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Cost of Travel: A Case Study of Spending During 52 Days of Travel in East Coast Australia

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In this post we look at a real life case study of our spending during 52 days in Australia.

If you haven’t already, check out our What It Costs to Travel — Short & Long Term post that overviews the cost of travel. We explore how creating daily spending bands can provide a budgetary framework for your next trip, whether short or long term.

Also read our guide to tracking your travel spending. We outline how tracking your own spending can help you understand your habits and with this insight, you can then create realistic budget guidelines for future travels.

Here are our aggregated costs per-category over 52 continuous days of travel on the eastern board of Australia. Costs are reflected in US Dollars $.

CategorySpend $/Day/Person# of Days in CountryTotal Spend $ / PersonTotal Spend $ / Two People
Shopping + Miscellaneous $3.4252$178.05$356.10
Sightseeing + Entertainment$16.6752$866.75$1,733.50
Summary$78.69/person/day52 days of travel$4,091.81 / person$8,183.62 / two people

Assumptions per-category

Accommodation–We stayed in hostels.
–Our typical configured up was a 4-person-mixed shared dorm.
Transport–We rented a car. The costs above include car rental, gas, and parking.
–The cost includes a train from Brisbane to Cairns.
–Does not include a flight to enter Australia (we used miles).
–Does not include a flight from Cairns to Melbourne. Those tickets ran $140 per person.
–Does not include flights departing Australia (we used miles).
Shopping + Miscellaneous–We tracked travel insurance as a separate category. It ran $3.17/person/day, totaling $156 per person for 52 days.
Sightseeing + EntertainmentWe had a sailing trip to the Whitsunday Islands which drove up the cost of our averages.
Wifi–In the major cities, Wifi was included in our accommodation costs.
–There were times where the access in Australia was poor and we had to go into internet cafes for service.
Laundry–All of the major city hostels we stayed in offered laundry facilities.
–On the coast, we did our laundry on a weekly basis if laundry facilities were unavailable in our hostel.
Coffee–We averaged one coffee/tea out per day.
Breakfast–We usually ate at our accommodation.
Lunch–We ate out almost every day.
–It’s our favorite meal to try out local flavors.
–Costs are usually less expensive for the same meal offered at dinner.
Dinner–We usually eat a light dinner at our accommodation.
Snack–We kept snacks on hand to keep in our rental car and day packs.
Drinks–Libations at bars in Australia are expensive (think NYC, LA, Tokyo, etc.).
–We purchased wine from the grocery store and shared with friends from the hostel instead of going out for drinks.
Grocery–We purchased groceries and breakfast and a light dinner at our accommodation.
Travel Insurance–We did not include our travel insurance costs in the overall price listed here.
— Our insurance ran $3.17/person/day, totaling $165 per person for 52 days, $330 total.


  1. In categories like laundry, shopping & wifi, we may not have spent any money on these services every day. Instead, we added up the total sum of that costs and divided by the number of days within that particular country. This helped us determine how much to budget for future trips.
  2. While we were mindful of our spending, especially because we were abroad for so long, we did splurge on meals and special activities. This may have raised the average costs in a particular category.

How do you keep track of travel expenses?


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