive (and tiring!) day of typical world travel – visiting more tourist sites or moving to a new town.

Okay, but how much does it cost to travel the world cheaply?  Gimme a number!

It’s up to you.  Everyone’s travel budget number is different.

First do some research:

Once you’ve got a good guess about what your budget travel style will be (i.e. your daily world travel cost), get to calculating!

budget travel uses a calculator like this to travel the world for cheap

Everyone’s budget-travel # is different.  However, it is possible to come up with a travel budget for your trip around the world.  Read on!  photo Michal Jarmoluk

How to arrive at a daily world travel cost for yourself:

If you’ve got time to save up:
Start with the amount of time you’d like to spend travelling the world.  A year?  Two?

For those still saving:

Here are some world travel costs based on different budget travel styles:

$20 USD a day (a super-ninja-level world travel budget)

  • 1 year = $7300 (+ airfare & insuranced365 days X $20 a day
  • 2 years = $14,600 (+ airfare & insurancee730 days x $20 a day

$30 USD a day (a normal-ninja-level world travel budget)

  • 1 year = $10,950 (+ airfare & insurancef365 days x $30 a day
  • 2 years = $21,900 (+ airfare & insurance) g730 days x $30 a day

$40 USD a day – (a newbie-ninja-level world travel budget)

  • 1 year = $14,600 (+ airfare & insurance) h365 days x $40 a day
  • 2 years = $29,200 (+ airfare & insurance) i730 days x $40 a day

Anything more than $40 falls into the “normal” world travel category, in my book jYes, normal *budget* travel, but normal world travel nonetheless, so see “What It Costs To Travel the World” for those figures.

If you can’t save more:
Take your savings and subtract the cost of airfare, insurance, and vaccines.  Then divide that figure by your daily budget travel style.

For those who can’t add to their travel budget:

Here are some calculations to help you figure out how long you can travel the world based on different daily world travel costs and sample savings amounts.  Don’t forget to subtract the cost of airfareinsurance, and vaccines!

$20 USD a day (a super-ninja-level world travel budget)

  • $1,000 = 50 days of world travel
  • $2,000 = 100 days of world travel
  • $5,000 = 250 days of world travel
  • $10,000 = 500 days of world travel

$30 USD a day – (a normal-ninja-level world travel budget)

  • $1,000 = 33 days of world travel
  • $2,000 = 66 days of world travel
  • $5,000 = 166 days of world travel
  • $10,000 = 333 days of world travel

$40 USD a day – (a newbie-ninja-level world travel budget)

  • $1,000 = 25 days of world travel
  • $2,000 = 50 days of world travel
  • $5,000 = 125 days of world travel
  • $10,000 = 250 days of world travel

There you have it!

Ready to think about what you’ll need to pack?  Here’s my list.

Still confused about how to budget?  Ask in the comments!

Have trip-saving ideas to share?  Tell us in the comments!

Happy Traveling! ♣

Stretch your dollars further!  Check out:

And when they money runs out, you’ll want:

References   [ + ]

a. in every trip around the world I’ve taken!
b. usually the best memories one collects when you travel the world!
c. which, for most, is the goal of world travel, no?
d. 365 days X $20 a day
e. 730 days x $20 a day
f. 365 days x $30 a day
g. 730 days x $30 a day
h. 365 days x $40 a day
i. 730 days x $40 a day
j. Yes, normal *budget* travel, but normal world travel nonetheless


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