Budget + expenditures by country

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“What’s your budget.” is the question most asked when preparing for a trip around the world. Before we left, when discussing our plans to travel for a long period, one of the questions most people wondered if we had won the lottery or received a large bonus, the answer is obviously “No. We saved HARD!”

Far be it for us to query those who drive expensive cars, have luxury items such as LCD tv’s and a hectic social life, people make their individual choice and we respect that. Yet many do not realize that a world tour is often tantamount to buying a new small car, and is, in many cases, less expensive to travel from around the world for 1 year, rather than staying at home to pay rent, bills, outings, etc. …

Take the example of a couple residing in a large city like Brussels or Dublin (since they are the capitals of our respective countries.)

Caveat, these figures are only estimates and must be adapted to individual situations. We took the example of a couple where both individuals work.

Average monthly expenditure in Dublin:

          • Rent: 1000EUR
          • Utilities: (gas, electricity, TV, Internet): 150EUR
          • Outgoings: (2 restaurants, 6 bars, a cinema): 300EUR
          • Food: 250EUR
          • Personal expenses: (clothing, hair, beauty treatments etc.): 200EUR
          • Leisure (city trip, sports, …): 250EUR
          • Transport (petrol or public transport): 200EUR

         Total Monthly 2350eur

         Total annual per couple: 2350 * 12 = 28200eur

Average monthly expenditure in Brussels:

          • Rent: 750EUR
          • Service charges: (water, gas, electricity, TV, Internet): 150EUR
          • Outgoings: (2 restaurants, 6 bars, a cinema): 250EUR
          • Food: 200EUR
          • Personal expenses: (clothing, hair, beauty treatments etc.): 200EUR
          • Leisure (city trip, sports, …): 250EUR
          • Transport (petrol or public transport): 150EUR

          Total monthly: 1900eur

          Total annual per couple: 1900 * 12 = 22800eur.

Salaries and the cost of living are different of course, between Brussels and Dublin, also the tax rate on income between the two countries differs by 5% (Ireland is  25% for a gross annual income under 32,800eur). With respect to income over 32800eur, rates are the same.

We have not included in prospective loans for a car, a television, etc. in our above estimates.

Where the budget for a round the world trip for a couple, for a period of 12 months, averages between 20,000 and 35,000eur, we see indeed that it is often more expensive to stay home rather than go to explore the world

Obviously, this requires sacrifices (see our article regarding our budgeg last year to save and restrictions that we faced)

Our budget (excluding personal expenses and expenses incurred prior to departure) is the equivalent to 20000eur for a period of 9 months. Pro-rated to 12 months, this amounts to 26666eur.

Thomas spent several months preparing the budget, reviewing travel sites and blogs detailing total expenditure by country. Having already visited Asia on a previous trip, he had a good idea of what to expect. For each country we would visit, he tried to estimate the average cost per day in a country. These expenses are naturally variable depending on:

          1. The countries we visited (three months in New Zealand would cost  more than India);

          2. Style of travel (housing comfort, food, transportation);

          3. Activities on site;

          4. Various purchases (eg, clothing, souvenirs, ..);

          5. Extras (eg buying a plane ticket to avoid a long bus ride, visas, …);

Countries visited:

Here is the average daily cost for two people, by continent visited. Divide these numbers by 1.5 to be equivalent for one person, knowing that often the price of a room for two is the same as for a single person.

          • Asia (Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, India): 25 to 35EUR

          • Oceania (New Zealand, French Polynesia): 70 to 100EUR

          • Latin America (Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina): 35 to 50EUR

The style of travel:

Whether traveling as a backpacker or in a more comfortable fashion, can quickly raise expense. In many Asian countries, for example, one can easily find a double room for less than 10eur night. Knowing that buying 5 beers is often equivalent to the price of one night accommodation, the price is easy to calculate. Moreover, prices vary greatly between a room with air conditioning or fan, hot water shower and one with cold water only (when it’s 35 degrees outside anyway it is not important). Whether you eat in restaurant’s or on the streets and markets also comes into play. If we limit ourselves, it is very easy to live for less than 35EUR per day for two people in most countries in Asia or South America (except Singapore, Japan, Brazil and Argentina).

The activities on site:

It would be a shame to go through the north of India and not to visit the Taj Mahal, or stop at Cuzco in Peru and to skip over Machu Picchu, all under the pretext that the prices of inputs are high. This is also the case diving in the crystal waters of Malaysia, trekking in the jungles of Borneo or taking a parachute jump over a glacier in New Zealand. Activities are an important factor in the budget and it would be a shame not to participate. Choices must be made and unfortunately it is not possible to do everything.

