When traveling, two of the comments I constantly get are: “wow, you must be rich.” Or, “I’d love to travel like that but I don’t have money.” I am far, far from rich and yes, you mostly likely do.
Yes, you can spend boatloads of money. The Marriott and Hilton aren’t cheap. Five star restaurants will hurt the wallet. Flying first class will put you in debt. However, to me, traveling isn’t about these things. To me it is about the sights, meeting the people, and trying the food and drink. This can be done for cheap.
When I was planning my around-the-world trip it was hard to find actual budgets. So I decided to keep track of everything I’ve spent to hopefully help you plan.
Of course, everyone is different. Some are willing to rough it more than others. Some want to spend more on activates than lodging or food or transport, others would switch that order up.
Here is my breakdown of my 56 days in Brazil.
The biggest expenditure was housing. I spent $568 or an average of $10.14 a night. It was quite the mix, I Couchsurfed in four places, stayed in many hostels and even a few nice hotels. In fact, $388 of that came in six days in four-star accommodations. If I really wanted to I could have spent under $300.
Now we get into the food. I am not a foodie. I like to try different things but it is not the focus of my day. I spent $215 on lunch ($3.83 per day), $198 on dinner (S3.53 per day), and $67 on breakfast ($1.19) per day. Overall, I dropped $480 or $8.57 per day. I could have done it for less but at times I broke down and had to get some “western” foods. It is also worth noting that most hostels and hotels include breakfast.
The next biggest expense was tours or tourist activates. I spent $382 or an average of $6.82 per day. Most of that was on my quest to see a jaguar, I dropped $254 on guides but it was worth it to me in the end.
Brazil is a huge country and I had to get around. I took eight bus trips of six hours or more, six were 15 or more. That totaled $310 or $5.53 per day. I took one “VIP” bus but other than that I did this about as cheaply as possible, taking the cheapest buses that the locals rode.
I am a guy who enjoys a cold one. Especially when it’s a beer that I’ve never tried. I spent $172 on beer ($3.07 per day (PD)). This varies a lot per person, maybe you don’t drink at all. Maybe you are an alcoholic. How many beers did I have? The cheapest I found was 50 cents and the most expensive was $2.50.
Those were the major expenses. I also spent $102 ($1.82 PD) on other. That is anything from a lock to a cell phone case to medicine. I also dropped $88 on cabs ($1.57 PD), $67 ($1.19 PD) on gifts for people that helped me, $62 ($1.10 PD) on shuttles, $39 on snacks ($.69 PD), $34 ($.60 PD) on local buses/metro, and $25 on water ($.44 PD).
All told, I spent $2,329 in everyday life or just $41.58 per day. If you break it down, I bet you spend more than that between your rent, car payment, food and recreation in your “regular” life. Think about it.
*Disclaimer: this does not include getting to Brazil or the visa if you are from a country that needs one.