travel blogger chris stevens backpacker banter year backpacker budget

Another Fun Year Of Work And Play On The Road!

2013 has been nothing short of epic when I comes to my backpacker travels – I’ve had a truly awesome year covering 11 different countries full of sun, snow, surf, diving and a whole heap of other memorable experiences.

One of the things you guys keep asking me about though are finances – you’re all keen to be kept up to date on how much I’m spending and where I spending it! I understand how important the bank balance of a backpacker is so I’ve been documenting it all in my monthly summaries, which I hope you’re finding useful!

However it’s the end of the year so I thought I’d take the time to tally up all those air miles, overland travel and most importantly to you guys the sheer amount of dollar I’ve spent over the last 12 months…

First off though in the interest of full disclosure I’ll pass on my stats for the final month of 2013…


December Quick Roundup;

Thailand – £30 over 2 days = £15 per day

Indonesia – £586.03 over 18 days = £32.55 per day (including my free diving course @ £210)

UK – £181.53 over 8 days = £22.69 per day

Switzerland – £50 over 2 days = £25 per day

TOTAL SPENT; £847.56 over 31 days = £27.34 per day


Flights – BKK-DPS (Air Asia), DPS-SIN (Air Asia), SIN-LON (Emirates) LON-ZRH (Easyjet)

Air Travel – 16718km

Overland Travel – 939.86km



2013 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; Morocco, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Singapore, MalaysiaThailand, Cambodia, England, Ireland


Main Spots; 

Morocco; Taghazout, Agadir, Essouria, Marrakech

year of backpacker travel map

Another Damn Good Year On The Road

Switzerland; Zurich, Einsieldeln, Flims

Australia; Sydney, Yamba, Byron Bay, Noosa, Whitsunday Islands, Cairns

New Zealand; Christchurch, Queenstown, Doutbful Sound, Wanaka, Franz Josef, Kaikoura, Wellington, Raglan, Te Anau

Indonesia; Kuta, Ubud, Uluwatu, Medewi, Gili T

Malaysia; Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Perhentian Islands

Thailand; Phi Phi Island, Krabi, Railay Beach, Koh Tao, Bangkok, Khao Lak, Similan Islands

Cambodia; Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, Koh Rong, Kep, Kampot, Phnom Pehn

England; London, Devon

Ireland; Dublin


emirates flight backpacker

I’ve spent a lot of time with this view…!

Total Air Distance;  59790.31km

Total Overland Distance; 15450.03km

Total Distance Travelled; 75240.34km


Flights (individual legs); 26

Flight Tickets; 11

Airlines – Iberia, Emirates, Jetstar, Air Asia, Easyjet, Ryan Air


Cheapest Ticket; Bristol-Dublin (Ryan Air) £40 return

Most Expensive Tickets; Brisbane-Singapore//Bangkok-Zurich (Emirates) £1066 one way

Average Cost Per Flight – £276.81


moroccan mint tea travel

Mint Tea Goodness In Morocco

Transport Taken; tuk tuk, taxi, dive boat, long tail boat, night ferry, day ferry, overnight bus, mini bus, campervan, train, sailing boat, raft, surfboard, helicopter, kiwi experience, speed boat, tube


Least Expensive Countries – Morocco (but i was working) & Cambodia – £16-20 per day

Least Expensive Place – Koh Rong less than £15 per day per day

Most Expensive Place – Singapore £45+ per day


Most Expensive MonthsMay = £1300 (Australia) & July = £1336 (Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia)

Least Expensive MonthJan =  £50 (I was working in Morocco which included free accommodation and food!)


Biggest Splurges – £500 new surfboard + £530 iPhone 5S

maouri new zealand

Some Of The Friendly Kiwi Locals!

Biggest Travel SplurgeSSI Freedive Level 2 Course – £210 (it would have been my campervan hire for a month in New Zealand, but I was travelling with my parents…and they paid!)

Biggest Unforeseen Expense – £300 replacement camera lens


Overall Highlight – It’s hard to pinpoint my overall highlight this year as I’ve done so much. Travelling with my parents in New Zealand was amazing, as was my time travelling with my brother through Asia. If I had to pick a single experience though I’d say discovering the world of free diving was my overall highlight though…I’m totally hooked!


Overall Lowlight – Apart from goodbyes I’ve not really had any massive downfalls this year. Being ill in Singapore sucked, but nothing that ruined my trip. I’m stoked to have had such a carefree, healthy year on the road – I couldn’t have asked for more!


Right, now on to the bit you’re all super eager to know about…MONEY!




AVERAGE DAILY SPEND; £23.60 per day

WOW – I managed to meet my average daily target of under £25 per day for on the ground costs! I’ll admit now though that this was helped massively by the fact I was working (and spending bugger all) whilst in Morocco for a few months and the fact that the bulk of my NZ bill was taken care of by the parents – which was epic of them. Still I had a few blow out months in  Australia which more than compensated for what I should’ve been spending!



This makes my overall average daily cost £31.94


To be frank I was caught totally of guard with how much my flights have cost me over the course of the year – it’s heaps more expensive than I had anticipated. But in saying that I’ve covered some HUGE distances! I think my goal for 2014 will have to be cutting down my flights, and hence saving some money.

backpacker travel budget indonesia bali

Money Worries – Every Backpackers Nightmare

I was however pretty stoked with my total yearly spend (even including flights!). I’ve done so many amazing things (and yes I’m aware I do manage to wangle some freebies and discounts along the way) but even still I thought the final figure was going to be much higher!

And my goals for 2014 money wise?

