How much does a budget trip around the world cost?

The financial issue is one of the most pressing when it comes to travel, especially long ones. Few can imagine how you can drop everything and leave for several years to travel around the world. That is why it was interesting for me to post this guest post about guys who have been on the road for a year and a half, and their incomes are pretty ordinary, they do not earn fabulous money there, but are available to the majority. So why does someone go, and someone only dreams? But let's get away from philosophy, let's see in practice how much money can go, and what we get for this money, moving from country to country.

The content of the article

What is the post about

If your heart calls you - do not be afraid and do not resist.

This article is intended for those who are interested in the practical part of travel. For those who need to assess their own desire and its correlation with the possibilities. We will tell you about life and money on the way by our example and by the example of our ongoing (at the moment one and a half year) round the world trip.

How much does a budget trip around the world cost?

Of course, it's worth starting with the fact that budget travel is a thing that is becoming more famous and more popular in Russia every year. Many travelers make routes unthinkable in terms of duration and space, not only with a small budget (Valery Shanin and his «Around the world for $ 280» across 14 countries), but practically without him (Vladimir Nesin and his travels barefoot: according to the traveler, the only solid amount is a pension of 7,000 rubles a month). It is worth mentioning Anton Krotov, the creator of «Free travel academies», author and co-author of many useful guidebooks published on how to travel with minimal costs.

All in all, the world is full of great romantics, practical travelers who share their experiences. And if the question «to go or not to go» rests only on money, we recommend looking for information about the above and other free travelers on the Internet - their experience inspires action.

In the national park

In the national park «Sequoia», USA

Money at the time of launch (what we had)

Now, about our approach. There was no thorough preparation for the trip around the world. It took us about two months from idea to implementation. All figures are given below for two.

  • money for obtaining an American visa (the only one made before departure) 11880 rubles,
  • money for the first tickets: Moscow-Irkutsk train 11,600 rubles, Irkutsk-Harbin plane 222 EU,
  • work in freelance mode, based on which we were able to plan a monthly budget of 30,000 rubles (for two)
  • a small margin for different contributions, which we planned to spend (and spent) at the end of their term when going beyond the planned budget and in case of unforeseen expenses.

The good thing about budget planning and tracking expenses is that you create a kind of zero-point, a bar against which you can evaluate your own strengths and the possibilities of staying in a particular country. Of course, in different countries and opportunities, these are different, but a limited amount per month helps to be more vigilant..

How much does a budget trip around the world cost?

For example, here is the statistics that we managed to compile due to this vigilance:

Expenses, which include almost everything - travel, accommodation, food. Calculation per month for two (visa fees are indicated for one), validity: late 2013 - early 2015.

  • China - 24-26 thousand rubles (including a tourist visa for 1 month - 1200 rubles);
  • Laos and Vietnam - 20 thousand rubles (both to the first and to the second country, Russians do not need a visa if the stay does not exceed two weeks);
  • Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia - 15-20 thousand rubles (Cambodian visa US $ 25);
  • Indonesia - 26-28 thousand rubles (US $ 25 - visa with a stay of up to 1 month, to stay longer, a tourist visa in Bali was renewed)
  • Australia - 400 $ AU at the rate of 1 $ AU = 33 rubles (Australian tourist visa with a stay of up to 3 months is 145 US $);
  • USA - 30-35 thousand rubles, the exchange rate at that time was 35 rubles per dollar, including the cost of gasoline and a car, the visa was paid back in Moscow, and we were given a period of stay at the border - six months.
  • Mexico (Guadalajara) - 30 thousand rubles (visa-free regime with a stay of up to six months - upon entry or exit, you must pay a customs fee of US $ 28).
  • Mexico (Cancun) - 30 thousand rubles at the beginning, and it was here that we saw the rise in the dollar exchange rate, in connection with which, the monthly expenses in terms of rubles increased greatly to 40 thousand.
Our lunch in the jungle of Vietnam

Our lunch in the jungle of Vietnam

And now let's talk about the most pressing issue: our ways of earning money. As practice shows, not many people believe in the possibility of making money on the way. Often, this disbelief becomes the reason «requiem for a dream». We are surprised when we pass by the young, drunken homeless: «Hands in place, head in place! Why won't he find a job to live a normal life?» The most important thing is to remember that if there are no physical limitations, then you are unlikely to disappear, wherever you are. And even with limited health, the brave in spirit find their calling or seek it. The most difficult obstacles are in the mind, which means, «put away» them only in our power.

