2015 was another amazing year of backpacker travel for me, covering heaps of beautiful countries and doing some amazing things.

One of the most common questions I get asked is how much to budget for 1 year of travel.

Now the year is all wrapped up I’ve sat down and crunched the numbers to bring you my yearly roundup – including how far I travelled, how many flights I took and most importantly of all how much I spent.


December Quick Roundup

backpacker travel vietnam cambodia budget summary asia gap year (2 of 5)

I FINALLY Ticket Vietnam Off The List

Before I get started on how much to budget for 1 year of travel here’s a quick run down of my December stats…

Vietnam – £220.08 over 8 days = £27.51 per day

Thailand£167.68 over 8 days = £20.96 per day

The Philippines – £303.35 over 15 days = £20.22 per day

TOTAL SPENT; £691.11 over 31 days = £22.29 per day


Flights – Hanoi – Phuket (Tiger Air), Bangkok – Cebu (Cebu Pacfic), Cebu – Siargao (Cebu Pacific)

Air Travel – 5972.29kms

Overland Travel – 1126.84kms



How Much To Budget For 1 Year Of Travel

2015 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 looks and how much to budget for 1 year of travel…


Countries Visited; 10

Indonesia  – Kuta

The Philippines (3 trips!) – Palawan, El Nido, Coron, Manila, Bohol, Siargao, Cebu


how much to budget for 1 year of travel backpacker stats gap year roundup

Not A Bad Year Hey?!

AustraliaByron Bay, Brisbane, Yamba, Sydney, Melbourne, The Great Ocean Road, Airlie Beach, The Whitsunday Islands

New Zealand – Auckland, Raglan, Waitomo, Rotorua, Taupo,

Fiji – Nadi, The Yasawa Islands (Barefoot Manta and Barefoot Kuata)

USA – San Francisco, Napa, Santa Cruz

Thailand – Bangkok, Phuket, Phi Phi Island

Cambodia – Siem Reap, Phnom Pehn, Koh Rong, Kampot, Kep

Vietnam – Ho Chi Min, Mui Ne, Dalat, Hoi An, Hanoi, Halong Bay


Total Air Distance; 80,699.25 (vs 336,629.52km in 2014)

Total Overland Distance;  10,470.12 (vs 15,332.27km in 2014)

Total Distance Travelled;  91,169.37kms (vs 351,961.79km in 2013) 



The amount of flights you take will certainly have a huge impact on how much to budget for 1 year of travel – and my year was certainly filled with time in the air!

Slicks Backpack carry on hand luggage competition review

My Second Home!

Individual legs; 32

Flight Tickets; 16

Airlines – Philippines Airlines, Cebu Pacific, Jetstar Australia, Jetstar Asia, Vietnam Airlines, Air Asia, Air Fiji, Virgin Australia, Emirates (you can check out all my airline reviews in this post)

Cheapest Ticket; Da Lat – Hanoi £25.50 (Jetstar Asia)

Most Expensive Ticket; Sydney – San Francisco £532.49 (Delta)

Full disclosure – my May Fiji trip was part of a collaboration with Awesome Adventures Fiji, my June trip to Airlie Beach was part of collaboration with Numinous Backpacks, my July Philippines trip was part of a collaboration with Tourism Philippines and my Dec Philippines trip was part of a collaboration with Cebu Pacific and included free airfare.


Total Flights Costs; £2,060.95 

(vs £2,921.99 in 2014)


Average Cost Per Flight – £64.40 per flight leg or £128.80 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

top travel experiences the philippines siargao

The Philippines – Paradise Without A Huge Pricetag

Least Expensive Country – The Philippines at £16.53 per day on my Jan trip there

Most Expensive Country – Australia at £29.67 per day on my Feb visit (it dropped to £16.69 during my main stay there)


Least Expensive Place – Da Lat, Vietnam. Solid accommodation, great value day trips and heaps of local places to eat and drink.

Most Expensive Place – San Francisco! Despite not having to pay for accommodation there (I was staying with Erin) I averaged £22.24 per day!




san francisco california explore to do local

She Was Worth The Flight!

Most Expensive Month – May – £725.30 (Australia and Fiji)

Least Expensive Month – June – £486.03 (Australia and The Philippines)


Biggest Travel Splurge – It has to be my random trip to San Francisco to see a girl I’d only known for a few weeks! Still it was totally worth it as we’re still together!

It did set me back nearly £1000 all in though for 3 weeks!

Biggest Unforeseen Expense – as far as on the ground costs go I didn’t really have anything too crazy pop up. My Vietnamese visa wasn’t budgeted for though and neither was the tailor made suit I got made there, which probably totals around £150 all in! When figuring out how much to budget for 1 year of travel make sure you leave yourself some extra cash to cover your unforeseen expenses!


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Travelling With My Family Was The Highlight Of The Year

Overall Highlight – It has to be kicking back in Byron Bay with my family, it was amazing for me and my brother to show them he town we talk about so much and they were just as stoked on it as we were! In fact travelling around Australia with them was probably the best part of the year!

(You can check out my other highlights from 2015 in this post!)

