In September 2015 I wrote my first post on Phenomenal Globe Travel Blog, in which I announced to give a full budget breakdown for my 5 month trip. It may have taken a little longer than expected, but here it is!
In 2015 my husband Frank and I made the trip of a lifetime: 5 months of traveling through New Zealand and Southeast Asia! Having dreamed about this trip for years, I couldn’t have imagined how much impact traveling long-term would have on me…
Travel is addictive and I am fully hooked!
Our amazing trip was everything I hoped for and more… Travel taught me to relax, to enjoy the moment, to be fully content with and grateful for being alive and being able to have such amazing experiences every single day.
Travel taught me about other cultures, different religions, new and exciting food and nature I had never seen before. Travel taught me to be patient, to let go, not to get upset about things that actually don’t even matter.
Travel makes me feel alive and free…
I would love to just take off again, but unfortunately that currently isn’t an option. Though I am certain I will go on another long-term trip. Because I want it, I want it bad!
One of the reasons I can’t just quit my job and hop on a plane is that to travel you need a certain amount of money. And while I thoroughly enjoy writing on my blog and sharing my stories with you guys, my awesome readers, it doesn’t make me any money. So I am saving up again. Like I did before our last 5 month trip.
Update June 2017: after saving up like crazy for a year and a half my husband and I both quit our job and are currently on our second long-term trip, this time without a return ticket.
How much money do you need to travel the world for 5 months as a couple?
I spent a lot of time researching that question online, red a lot of posts and made a lot of spreadsheets (spreadsheets is my job, so my brain is wired that way😉) trying to figure out exactly how much to save for our trip. How much would we spend on an average travel day? How much would we spend on plane tickets? On accommodation? Food? I didn’t have a clue…
In the end I just figured a ballpark number would have to do and the worst-case scenario was that we would have to cut our trip short. Luckily that didn’t happen! I saved about €20.000, rationale behind this number was:
143 days on the road * €100 a day for us as a couple = €14.300
I tracked our expenses every single day, so putting together a detailed budget breakdown was not difficult, but it was a bit (okay, a lot😉) of work. Luckily I already made budget breakdown posts for each country we visited. Which made writing this post a case of adding everything together and adding expenses that I didn’t allocate to a particular country, but that are part of our total world trip budget breakdown.
Alright, let’s get to it!
How much does it cost to travel the world?
Average daily costs per country
First of all the country statistics, in the table below you can see the countries in visited order stating:
• The number of days in a country.
• The average amount we spent per day in a country.
• The total amount spent in a country.
I list the expenses in € and $, there may be slight differences between this total budget breakdown and the budget breakdowns for the separate countries due to the exchange rate.
I put the countries from most expensive to least expensive. You can see New Zealand was the most expensive country (and the country that stole my heart, as you may have read in other posts on the blog😉) we visited. It’s a tie between the Philippines and Laos as the cheapest countries of the trip.
Dividing our total amount spent by the total number of days this brings me to an average of €73/$82 per day for us as a couple! Not bad for 5 months:-).
Additional travel costs
It would be great if this €10.397/$11.666 would be it, but unfortunately no. There are a couple of things that are not included in these numbers.
1. Our RTW ticket and other flights
We bought a round the world ticket flying us from the Netherlands to Christchurch, Auckland to Hong Kong and from Bangkok back home. Cost per ticket: €1400, total for the 2 of us €2800.
There are a couple of flights between countries I didn’t include in the country budget breakdowns because it would not give a proper estimation of how much you can expect to spend in that country. Also, I found allocating the cost for a flights between countries to just one of those countries an unfair inflation of the daily costs, so I choose not to include them in the country breakdowns.
In conclusion, flights within a country are included in all the country budget breakdowns, flights between countries are not included in the country budget breakdown, but off course they are part of this overall budget breakdown.
I’ll get to the specification for transport costs later, but the total for additional flights between countries is €470/$518.
Diving was something Frank, my husband, really wanted to do. I am so happy I got over my fear and tried it because I completely fell for it… We went diving 3 times:
I also bought a mask and snorkel for €80/$88 on Tioman, which I already put to good use several times since purchasing it.
In conclusions, diving is awesome and totally worth the total costs of €1.611/$1.784.
3. Travel gear
We had ahem… never really backpacked before… Traveled yes! Camping, city tripping, even hitchhiking. But backpacking no. So neither of us actually owned a backpack. Or packing cubes. Or a microfiber towel. You can find my entire packing list on the resource page, but long story short, we had to buy some stuff. Total costs: €528/$582.
4. Vaccines and medication
One thing about the Netherlands which I started to appreciate in preparing for our trip is the health care system. We have a pretty kick-ass healthcare system and if you choose your health insurance wisely a lot of vaccines will be paid for by the insurance company.
I took great care in selecting the company with the most generous vaccine policies (for the least amount of money obviously;-) which resulted in a total cost for all our vaccines and preventive medicine of €123. The actual cost for all the vaccines and pills was almost €550 so we definitely saved some money there:-).
5. International driver’s license
Because we planned on renting a campervan in New Zealand, which we did and it was awesome, we got an international driver’s license. Once in New Zealand nobody ever asked for it, but better safe than sorry… Total costs: €36.
6. Letter of approval Vietnam
Because we were flying into Vietnam we could make use of the letter of approval system and didn’t have to get our visa beforehand. A post about how to get your Vietnam visa is coming up, for now I’ll stick to the costs of the letter of approval. We paid $16 for the 2 of us together to Vietnam Visa company and got our letter 3 days later.
Things like laundry and detergent, our little espresso maker, conditioner for my hair, souvenirs, etc. Just little things of which I don’t exactly remember where I bought what but OCD as I am I did write down the costs. Total amount: €284/$315.
All the additional costs together came to €5.786/$6.387. Adding the €10.397/$11.666 we spent in the 9 different countries we visited this brings me to our total expenses.
Grand total of 5 months of traveling as a couple: €16.183/$18.053
This includes all the money we spent preparing for, and during our 5 month trip. Divided by 145 days (we spent the first 2 days in a plane from the Netherlands to New Zealand) this comes down to a daily average of €112/$125.
What do you think about this amount?
I wasn’t too shocked. I know it’s A LOT OF money, but for me our trip was worth every penny.
I already know a future long-term trip would be somewhat cheaper because we wouldn’t have to buy gear, we probably wouldn’t do more dive courses (though we would do more diving;-) but most of all: I think we would travel more slowly, which would reduce our daily expenses.
If you want to know exactly where we spent all this money on, keep reading for more details about:
3. Food, drinks and groceries
How much does it cost to travel the world – breakdown per category
In total we spent €3.869/$4.336 on accommodation. The most expensive hotel we stayed at was the Tarna Align resort in Thailand, the cheapest hotel was Monesavanh Guesthouse in Laos. In New Zealand we stayed many nights at free campsites, but we obviously had to pay for our campervan.
We mostly stayed at budget hotels, though I always try to make sure the accommodations have good reviews. There are not many places I didn’t like and only a handful I wouldn’t return to. I usually booked through Agoda or Booking, there were a couple of Airbnb places (get €18 off your first booking with this link!) and often we just walked into a place and asked for a quote.
Below you can find a list with basic information of the hotels I stayed at during our 5 month trip. I provided links as well, if you would like to check out the hotels, but only for the places I would return to myself (and which are listed online;-).
You can check out my hotels posts for the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Malaysia and the post about all the campsites I stayed at in New Zealand for more details about the hotels (short review and score on Agoda).