Various purchases:

A handmade bracelet in memory of three days on an island off the coast of Bali, a shirt tailor-made in India, a Peruvian hat to brave the cold of the Andes … all these purchases will also be taken into account during your stay in each country. The weight of baggage is a factor which limits our purchases. Fortunately it is often possible overcome this by sending a parcel to a relative who will keep everything until your return.


In both Asia and Latin America, the distances are long and transport conditions often difficult. The temptation will be strong at times, to buy a plane ticket to save time and increase comfort. I remember for example a trip to Nepal, where to reach Kathmandu from Pokhara, we took a small propeller plane for 35 minutes to avoid a bus ride of 10 hours through the Himalayas. Visas are also taken into account. Although most residents of countries in Western Europe enjoy a holiday from 30 to 90 days free in many countries of the world, this is not the case for destinations such as India, Vietnam or Indonesia.

To give you a better idea of our expenses, you can download the following Excel spreadsheet of our estimates by country. This calculation was prepared by us and is copyright-free, we spent a lot of time in developing this which is why we ask you to just leave a message below and / or mention our website if you want to use it and share it your turn on your site. Excel formulas are simple and easily modifiable, no content is protected. The budget is calculated for two people. The total is calculated in U.S. dollars which as at April 3, 2012 is: 1 Euro = 1.33 Dollar. The budget does not include the flight Paris – Bali, bought 6 months before departure.

Budget Estimations by country - Click on the link below to download the original


You can download the original document here and easily edit it your way.

We also have a separate calculation for personal expenses that were not part of the budget. These include things such as medical expenses in case of hospitalization (reimbursed by insurance but the payment must first be done on site) but also expenses such as personal purchases (skydiving, massages, clothing, …) and gifts.

Finally, we obviously have to budget for our return, so we do not return penniless! Ideally, it should be between 3000 and 5000EUR minimum, in order to pay a rental deposit and a few months rent / expenses if, like us, you resigned from your job and must seek new employment on your return. For us, we are fortunate to have a return budget that is relatively comfortable within our tough economy.

Daily expenditure by country.

Regarding our expenditure by country, we began to write everything down, day after day, in each country visited. This is to gain insight into the exact amounts spent but also to help us keep within the budget. At the time of this writing, we arrived at the end of our stay in Asia, here is a summary of our expenditure by country in this continent.

The amounts are stated in local currency and then converted to euros in the Total column / day. The Difference column shows the difference between total spending and total budgeted (see table of country estimates above). If it is positive, the cell is automatically displayed in green if it is negative, it turns red.Column + / – indicates the cumulative total. The amount at the bottom of the column is the sum credit between budget & Activities, Miscellaneous, personal expenses and unplanned (in the case of Indonesia, the amount of € 1684.34 is the sum of cells Dives (500EUR ) + Activities (150EUR) + Personal expenses (Eur 1030.34). Finally, the report column indicates the difference between the cumulative and Credit. If it is positive, the total daily spend for the period was within the budget range.

Costs by day in Indonesia

Download the schedule of our expenditures in Indonesia here. Thank you for leaving a comment below in thanks or mention our website if you use this chart to publish your own budget on the Internet.

Costs by day in Thailand

Download the schedule of our expenditures in Thailand here. Thank you for leaving a comment below in thanks or mention our website if you use this chart to publish your own budget on the Internet.

Daily costs in Borneo & Brunei

Download the schedule of our expenditures in Borneo/Brunei here. Thank you for leaving a comment below in thanks or mention our website if you use this chart to publish your own budget on the Internet.

Daily costs in India

Download the schedule of our expenditures in India here. Thank you for leaving a comment below in thanks or mention our website if you use this chart to publish your own budget on the Internet.

We’ll be updating the costs of our stay in the South Pacific by the time we reach Latin America

19 thoughts on “Budget + expenditures by country

  1. Hi you guys,

    Fantastic blog – thank you for sharing it on Lonely Planet! Especially this budget part is of big interest to me, since I just came home from a months travel in the US, and my budget was waaaay underestimated! But this fall I’m traveling 3 months to South East Asia and these spread sheets really help a lot! However, there seems to be a mistake, when I try to download the sheet from Indonesia, it downloads the one from Thailand. Could you maybe check up on it some time? Would be great! Have a nice journey 🙂

  2. Hi Marianne. Thanks a lot for your comment, we’re glad to read that you liked the post and the spreadsheets; they’ve sure come handy so far during our trip and we’d love if they can help other people too! I have just updated the link so you should now be able to download the Indonesia spreadsheet, thanks for letting me know! Have a lovely day and best of luck with all the planning! Tom & Annie

  3. Great site, folks. I have just started the preparations for a round the world trip planned for 2014 and this site saves me (and the world) tons and tons of time. Great effort – I will feed in my inputs once I go through mine!