Overall Lowlight – If I’m going to be honest the worst part of the year was becoming single again. That was a pretty crap month, however it all worked out for the best so I cant complain about it too much!


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


How Much To Budget For 1 Year Of Travel – The Quick Breakdown



(vs £2,921.99 in 2014)


(vs £6,027.65 in 2014)


(vs £16.51 in 2014)



This makes my overall average daily cost £26.14

This is v £8949.64 or £24.51 per day in 2014


how much to budget for 1 year of travel backpacker stats gap year roundup

Another Year On The Road!

Ok so I spent more than I did in 2014 (read the full breakdown here), however I did spend the majority of 2015 based in Australia, which isn’t the cheapest place to be living and exploring  and a stay here will certainly affect how much to budget for a 1 year of travel.

And just to be totally upfront my week in Fiji and one of my trips to The Philippines were free as they were part of a collaboration with the tourism boards there. My parents also paid for most of our 3 week road trip around Australia in March/April too which was epic of them!

Comparing my flight prices I either need to get a bit more clued up on cheaper tickets or airfares are rising since I flew WAY less than last year but spent nearly the same…so that’s my goal for 2016 – spend less on plane tickets!

sunset shakka airlie beach whitsundays backpacker travel australia

Overall 2015 Was Pretty Epic!

I did however nearly keep to my 2015 goal of keeping my overall flight costs under £2000 – and to be honest if I hadn’t randomly flown to San Francisco this would’ve been no worries!

Having an overall monthly on the ground spend at £623.53 is amazing too, especially given the time spent in Oz and NZ as well as all the cool stuff I’ve been up and I must admit my level of accommodation in South East Asia has been slightly more pricey and comfortable that some previous trips there!

But still I’m pretty stoked with that.

Even though my daily average crept up to £20.49 (from £16.51 in 2014) I’m still sticking with my main travel goal of under £25 a day and I’m nearly managing that with flights included too which is epic!

Good times all round!

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!


My 2016 Money Goals

yamba yha east coast australia surf backpacker travel

Stoked For More Of This In 2016!

With the plans I have in the works for 2016 it looks as though I’ll once again be slowing the pace down, this year even more so than the last…lets face it last year ended up spiralling a bit out of control towards the end! If you really want to cut down on how much to budget for 1 year of travel then travelling slow is certainly one of my top tips!

The idea is to head back to Australia for a bit and sit tight, so it wont be super cheap, but 2015 showed me that a single base down under can really help budgetting.

With that in mind I reckon I can easily keep my overall flights under £1,500 and my daily spend under the £25 a day again.

…but who knows what will happen!


Bring on 2016 – fingers crossed its filled with sunshine, surf and good company!

Intrigued at how I travel the world for under £10,000 a year?

Well check out my top tips HERE!

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20 Responses

  1. Dan Price

    Nice one, Chris! :) Great to keep up with your budget posts and get an idea on what spending is like on the road before I get out there myself. Still got a bit of work to do on Smash Monotony but I’ll get there soon. Spending wisely while travelling is more than manageable.

    • Chris

      Hey Dan – glad the posts are helping you plan your trip! Sounds like we could well cross paths on the road soon – keep your eyes on the prize!

  2. Anne

    That is great, I am sure when I backpacked around the world I spent a lot more than that! Wish I had of kept track of my spending.

    • Chris

      Keeping track of my spending is probably the thing that has helped keep me on budget so much! If you hit the road again I highly recommend the Trail Wallet app!

  3. Sebastian

    Good onya mate! Really impressed with your budget… Feeling kinda bad that we spent almost your yearly budget in 5 weeks in Oz :-/

    I have to learn so much from you :D

    • Chris

      hahahaha yeah I’m kind of shocked that I’m keeping on target so well! I think the slowed pace of 2015 helped heaps and you did cram heaps into your Oz adventure which is never cheap! I’m sure I can teach you a few things ;)

  4. Mark

    Hey, thanks for the stats! Out of interest, how do you record all the information, such as distance and expenses? When I went away, I was using spreadsheets, which was fine but a fair bit of data entry…

    • Chris

      Hey Mark – I use the app Trail Wallet for all my expenses, great little download for your phone. As for distances, thats all manual using the distance.to website…lots of data entry but hey someone has to do it right?!

  5. Amy

    Hi Chris.
    I’m a first time backpacker from the UK, i leave for Australia in April; i’m planning on spending a year there and maybe extending the visa for a second. However i’m extremely worried about the money situation- is there any advice you could give me about that?
    I understand i’ll need to find a job- it’s just i’m not sure how much i’ll be spending a day and i haven’t got a great deal on $ now :/

    Thankyou :D

  6. Elesha

    Awesome. Such a detailed price breakdown. I’m forever curious as to what other travellers spend per day. I always seem to splurge on food, but I love eating, so, it’s worth it! Sounds like you had a great 2014 / 2015. Hopefully getting to SEA sometime soon myself so this guide will be super helpful for budgeting. Cheers! Elesha

    • Chris

      Glad you liked it Elesha! You have to splurge on what makes you happy – surfing is my vice and there’s always spare money whenever the waves are concerned! Check out my Thailand, Indo, Cambodia and Philippines budget breakdowns for some detailed country spends too!


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