How much money do I need to travel the world?

Natural Great Barrier Reef in Queensland. Aerial view of nature paradise in beautiful colors. (Photo by: Giovanni Gagliardi/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

It’s a popular dream – quitting your day job to travel the world. No responsibility, no schedule.

But, of course, nothing in life is free. Exactly how much would it cost to travel the world?

Many factors affect the answer to this question: how long do you want to stay abroad; which countries you want to see; what types of accommodation you are willing to stay in.

Perhaps the easiest way to determine your budget is to work backwards and figure out how much it will cost per day.

Several popular travel blogs, such as A Little Adrift, Never Ending Footsteps, and Earth Trekkers, all agree that a base of $20,000 per person for a year is doable. This averages out to just over $50 per day.

Here’s how you can determine your magic number.

Budget per day

If you’ve ever been on vacation before, the idea of ​​only spending $50 a day probably seems totally unfeasible. Especially because it includes accommodation.

But traveling for a year doesn’t mean every day will be spent in luxury; you won’t eat every meal at the restaurant, excursion after excursion. Of course, there’s room in the budget for these treats once in a while, just like when you’re living at home.

Traveling the world gives you time to slow down and immerse yourself in local life.

Hostels (some with private rooms, even), some hotels, and Airbnb offer long-term stays that can often average a few dozen dollars a day, especially in small towns outside of big cities and in more affordable countries. More on that below.

Staying somewhere with a kitchen is also a must to bring down food costs.

And, depending on where you’re staying, taking advantage of public transport instead of renting a car will also help your budget.

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The countries you visit matter

If you’re trying to stick to a budget, the easiest way to keep your costs down is to favor trips to more affordable countries. Switzerland, notoriously, is one of the most expensive countries to visit while, for example, Thailand is known to offer accommodation and meals for just a handful of dollars.

And speaking of dollars, another factor to consider is the country’s currency and the exchange rate.

For example, traveling to Europe has always been more expensive because the euro dominates the dollar. But, of late, the two are now tied due to inflation, which means that travel to many European cities is now at a relative discount.

But aiming for a budget of $50 a day will not be as feasible in Europe as staying in countries in Asia, Africa or South America. Australia and New Zealand are also more expensive options.

What else impacts the budget

The two most important expenses to consider are flights and accommodation.

In the shared budgets of two of the travel bloggers mentioned above, the average cost of all their flights was around 18% of their overall costs. If you’ve ever traveled to America, this low price might seem unbelievable.

But domestic travel between countries in Europe or Asia is incredibly cheaper than domestic travel in America. You can often catch flights for less than $100, especially if your schedule or destination is flexible.

Your accommodations will also take up a large part of your budget. If you are willing to stay in two or three star accommodation, staying within a budget of $50/day will be doable.

Another tip: the more frequently you move, the higher your daily costs will be in order to follow your journey by plane, train or taxi. Slowing down your pace will help you reduce your expenses.

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Splurge on your travels

If European countries are on your must-visit list, travel blogging experts say you can expect your daily budget to double or even triple.

That would mean you’re looking at a cost of at least $40,000 per person to travel for a year.

Opting for four or five star hotels will also increase your price. Some high-end hotels can cost you hundreds of dollars for just one night.

To combat this, consider splitting your time between some expensive and more affordable countries. You travel to see the world, after all, which means a mix of cultures and continents.

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You can also consider splurging for a night or two every once in a while at high-end hotels and opting for more modest accommodations in between.

Either way, simplifying your budget by thinking about its daily average can be a helpful tactic when you start planning the trip of a lifetime.

This story was reported from Detroit.

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