If you’ve read our previous post One Year of Travel, What Did it Cost? You’ll know that we worked out our average daily spend for one year to be just under $100 per day. That’s for 4 people, 4 continents, 12 countries and two cruises. This was our first year of travel, we’re well into year 4 now, so this year we funded on savings. These days we’re supported by our earnings from this website, see how here. In this post we break down the cost of one year of travel to give you an idea of how much you’ll need to spend.
It’s been a blast and we’ve very happy with that spend, but where did the money go exactly?
When you read these sort of cost breakdown posts it’s important to remember that no two travellers and no two journeys are the same. Costs vary tremendously depending on where you are. We spent 6 months in Asia last year on around $40- $50 per day, the remaining 6 months in the Western Hemisphere, and our cruises, must have come in at well in excess of $100. Our children were 6 and 8 when we left home, they always had been, and still are, legally homeschooled.
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We’ve never kept particularly detailed records, we just know what was in the bank and what’s left now. We haven’t kept to a daily spend since leaving Asia, we’ve just tried to spend as little as possible on the things that were unimportant to us ( accommodation), found the best deals we could on flights, cruises and car hire and probably spent more than some on the things we enjoy ( eating out, theme parks, wine and cocktails).
I should make this my catch phrase, it’s your trip, you need to enjoy it your way and don’t scrimp, it’s not a competition to see who can spend least.
Cost of One Year of Travel
So here are a few more details on what we spent our $30,000 + on last year:
Unexpected Extras: cost $5,000 plus
That’s a lot more than expected!
Christmas happened and the kids had birthdays. Two cameras died and needed replacing and we found we needed a second laptop to stay sane. We bought several sets of speakers for the laptops so that we could watch movies comfortably, I had a new watch, we had to upgrade our wardrobes for winter and the kids wore out, and grew out of, their clothes. We also bought Boo his own tablet which broke within months and hasn’t been replaced.
Flights: cost $3,500
We flew from Penang to Bangkok, from southern Thailand to Kuala Lumpur, from Kuala Lumpur to London via Sri Lanka, from Florida to El Salvador and back, and from Madrid to London. All other travel has been overland or by cruise ship. Skyscanner has been our best friend in keeping prices down. I wrote a post about some tricks to use this flight comparison site like a pro.
Cruises: $3,600 excluding daily compulsory tips and other on board costs such as alcoholic drinks
We cruised from Southampton to New York and from Florida to Barcelona via Madeira. See our cruising section for more information. That’s about 2 weeks of transport, bed, food and fun for that price. It’s a sweet deal.
Car Hire: Cost $1,650
We hired a car for a month in the US to drive from New York to Canada and then down to Florida. We later hired a car for a few days in Florida to finish our journey to Key West. For more information on our road trip costs try Planning a USA Road Trip and What’s the Most Expensive Part of a US Road Trip.
Accommodation Costs: Varies!
Our most expensive accommodation was in New York, not far from Times Square, where we paid $150/ night. Everyone tells us that’s a great deal, but it seemed a lot to us at the time. In the USA we mostly paid under $50/night including breakfast and wifi.
Food and Drink: Cost around $700/month on food plus drinks.
Who knows! We once all ate for under $1 in Sri Lanka and we once blew over $100 on a beautiful meal on Key Largo, Florida. Both were great experiences. We love our food and price isn’t necessarily an indicator of how good the eating experience will be. Self catering is horrible for us, no thanks!
I can’t give you a figure here, I’d have to check with Chef and, as usual, he’s in work. But I can tell you that we kept insurance costs down by not buying coverage for the USA unless we were actually IN the USA. Insurance costs for there added around 20% to our bill, we went month by month on insurance to save money.
I’ll also tell you that we were very glad we had insurance when Chef needed emergency surgery in Thailand.
So does that give you an idea? I think that $100/day figure is the important one, the average over the year. Sometimes you spend big, sometimes you spend almost nothing, it’s finding the balance to give you maximum travel for your buck that’s the important part. Travel your way, not anybody else’s way and do what makes you happy.
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