We have long been addicted to the regime «freelance». He has two significant advantages - mobility and the ability to search for a case in spirit; and one drawback - the amount of money earned directly depends on the time spent on work. We list below everything that we use - something bigger is going from grains.

Palm trees by the sea, where can a freelancer do without them =)

Palm trees by the sea, where can a freelancer do without them =)

Our ways to make money


From the very beginning of our journey, we had several partners, for whom we wrote custom articles. The payment ranged from 600 rubles to 25 $ US for an article with photographs, or 10 $ for a copyright of articles on our site.

Programming, administration, SEO

The source of work is regular clients or clients who come on the basis of recommendations. A week of work brings on average US $ 200, a month can be up to US $ 1000. It is not necessary once at a time, the amount of money depends on «luck» the project, as well as from the invested time.

Link exchanges. Advertising on sites

Passive income that takes almost no time - 80-100 US $ per month.


Private photo sessions. It brings good profit, but due to our elusiveness - not often. Photo sessions with different conditions from US $ 100 per hour (here you need to take into account that the photographing itself is followed by hours and days of post-processing).

Illustration, design

Clients come on recommendations. The cost depends on the project. A significant disadvantage - you need a suitable space for work: a table, an opportunity «decompose» with a graphics tablet - difficult to implement with constant crossings, but possible when taking a break from the road.


One of the most interesting types of earnings is carried out on the spot. This opportunity opened up for us only in Mexico, but we can try to continue. Guide's working day (depending on tasks) from 50-150 $ US.

Paid Videos

Recently, our beloved partner suggested making a video specifically for a specific project. These are three to four minute motivational videos collected from our material..

Sound streams

An example of a not very successful attempt 🙂 For a year and a half, the sale of sounds on the stock brought $ 5 US, and even this money turned out to be a problem to bring into reality.

Sale of printed photos on foam board

Unsuccessful attempt. We made a photo shop on our website. Everything in mind: with a catalog, with beautiful pictures, with a basket. There were several orders, unfortunately the delivery fails. We could not find a good performer - across the cities of Russia, photographs printed on foam board were delivered broken and broken. Had to give up the idea. project

Our project is non-commercial, but around it there are some suggestions for our readers that may be pleasant to them, and at the same time support our idea. In practice, this is more moral help, but it is no less important. For example, custom-made postcards brought in a total of 2 thousand rubles in a year and a half (from each postcard sent, about 10-50 rubles remain on the project's account, depending on the country of departure).

Voluntary donations - support coming from our friends and relatives, for a year and a half, about 15 thousand rubles.

Descending from the Toluca volcano, Mexico

Descending from the Toluca volcano, Mexico

Where does the money go when traveling??

Of course, in our case, the averaged mode is most convenient. Constant movement does not contribute to excess income, so we try to avoid excesses in spending. Of course, sometimes we do not deny ourselves certain joys, but now we are not talking about them. The next step is to highlight the main cost items on our way.

Based on the set monthly budget, we, guided by the mood, balanced in terms of spending. For example, if the hitchhiker released the funds provided for movement, we could spend them on food, if we slept in a tent, we could travel part of the way by public transport, and so on..


Cheap food evening market in Luan Prabang, Laos

Cheap food evening market in Luan Prabang, Laos

The most constant main waste. More than half of our budget, since proper and timely nutrition is the key to good mood and health.

There are countries that are completely cheap and abundant in this regard. There are terribly expensive ones. The smallest recorded amount per person (one meal) is in Laos, the city of Luang Prabang - in terms of kip at the rate of 2013 - 20 rubles. The most expensive food we found was in Australia. For example, a gallon (frozen, because it is overdue by an average of a week) milk in the bush (Australian desert) - from $ 5 AU. I don't even want to talk about the cost of cafes and eateries.


