This post is a little over due because we hit the £20,000 spend a few weeks ago after leaving Singapore. I also believe this post will be quite controversial as a ‘proper traveller’ could quite easily make the £20,000 go a lot further.
Since day one we’ve kept track of every penny we’ve spent, from buying a carton of milk to each nights accommodation. So it’s quite easy for us to pull this all from our very sad spread sheet and share it with you. Hopefully it’ll give you a good idea of how far £20,000 really does get you.
Where have we spent the money?
So we’ve hit £20,000 but where exactly has the money been spent?
Obviously these costs are skewed by the amount of time we spent in each country so to give a little more context I’ve broken down what we got for our money in each of the 9 countries.
48 days with a car staying and cheap motels, 6 days of camping in Yosemite including buying a tent, sleeping mats, sleeping bags and a stove. Mostly cooking our own food. This spend includes the initial flight out of the UK to LA.
32 days with a car for the 2 weeks, camping for 11 days and 8 days in cheap hotels, the rest was spent with family and skews the accommodation average graph below. Mostly cooking our own food.
30 days in cheap hotels using public transport and traveling the length of the country. Mostly cooking our own food and spending £850 on flights just to get there!
21 days with 3 internal flights and a bullet train, staying in cheap hotels and achieving all the must see attractions whilst mostly eating out.
14 days with 1 internal flight and an overnight train, staying in mid range hotels. Always eating out, the food is very cheap.
58 days with 2 internal flights staying in mid range hotels eating out every day and travelling the length of the country by bus.
Sri Lanka: £868
13 days with 3 very expensive (£50 each) taxis to get around when the train was not an option. Eating out every day and staying in cheap hotels.
19 days with 2 internal flights and £150 on taxis to loop the golden triangle, cheap hotels and eating out every day.
5 days in a 5 star luxury hotel eating out every day in food halls. Singapore is very skewed in the graphs because of the hotel; we needed some luxury after India.
What have we been spending on?
Looking at our spend by category it’s clear to see that travel has set us back the most. As this includes flights, car rental, fuel and public transport, it’s not much of a surprise (despite how much you probably think we eat).
As you’ll know from our blog posts we are happy to stay in very bog basic accommodation and when in expensive countries (USA, Canada and now New Zealand) we mostly live on cheap supermarket food that we cook ourselves so we can afford to have a car throughout our stay.
Having a car carries a high cost but in our opinion is essential to explore countries such as these. Asia is a totally different. It’s well-structured and cheap public transportation enabled us to eat out every day and live more like we was on holiday rather than ‘travelling’.
Splashing out but keeping the balance
Whilst we do scrimp and save, we try not to waste opportunities so if there is a ‘must do’ activity we will do it. Some things that spring to mind are £100 on Universal Studios in LA, £150 to ride the bullet train in Japan, £230 on a 3 day cruise in Vietnam, £320 learning to SCUBA dive in Thailand, £800 (using £400 of reward points) on a 5 star luxury hotel in Singapore and most recently £500 on sky diving. We also had to spend £150 on a single night in a crappy hotel in Japan because everything was booked!
At the other end of the spectrum our strictness with the budget has led us to stay in some very shady areas. We’ve gone as low as £6 a night for accommodation, slept in the car, put up with grotty shared bathrooms more than we’d like and eaten more bowls of cereal than most will eat in a lifetime, all in a bid to save the pennies. So, overall, it’s been a very balanced travel experience of scrimping, splashing out and living in between. When looking at it on average, our daily spends look like this:
In summary to try and get across how we are travelling, it’s more of an 18 month “cheap holiday” with a few luxuries thrown in. In an ideal world and to travel how we would like, including luxury hotels and decent restaurants every day, we would probably need a £200 a day budget. An 18 year old free spirit could probably have done so much more with what we’ve spent, but we are nearly 30 and like to be comfortable.
Our £20,000 got us 240 days away covering 9 countries. However, if you’re sitting there with £20,000 to burn on travel I would advise you go straight to Asia, you get so many more miles (and meals!) for your money and it’s by far the easiest and most enjoyable place to travel!
If you’ve got a minute check out Hayley’s recent post on her top 15 wow moments of our travels so far. It’ll give you some insight into the kind of places and things we’ve got to see within this £20k spend.