Our Travel Budget

When you quit your job to travel the world, it takes some careful financial planning. This basic budget got us through our first year of travel.

Monthly Living Expenses

Housing: $600 per month
Food: $250 per month, per person
Transportation: $100 per month, per person
Phone: $50 per month
Entertainment: $50 per month, per person

Notes: When traveling abroad, we’ll typically stay in a particular country for at least one month, as monthly housing rates are much lower than daily or weekly rates. For food, we cook almost all of our meals at “home,” though we’ll be sure to try the local specialities during our stay. Our phone budget is for Skype calling non-Skype numbers, but we rarely use it since we conduct business mainly via email and we communicate with family and friends at home via e-mail, social media, and Skype video calling.

Travel Expenses

When taking a domestic road trip:

Gasoline: $300 per month

When taking a multi-month trip abroad:

Initial Flights: $300 per person (U.S. to Europe)
Return Flights: $300 per person (Europe to U.S.)
Travel Health Insurance: $60 per month, per person

Want to know how we found affordable flights to Europe? Read How to Fly from the U.S. to Europe for Under $200.

Is that really enough money?

Why yes, yes it is. We stuck to this budget in the most expensive country in the world (Norway) back in March of 2014 during our first month of overseas travel. View our posts on Norway here.

Need some ideas for making money while you travel?

How to Make Money While You Travel on northtosouth.us

Check out this post and start thinking about it now! Having a list of potential income-generating ideas in mind before you quit your job to travel the world is always a good idea.

10 Responses

  1. barb March 24, 2015 / 10:32 pm

    Hey travellers! You have pretty much given me the answers to all of my questions regarding traveling for a living. One thing I don’t know how to overcome is my dog. I also have a few health issues. Hmm. Maybe this won’t work afterall.

    • Diana Southern March 25, 2015 / 1:31 pm

      Hey Barb! Thanks for the comment. Don’t get discouraged if there are a few obstacles that may be a little tricky to figure out. If you’re determined, you can do it!

      For example, I have a few minor health issues, the biggest being migraine headaches, and I find that traveling actually makes me more relaxed and less likely to get them. I also know of at least a few travelers out there who travel full time with a dog or cat, and also one who travels in a wheelchair (a true inspiration). Try searching the Internet for others traveling with similar health issues to you. You’ll probably be surprised how many people are making it happen despite their own personal challenges!

      It can be easy to come up with excuses as to why it won’t work, and it takes a lot of courage to get started, but if traveling is what you really want to do, I sincerely urge you to give it a try! Happy travels 🙂

  2. Lori Lynn May 14, 2015 / 5:26 am

    have you been to thailand? i am very interested in a long stay there. i would love to see cambodia and vietnam as well . let me know the ropes. i too like the non tourist places. thank you Lori

    • Diana Southern May 14, 2015 / 11:42 am

      Ian has visited Thailand when he was younger, but I’ve never been. I’m sure we’ll make it there soon though. Happy travels!

  3. Kathryn May 21, 2015 / 7:35 am

    Wow these articles have been so inspiring. I have been hoping to travel full-time and this has given me so much to think about. I have a few questions.
    1. What would you suggest if I have nobody to travel with me?
    2. Is it possible to find small jobs in foreign countries without having a visa or work permit?
    3. Are you and Ian still travelin g now? And if so, what has been your favorite place?
    Thanks so much!!

    • Diana Southern May 21, 2015 / 7:58 am

      Hi Kathryn! Thanks for reading. I’m happy to hear you’re inspired by our articles. To answer your questions:

      1. Lots of people travel solo, so don’t let that stop you. As you’re getting comfortable traveling alone, I’d start with places you know to have a reputation for being safe. Our first destination was Norway, perhaps the safest country in the world! I also recommend seeking out solo travelers to follow on Facebook. Adventurous Kate is one of my favorites.

      2. Unfortunately, I have no experience in this particular area since we make money through blogging alone, though I do frequently hear of many bloggers who find small jobs as they go to help fund their travels. I’ve put out a request for insight from other travel bloggers on Facebook. Hopefully we’ll get some helpful info for you there!

      3. Yes! We’re currently on a multi-month road trip in the U.S. (writing from Austin, TX right now). You can find updates from our latest travels here. It’s so hard to compare all the places we’ve visited — they’re all so different — but I can tell you that White Sands National Monument in New Mexico is absolutely MAGICAL. I loved it there. We’ll have photos from that place going up here on the blog very soon.

  4. Gerri May 29, 2015 / 9:22 am

    Hey Diana and Katherine, you should check out HelpX for ways to trade a bit of work for room and board. While you’re not making money, at least you’re not spending either!

    • Diana Southern June 1, 2015 / 5:54 am

      Thanks for the tip, Gerri! It’s always good to know about opportunities like that. Do you have personal experience with HelpX?

  5. Nicole October 14, 2015 / 7:19 am

    Your posts are incredibly helpful! I read this one about a beginner’s traveling budget and the one about cheap flights. My question, however, is how did you find housing? Did you stay in a hostel, an apartment, etc.? Also did you rent a car or take the bus?

    • Diana Southern October 14, 2015 / 10:33 am

      We found places to stay by the month through Airbnb, so the price was always equal to or less than what we’d pay by the month for an apartment in the U.S.

      For transportation, we rely on public transit a lot, but for our first trip abroad we actually packed our bikes to help get us around (though that really wasn’t necessary and was probably a bigger hassle than what it was worth). Thanks for reading, Nicole, and please let me know if you have any other questions. 🙂

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