Our 1993 Civic, USA

Our 1993 Honda Civic, USA

Internationally, we try to use all types of transport, choosing the most optimal for the price. There are only six flights on our way so far, the cheapest of them is US $ 40 for two from Malaysia to Indonesia, and the most expensive from Melbourne (Australia) to Honolulu (USA, Hawaii) is US $ 800 (also for two).

In those countries where intercity transport (over long distances) is expensive, it was not used. These are: Australia, America and still Mexico. In Asia, from China to Indonesia, trains, buses and even airplanes were used. Interestingly, a bus on Java Island from Jakarta to Bali turned out to be the same cost as the flight, while direct travel on the ground takes several days (if without stops) - a test not for the weak!

And in the USA it was more profitable to buy an old fuel-efficient car and then sell it for the same price. The expenses for it were: gasoline, oil and tire change.


In a tent in Hawaii, USA

In a tent in Hawaii, USA

Hostels were actively used only in Asia. Starting from Australia on our way all the way to Mexico is not a cheap pleasure, since there are alternative methods! The cheapest hostels we have experienced are in Cambodia - US $ 2 per person (here we «flapped» and for five dollars they took a three-seater dorm); most expensive hostel survived - the last one so far - tasted in Honolulu, $ 28 per person in a room for six. In Mexico, there are also budget options around US $ 3.3 per person - they are called cabanas and look awesome.

Medical insurance

In a hospital in Bali, Indonesia

In a hospital in Bali, Indonesia

This was the most difficult stage of preparation. In the United States and Australia, for example, medical insurance is included in the required list of documents when entering the country, while the minimum coverage is agreed. Fortunately, we were not mistaken when choosing an insurance company. They made it out almost on the way to the airport in Irkutsk, for two in total (for different parts of the world separately) 20 thousand rubles came out for a year and a half. In the so-called developed countries, it did not have to be used, but in Indonesia and Mexico, it helped us out.


Ancient Mayan ruins of Kohunlich, Mexico

Ancient Mayan ruins of Kohunlich, Mexico

Our equipment wears out on the way. In the rain and cold in the mountains, in the sandstorms in the canyons, our cameras get the most. Wires and computers suffer when packing backpacks. The laptops don't like humid tropical climates. Something is lost, something falls into disrepair. For a year and a half, we changed the GoPro camera, we added an old used one. laptop, memory cards periodically break, keyboards on both laptops have been replaced ... By the way, a wide-angle lens, reclaimed at ebay specifically for landscape photography, should arrive the other day.

Things and clothes

Drying clothes somewhere in the protected forests of the USA

Drying clothes somewhere in the protected forests of the USA

Nothing in this world lasts forever. And things constantly remind travelers of this. Shoes and clothing wear out and need to be replaced. In some places, something unexpected appears - in Hawaii, we have a snorkeling mask.


Grand Canyon, USA

Grand Canyon, USA

Let's call them that! In these expenses, we contribute money that goes to pay for tickets: entrances to national parks, museums, visits to various natural and cultural sites, as well as renting motorbikes and cars.

I don't want to spend all kinds of tips or money for street musicians. I just want to mention them. For example, in Mexican supermarkets, students and retirees are allowed to pack their purchases at the checkout with coins - this is their way of surviving. And the musicians ... All over the world - they reveal something to us, they make us feel, they are the same vagabonds with interesting lives. We are grateful to them!

Ancient Mayan ruins of Becan, Mexico

Ancient Mayan ruins of Becan, Mexico

As you can see from the previous section, there are many items of expenditure. There may be even more of them, it all depends only on our own requests. The question arises, how to save? On what? We have already mentioned the calculation of the budget, there is more about it above. Let's talk about more tangible and tangible.

Savings methods


Volunteering in Australia on a farm

Volunteering in Australia on a farm

How much does a budget trip around the world cost?

