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The Cost Of A Year Of Backpacker Travel – My 2013 Stats And Budget

The Cost Of A Year Of Backpacker Travel – My 2013 Stats And Budget
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…!

english xmas devon
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