    Being an Indian, I will need to take a visa for literally every country in the world, so that’s something which will cost me significantly extra. Are you guys planning to put in other expenses like flight costs/visa expenses etc?

    Once again, thanks – and good luck with your journey.

    • Hey Vishnu. Thanks for the feedback!

      Well since we only had to pay for two visas (Indian & Indonesian) out of the whole list of countries we are visiting, I don’t think it will be that interesting to publish something about it. However, I shall soon publish a post about our flight tickets and how we got the best deals. Stay tuned 🙂

  4. This is great but I’m a bit confused, did you go over budget in Thailand and Indonesia? I’m planning a solo trip and trying to work out if 24 Euros a day will be enough of these places..

    • Hi Emma,

      we did indeed. We tried hard to live within the 35eur limit in both countries but we did some activities (diving certifications in Indonesia, motorbiking in Thailand) and a lot of shopping (hard to resist the cheap prices in Bangkok), which explain in some way us going over our budget. 24eur a day will be plenty in Thailand (that’s if you don’t drink too much beers, sleep in basic type accomodation, eat local food and use cheap transportation). It will be doable everywhere in Indonesia too, except Bali where you might find it harder as it gets more expensive each year (also depends which period you’re going to Bali, in low season you’ll be fine). Let us know if you need more details. Have fun planning, it’s also a great part of the big adventure 🙂

  5. Hi guys, i’m really interested in your files – i was wondering to do the same for when i will leave as they are so useful and also hard to find…
    I have only one question regarding the “credit” column, maybe it’s just me or my english but i cannot understand – for instance – how did u determined that grand total for indonesia (dives+activities+personal expenses).
    i can’t find these numbers as you reported them… someone can explain me? thanks and have fun

    • Hey Max. Thanks for the feedback. When you look at the Indonesia table, the grand total for Credit is equal to 1684,34Eur. This is made up of diving (500eur, see budget table), activities (150eur, see budget table) – these two amounts were already budgeted for – and additional personal expenses (1030,34eur) that were not budgeted for, we paid these amounts out of our personal money (not the 20000eur that we put together). In includes an additional diving course for Anne-Marie, fun dives, luxury christmas dinner, clothing, new year’s eve party, etc..
      Hope that explains a little better. Have a lovely day,

  6. Hi Tom,

    Thanks that is good to know, there is so much discussion on the internet about budget its hard to work out what it actually is going to cost. I think I’m going to aim for a daily budget of 35 euros (for one person) because I want to enjoy the travelling and not alway be watching my spending. Do you think this will be a good amount for Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Indonesia (not inc Bali) ?

    • Hi Emma, when I mentionned your budget of 35eur to Anne-Marie, she immediately answered: “that’s LOADS”! We were on a 35eur budget for the two of us and had a brilliant time in Thailand & Bali. Knowing that the rest of Indonesia is much cheaper than Bali, and that Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam are usually cheaper than Thailand, you shouldnt have any trouble living on a 35eur/day. Note that this amount didnt include major activities that we did like elephant trekking or diving. But it included all the rest (transport, food, water, budget accommodation (double bed, ensuite bathroom, fan), the odd museum visit and even two bottles of beer per day).
      You’ll be very comfortable, don’t worry 🙂

  7. Hi Tom, thanks for your reply, i’ve checked again and now it’s clear =). May I ask you how much did you reserved for “unplanned expenses”? Did you planned a particular amount or you just take euros from the “money for when I’m back at home” fund? thank you

    • Hey Max. Apologies for the super late reply. I totally missed it. I had an unplanned expenses budget of about 2000eur, which is a different budget than the ‘money for when I am back home’. I have almost spent it all so might have to use some of the ‘money for home’ before the end of the trip. Hopefully not but you never know… especially since the Euro is going down big time these days 🙁

  8. Hi Tom,

    Can’t thank you enough for putting some much effort behind the website. I will be travelling around Indonesia, this September, primarily East Java and Lombok, wouldn’t mind if I can squeeze in a few days in the Gillis. Do you think with USD 600- USD 700, it will be doable for 20 days for a solo traveler like me? I also noticed that the first few cells of the Accommodation column in your Indonesian spreadsheet are blank ?


