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October 30th marked our 6-month travel anniversary, and while we’re sharing our Travel Tops and Flops and reflection on ‘200 Days on the Road’ on our 200-days travel anniversary on 15 November, the six-month marker seemed the right time to take a look at our expenses so far – including how much we have spent, where the money went, and what our average per day spend has been in each country. Luckily, Dani keeps a very exact expenses sheet calculating our outgoings to the last centavo, with up-to-date exchange rates telling us each day just how much every hotel room, bus ride, and ice cream cone costs in British Pounds (the currency we earn), US Dollars and the local currency.

Please note: Our daily spendings are meant to be used as a guide for future travelers, or as a comparison for those of you currently on the road. However, as we work while we travel, we are not stuck to a fixed budget which we will one day deplete. We might spend a little bit more than the average backpacker, but we are guessing that our expenses are quite average for digital nomads in Latin America.

Expenses in the U.S.

When we left London for Las Vegas on 30 April, we had no idea how expensive the U.S. would be. Even with the strong British Pound lining our pockets, the U.S. was much pricier than we thought.

By far our most expensive country so far, we spent a mind-boggling $8,333.00 /£5,530.60 in those 70 days. Major expenses within this figure include both our flights from London to Las Vegas and L.A. to Mexico, plus an Enterprise rental car which we had for two months. Excluding these numbers, our actual daily spend was $4,628/£3,071.60, or roughly $1,356/£900 per person per month.

Transportation: Our trusty Chevy Aveo rental ran us $1700 / £1,128 (including optional $560 insurance), which averaged out to $28.33 / £18.80 per day. At first glance (and second, and third) it might seem a luxury, but without the car, we could never have explored the South West, or drive the classic Pacific Coast Highway from L.A. to San Francisco as well as from San Diego to Tucson, making this a totally necessary expense. We drove 5200 miles, and of course the cost of gas and parking fees also added up to be quite expensive.

Accommodation: During the times we were not reviewing hotels or doing long-term housesits, we paid a higher price for accommodation than we originally expected, as many places that we visited did not have hostels. Dusty roadside motels were cheap ($29 – $39 / £18 – 25), while city center digs ran us upwards of $69. We paid a ridiculous $119 for a tent cabin (!) in Big Sur, and a last minute Holiday Inn Express was $109 in the three-hotel, no-vacancy town of Chinle where we holed up for the night during our visit to Canyon de Chelly in northern Arizona.

Average accommodation per night based on two sharing: $45/£29.

Tip: Accommodation costs might be higher in the US than in Latin America, but there are also incredible deals to be found online which are much harder to come by in the less deal-savvy neighbors to the south. Websites such as or allowed us to score excellent rates on hotels than just showing up ever did. On a few rare occasions we were able to negotiate a better rate on site.

Food: The occasional treat aside, our restaurant choices were of the roadside variety, cheap diners, fast food and the like. The average meal at a cheap diner cost around $25 for both of us. While house-sitting we were able to shop at the grocery store, spending an average of $100 per week during our two house sits.

Regardless of the relatively high costs of exploring the southwestern United States, we managed to do both Los Angeles and San Francisco on a shoestring and kept our spending lower by including house-sits and visiting friends.

Average per day per person: $45/£30 (including car).


Our spending dropped significantly once we crossed the border into Mexico – in total we spent $3622.26/£2367.78 in 88 days.

Accommodation: In Mexico, we stayed in mix of hostels and budget hotels. The cheapest accommodation cost $12/£8 for both of us at one of our favorite places– La Candelaria in Valladolid. The most expensive room at Posada Ziga in Mazunte was $35 /£23.

Average accommodation per night based on two sharing: $21/£15.

Food: Our meals in Mexico cost around $12/£8 for dinner for two, and breakfast for about $10.50/£6.90 for two people. As anyone who reads us often will know, however, inexpensive (and delicious!) street food was our main meal of choice and we rarely ate in restaurants.

Culture: Mexico is teeming with cultural options and we visited everything from museums to galleries to both Maya and Aztec ruins. The ruins all have a set price of 51 Pesos, or $3.95/£2.55 per person, with one exception: Chichen Itza, which costs around $14/£9 per person.

Transportation: Long haul bus travel in Mexico is much nicer, but also much more expensive than in Central America. You travel in relative style, but you pay for it. The most expensive overnight bus rides tend to cost around $31/£21 per person. The cheapest long-haul trips cost us each $8.50/£5. On average we paid $10/ £6.70 per person.

