2014 was a pretty chaotic year of travels for me – you only have to check out my 12 months of travel in 12 pictures to see how much bouncing around I did! I covered 4 continents, 10 countries and even returned home to the UK for a brief period!

Despite the ups and downs it was a solid year on the road and I enjoyed the majority of it! And although we’re starting a fresh year now and I’m stoked for all the plans I have for 2015 it’s time to parcel up 2014 and do a full roundup of all the stats, flights, and most importunity costs from the whole year.

Before I get started here’s a brief overview of December to bring everything up to date;


December Quick Roundup

year in photos backpacker travel 2014 iphone chris stevens blog-33

Freediving With Manta Rays In Indonesia

Philippines – £77.92 over 5 days = £15.58 per day

Indonesia – £717.67  over 26 days = £27.60 per day (including my surf trip to Java @ £250)

TOTAL SPENT; £795.59 over 31 days = £25.66 per day


Flights – CEB-DPS (Philippine Airlines), Java – Bali  (Garuda)

Air Travel – 3772.70km

Overland Travel – 343.75km



2014 Summary, Stats and Expenses

Ok – now that December is out of the way let’s get cracking on how 12 months in the life of a backpacker look…


Countries Visited; Switzerland, Ecuador, Peru, UK, Portugal, Iceland, Germany, South Africa, Thailand, The Philippines, Indonesia


Main Spots

Switzerland; Zurich, Einsieldeln, Flims

Ecuador; Montanita, Isla De Plata

cost of year travel backpacker summary stats

My Main Stops In 2014!

Peru; Mancora, Lobitos, Lima

UK; Devon, London

Portugal; Lagos, Sagres

Iceland; Reykjavik

Germany; Munster

South Africa; Kruger National Park, J’Burg, Cape Town, Plettenberg Bay, Jefferys Bay

Thailand; Bangkok, Koh Tao, Khao Lak, The Similan Islands

The Philippines; Cebu, Siargao

Indonesia; Bali, Kuta, Ubud, Gili T, Java, Nusa Lembongan


Total Air Distance;   336,629.52km (vs 59,790.31km in 2013)

Total Overland Distance; 15,332.27km (vs 15,450.03km in 2013)

Total Distance Travelled; 351,961.79km (vs 75,240.34km in 2013) 

Ok so my overland distance is staying about the same but I obviously flew WAAAAAAY more! However given the countries I covered that’s to be expected!

easy jet europe flight germany review

I’ve Grown Accustomed To This View!


Flights (individual legs); 17

Flight Tickets; 10

Airlines – Iberia, Emirates, Easyjet, South Africa Airlines, Mago Airlines, Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, Garuda (you can check out all my airline reviews in this post)


Cheapest Ticket; Cebu – Siargao – £35 return!

Most Expensive Tickets; Zurich – Guayaquil//Lima – London (Iberia) – £816.30

Total Flights Costs; £2,921.99

Average Cost Per Flight – £171.88 per flight leg or  £292.19 per ticket


Transport Taken; tuk tuk, taxi, dive boat, long tail boat, night ferry, day ferry, overnight bus, mini bus, train, sailing boat, raft, surfboard, helicopter, speed boat, jeepney, surf outrigger, paraglider, 4×4


Least Expensive Countries – Ecuador was always going to be cheap as I had all my accommodation covered, but I was also surprised at how cheap South Africa and The Philippines were too.

Least Expensive Place – Again Montanita tops the list, although Mancora in Peru was also pretty easy on the wallet.

sunset surfer montanita ecuador south america

Ecuador – Million Dollar View Without The Price Tag!

Most Expensive Place – Without a doubt Rekyjavik in Iceland! It cost me £220.57 over 4 days (£55.14 per day!) AND that was on top of the free accommodation and tours I got working in collaboration with some travel companies out there!


Most Expensive Month – April (UK, Peru, Ecuador£806.53 over 30 days = £26.88 per day

Least Expensive Month – March (Ecuador£171.18 over 31 days = £5.52 per day


Biggest Travel Splurge – Probably my Kruger Safari at just under £250 or my Indonesia Island Hopping Surf Camp, which was £250 (discounted as I was doing some work for the suppliers)

Biggest Unforeseen Expense – this would have to be my flight to South Africa as it was totally unplanned and cost me £769.46…money well spent though!


backpack south africa kruger safari travel intrepid tour camping (10 of 22) copy

On Safari In South Africa – A Definite Highlight!

Overall Highlight – This is a tough one to choose! I think the travel experience that stands out the most for me this year was my time in South Africa though – it really is an incredible country to explore and there’s so much culture, things to do and friendly locals! The mixture of safari, diving with sharks and seals, paragliding, surfing all the way up to J’Bay and actually just Muizenberg in general packed it full of amazing memories!

On a personal note surfing with my buddies Gijs, Vago and Michael in Ecuador and travelling with my friends from home out in the Philippines was also something I was massively stoked on.


Overall Lowlight – the end of a 2 year relationship at the beginning of the year was a massive downer and threw the rest of my plans for the year into turmoil, but hey everything happens for a reason and it ultimately led to some incredible, spontaneous adventures! Silver linings and all that!


Now the bit you’re most intrigued about…MONEY!


backpacker budget blog advice travel

A Surprisingly Cheap Year!

TOTAL FLIGHT COSTS – £2,921.99 (vs £3045.15 in 2013)

TOTAL ON THE GROUND COSTS; £6,027.65 (vs £8616.12 in 2013)




This makes my overall average daily cost £24.51


Despite the huge amount of unforeseen air mileage I racked up this year I’m pretty stoked to see that my total spend in 2014 on flights was actually lower than last year – which was one of my main travel goals for the year. I didn’t quite meet my target of getting it under £2500 but if I hadn’t taken the opportunity to fly out to South Africa for a month I would’ve met this target no worries…but it was totally worth splurging out to tick it off my bucket list!

travelling philippines backpacking surfing snorkelling cebu siargao-3

Another Year Packed Full Of Waves!

