World Budget Travel Table 2015
This table aims to give you an indication of backpacking costs in different countries around the world. Before trotting off to some distant part of our planet, unless you’re lucky enough to be super rich you’ll almost certainly have a budget in mind. However it can be hard to predict how much you will spend in countries you’ve never visited and know little about. If it’s your first time backpacking then it can be almost impossible to know how much you’re likely to spend. This page will hopefully help you make at least an educated estimate!
The Budget Travel Table suggests a realistic daily travel budget for backpackers in 80 countries around the world. It is based on staying in a cheap room or dorm in a budget hostel. It takes into account typical transport costs within a country. It is based on eating local street food, in budget restaurants or self-catering and averaging a few alcoholic drinks every night in a non too swanky bar or disco. It includes the cost of some cheap typical daytime activities such as visits to museums but expensive activities such as safaris or thrill-seeking sports are optional extras and not included in the calculations.
The table uses US$ which is the reserve or even main currency in many countries around the world.
As of March 2015, US$1 is worth..
Euros: €0.91 | British Pound: £0.67 | Canadian Dollars: $1.25 | Aussie Dollars: $1.27 | New Zealand Dollars: $1.30 | Japanese Yen: ¥120 | Singapore Dollars: $1.37 | Philippine Peso: 45 | Danish Krone: 6.82 | Swiss Francs: 0.96
Dirt Cheap Destinations!
$15-20 per day | €14-18 per day | £10-13 per day
These are the world superpowers of budget travel. It is possible and often fairly easy to get by on $15-20 a day. In these countries $2 can often get you a room for the night, transport you 200km or even buy a fairly large round at the bar. Destinations like Sihanoukville, Cambodia (pictured above) let you experience paradise on a tiny budget.
Travelling just in these countries you can budget around $100-120 a week. A whole year of travel on this sort of budget can set you back as little as $6000 or £4000, however you should allow in a little more for flights, visas etc as costs for these things depend on when you are from so are impossible to factor into this table.
See our Backpackers Guide to Southeast Asia for more on travel costs in that region.
More Great Places for Shoestring Travellers
$25-30 per day | €23-27 per day | £17-20 per day
Some fascinating countries in this lot and still remarkably cheap travelling. $200 a week should certainly cover it and a year in these sort of countries should work out at around $10,000, less than £7000. India (pictured above) for example is still excellent value despite its increasing development.
The Philippines $25
Sri Lanka $25
Bosnia and Herzegovina $30
Costa Rica $30
The Gambia $30
Budget Travel Destinations (but only by Western Standards)
$35-40 per day | €32-37 per day | £24-27 per day
If you’re from a western country you’ll still find these places very cheap and prices around almost half what they are in Western Europe or the USA and Canada. Somewhere like Colombia (pictured above) represents a mid-range South American country and these sort of costs might be a reasonable guide to a trip in South America. There is more detailed info on this in our Backpackers Guide to South America.
An average trip in Eastern Europe or the more expensive countries in East Africa might also fall into this range. 6 months of travel in these countries would set you back around $7,000, still under £5,000.
Czech Republic $35
South Korea $40
$45-50 per day | €41-46 per day | £30-34 per day
A real cross-section of countries from different regions are sitting comfortably in mid-table. Even wealthy places like Hong Kong make it and the rapidly developing Brazil which is now more expensive than its former rulers Portugal (Lisbon pictured above is Western Europe's cheapest capital). You’re looking at $300-350 a week and in 6 months perhaps $8,000, just over £5,000. Some of these countries are already 3 times as expensive as the dirt cheap destinations and we are only half way down the table.
Hong Kong $45
Check out our backpacking route in Brazil if you fancy taking on South America's most expensive destination.
Things are getting Expensive
$55-60 per day | €50-55 per day | £37-40 per day
If you’ve just arrived from South East Asia or Central America you’re in for a nasty shock. Backpacking bargains will seem like a distant memory almost as quickly as your trusty savings will diminish. 3 months travel in these nations can amount to over $5000 (roughly £3300), almost the same as a whole year in some of the cheapest countries in our table. Germany (Berlin Wall pictured above) still represents pretty good value as far as developed European countries go but if you've come from the East of the continent's former divide then it will still seem expensive.
Things are definitely getting Expensive!