Average total cost in Mexico per person per day: $20.58/£13.45


We already knew through the grapevine that Belize was going to be more expensive than the rest of Central America (Lonely Planet suggests US$40 – $60 per day), but we were still surprised that costs were as high as they are for such a sparsely populated and economically struggling country like Belize (read our tips for Belize on a shoestring here).

Accommodation: We stayed in fairly basic accommodation in Belize, no bells or whistles, but always private rooms.

The average cost was US$22.50/£14.20 for a double en-suite room.

Transportation: This is one low cost area for travelers in Belize. Chicken buses, which appear to be held together by masking tape and a lot of luck, cost next to nothing for long distance travel in Belize. A two hour bus ride from Belize City to San Ignacio, nearly completely cross country, costs only $3.50/£2.21 per person. Speed boats between the Cayes in the Caribbean costs about $10/£6.32 to go between them, and golf cart rental on Ambergris Caye costs around $35/£22.10 per day.

Food: Meals in a restaurant both on the Cayes and in San Ignacio cost around $20/£12.60 for two, including a beer or two here and there. Belize is not that big on street food, so sitting down and ordering is a must for your main meals of the day.

Adventure: We took advantage many of the adventurous activities available to visitors in Belize. Snorkeling with Harry and Steve (recommended, just ask around) on Caye Caulker cost US$40/£25.25 each for a full day, or US$20/£12.63. The ATM cave tour was $65 each (discounted). All of our fun over 11 days totals $348/£200.

Average Cost Per Person Per Day: $54/£34.10


Crossing the border into Guatemala after our expensive stay in Belize felt good, and our expenses have been much less here.

Accommodation: On average, we spend $18.43/£11.65 per night for a double room including breakfast. Dorms are cheaper for single travelers, but for anyone traveling with a partner, private rooms only run about Q10 or $1.25 more.

Transportation: Take a chicken bus, and this will be your cheapest expense in Guatemala. Long-distance bus travel by chicken bus costs around $4.00/£2.55 per person – the more comfortable 1st and 2nd class coaches are considerably more expensive – the overnight bus we took from Flores to Antigua was $29.50/£19.50 per person.

Food: You can eat like a king in Guatemala and easily stay on budget. A decent meal for two in a restaurant costs around $10/£6.60, though in Antigua, depending on the restaurant, this average can more than double.

Tikal: The highest expense in Guatemala was our trip to Tikal, which was around $66/£42.00 for both of us. This does not include accommodation in Flores, but does include the shuttle service to Tikal, the guide and entry fees.

On average, we have been spending $27.50/£17.58 per person per day, which might seem a bit high to some, but includes pricey medication for Dengue and Giardia, neither of which was cheap.

Total Budget at 6 months

In total, we spent around US$14,720/£9,646 for the two of us in 6 months, which includes all flights and public transportation, and more than two months in the U.S. We hope our next budget post in 6 months will be much less, with no major flights, hopefully a few more house-sits, and lower expenses in South America than we had for the first 70 days in the United States.

Total cost per person for 6 months: US$7,360/£4,823.00

We showed you ours… now you show us yours! We would love to hear about your budgets and expenses in the comments below to see how our spending compares with that of backpackers and digital nomads. If you have tips on great deals, cheap but quality accommodation in the US, Mexico, Central America or South America, or other ways to save money, please do share as well!

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Tags : backpacking budgetdigital nomad expensestravel expenses


    1. @Erica – you will be fine with 20k!! The U.S. make up the largest amount of our expenses – if we hadn’t spent such a long time there, our expenses would be considerably lower. We hope that the next 6 months will cost less than the last 6 did 🙂 -Dani

  1. Thanks so much for sharing this – we’ll be following a similar path when we start our RTW in the USA next year and this is extremely helpful.

    Our savings target is somewhere between $30,000 and $40,000 and we’re hoping this will last us for 12 months. We were planning on renting our private rooms or entire apartments and staying in hostels during our time in the US but housesitting is a great idea! Which site would you recommend to get started with housesitting in America that’s open to foreign citizens?
    Kieron recently posted..Review- How To Be An Adventurer

  2. This is a great post!!! It is really helpful for others planning or daydreaming about a trip like this. You can get a “Top Ten” list anywhere but what we really want to know is can we do it.

    Try and stay in Suchitoto if you can. There’s a small hotel there run by an American guy Robert I think his name is. He is married to a local woman and they happily treat their guests as friends, taking you out, introducing you around town etc.

    Happy Travels!