I guess I want to get my total flight costs under £2500 and strive even harder to keep my spending in check – maybe try for NO MONTHS over £1000!

Hopefully my yearly backpacker spend will help give you guys a better idea of what to spend on the road. I’ve covered a good mixture of countries that I feel would easily represent a good RTW trip, mixing cheaper backpacker friendly places with higher cost western destinations too.

Still everyones trip will be personal. Everyone has their vices when it comes to spending and some of you will easily smash the backpacker target of £1000 a month whilst some of you will find it no worries to scrape by under that.


Here’s to 2014 – where my pace will be slower, hopefully my spending will be wiser but the chaos will still be by the bucket load! Roll on my 3rd year on the road…!

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24 Responses

  1. Mary Beth

    Chris – I love your blog and for reasons just like this. You are not only a fun and free spirit, but you are also disciplined and organized. All of the information that you provide to your readers, either through stats or through great stories and photos, is invaluable.

    Thanks for being YOU and keeping it real! Happy New Year :)
    Mary Beth recently posted..Check this out: Selling Sustainability Ted TalkMy Profile

    • Chris

      hahahaha I think that’s the first time I’ve ever been called disciplined or organised Mary Beth, but your comment certainly kicked off 2014 with a big smile! I’m glad I’m passing on some useful information though.
      Have a great new year too!

  2. Ruth

    I like posts like this since it gives me a good idea of actual traveling costs. I also like that you are transparent about your work in Morocco and your parents covering some of your expenses in New Zealand. I have read similar posts where compensated activities, accomodations, transportation, meals, etc are not disclosed (even though readers know there is some compensation involved) and a distorted money wise reality is painted. Wish you many more good adventures in 2014!

    • Chris

      Hey Ruth,
      Yeah I didn’t think there was any point disguising where I saved money – else it would be a completely useless posts and would set up a lot of newbie backpackers for failure budget wise!
      Hopefully 2014 will be just as fun – you have any travel plans?

    • Chris

      Tell me about it! Switzerland is a nightmare for my budget – but luckily having a girlfriend that lives there pretty much eliminates accommodation costs!
      I really enjoyed NZ but I know heading back there solo will mean I’m a bit more limited activity wise for my budget!

    • Chris

      glad you like it Ryan – it’s super helpful (if rather scary!) to do a monthly report…I was rubbish at tracking my expenses before hand!
      Yeah love the Maori dudes – such an interesting culture!

    • Chris

      Hey Roma – glad you appreciate the openness, no point lying to people about what they’re going to be spending hey?!
      Well actually my flight TO Oz wasn’t that bad (£540 with Emirates open jawed between Bangkok and Singapore) however my flight BACK was over £1k! Crazy times!
      …and if I stuck to RyanAir I’d have a mental breakdown I think!

  3. Sophie

    Hi Chris! As a current year 13 college student, I obviously find the whole thought of travelling very exciting. However the costs of spending a months abroad has always been so daunting. However, this breakdown of your costs has been the most helpful information I have come across online. And thanks to this article, I’m aiming to kick start my travelling adventures next summer (2015) in Thailand for 3 months, any tips for saving for this trip and any rough estimates of how much I need to save for 3 months in Thailand (including flights).
    Thanks again Chris, you’ve been a star!!!!!!!! Such an inspiration.

  4. Online Pharmacy

    I seriously love your website.. Very nice colors & theme.
    Did you build this site yourself? Please reply back as
    I’m hoping to create my own personal site and want to find out where you got this from
    or just what the theme is named. Kudos!

    • Chris

      Indeed I customised the theme ‘Theron Pro’ using wordpress as a backend – hope that helps you out!

  5. nel

    Planning a back pack trip, im only 19 but ready to see the world and work hard to save up for it. My first trip will only be 22 days, 7 countries, . Trying to make it with 3,000… i dont need much but the experience, your blog is definetly helping me out! hopefully ill be able to fit it all in there. Not sure if i should just wing it or plan my hostel’s and train fares ahead… i wanna take it all in but i also dont wanna waste a second. A friend is packing with me and I hope does not interupt or disrupt any plans… she will help me wet my feet as it is my backpacking trip ever. Enjoying your blog, its so liberating! Good vibes sent your way

    • Chris

      Hey Nel,

      Wow 7 countries in 22 days hey – it’ll be rather fast paced but I’m sure you’ll love it. Personally I prefer to wing it – but then I also have a lot of time to play with. If you’re covering that many places and have a very short time scale I’d probably stray slightly towards more planning ahead. Of course leave some flexibility and down time – but if you want to get the most out of each place I’d have a pretty solid plan for those 22 days.

      I hope you have an amazing time – I’m sure it’ll start a life long love of travel! Safe trip!

  6. Sara Mdza

    Hey! Thank you so much for all the info, specially by being so open and honest about everything, this really helps! Hope you are doing awesome. xx

  7. Hayley

    Hey Chris! Love your blog its so interesting and is loads of help! was wondering where you are at the moment and also the best way to do the east coast of Australia? Need to keep the costs down but a campervan would be awesome! might have a look at STA Travel? Hope your good!
    Hayley recently posted..A few more pictures from last years journeyMy Profile

  8. Lisa

    Hey there, who knew you could make budgeting sound unboring! I am inspired to do this more in my at home life to then free up funds to travel more. Am sad your target market is only to 35. I’m 10 years on this but am still loving your blog. I think you could broaden your range out a bit:)

    • Chris

      Hey Lisa – glad the budget stuff is helping you out! To be honest I’m writing for anyone that wants to travel or live the dream…I don’t think age really matters anymore, it’s just a state of mind!


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