Just How Much Does it Cost to Travel the World?
So, just how much does it cost to travel the world? In the past, we've spent some time detailing various information about how much we have spent while we've been away (see here for all our budget posts). From the cost of a cup of coffee in Cambodia, to a one way flight from Sri Lanka to India, we've tried our best to be honest and up-front.
So now it's time for us to detail exactly how much we spent in our 6 months of travel. We'll do our best to include everything we spent; both while we were away, and before we left.
We've broken our spending down into the following categories;
- Living Expenses
- Additional Expenses
We booked our flights through STA in London's Covent Garden. We spent several days to-ing and fro-ing on exactly where we wanted to go, what dates etc. We basically were looking at ways to save a couple of pounds here and there! Eventually we settles for the following;
England > Sri Lanka > India > Thailand > England (from Singapore)
We had a mixed experience with STA. They got us a good price on our flights, and we added their "multi-flex pass" to our booking so that we had the option to change our flights if we wanted to. This was really the only issue we had with STA.
When trying to amend our flight from India to Thailand, we were told not only that our current flight was no longer available, but that we would now have to stop-off on the way. Slightly annoying to say the least, but to cut a long story short, we ended up booking our own flight and being "no shows" for the flight that we'd booked through STA. We ended up paying £135 for 2 one-way flights. In the interest of fairness, when trying to amend our flights from Singapore back to the UK, STA were very helpful indeed and provided us with multiple options. The one we eventually went for didn't cost us a thing!
Aside from the flights we booked before leaving, we just had the return flights from Thailand to Myanmar (Burma) to book. We booked these online through Air Asia (which, by the way, requires a Masters in Engineering). We ended up getting the flight to Yangon, but not the return, again being "no shows". These return flights cost us £156.
Pre-booked Flight Costs = £1961
Flights booked while away = £291
Total costs of Flights = £2,252 ($3,800)
This could have been less, given that there were a couple of flights we didn't show up for, and that we got the "flexi-passes". We could have saved a bit, but I think overall, we did pretty well. 7/10
What is this "Health" chat? Well, travel to various parts of the world obviously comes with some problems. We had to get a significant number of jabs and pills before we left. These included Malaria prevention, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Rabies, Japanese Encephalitis,
These came to £470 ($800).
As well as this, there were many items we had picked up along the way, such as suncream/sunscreen and aftersun. Thanks to Lucy's job, we were able to collect a significant amount of decent sunscreen before we left, meaning that we didn't have to buy any while we were away.
We've included all the other bits and pieces in Living Expenses. Therefore, our total spend on Health is £470 ($800).
I'd rate this as pretty good given what we got, and the amount Lucy was able to save us on suncream definitely helped - 9/10
An unavoidable cost when travelling, and sometimes a surprisingly large amount of money can go in a matter of seconds as you cross the border from one country to the next. Again, I've broken this down into pre-departure and on the road.
Pre Departure visas were required for Sri Lanka and India. Sri Lanka was pretty easy, just an online form and a payment of £21 each. India's visa system however, is far more complicated. We did get our 6 month, multiple entry visa, but at a cost of £92 each!
On-the-road visas for Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar (Burma). Laos and Cambodia offer visas on arrival in return for payment of $36 and $30 respectively. To obtain entry to Myanmar (Burma), one must have a pre-organised visa. This is most easily approved in Bangkok, so this was where we got ours. At a cost of £16.20 each, we chose a 3 day option.
Finally, the following offfer a free visa on arrival; Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore. Malaysia and Singapore offer a 90 day, whereas Thailand offer a 30 day visa.
Our total cost of visas before departure was £226
While on the road, we spent £110 on visas
Therefore, our total spent on visas was £336 ($570)
As British Citizens, this was pretty good. We got the cheapest visas we could for the countries we went. So I'd give us a 9/10 for this. Only points lost for going to so many countries that charge us!
Generally one of those things that you buy and then forget about completely. Unless something goes wrong, in which case you pull out your paperwork, scan through and then realise your not covered anyway! This was one of my jobs before we left - find someone decent and cheap to insure us for 6 months. I opted for Alpha, who offer backpacker insurance for various trips and budgets. Our insurance cost us £138 ($230) for 6 months - which works out pretty cheap if you do the maths. Sadly, it didn't cover our electrical items, or any valuables. But I guess when you're paying just 30p per day each, what do you expect?!
Total Insurance Cost = £138 ($230)
I'd say that price wise this was 10/10, but given that we weren't covered for quite a lot of stuff, more like a 6/10.
This is the part that most of us can actually influence. Depending on where you stay, what you do, where you eat, and how you travel, this part of the expenditure equation is the one that most of us will focus on. Lucy and I, on the whole, stayed in double rooms (generally with a private bathroom), ate at a combination of restaurants and street food stands, and travelled by public transport in the lowest class sometimes, normal class regularly, and top classes rarely.
Between the two of us, we watched our money vary carefully while we were away. We always did our best to minimise any significant spends, and to research in order to save money.
We've included how much we spent in all of our roundups so far, so here it is again below;
Sri Lanka = £1,005 ($1,700)
India = £1,510 ($2,540)
Thailand (All Trips) = £1,440 ($2,430)
Laos = £595 ($1,000)
Cambodia = £610 ($1,030)
Myanmar (Burma) = £390 ($660)
Malaysia = £460 ($775)
Singapore = £105 ($175)
Included within the "Living Expenses" is everything we spent while we travelled. All accommodation, travel, food, drink, pharmacy supplies, clothes, and many more. This is basically, our cost of living in each of the countries.
Overall, the amount we spent across the 6 months of being away from the UK was £6,115 ($10,310). Those of you with calculators for brains will have quickly spotted that we averaged slightly over £1,000 ($1700). Or, if you prefer, £500 each.
We're pretty happy with this. Most advise that a couple should leave with £1500 per month, so for us to have spent £1000 is pretty good. As always, we could have saved some money, and looking back we probably would have altered our trip to help us spend less. 8/10.
The main focus of this category will be my diving expenses. Although they were an activity while we were away, we made the decision to remove them from the "Living Expenses" for a couple of reasons. Firstly, they only occurred in one country, and thus would give a disproportionate spend in one country. Secondly, by removing them from the Living Expenses, it gives a cost for non-divers of travelling for 6 months.
I spent £370 ($620) on diving - mainly on accreditations, but also on snorkels and masks for us both.
Probably an unnecessary expense for most people, but I really enjoyed diving, and so I don't mind it. Still almost £400 is another fortnight of Living Expenses, or a return flight to New York for one person! 5/10
So, drum roll please....
Over the course of 6 months of travelling around Asia, flying when necessary, and generally having the best 6 months of our lives, Lucy and I spent £9,681 ($16,330).
We're pretty proud of what we managed to do with this money, and how we managed to keep of average cost of living down.
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