    1. @Andrea – Thanks!! We actually stayed with Roberto in Suchitoto! He came right up to us when we were sitting on the plaza looking somewhat lost after being told that almost all the hotels & guesthouses in town are full.

  3. This is really helpful, thanks. We wrote about out first 6 months budget as digital nomads in Brazil, Argentina & Paraguay here:

    Brazil is really expensive, and Argentina is quite expensive too but we kept expenses down by renting apartments. Bolivia was the cheapest place we visited – £12 a person a day is easy, although extra tours do add up. We are finding Peru quite a lot more expensive than expected.
    Erin recently posted..Photo of the Week- Capybara in Bolivian Pampas

    1. Erin – thanks for the advice, we’re hoping for another expenses post from you guys on the other South American countries that you’ve visited, it really helps to know what costs to expect. Simon’s Currency Convert Plug In would’ve been great for our post 🙂

  4. Wow, this is super helpful. I’m planning an RTW in 2012 and it’s hard to figure out a budget. Your total expenses for six months were much less than I would have imagined. It makes me hopeful that our budget will allow us to extend our trip longer than a year. I also do some freelance writing, so I hope to bring in some money on the road. Do you ever post about travel writing for a living? I’d love to hear your tips and advice.
    Kim recently posted..RTWsomanyplaces- Check out this treehouse Swiss Family Robinson style http-bitly-efIpAy

    1. Hi Kim, great that you’re headed out next year! We find that with a budget, everything is relative. We travel slow and we don’t tend to splurge too much. Except for on food and coffee. We ran an article a while back on how to freelance while you travel, which you can find here. Hope that helps!

  5. Great information here. I have about a month and a half until my own RTW starts in Mexico and I’ve been trying to get a consensus on daily costs. I’ll probably end up paying more in the beginning since I lack your mad travel skillz, but at least I have a target to aim for!

    Hope you guys keep having fun!

    1. Thanks Justin! Mexico is a great country to start your trip in – where exactly are you planning on going? It’s true – in the beginning we spent much more money but you quickly find a routine. Have fun on your RTW trip!

  6. Great article and so inspiring. I miss travelling so much (although it was never a gap travel or RTW thing)…to be able to do it would be a dream, but being a single mom of a 9 year old I don’t know how that would work and to save for it! So Your blog allows me to be an armchair traveller 🙂

    1. Hi Sonia! Glad to be your outlet to the wide world 🙂 It’s hard to do with kids, but there are people out there doing it…If you want to find any of those blogs, let us know! Where were your main areas of travel before? Thanks for reading, and we’ll definitely keep it interesting for you!!! 🙂

  7. Hi! After trawling through google for hours I’ve finally found someone who might be able to answer my USA travel budget queries!

    Myself and my boyfriend are planning to travel to the USA on a work/travel student visa in the summer of 2012 for 3 months.
    We’re going to be taking $6000/£3750 with us, with flights and insurance already paid. We’re going to work as and when necessary, but don’t want to get to a point where we’re living hand to mouth. We will live and travel as cheaply as possible but want to do some touristy stuff too…

    How much do you think we need have available per month (either from savings or employment) in order to be able to travel around and enjoy the USA?

    Thank you in advance for your help!

    1. Hi Rachel – we’re happy to help! We’ll send you an email with more detailed information, but at first glance your budget looks to be in the right range. We spent a similar amount (assuming flights/insurance paid) and rented a car for two months and ate out quite a lot. You’ll have a great time!!! Look out today/tomorrow for a longer email with more detail, and thanks so much for stopping by!

  8. Hey Travellers! I’m planning a trip for next year with my partner through Central America, we’re leaving from Vancouver, British Columbia. My question is for anyone farmilliar with gas prices and extra vehicle costs such as insurance and general maintenance costs. I’m trying to figure out how much I should be budgeting for travelling in my van.


