The most frequently asked questions for long-term travelers are about money. How much does traveling actually cost and how to earn money when on the road? How to save money before you go? How much savings you need to travel for a year? Do you need to be insanely rich to leave your day job to move abroad and try to earn money while traveling?

In this page we open up the cost side of traveling by revealing our own expenses in sum up posts from different countries. The first posts from 2017 are monthly based. Blog posts about budget planning, investing and making money location independently are also coming later.

There is no precise answer to the common question about how much traveling costs, since it highly depends on your travel style and of course on where you decide to travel. The cost of living is totally different in Northern Europe and in South-East Asia for example. For realistic daily budget planning you need to understand the overall price level in your destinations. But even in low-cost countries there are expensive hotels and luxury options, and camping and cooking your own food is relatively cheap also in wealthy countries. So you need to consider how high standards you have for accommodation and how often and in how fancy restaurants you want eat. For the bigger picture, you need to also calculate purchases like flight tickets, possible organized tour packages, insurances and so on.

To understand and control the consumption when traveling, it is advisable to keep tabs on all purchases. I am a fan of the old school notebook accounting that combines travel diary and daily cost list, but nowadays there are also bunch of apps available for this purpose. Accounting helps you to see where your money “vanishes” and what you could do to consume less. Try not to leave anything out to get reliable data.

For our sum up posts, we list all costs and location of the purchase to excel, and categorize them in accommodation, groceries, restaurants, traveling costs, fitness and other costs. Then it is easy to compare the costs in different countries and see what kind of purchases swallow most of the cash. Before we started our nomad life, we set a target budget of 50 € per day for two of us, so 25 € per person per day. This includes all daily costs from fuel to beer tasting, and in longer run it should cover also the bigger purchases like flight tickets. The below sum up posts reveal how we have been able to maintain this budget so far.

how to downsize travel budget

Pay close attention to accommodation costs
Even if you are using hostels, there is huge variety in prices, and low price does not necessarily mean poor quality. So compare carefully! If you are on a shoestring and in warm enough country, utilize camping sites as much as possible (own tent is the cheapest option of course, but sometimes there also are affordable cabins or rental tents available).

Utilize the kitchen facilities when those are available
Eating out raises the expenses even in countries where it feels like dirty cheap to buy meals and drinks in restaurants, so prepare your meals when there is a kitchen available.

Be aware of the prices when drinking
Alcohol often is cheaper in holiday destinations than in your home country (at least if you are from Finland, haha), but drinks can quickly cost more than your accommodation for a night. So if you want to save some money, avoid buying too many beers from restaurants and pubs!

Walk or use public transportation
Taxi might be cheap in your destination, but still it surely costs several times more than a local bus. Especially when in airport looking for transportation to the city, always use the same option than locals do; airport taxi/bus/train often is the easiest and fastest option, but really expensive. Usually there is also a local bus service to the city center available.

Set a budget target and try to follow it
First think about how much you are willing to spend in a week or month, and then divide it to get your daily target. Keep a record of all expenses, that really helps to see where the money vanishes and how you can tighten the belt if needed.