$65-70 per day | €59-64 per day | £44-47 per day
These are some of the most expensive countries in the world to travel in. Australia (pictured above) is now more or less in line with British prices and despite its popularity with backpackers it is by no means a budget travel destination. Oil-rich UAE, especially Dubai has very little to cater for shoestring travellers so if you head there or to any of these countries, be sure you have some sizable savings because your money will disappear quicker than you might imagine. Certainly over $6,000 or £4,000 will be needed if you fancy three months travelling here.
New Zealand $65
Check out our backpacking route for Australia!
I'm a Backpacker Get Me Out of here!
$75-90 per day | €69-82 per day | £50-60 per day
If there is ever a tv show called 'I'm a Backpacker Get me out of here' it might as well be held in Scandinavia which seems to have a passion for ripping off penny-saving travellers. $10 for a beer. $40 for a bed in a dorm. You cannot be serious! Norway may have the Northern Lights (pictured above) but it again comes last in the 2015 Budget Travel Table and gets the dubious honour as the most expensive country in the world to travel in. Think over $2500 a month (£1700) when visiting these countries. Don’t bother coming for long periods unless you have some serious funds or a job lined up.
How was the table Compiled?
We’ve come up with the figures from our own backpacking experiences and from people who we've met along the way and where this hasn’t been possible (we don't know anyone who has been to Uzbekistan lately) by consulting several sources to come up with hopefully a realistic figure. We also welcome people contacting us to let us know their spending habits in different countries and we have made a few revisions on the back of this. You can do likewise by e-mailing us or use the comments section at the bottom if you spot anything that you believe to be inaccurate.
Please remember the figures are based on staying in a budget hostel dorm, travelling by local transport and eating and drinking in local restaurants and street stalls. If you are more flashpacker than backpacker you can expect to spend more than this. If you've got a knack for shoestring travel then you can probably get by on slightly less.
Factors to Bear in Mind
This is not an exact science! It is impossible for us or anyone to say how much you will spend on your trip as everyone and every trip is different so please use the table as a guideline and only that!
Prices can vary within countries, for example big or capital cities are often much more expensive as are popular package tourist regions such as Cancun in Mexico for example so bare this in mind when planning your trips. China, Russia, Indonesia and Malaysia are other countries where there are huge regional differences in prices sometimes to the extent where certain regions are twice as expensive as other parts of the same country. This tends to be the case more in bigger countries but not always. The UK for example is considerably cheaper outside of London and the South of England.
Staying in one place for longer or travelling in just a small part of a country will see you get by on less than if you are travelling longer distances and moving on every day or two. In this table we are basing it on moving around once every two or three days.
Also realise that you are going to have to spend quite a bit on your trip before you even leave home on things like flights to/from the region you are heading as well as vaccinations, visas and travel insurance. If you're looking for insurance geared towards backpacking trips then we suggest checking out World Nomads.
One more thing to think about if you're on a tight budget is that living in a country is much cheaper than travelling in it and often you can find work teaching English to fund your adventures. For budget living costs in over 100 cities around the world see our World Budget Living Table.
What has Changed?
We last updated this table in May 2013 so almost two years has past between then and our latest update (March 2015). Most countries are more or less where they were then but there are a few changes that may also indicate future trends. Backpacking costs in Kenya, China, Colombia, Estonia, Mozambique and Brazil have all gone up according to our research so that is reflected in this new table.
However the Euro has significantly weakened over the past few months which should in theory make countries in the Euro-zone cheaper to visit for many travellers so France and Austria for example are now slightly more affordable but by no means cheap. However countries like Denmark, Norway, Switzerland and Britain which don't use the Euro have all gone up since we last made the table.
4 Tips to Help Reduce your Backpacking Costs
1) In more expensive countries you can cut down your budget considerably by using couchsurfing instead of staying in hostels which can be as much as $30/night just for a bed in a crowded dorm.
2) If you don't want to couchsurf, you can often quickly get a rough idea of hostel prices in a country by browsing on hostelbookers and looking at the typical cost of accommodation in a few different towns.
3) Use travel forums to get an up-to-date idea of how much it costs to travel in an individual country or region. Prices can change quickly in some parts of the world and always increase sharply during festivals or in peak seasons so it’s worth bearing this in mind when calculating your backpacking budget.
4) In Europe consider getting a railpass instead of paying for individual flights, coaches or train tickets. Likewise in Australia backpacker bus passes can work out much cheaper. In some countries hitchhiking is safe and still fairly common and is another way to significantly reduce travel costs.
Also check out this excellent guest post on how to travel on a small budget.
You may also want to check our our regional backpacking budget guides: