How Much Does It Cost To Travel The World For 5 Months As A Couple?

how much money do i need to travel for 6 months

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!

Traveling the world for 5 months…

I had dreamed of traveling the world for years! While I had taken many great trips within Europe, exotic faraway locations kept calling to me. I wanted to learn about other cultures and religions. Eat exciting new foods and meet people from all over the world.

And after saving up for a long long time, my husband Frank and I finally embarked on our dream trip: 5 months of traveling through New Zealand and Southeast Asia! Organised as I am (*cough* understatement of the year *cough*) I recorded all travel costs and expenses during our round the world trip. And put together this extensive budget breakdown to share with you the costs of traveling the world!

how much money for 6 months travelling

How much does it cost to travel the world?

Be warned, this is a long post and I will be honest with you straightaway: traveling the world for 5 months isn’t free! Nevertheless, our amazing trip was everything I hoped for and more…

traveling for 6 months

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…

But I digress, back to the point of this post: how much money do you need to travel?

6 months travelling around the world

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 lots of spreadsheets (my brain is wired that way) trying to figure out exactly how much to save for our trip.

How much money would we need to travel for 3-6 months? How expensive is New Zealand? How much money to budget for a weekend in Hong Kong? How much would we spend on an average travel day in Southeast Asia? How much money would we spend on plane tickets? Or on accommodation? How about the cost of 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:

Travel budget: 5 months (143 days) * €100 a day for us as a couple = €14.300

Adding around €5000 for our Round-The-World tickets, gear we had to buy, vaccines and the PADI dive course we wanted to do, I figured €20.000 would be enough, give or take. Turned out it was!

During our 5 month trip around New Zealand, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Singapore and Malaysia we spent €16.183/$18.053 to be precise.

how much money to go travelling for 6 months

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.

How much does it cost to go traveling for 5 months?

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.

Traveling around New Zealand and Southeast Asia for 5 months cost us €16.263/$18.141. Check this detailed budget breakdown per country and category.

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:-). You can find the budget posts for each separate country on the blog:

Cambodia travel budget
Laos travel budget
Hong Kong travel budget
Malaysia travel budget
New Zealand travel budget
Philippines travel budget
Singapore travel budget
Thailand travel budget
Vietnam travel budget

Additional travel costs for a round-the-world-trip

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.

Traveling around New Zealand and Southeast Asia for 5 months cost us €16.263/$18.141. Check the detailed budget breakdown per country and category on Phenomenal Globe Travel Blog.

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 of 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.

How Much Does It Cost To Travel The World For 5 Months As A Couple?

2. The cost of scuba diving

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:

PADI Open Water Course in El Nido, the Philippines.
Diving on Tioman, Malaysia.
• PADI Open Water Advanced Course Koh Tao, Thailand.

Dive sites and costs in the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand

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.

how much does it cost to travel the world for 6 months

3. The costs for 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.

how much to travel for 6 months

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.

how much money needed to travel

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.

7. Miscellaneous costs while traveling

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.

Doing laundry while traveling around the world

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.

Traveling around New Zealand and Southeast Asia for 5 months cost us €16.263/$18.141. Check the detailed budget breakdown per country and category on Phenomenal Globe Travel Blog.

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.

A future long-term trip would probably 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.

how much money to travel for 3 months

If you want to know exactly where we spent all this money on, keep reading for more details about:

1. Accommodation
2. Transportation
3. Food, drinks and groceries
4. Activities
5. Visa

How much does it cost to travel the world – breakdown per category

1. Accommodation

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 camper van.

how much do you need to travel for 6 months

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 a discount on your first Airbnb stay with this link!) and often we just walked into a place and asked for a quote.

Bohemiaz resort best budget accommodation in Cambodia

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 find more information about the accommodation we stayed at in these posts: the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, LaosMalaysia and campsites in New Zealand for more details about the hotels (short review and score on Agoda).

