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Blog Cost of Travel

What It Costs to Travel – Short & Long Term

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In this post we describe how creating daily spending bands can provide a budgetary framework for your next trip.

We also provide real life case studies on spending across the world, both short or long term.


Updated June 27. 2020

Creating spending band guideposts

Whether you’re planning a short trip or long, we recommend developing an idea of how much you’d like to spend per day.

Why?

Equipping yourself with an idea of how much you’d like to spend gives you an idea of whether you can accommodate certain costs or not. This includes how often you can eat out, how many activities you can participate in, what types of accommodation you can stay in etc. You can more readily accept or decline invitations to events, activities and nights out.

We’ve listed some common spending bands and what it amounts to on a per-day basis, versus the total spend for the trip.

If I spend $50-$350/day, what will my trip cost?

Per-day spend
in US Dollars
Total cost for 7 daysTotal cost for 10 daysTotal cost for 14 daysTotal cost for 21 days
$50/day/person$350.00$500$700.00$1,050.00
$100/day/person$700.00$1,000$1,400.00$2,100.00
$150/day/person$1,050.00$1,500$2,100.00$3,150.00
$200/day/person$1,400.00$2,000$2,800.00$4,200.00
$250/day/person$1,750.00$2,500$3,500.00$5,250.00
$300/day/person$2,100.00$3,000$4,200.00$6,300.00
$350/day/person$2,450.00$3,500$4,900.00$7,350.00

Cost of travel with partner

Per-day spend
in US Dollars
Cost over 7 days
for two people
Cost over 10 days
for two people
Cost over 14 days
for two people
Cost over 21 days
for two people
$50/day/person$700.00$1,000.00$1,400.00$2,100.00
$100/day/person$1,400.00$2,000.00$2,800.00$4,200.00
$150/day/person$2,100.00$3,000.00$4,200.00$6,300.00
$200/day/person$2,800.00$4,000.00$5,600.00$8,400.00
$250/day/person$3,500.00$5,000.00$7,000.00$10,500.00
$300/day/person$4,200.00$6,000.00$8,400.00$12,600.00
$350/day/person$4,900.00$7,000.00$9,800.00$14,700.00

Example with two scenarios – 6 Days, 5 Nights – $1,000 budget

In this example, you have $1,000 as our total budget to spend on airfare, hotel, food, entertainment, activities etc.

Let’s subtract airfare and hotel costs from your budget to get a sharper sense of how much you really have to spend per day:

CategoryCostAmount Remaining
Airfare$450 for a round trip ticket$1,000 (original budget)

$450 (airfare)
=
$550 (budget after airfare)
Hotel $150/night split by two people.
$75 per person per night x 5 nights = $300
$550 (budget after airfare)

$375 (hotel)
=
$175 remaining budget for 6 days of vacation after airfare + hotel costs

You are left with $175 as our remaining budget after airfare and hotel fees are deducted from our $1,000 total budget.

$175 / 6 days of travel costs = $29.16 per day.

On a per-day basis this could break down to:

  • $5 transport inner-city — subway/bus fare
  • $12 between breakfast/lunch/dinner
  • $13 entertainment — entry fees, drinks, evening entertainment, additional entry fees, shopping, miscellaneous

This is a very tight budget that does not leave room for many activities.

Rearrange the budget to create more discretionary per-day spending

You have a few options to create more per-day spending:

  • [Easiest option] Stay in a less expensive accommodation
  • [Harder option] Find cheaper airfare or an alternative route to get to your destination
  • [Hardest option] Increase budget

Let’s opt to stay at a hostel instead of a hotel to help open up our budget.

CategoryCostAmount Remaining
Airfare$450$1,000 (original budget)

$450 (airfare)
=
$550 (budget after airfare)
Hostel$30/night per person per night in a hostel.
$30 x 5 nights = $150
$550 (budget after airfare)

$150 (hostel)
=
$400 remaining budget for 6 days of vacation after airfare + hotel costs

With a change of accommodation type, and airfare and hostel fees deducted from our $1,000 total budget, you are now left with $400 as our remaining budget.

$400 / 6 days of travel costs = $66.66 per day. Now you have have plenty of room in our budget to enjoy your travels, whatever what looks like to you.

On a per-day basis this could break down to:

  • $7 transport inner-city — subway/bus fare
  • $20 between breakfast/lunch/dinner
  • $10 grocery & snack money
  • $4 coffee
  • $25 entertainment — entry fees, drinks, evening entertainment, additional entry fees, shopping, miscellaneous

Ultimately your day-to-day spending comes down to what your preferences, comfort level and interests.

Long term travel spending bands

If you haven’t already, check out our related planning posts for long-term travel:

One of the bigger challenges with long term travel planning is finding a balance between frugality and participate in experiences.

Whether you’re looking to try new foods, meet locals and more generally get out of the hotel to explore, having a sense of your per-day spend will allow you to build all of those items into your travels.

Cost of long-term travel

Per-day spend
in US Dollars
Cost over 3 months Cost over 6 monthsCost over 9 monthsCost over 1 year
$50/day/person$4,500$9,000$13,500$18,250
$75/day/person$6,750$13,500$20,250$27,375
$100/day/person$9,000$18,000$27,000$36,500
$125/day/person$11,250$22,500$33,750$45,625
$150/day/person$13,500$27,000$40,500$54,750
$175/day/person$15,750$31,500$47,250$63,875
$200/day/person$18,000$36,000$54,000$73,000

Cost of long-term travel with partner

Per-day spend
in US Dollars
Cost over 3 months
for two people
Cost over 6 months
for two people
Cost over 9 months for two peopleCost over 1 year for two people
$50/day/person$9,000.00$18,000.00$27,000.00$36,500.00
$75/day/person$13,500.00$27,000.00$40,500.00$54,750.00
$100/day/person$18,000.00$36,000.00$54,000.00$73,000.00
$125/day/person$22,500.00$45,000.00$67,500.00$91,250.00
$150/day/person$27,000.00$54,000.00$81,000.00$109,500.00
$175/day/person$31,500.00$63,000.00$94,500.00$127,750.00
$200/day/person$36,000.00$72,000.00$108,000.00$146,000.00

Tracking your travel spending

Once you’ve established your spending bands, check out 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 more realistic budget guidelines for future travels.

Real life case studies of travel spending

To help you understand what costs look like around the world, we’ve broken down our spending on a per-day, per-category basis.

Our case studies demonstrate how different travelers place emphasis on different things. There’s no one right way to travel — we all value categories differently.

Travel spending can range dramatically. While $50 here and there might not seem like much on a day-to-day basis, your costs can easily spiral out of control in the aggregate. Be mindful of this, especially if you plan to travel for a longer amount of time.

Region of TravelCase Study
Oceania— 52 Days in East Coast Australia
— 29 Days in Thailand
— 33 Days in Central Japan
Europe— 90 Days in Schengen Europe
— 10 Days in Belgium
— 3 Days in Luxembourg
— 15 Days in the Netherlands
— 18 Days in Germany
— 7 Days in Denmark & Sweden

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