    • Hey Sion. You’re very welcome. I am glad it can help other travellers. In East Java & Lombok, you will be absolutely fine. Bali is the only place that could potentially kill your budget, depending on your level of comfort and the activities you’ll be doing. 700USD is about 6,5 Millions Rupiahs. If you stick to budget rooms in small guesthouses, you’ll be absolutely fine since a room with your own bathroom, hot water & ceiling fan will cost you less than 150,000 in most places outside of Bali (ie, Lombok & Java). In Bali you might be looking at 200,000 but as I understand, you won’t be spending all your time there so you’ll be fine. Transport to the Gilis can be expensive if you decide to take a speedboat but you can do it on the cheap (google ferry bali-gilis via lombok) though be prepare to spend 1 day to get there! Accommodation in the Gilis is plentiful and you shouldnt have any problems finding somewhere cheap (except during NYE & Christmas period). When are you planning to travel there?
      Oh and the first few days of accomodation in Indonesia are blank because we stayed at the same accomodation and I paid the balance on the 3rd of January. It was in an expensive bungalows but it was a treat for christmas & new year after working hard for a year to save money to finance this trip 🙂
      Let me know if you have more questions and happy planning!

      • Hey Tom,

        Thanks a lot for your prompt reply. I am not much keen on staying in Bali for long, especially the areas which my budget can afford seems to be very touristy and crowded. Can you give me some info on accommodation options in the Gillis (Air or Meno) and Kuta, Lombok, couldn’t find much info on the web, the one’s which are available seems a tad pricey to me. Yes, I was planning to take the public ferry to Lombok from Padang Bai, correct me if I am wrong, but I thought it takes around 4 hours to reach Lombok. A full day on a dingy, overcrowded ferry amidst rough seas, for a non-swimmer like me is a bit alarming and scary 🙂 Thanks a ton!!


  9. Hi Sion. We were on Gili Air last December/January but like I said in my previous post, we were staying at an expensive-ish accomodation, as a treat for all our efforts during the year, but if you don’t mind not staying on the seafront, you’ll find plenty of cheap accomodation (just show up there, no need to book anything in advance. Walk on strip that goes around the island and ask around, that’s the best way to do it. Don’t worry, you’ll always find a bed). We didn’t stay on Meno so can’t help you there. It’s more catered towards families & couple as the nightlife is almost non-existent (btw Gili Air isnt a party island like Trawagan, just a couple of beach bars with live music, perfect to catch a sunset & eat fresh prawns on barbecue). In Kuta Lombok, Mimpi Manis (means ‘sweet dreams’ in Bahasa Indonesia) comes highly recommended.

    The ferry takes 4 hours indeed to cross, that’s when it leaves on time from Padangbai! Which isnt always the case as it sometimes only leaves when it’s full. Then from Mataram you take a shared minivan to Binjai, which is going to take another couple of hours. Binjai is a bit of a shithole, don’t listen to all the guys saying there’s no ATM on the islands and that you’re better off changing money there. There IS an ATM on Gili Air since Dec-11 (accept Visa, Mastercard) and in case it’s empty (which often happens, especially during high season), there’s another one on Gili T (just get an inter-island boat to get there for about 10$ return). In Binjai you hop on a small boat to Gili Air (30min, make sure you cover your bags as it can get wet depending on the season, the boats are small). So all together you’re looking at at least 6-7 hours, from the moment you leave your accomodation in Bali, until you arrive on Gili Air. But if you leave in the morning, you’ll be there right on time to catch a perfect sunset and a cold Bintang Beer.

    Oh how I envy you.

    Let me know if you have other questions 🙂

  10. Hey Tom,

    Thanks a lot for the info, you should not envy anybody 🙂 Wish, I could go on a 9 month long round the world trip like you…where are you at the moment? Wish you all the best for your journeys across the globe 🙂


  11. I am planning a similar trip next year and am THRILLED by your website. Not only are the write-up and photos interesting but I find the budget section really helpful in planning my trip. AS an accountant i can only say well done.

    I can only hope that my website, once it is more than a twinkle in my eye, is as enjoyable and useful to others. As for the rest of your trip – have fun, make memories and travel safely. Best , Anita

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