Budget hotels in New Zealand
Auckland ⇒ Ibis Budget hotel Auckland Airport, €59/$64, Agoda | Booking
Christchurch ⇒ Jailhouse Accommodation, €61/$66, Agoda | Booking

Budget hotels in Hong Kong
Peace Guest House* ⇒ €40/$45
Hong Kong Hostel ⇒ €40/$45, Agoda | Booking

Budget hotels in The Philippines
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

Budget hotels in Vietnam
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

Budget hotels in Cambodia
Kampot ⇒ Bohemiaz resort, €12,30/$13,50, Agoda | Booking
Phnom Penh ⇒ Diamond Palace II , €14,50/$16, Agoda | Booking
Siem Riep ⇒ Overflow Guesthouse, €13,20/$14,50, Agoda | Booking

Budget hotels in Laos
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

Budget hotels in Singapore
Vintage Inn, €34,20/$37,60, Agoda | Booking
Fragrance Hotel Rose*, €47,93/$52,70

Budget hotels in Malaysia
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

Budget hotels in Thailand (okay, 1 not so budget hotel, but worth the money!)
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;-)

2. Transportation

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.

You can find more details about the costs and other useful details about getting around in my itinerary posts for New Zealand, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Singapore and Malaysia.

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.

How Much It Costs To Travel The World For 5 Months As A Couple

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;-).

Vietnamese Food Food Singapore
Malaysian food This food was delicious

4. Activities

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. 

Kayak Abel Tasman National Park New Zealand

5. Visas

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 and my Travel Resource page!

What do you think about the total amount
we spent on 5 months of travel?

Traveling around New Zealand and Southeast Asia for 5 months cost us €16.263/$18.141. Check the detailed budget breakdown per country and category on Phenomenal Globe Travel Blog.Traveling around New Zealand and Southeast Asia for 5 months cost us €112/$125 a day and €16.263/$18.141 in total. Check the detailed budget breakdown per country and category on Phenomenal Globe Travel Blog.

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32 Comments

  1. Wow, this must have been A LOT of work! Well done! I will keep this in mind for a possible future RTW trip because I’d have no idea how much it would cost, also depending on the destinations of course. It’s a great resource though and I think you did well at the final cost, at least it didn’t shock me at all 🙂

    • Thanks Anto, I am really happy to hear that:-). It was a lot of work but I hope it will give people an idea about the cost of traveling. Off course it depends on your destination and travel style but at least it’s a rough guideline what to expect! Glad the total costs didn’t shock you, seeing that number in writing was a bit confronting but I would spend it again in a heartbeat!

  2. Jeetje, wat een superhandige en overzichtelijke post dit! Zelf hebben we in ZO-Azië een stukkie minder uitgegeven, maar dat is inmiddels alweer een jaar of 8 geleden en bovendien reisden we langzaam, wat een groot verschil maakt.

    • Dank Yvonne, wat leuk om te horen dat je het een handige post vindt! 8 jaar geleden zal het inderdaad een stuk goedkoper zijn geweest en langzaam reizen maakt ook een groot verschil. Daarbij is Nieuw Zeeland ook niet goedkoop;-). Maar al met al geeft het in elk geval een beeld hoeveel een reis van 5 maanden als stel je kan kosten.

  3. Thanks for the comprehensive breakdown – thats pretty much what we spent for 5 months traveling on a roadtrip throughout America. Sure, it’s a lot of money, though I found that it’s actually substantially less than a lot of people spend living their everyday lives. Personally I would much rather put it towards travel :D!

    • I totally agree! Yes, it’s a lot of money but I will spend it on travel (=experiences) much rather than buy some stuff with it! Good to know a 5 month road trip around America will cost something similar…;-).

  4. Wow. I need people like you because I hate maths and never count anything >< I always promise myself I'll write down what I'm spending and I never do. Somehow, miraculously, it works out and I'm never short but I can completely appreciate what you've done here. Awesome work and a great resource!

    • Happy to hear you like the post Alice! And we each have our own style of traveling, glad yours works out for you!

    • No but I think the daily budget could be lower if you spend longer in Cambodia. You spread out the visa costs over more days and slow travel is always a good way to cut the costs;-)

  5. Your post came at the PERFECT time. I’m in the process of saving for an upcoming 4-6 month stint of travel at the end of this year. I had randomly settled on a savings goal of 20,000 pounds (UK), but that was totally random. Now that I’m looking through your budget, I’m thinking that we might get away with less than that. I’m so excited to get on the road!!!

    • Awesome Julie! Do you already have a list of countries you would like to visit or just see where you’ll end up? Enjoy planning for your trip, very exciting!

