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One year of travel: Our expenses

One year of travel: Our expenses

Last Updated on September 21, 2021

We have on been on the road for one year, and want to share our expenses as a follow up to our first 6 months of travel, which we posted here. Read on for our detailed round the world trip budget, the total sum of every single penny we spent between 30 April 2010 and 30 April 2011. We decided to provide our spending summary for two reasons. Firstly, we would like to compare with other long-term travelers and see if we are in the same range of spending. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, we would like to show our readers who don’t travel long-term just how affordable and realistic this experience really is.

Note: Expenses are stated in both USD and GBP since we both earn money in GBP, but did most of our spending comparing various currencies to US Dollars.

round the world trip budget

Our total round-the-world-trip budget – How much did we spend?

Per Couple $28,483.55 £18,181.51
Per Person $14,241.77 £9,090.75

Average expenses: Per Month

Per Couple
Per Person $1,186.81

Our expenses include all every flight we took, our pricey Corn Islands vacation, every hostel / hotel / motel / apartment that we slept in, every bus / boat / tuktuk / taxi / train we took, every car we rented, every meal we ate, every beer we drank, various medications, every donation we gave, plus everything else we spent our money on.

Latin America vs Europe and North America

We spent two thirds of the time (8 months) in Mexico and Central America, and one third (4 months, 2.5 / 1.5) in the US and Europe, but over half of our expenses come from our time in Europe/US: $13,232.24 / £8494.41!  Had we traveled only in Latin America, we would have probably spent a lot less.

We have to admit that this round the world trip budget was a bit higher than we expected, but we never really tried to keep our expenses down. Unlike other travelers, we are technically digital nomads and earn money as we go, so we never have to worry (knock on wood) about scraping the bottom of the money barrel. We rented cars in the U.S. and Europe (not cheap!) we ate out a lot, we didn’t always stay in the cheapest hostels, and we recently booked a rather expensive flight to Europe.

Jess backpacking through the jungle

Housesits save money
Thanks to the various housesits during this past year, we saved more than 10 weeks accommodation. This free lodging helped us cut down this part of our budget!

Average Daily Travel Expense: Per Country

This is our average daily spend breakdown per country – both for us as a couple and what that averages out to per person.

U.S.A. Per Couple $90.00 £60.00
  Per Person $45.00 £30.00
Mexico Per Couple $41.16 £26.91
  Per Person $20.58 £13.45
Belize Per Couple $108.00 £68.20
  Per Person $54.00 £34.10
Guatemala Per Couple $46.24 £29.25
  Per Person $23.12 £14.62
El Salvador Per Couple $48.10 £29.58
  Per Person $24.05 £14.79
Honduras Per Couple $57.36 £36.87
  Per Person $28.68 £18.43
Nicaragua Per Couple $63.63 £40.35
  Per Person $31.81 £20.17
Costa Rica Per Couple $53.24 £32.97
  Per Person $26.62 £16.49
Panama Per Couple $71.42 £43.92
  Per Person $35.71 £21.96
Germany Per Couple $52.82 £33.45
  Per Person $27.41 £16.73
Italy Per Couple $113.62 £68.83
  Per Person $56.81 £34.42

A few notes on these daily averages:

1. Belize was so high because the amazing tours available- snorkeling and caving – are quite costly, but very worth it. Food and hotels can be very cheap if you do your research.
2. Nicaragua was only so expensive because of our trip to the Corn Islands. Without that, our time there would have been dirt cheap.
3. Honduras would have been cheaper, but we were there over Christmas and New Years, so we had lots of justifications for splurging.
4. Costa Rica is really not as expensive as everyone thinks!
5. Renting a car in Italy makes it expensive – the car ($35 a day at the cheapest rate), the gas (avg. of $9 per gallon!) and the tolls on the Autostrada (roughly $6.50 for a 45 minute drive, $35 for a three hour drive from Milan to Lucca).

30 April marked our 1 year travel anniversary, and we took a look at our expenses so far – how much we have spent, where the money went, and what our average per day spend has been in each country.

Have you traveled long-term? How did our round-the-world trip budget compare to yours? Have you ever considered traveling long-term but thought you don’t have the budget? Did our budget help push you in the direction of long-term travel? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Happy Anniversary! Today we celebrate two years on the road - GlobetrotterGirls

Monday 22nd of April 2019

[…] our first year of travel. While we had spent only $14,241.77 (£9,090.75) per person between April 2010 and April 2011, this year our annual budget had to stretch to include over six months traveling through the United […]


Tuesday 3rd of February 2015

Some I know who live abroad/travel, have home office jobs that allow them to do that, others I know have worked cash jobs along the way, when traveling for a year or so and then return back home. Did/do you work cash jobs while on the road traveling to make money? How do you continue to afford to continue traveling? When you started, did you have a set amount of money saved for the first year?


Wednesday 4th of February 2015

Hi Lisa, I never worked any cash jobs on the road but I took on a lot of virtual freelance project over the years. I barely had enough money saved to last for a year, but I knew I had a regular freelancing gig that would make me enough money. However, I always recommend saving up at least enough to have an emergency cushion to hold you over for a few months or to be able to buy a plane ticket home, for an emergency situation. I wrote a bit more about how I diversified my income streams here in this post.

Mary @ Green Global Travel

Tuesday 17th of April 2012

Wow, this makes me realize how different it is to constantly vs have a home base. Congrats on your year!


Wednesday 18th of April 2012

Thanks Mary - we're actually approaching two years on the road this month :) The difference in travel costs as a full-time traveler is huge - we spent much less money traveling constantly than we did when we had our home base in London.


Thursday 15th of March 2012

I just found this, great record keeping, thumbs up for being so organized! This is great and an inspiration :-) It is our dream to travel long-term (i.e. 3-6-12 months). So good to know that it's do-able. Are we kind of stuck right now with real estate and mortgages, but hope to get out there sooner than later! Thanks for sharing!


Thursday 15th of March 2012

Thanks Carol! It is definitely doable. FamilyOnBikes recently published a great collection of blog posts by long-term travelers who shared their best money saving tips: I am sure you'll find some great inspiration there how you can achieve your goal. Once you hit the road, you will quickly realize that travel can be much cheaper than most people think. I hope you'll get to live your dream sooner or later - please keep us updated!

Stephanie - The Travel Chica

Sunday 5th of February 2012

My time in Latin America was a bit cheaper, but mainly because I was on a mission to "rough it" for the first several months :-)


Monday 6th of February 2012

We could've done it cheaper, but we just didn't want to :) We just love to splurge on expensive coffee, private rooms and the occasional pizza ;-) We'd like to pick your brains for Buenos Aires though - what would you say is a realistic monthly budget? I hope our plans to spend three months there this winter will work out!