How Much Money Do I Need To Travel?
It happens to everyone at some point. How many times haven't you discovered a new travelblog and grinded your teeth jealously while mumbling "I bet this guy/girl was born with a silver spoon in his/her mouth"? I know I have! When you realize how much the person you're reading has seen and experienced, it is normal to raise some eyebrows, especially considering most travel bloggers are quite young.
Make no mistake – travelling does require money. Even if you’re willing to leave everything behind to work or do volunteering abroad and live a humbler lifestyle, your travels will take a big chunk out of your savings.
However, as we're leaning towards a global world and people are now more informed than ever, it's getting easier and easier to do more for less. That applies to business, home-management, eating habits and, of course, travelling. One of our priorities when we started Circum-Mundum was to show that you can actually travel a lot without burning up all of your savings, and so today we'll share with our beloved readers how we manage to travel quite often while still sustaining an household on below-average wages for the Portuguese reality.
WHAT KIND OF TRAVELLER ARE YOU?
This is the million dollar question. Before establishing how much money you need to travel, first you have to figure yourself out. For example, what kind of room do you want? Do you need a private bathroom? Do you mind cooking or do you prefer to eat all your meals at a restaurant? Oh, and what kind of restaurants are we talking about here?
Well, the possibilities are endless! For example, here are some key elements that are common to all our travels:
* We always go for double-rooms with private bathroom – our indulgence;
* We balance lighter lunches (sandwiches and snacks) with dinners at sit-down restaurants;
* We always look for restaurants as distant as possible to the tourist areas and thoroughly examine the menu;
* We prefer walking over public transportation, but when distances are bigger we always look for the cheapest transportation alternative (we’ve never taken a cab for instance);
* We rarely drink at restaurants as we always carry our water bottle in our backpack. Hey we know this isn’t the classiest but whoever charges 4€ for a soda doesn’t deserve our hard-earned cash;
* We research and plan EVERYTHING before we travel!
As you can see, we’re far from luxury travels but we don’t really fit in the backpacking category either. It is possible to spend even less if you don’t mind sharing a room with other travelers or live of sandwiches for a few days. Once again, it all comes down to your needs and preferences, and ours are the ones listed above.
The moment of truth.
Now we’ll be sharing with you some stats about our travels so far and how much we need to save every month to keep up with our travel habits (we really mean dependence).
Throughout the last 3 years, we've visited a total of 17 European cities in 12 different countries, and we spent an average of 3 days in each of the visited cities.
We always try to book our flights when rates are lower, which means a lot of our travels take place during off-season. This is particularly important for us since we’re based on the westernmost point of continental Europe, so flying is pretty much the only way we can see the rest of the continent as we would have to cross the whole of Spain and France to reach other destinations by car or train. To make matters worse, no Portuguese city enjoys the ridiculous amount of cheap connections of London, so most of the times we need to take two planes to visit countries once located behind the Iron Curtain or in Northern Europe.
As a result, a big part of our budget is spent on flights, a problem you won’t have to face if you leave in Central or Eastern Europe where every country seems to be a bus-ride away (we have beaches though, so screw you!). On the other hand, if you live in Scandinavia and you’re about to start complaining that accessing other countries is not as easy and that you probably need to rely on planes as much as we do, remember our minimum wage is probably the same amount you get from your government every time you have a baby (we have WARM beaches though, so screw you!).
Now that I’ve finished my little rant, the following chart reveals the total cost of our travels (2 people), including flights, accommodation, meals, transportation, attractions, souvenirs, and every other miscellaneous cost we’ve had.
As you can see, our lack of direct connections often leads to the most unlikely of destinations combos. When was the last time you heard someone saying they were going to spend a week in Milan and Budapest? How about Brussels and Prague?
Every city is different, and depending on where you are opportunities for bargains can be abundant or very scarce. We think you’ll be much better if you do some research before your trip and try to find out on average how much your meals will cost you over your next adventure. Below you can see how much each of us has spent per city, per day. Obviously you must take into account flight costs are diluted in the numbers below, which is the reason why – on average – we’ve spent more per day in Poland (for example) than we did in Madrid, despite the latter being clearly a more expensive city.
Finally, here’s the total amount we’ve spent so far on our travels through Europe. Keep in mind these figures refer to 17 cities and 45 days abroad.
Considering we started saving money 2 months prior to our first trip in February 2014, and that our last adventure took place in March 2017, 39 months have passed.
This meant that in order to achieve our goal of having 3 to 4 trips per year while visiting between 5 and 6 different cities, you will need to assure a monthly saving of 112€.
Obviously these numbers and our goals are highly influenced by the fact that we live in Portugal, as a German or an English person who manages to save this amount every month will probably be able to visit a lot more places because of the connections we mentioned above. On the other hand, 112€ is still a lot of money for many people in the Balkans or in Eastern Europe, but once again you won’t need to spend this much since there are lots of neighbouring countries you can still visit without the need of ruining your budget on a plane ticket.
If you have a stable source of income and carefully plan your next step, you can do even better than us!
What do you think of our savings plan? Do you have one of your own? If you don’t know how, we’re happy to help you out! Let us know on the comments below!