  6. Now this is a really comprehensive guide to traveling. I love the categories like length of stay, cost per stay, price of food, drinks activities and other incidentals. This is well done. Congratulations.

  7. Gosh, I don’t think I could be that organised! I tend to manage my finances by only converting a limited amount of cash and then totting up my credit card expenses.

    • I completely admit I am a bit of a spreadsheet freak;-). In Dutch we call it ‘beroepsdeformatie’ which roughly translates into something like ‘your way of thinking shaped by your profession’. As it’s my job to work fact based I tend to do this when I travel as well… Anyway, your way sounds a lot easier while still giving you insight into your total expenses.

  8. Wow, I can’t imagine how much work you did to write this article. I am unable sometimes to do it for a short trip, Well done. I have never been on a long-term trip, so didn’t have any idea about the cost. It is a lot of money, but as you mentioned it would be cheaper next time.

    • Haha yes I won’t deny it was a lot of work. But I am glad it gave you an idea about the cost of a long-term trip!

  9. Well done on keeping such details records, it will really help in planning your next big trip as well as for others looking to do a trip of their own. I’m not surprised NZ was the most expensive of that group but you did managed to do it for a good price and it’s a beautiful country.

    • I agree, New Zealand was the most expensive but feel we managed to do it on a very reasonable budget. And the control freak in me makes it a second nature to do detailed record keeping…

  10. Fantastic post. Very thorough. my economist side love it 🙂 We are actually doing similar math to our gap year trip. we are going through russia (transiberian) into south east Asia.

    • Haha, great to hear from a fellow economist:-). Wow, your trip sounds amazing, enjoy planning and happy travels!

  11. Now thats what I call a budget! I dont think I’ve ever delved this far into expenditures, but it looks like I may have to! Like you said, every penny was well spent, but if you can make it last even longer, thats even better!

    • Thank you Joe:-). And yes, making the most of my money so I can travel even more if definitely a goal for me!

  12. Hay, great post and awesome breakdown. My girlfriend and I are trying to budget about 10 pound a day (each). We need to make note more of what we are spending though. As it daily spend gets bigger when we account for trips and other travel costs. But hopefully we equal it out because of the days we spend very little, just food and accommodation.
    Hopefully this is plausible.
    Great post.
    Jessie

    • Thanks Jessie! 20 pounds, that’s about €25 right? I suggest traveling slow, overland and eat local food. And to cheap countries obviously;-). Have a great trip and I am curious to know how much your daily budget ends up being!

  13. Wow! I love the detail you put into this. I am so glad I found your site because you are convincing me that my dreams are possible. I’m even leaving my boyfriend behind on my trip. 😉 He’s much happier making money through a paycheck every 2 or 3 weeks. Thanks so much Lotte. I wonder how other countries would stack up? I’m sure a Euro-trip would be more expensive, but curious about Central America!

    • Thank you so much for your comment Amanda, you made my day:-) Very happy to hear my blog inspires you to travel! My guess is Europe is the same price level as New Zealand. I went to Cuba recently and while it’s cheaper than NZ/Europe it’s not as cheap as SE Asia. I’ll write a post about it but I expect you would spend between $60-$75 dollar per day, depending on if you are traveling alone or with someone else. Where do you plan on going? Feel free to ask any question, I love to help out if I can:-)

  14. What an interesting read this is!! My husband and I are considering a round the world trip within the next two years and this blog is great, especially the calculation of costs. We are saving at present and this info is very useful. We are both in our late 50’s and would like to stay in comfortable guesthouses. I have looked up some of your recommendations and they all look pretty good!

    Any tips would be appreciated!!

    Wendy

    • Hi Wendy,

      So cool you’ll be going on a RTW trip with your husband:-). Glad you found the post useful, I tried to include as many details as possible. While our accommodation during that trip were no luxury hotels I always tried to get maximum value for money. There were only a couple of places I would not return to myself (those are the ones without links).

      We are currently on our second long-term trip and the budget is going well so far. For this trip we budgeted €100 per day for us as a couple and so far we have easily stayed withing this limit. Of course it depends on where you go, which area of the world would you like to explore? Feel free to ask any questions you may have and enjoy planning the trip!

      Lotte

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