A year into the trip I’ll share some statistics about what we’ve been spending our money on. Brett, the nerd that he is, has kept track of every yen, somani, kroner, hryvnia and lei that we’ve spent. Not only that but he’s broken down our spending into various categories – accommodation, transport, food, sightseeing, visas, communication and misc. It seems like a lot of work but actually the data he’s put together is really interesting. When we were feeling a little low on cash it was good to know how long we could sustain our lifestyle given the reserves we had left. Besides, it’s just good to know where the money goes. I’ll give a quick summary of costs in this post – I know it’s not for everyone, but if you’re interested read on…

The amounts are in USD, converted from the local currency at the rates we saw posted on currency exchange offices in country, and are daily averages. The figures don’t include international transport into/out of the country, but include everything spent while in-country – even things like hair product or Skype credit. Percentages quoted are for overall spending in one category over our entire time in a country. I’ve only included the time we travelled together. There’s also a section for when I’m travelling alone while Brett’s at work (11 weeks in total) but that’s less representative of travelling as I often spend more time hanging out in one place. All costs listed below are for two people.

The most expensive country that we’ve visited was Norway ($289.41 per day) where 42% of our costs were food. Though food was indeed expensive, a large chunk of this average was our first night in Bergen. We bought multiple rounds of $10 beers for Brett’s workmates on their last night together after a few years. The cheapest country visited was South Korea ($65.48), followed closely by Kyrgyzstan ($67.97). China was more expensive than expected as we spent our time there in Xinjiang, a massive distance from our point of entry, and we took a few flights. Transport was 47% of our costs in China compared to 43% in Kygyzstan where we had to take private transport a few times. The next highest was Japan at 33.9%.

Accommodation is another major cost when travelling and for us it hovered around 25-30% of total daily cost, on average. The lowest was in China at 15%, which was $15.4 per night on average. The highest, percentage wise, was in Transnistria (Moldova) at 51.7% ($37.60) but this is more due to the fact that there was very little else to spend money on, apart from food. Speaking of which, food costs are a little misleading as they seem to have more to do with where we were on certain important dates than the countries themselves. For example, Romania is disproportionately high at $48.01 per day because we had Christmas and New Year there. Moldova is also quite high as we had our nine month anniversary and were recommended a very nice place where we splashed out on a delicious meal and some nice wine. We didn’t have many days in-country to average out that one splurge, so it influenced Moldova’s entire average cost.


Days spent

Average cost per day*




South Korea





















Transnistria (Moldova)












*costs getting to/from country not included

Our overall average while travelling together is $126.90 for all costs (for both of us). Its would be easy to travel cheaper but we have our little splurges every now and again – buying nice souvenirs, posting them home or eating at a swanky restaurant on special days. We could definitely cut costs by staying in dorms or doing more self catering where we have access to kitchens, but we prefer not to. Our time in Europe has been a bit of a shock to us compared to the travel we’ve previously done in Asia. In particular, our memories of South East Asia have us drooling over $5 hotel rooms and 50c street food meals.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 24th, 2010 at 4:37 pm and is filed under Bulgaria, China, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Norway, planning, Romania, South Korea, Tajikistan, Turkey, Ukraine. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One comment


actually the stats are interesting ( as long as I did not have to keep the records myself and put it all together, like you guys have) and all the couch surfing you have done as well…and needless to say lots of great photos

March 26th, 2010 at 8:07 pm

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