    1. Hi Liz, unfortunately we didn’t pay much attention to the gas prices in Central America, as we took the local buses. I recommend getting in touch with Juergen from, Luis and Lacey from and Karen and Erica from – all of them travel(ed) through the Americas with their vans and they’ll be able to help for sure. We’d be happy to help though if you need any recommendations on places to stay, places to eat, good wi-fi, etc… Enjoy your trip 🙂

  9. Hi! I just Google your blog and am so excited to read about all those road trips in USA. I’m planning my graduation trip and I plan to travel most parts of USA (East and West coasts) and perhaps Toronto and Vancouver as well. Do you think US$8,000 (inclusive of the air ticket) is enough for 30 to 40 days of travelling? I’m a girl and I plan to travel alone so I think that will set me back for the accommodation as they are usually cheaper when shared. I’m planning to use a lot of public transport as well as I am only 22 and I think there’s a surcharge for those under 25. Please provide me with some suggestions or recommendations, meanwhile, do stay safe and happy wherever you are! =)

    1. Hi Ling, thanks for getting in touch! your trip sounds great! Yes, we definitely think you can do the East and West coasts, plus Toronto and Vancouver for 8,000 including flights. Make sure you are flexible with dates to reduce your flight cost – we like comparison sites like expedia, booking buddy and kayak to lock down the cheapest price. That way you have more to spend once you’re there. You can travel very cheaply on the east coast using megabus – bus rides can be as low as $5-$15 for long distances (say New York to DC or New York to Toronto). It might be easiest to go from the US into Canada from NYC to Toronto, as customs the other way (Canada into the US) can be a bit of a pain overland. I have never heard of a surcharge for public transport for those under 25, but you shouldn’t have a problem. Rental cars will be nearly impossible for you as a single foreigner under 25, but just take the buses on the east coast. The west coast will be tough without a car, but doable, depending on where you want to go. We used for buses between major Cali cities and from LA to Vegas.

      You’ll need to fly, most likely, from the east to the west coast, as it can take as many as five days to drive across, so factor that in to your budget, as well as deciding how you will get to Canada. Toronto and Vancouver are also very far in distance, so you will most likely fly between those two as well. Expedia is your best bet for finding reasonable flights within North America. You might want to look into those flights already, as booking ahead will save you some definite cash. Although it can be a bit scary as a single female traveler, we would also urge you to consider couchsurfing. Hotels in NYC, DC, LA and other major cities can be very expensive, especially if you want to stay centrally as you won’t have a car. If you couchsurf, you may not be central, but you have friendly hosts who can definitely help you out, give you local travel advice, etc. You can request to stay only with females,if that makes you more comfortable, and you can read reviews from other people who have stayed with the couchsurfers, to get a good feeling for people as well.

      If we had to plan the itinerary for you, we’d say get a flight from Singapore to the West Coast of the US, travel there, then fly to the East Coast, travel there using MegaBus, go up to Toronto on MegaBus and then fly to Vancouver. From Vancouver, you can either take bus/train overland or fly in California for your flight back home.

      Hope that all helps, and if you have more questions, feel free to get back in touch! Have a great trip! We’ll be in Singapore in April, maybe we’ll ask you for a few tips, too 🙂

      1. Thank you so much for your advice! It definitely put me more at ease regarding my travelling plans!

        So glad that you girls are visiting Singapore! The Circle Line (train public transport) has also just been built so it is now easier to get around Singapore. Please visit the zoo in Singapore, it’s one of the best zoos that I have been to before! They also have a night safari where you can see the animals during night time- I haven’t try that out so I don’t know how it is but I heard it was interesting. And try the botanical gardens as we have some great tropical flowers there.

        You must also try the food in Singapore, we got so much variety with different cultures! I think Chili Crab and Hainan Chicken Rice is a definite must try. Just eat wherever there’s a queue ;D

        And remember to bring an umbrella because the weather here is CRAZY, always raining or scorching hot weathers. But there’s always shelter around so not to worry.

        Have a safe trip and welcome to Singapore in advance! =D

        1. Hi Ling, glad we could help. And you have gotten us crazy excited for Singapore now!!! We keep hearing such great things about the city – the food, the botanical gardens, the zoo, and the public transport – and also just how clean and organized much of the city is. One thing we didn’t realize is the crazy weather – so we’ll definitely have to plan for that! Thanks!!! 🙂 Don’t hesitate to get in touch for your US trip if you need it!

  10. Thanks for this info so helpful! My bf and I are travelling 6 months around south, central, Mexico and Cuba and then flying out of new york, big trip! flights etc all paid for so have budgeted approx 11,000pounds each for spending, accom, internal flights, buses etc, Would u consider this enough? Thanks!

  11. Hi just read your blog while I’ve been looking again at how to get to USA and survive for a few months. I live in Scotland and me my partner and our best friend have been discussing for years our dreams of going to USA for a few months travelling seeing the sights taking in the diff cultures and just living live instead of just ‘getting by’ . We have no real estimation of costs and can’t seem to find any sort of rough answer but 6 months travelling mostly west coast how much financially would we need each. We are all willing to work at whatever if need be though would just like to know realisticly how hard we need to work our arses just now to be able to scrape by for a few months out there. Flights from London to Seattle are roughly £1100 each single.