Batad ⇒ Hillside Inn Batad, included inhiking tour, Agoda
Puerto Princesa, Palawan ⇒ Tia Mers Guesthouse, €11,5/$12,65, Agoda | Booking
Puerto Princesa, Palawan ⇒ Palawan Village Hotel, €14/$15,40, Agoda
Cebu city ⇒ Skypark Pensionne, €16,5/$18,15, Agoda
Loboc, Bohol ⇒ Fox & Firefly Cottages, €28/$31, Agoda | Booking
Panglao, Bohol ⇒ Royal Paradise Guesthouse, €25/$27,5, Agoda | Booking
Tagbilaran, Bohol ⇒ Casa Rey Francis Pension House*, €15/$16,5
Hanoi Airport Nội Bài ⇒ Bong Sen Airport guesthouse*, €10,37/$11,40
Hanoi ⇒ Hanoi Serenity Hotel, €10/$11, Agoda | Booking
Hanoi ⇒ Golden Orchid hotel*, €12,9/$14,20
Tam Coc ⇒ Tuan Ngoc Hotel , €16,77/$18,45, Agoda | Booking
Hue ⇒ Hue Charming Hotel €10,1/$11,10, Agoda | Booking
Hoi An ⇒ Jolie Villa Homestay, €10,72/$11,80, Agoda | Booking
Hoi An ⇒ Sac Xanh homestay , €11,19/$12,30, Agoda | Booking
Dalat ⇒ Cam Ly homestay, €8,58/$9,45, Agoda | Booking
Ho Chi Minh ⇒ Thao Nhi, €12,5/$13,75, Agoda | Booking
Phu Quoc island ⇒ Kinh Bac Hotel, €14,67/$16,14, Agoda | Booking
Huay Xai ⇒ Sabaidee Guesthouse, €10/$11, Agoda | Booking
Pak Beng ⇒ Monesavanh Guesthouse, €5,50/$6,50, Agoda
Luang Prabang ⇒ Sengphet Guesthouse, €9/$10, Agoda
Vang Vieng ⇒ Vang Vieng Orchid Guest House, €6,50/$7,50, Agoda
Vang Vieng ⇒ Vang Vien Boutique Hotel, €17,50/$20, Agoda | Booking
Vientiane ⇒ Mixok Guesthouse, €11/$12, Agoda
Mersing ⇒ Mersing Hotel*, €10,50/$12
Tioman ⇒ Ella’s Place**, €18,75/$21
Tioman ⇒ Bamboo Hill, €25/$28,50, Website
Kuala Lumpur ⇒ Lantern Hotel, €25/$28,50, Agoda | Booking
Langkawi ⇒ Rasa Senang Chalet*, €25/$28,50
Langkawi ⇒ NR Langkawi Motel, €25/$28,50, Agoda | Booking
Bangkok ⇒ Au Bon hostel, €16/$18, Agoda | Booking
Don Muang airport ⇒ DMK Donmuang Airport Hostel*, €16/$18
Surat Thani train station ⇒ Queen Hotel*, €7/$7,50
Koh Tao ⇒ Jomthong Guesthouse, included in PADI course, Agoda | Booking
Koh Tao ⇒ Tarna Align resort, €88/$98, Agoda | Booking
*Not recommended (thus no link provided;-)
**Recommended but not online (thus no link provided either;-)
In 5 months on the road, we spent €2.142/$2.412 on transportation in total, including petrol for our campervan in New Zealand, flights, busses, trains, minivans and whatever other transport available.
A note about flights: I use Skyscanner to find flights and try to be as flexible as possible regarding the flight dates to get the best deals.
3. Food, drinks and groceries
All our food, drinks and groceries together cost us €3.000/$3.363. In New Zealand we cooked our own breakfast, lunch and dinner which greatly reduced the costs. In Southeast Asia we did no such thing, cooking your own meals there would be crazy because there are so many delicious and highly affordable options available;-).
We did a lot of fun things, like a cruise around the Milford Sound, a 3-day hike through the rice terraces of Batad, mountain biking in Laos and sightseeing in Singapore. The total cost of all these activities was €1.173/$1.316.
For more details about the activities we did, check posts in the category travel experiences.
Finally, we spent some money on visas, €210/$230 in total:
• Vietnam ⇒ 1-month single entry visa: €41/$45 per person
• Cambodia ⇒ 1-month single entry visa cost €32/$35 per person
• Laos ⇒ 1-month single entry visa cost €32/$35 per person
Lucky us, being from the Netherlands we didn’t need a paid visa for:
• New Zealand ⇒ free 3 month visa on arrival
• Hong Kong ⇒ free 3 month visa on arrival
• Philippines ⇒ free 30 day visa on arrival (you need to show an exit ticket for a flight departing within this period)
• Thailand ⇒ free 2-week visa on arrival
• Singapore ⇒ free 3 month visa on arrival
• Malaysia ⇒ free 3 month visa on arrival
So that it, every euro, dollar, peso, dong, bath, kip and ringgit we spent. I hope you found the breakdown helpful! Please let me know if you have any questions. If you would like to download budget breakdown infographics, you can do so by clicking the button below.
Looking for more travel planning resources? Check out the Phenomenal Globe Travel Planning Library!
What do you think about the total amount
we spent on 5 months of travel?