When it comes to spending I’m REALLY shocked out how little this year has cost me and I’m even more stoked that I managed to keep under £1,000 EVERY month without fail, which totally caught me off guard!

Keeping my average daily spend to around £16 was an epic achievement and the fact that INCLUDING flights my daily average beat my target of £35 has got me pretty stoked!


Please keep in mind thought that due to my photography and travel blogging I do receive a good handful of discounts and freebies on the road, so if you’re covering the same amount of ground the £1,000 a month target is still a good estimate for how much to budget.

Some people will smash this, some will easily get under it and it will vary drastically from country to country. Budgeting is always a personal thing and it’s always best to overcompensate for costs!


Overall I did manage to slow the pace down a bit, especially at the beginning of the year which has made it much more enjoyable to bounce around. Despite me having to randomly detour back to the UK a couple of times I’ve had much more fun on the road when I’m not cramming things into my day!

My plans for next are to take it even slower though!


My 2015 Money Goals

Given what I have planned for 2015 I easily expect to keep my flight cost under £2,000 (maybe even £1,500 if I’m lucky!) but with the list of countries I have planned (which include Australia and New Zealand) I do expect it to cost me significantly more overall and if I can stick to around £750-1000 per month I’ll be stoked.

At the moment it also looks like I’ll be tackling my New Zealand working holiday visa which will hopefully result in more income, although being based there for a large chunk of the year will also mean bigger outgoings too!


Bring on 2015, hopefully it’ll be slightly less chaotic but for of equally good times and good waves!

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20 Responses

  1. Kit

    Amazing site, thank you! Just on the cusp of booking my tickets to Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia for this year and this had really helped guide me :)

    • Chris

      No worries Kit – glad it helped out! Check out my monthly budget posts for Thailand and Australia too as they’ll give you a more accurate month to month spending estimate. Enjoy your trip!

  2. Nichole

    After Months of ridiculous internet searching I stumbled across your website and within minutes found the answers I was looking for planning a solo backpacking trip in S. America. Thanks for sharing the beauty of your life and the awesome insight!

    Light and Love to you my Man, maybe someday we will cross paths!

    • Chris

      Hey Nichole,
      Stoked that it helped you out so quickly! Where are you heading?

  3. Pete | backtotravel

    Hey Chris, thanks for this article. It unexpectedly tough getting “real world” cost info for backpacking. My wife and I plan to leave next year sometime. We’ve budgeted £50 per day between us and I was very worried that might not be enough anymore. Having read this piece though I feel a lot better about our budget. Thanks Man
    Pete | backtotravel recently posted..How to travel long termMy Profile

    • Chris

      Hey Pete – the whole budget thing really depends on where you’re heading, Asia is heaps cheap whereas Oz isn’t! I’d check out my “How Much To Budget For A Month In…” series too to give a more detailed breakdown. Depends how you want to travel too and what level of luxury (or budget!) that you want!
      In my experience though its always best to be pessimistic with budgeting!

    • Chris

      Yeah it’s pretty helpful but can be a nightmare to keep track of it all Dave!haha!

  4. Neno


    I just discovered your blog by googling best travel blosg:)

    Although I was never really attrected to backpaging I have to say I am amazed with the amounts you can get by.

    My problem is that various costs usually creep up and my plan falls apart.

    Another problem with cheap travel is women ( if you travel with your wife or girlfriend it is hard to hit some of hese amounts).

    Hovewer this is inspiring post, I will bookmark for later.

    Neno recently posted..4 star hotels near Santa Lucia train stationMy Profile

    • Chris

      Hey Neno, glad you stumbled across me!
      hahaha yeah I’ve travelled with a girlfriend a lot and there’s always date night expenses and things ;)

  5. Nick

    Hey, I just discovered your blog as well and I am really satisfied with the posts you made! Thank you for the great overlook of your costs, something that I should do too, cause it’s sometimes really expensive. So you are a great inspiration!
    Nick recently posted..8 Essential Ultralight Backpacking SkillsMy Profile

    • Chris

      No worries Nick. Yeah budgetting is something that’s super important but many people overlook – it’s certainly helped me to travel further and more cost effectively!

  6. backpack babe

    woo hoo! This is super exciting chris to see that you’ve been able to keep costs that low for entire year of travel! feeling super inspired now to take on the world… *literally* haha! anyways thanks for the post, the money breakdown was SUPER helpful!

    would love to go to iceland too, didn’t realize it was so expensive!!
    backpack babe recently posted..I’m moving to Southeast Asia!!!My Profile

    • Chris

      Yeah I was stoked when I added everything up! Just keep in mind I do get some discounts/freebies on the road now so factor that in – but it’s a good base budget to work from! Stoked to see how your adventure pans out!
      As for Iceland, it’s pricey but totally worth it!

  7. Rekha Rajan

    wow, you definitely travel cheap. I guess to travel this cheap I have to wait for a few more years … till my kids grow up and I can leave them home with my husband. :-)

    I can imagine having a low-cost, one week-trip trip…but to keep it this low for a year of travel is “expertise”
    Rekha Rajan recently posted..How to buy cheap and best travel insuranceMy Profile

    • Chris

      Hey Rekha, it’s more about research and self discipline than anything else…although I have to say being on the road for a few years certainly helps hone those techniques!


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