    1. Hi Amz,thanks for getting in touch! It’s hard to estimate how much you’ll spend – are you planning to rent a car or take public transport, stay in hostels or motels, etc. As we mentioned in the post, we spent $8,333.00 /£5,530.60 in 70 days in the US and that included the car rental, gas, motels and food, plus a few attractions. I would take our daily average of $45/£30 (incl car) as a rough estimate – I think $50 a day is a good ballpark number. If you plan to visit some national parks though, you have to plan in a little bit more for entrance fees and accommodation there (which we found to be more expensive around National Park areas). Also: we found that renting a car from the UK (through an international booking website) is cheaper than renting a car from within the US! If we can help out with any more specific numbers, please feel free to email us again 🙂

  12. Hey There,

    I am planning on travelling to Cetral/ South America in December on my own for around 3-4 months. I am thinking of flying into Mexico and then making my way south and eventually leaving Brazil in March.

    I have two questions:
    1: is it vegetarian friendly? I am not a fussy veg, but have been told that i will find it difficult to get a decent veggie meal and its mostly meat based dishes out there.

    2: how much would you recommend i budget for the whole trip. I will be staying in shared dorms and travelling mostly by bus (as cheap as i can) but i want to do Mach Pichu and some of the other touristy things, including ideally going ot Galapagus.

    Any advice would be appreciated,


  13. Hi! I am trying to find some information on travelling between countries in Central America. My friend and I are starting in Belize and hoping to hit Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua in 14 days. Not sure if this is too ambitious?? We don’t want to rush through but at the same time want to see as much as possible. I saw your note about the public busses between Belize and Guatemala, are there similar types of transportation between the others I mentioned? Sorry if you posted this somewhere else on the site, haven’t seen it all yet! Thanks in advance!! 🙂

    1. Hi Laura, your plans do sound quite ambitious! Maybe you should just focus on Guatemala and Honduras instead? There are so many places in Guatemala alone that I wouldn’t skip: Lake Atitlan, Antigua, Chichi, Tikal, Lanquin and Rio Dulce – from there you could hop right over to Copan (Honduras). There are chicken buses over the borders in each country (usually they go to the border and then you take another bus on the other side) but I remember that there was also a cheap tourist shuttle from Antigua to Copan for only $10. Enjoy Central America!

      1. Thanks Dany!! We are definitely starting off in Belize with Caye Caulker but maybe we will stick to Belize and Guatemala. Love your website! -Laura

  14. I just came across your blog and I have to say its just genius!
    My friend and I are planning on road tripping through the USA from Miami to California (stopping by Las Vegas) and perhaps flying to NYC at the end. The idea is to rent a small car and camp where we can/sleep in the car if need be! We are planning on leaving in January and staying for 90 days (Jan to end of March). So far we think that £8000 between us will be enough as its basically off season, but Im starting to doubt. Do you think £4000 for 90 days each will be enough?

    1. Hi Yasmine, thanks for your comment – so awesome to hear that you’re road tripping through the US next year!! I definitely think that you’ll have enough money – at the current exchange rate that’s nearly $7k and we didn’t spend that much per person! I think if you calculate 2,000 per month, you’ll be traveling comfortably. We found lots of decent places on sites like in the $50- $70 range (sometimes only a day in advance), between two people. The car rental shouldn’t cost you much either – there are always good deals to be found; and gas is sooo cheap compared to the UK! So let’s say you Please feel free to get in touch if I can help out with anything more specific. Enjoy your road trip – it’ll be epic!!

  15. Hi, me and my friend wanted to go traveling around America for 3 months visiting la,newyork,Texas,San Francisco,Nashville and Las Vegas but neither of us would feel confident enough to drive so would be using transport and flights . Would be better of booking through travel agents or paying as we go and what would you recommend would be the average cost per person xxxxx

  16. Hi
    we plan to visit friends in Atlanta, GA, USA for a week and plan to travel by bus to Mexico on to Central America ending in Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela. Could you please recommend entry route or city in USA into Mexico.

    1. Hi James, I’d recommend traveling from San Antonio, TX to Laredo and cross into Mexico there. I am not sure about safety in that part of Mexico though – heard Monterrey (the closest big city in Mexico on that route) was getting a bit rough. You might want to cross over in El Paso instead. That way you could incorporate the gorgeous Copper Canyon train ride in Chihuahua in your trip.

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