Day break when we volunteered in the USA

There are different types of this activity. In our practice, work that provides housing and food has been of great benefit. Signing up on the volunteer site helped us travel through Australia. This gave us many opportunities from vast experience in areas of interest (green building, the use of alternative energy sources, etc.) to banal trips to places inaccessible for our money - coffee shops and restaurants, for example. And of course, this is a unique opportunity to see life from the inside, get to know people at work - shoulder to shoulder, live a small life with them, celebrate their holidays, and make friends with them.


Couchsurfer Australian Zef, his friend Rob

Couchsurfer Australian Zef, his friend Rob

And his dog named Ali

And his dog named Ali

One of the most ingenious inventions of our time! Couchsurfing erases boundaries, confronts completely unexpected people, helps to relax. An absolutely kind phenomenon that greatly facilitates the life of travelers.


Joshua Three, USA

Joshua Three, USA

The very fact that you can get from point A to point B absolutely free is wonderful. Well, and also all sorts of bonuses in the form of acquaintances and complete immersion in the life of the country in which you are staying. It works, it helps out.


How much does a budget trip around the world cost?

Our alcohol burner

In practice, cooking yourself is more economical. Food is always cheaper if not cooked. Sometimes, you do not have to suffer - in Asia it is difficult to stay hungry even with a minimal budget. Where there is no street food, but cafes and restaurants are frankly expensive - the burner saves.


Wild hot springs in the mountains, USA

Without a tent, we would not have ended up in the wild hot springs in the mountains of the USA

When you know that your home is with you, you become less dependent on circumstances. It is not scary to stay in the mountains or jungle for the night. And even if you don't feel like sleeping in a tent, its mere presence adds confidence when bidding for a room..

Second hand, recycle and local production

Where there are good second-hand shops, use them. In other places, it is a pleasure to try on what the locals wear - in Latin America, and in Asia, too..

Workarounds to attractions

Uxmal Archaeological Zone, USA

Archaeological site of Uxmal, Mexico

No, we are happy to support the country's economy or the fortune of a private owner ... when we can afford it and does not confront the choice of type «eat or look at ...». In other cases, we try to take everything available to the maximum, it does not matter what blocks the path: a fence with security, jungle or mountains - sometimes you have to strain physically - but it's worth it. This is our way - we do not call anyone to break the law 🙂

Healthy lifestyle

How much does a budget trip around the world cost?

We are not ardent opponents of anything, no. The fact remains that alcohol and cigarettes are almost always expensive, but they are completely unnecessary (sometimes they even increase any risks). It is even more economical to be vegetarians, but we have mastered this Level only partially and from time to time 🙂 «snacks» type of chips - it is absolutely beneficial in all respects.

Summarizing the above

In Yellowstone National Park, USA

In Yellowstone National Park, USA

Our life on a long-term journey in the material plane is very similar to the usual life in one place. All the same thoughts: where and how to make money in order to travel and live as you like, according to your heart.

We are now preparing for the next part of our journey: a motorcycle tour of South America. During the six months of stopping in Mexico, I managed to learn a lot of new things, finish old projects, come up with and implement new ones. I managed to earn a little, although the missing amount for the purchase of a motorcycle, but at least something. It is possible that after some time there will be a person among the readers who knows the companies that need advertising. Perhaps this way we will find ourselves partner friends who are ready to provide some of the equipment (helmets, protection, etc.) on the South American route in exchange for advertising a product or brand.

We love to dream 🙂 And no less than that, we love to realize our dreams. This is the only way to live! We believe that long-term travel is one of the keys to knowing a life that is interesting and rich..

Let your travels last exactly as long as you want and only run into surmountable obstacles!

National park

National park «Sequoia», USA

We will be glad if we inspire by our example.!

Read, watch, listen to us on the following resources:

  • Our travel site for thoughtful stories
  • VKontakte group, for fast news
  • YouTube channel, for videos and soundtraps
  • Instagram, for everyday photos around

and for special people there is also broadcasting in LiveJournal, twitter and mailing 🙂 but, we believe, and the above is enough.

Thanks to Oleg and Dasha for the opportunity to share their story on the pages of their website.

South bluffs of Australia

Thank you for your attention. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask!
Nikita and Nastya Istomin