Travel the world full time for less than $100 per day

Introduction

On 9th April 2017 we set off on our worldwide roving retirement having sold almost every possession we owned. We had taken an adult gap year (read about it here) during 2016 and had an idea of what our full year costs would be and budgeted accordingly. We had hoped that we could travel the world full time for less than $100 per day. The final figures are in and we’re very happy with how we’ve done considering all that we’ve done and seen over the past year.

(NOTE: these are total costs for 2 people and in Australian Dollars)

The first 6 months

I wrote a post a while back documenting the costs of our first 6 months of travel. This covered our travels through Malaysia, England, Spain, France, Scotland and Jordan. If you’d like to review the details you can read the post here.

In summary, the total cost for our first 6 months was $18,386 or $99.92 per day. Less than $100 per day!!! This included all of our costs including our one-way airfares from Melbourne to London ($2,465) and 6 months pro rata apportionment of our travel insurance policy ($542).

This was frankly, amazing when you consider that almost a quarter of the figure was taken up by our nine-day Jordan tour!!

If we excluded the Jordan tour, the total falls to only $14,161 or $80.92 per day.

Monthly Breakdown

So what did we do after our first six months?
We flew directly from Jordan to Thailand for a few months and did a few house sits and rented a condo for 2 months. We then hit the road again and had a great time touring through Cambodia, Malaysia and Singapore before returning to Australia for a couple of months of house sitting.
Here’s the break down of the costings for our second six months.

NOTE: General expenditure includes groceries, eating out, tourist attractions, entertainment, public transport, parking fees, fuel, local SIM, etc. It does include alcohol (though Jacqueline doesn’t drink) and we eat out perhaps once or twice a week.

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER expenses: (excluding Jordan tour)

Following our tour of Jordan, we went to Chiang Mai, Thailand and completed two house sits. We then moved into a 1 bedroom condo for 2 months.

General expenditure                  – $2004
Accommodation                          – $2240 (incl bond for condo)
Airfares (Amman-Chiang Mai) – $1380

Total costs for October/November were $5624   (or $108.16 per day)

Jerash ruins in Amman, Jordan. Another beautiful place you can experience as you travel the world full time for less than $100 per day
Roman Ruins in Jerash, Jordan

DECEMBER expenses:

We spent the whole of December enjoying the delights of the Northern Thai city of Chiang Mai.

General expenditure   – $958
Accommodation          – $1120

Total costs for December were $2078   (or $67.03 per day)

Chiang Mai Temple. Another beautiful place you can experience as you travel the world full time for less than $100 per day
Chiang Mai, Thailand

JANUARY expenses:

We spent the majority of January in our condo in Chiang Mai before doing a one week house sit to conclude the month. Glenn also did a short 5 day trip to Luang Prabang in Laos

General expenditure      – $1003
Laos trip                            – $772

Total costs for January were $1775   (or $59.17 per day)

You can see sunsets like this on the Mekong River as you travel the world for less than $100 per day
Mekong River Sunset in Luang Prabang, Laos

FEBRUARY expenses:

February was a busy month that saw us spending time in Cambodia, Malaysia and Singapore before returning to Australia for a series of house sits. We toured through Siem Reap (Angkor Wat) and the capital Phnom Penh in Cambodia and then flew to Kuala Lumpur and caught a bus down to Malacca for a few days. From there we caught another bus to Singapore where we did a 6-day house sit. Finally, we flew back to Australia for a house sit for old friends.

General expenditure             – $2491
Transport (bus/taxi)              – $89
Accommodation (13 nights) – $902
Airfares
  (Chiang Mai – Siem Reap)    – $400
  (Siem Reap – Phnom Penh) – $155
  (Phnom Penh – Kuala Lumpur) – $180
  (Singapore – Melbourne)     – $1277

Total costs for February were $5495   (or $196.27 per day)

Monks receiving Alms in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Another experience as you travel the world for less than $100 per day
Monks receiving Alms in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

MARCH expenses:

The entire month was spent house sitting in Melbourne, Australia (and visiting family and friends!).

General expenditure    – $1678

Total costs for March were $1678   (or $54.15 per day)

APRIL expenses:

We continued house sitting in Australia until our departure on April 17th.

General expenditure     – $899

Total costs for April were $899   (or $52.88 per day)

Two suitcases and laptop bag. All the luggage you need as you travel the world for less than $100 per day
The entirety of our luggage!!!

Countries and Flights

During our first year, we visited 11 countries and took 16 international flights. Most of our flights were one-way and therefore more expensive than an equivalent return flight. The total costs for all of our flights was $8083.

The most expensive 5 legs totalled $6074 and were:
 Melbourne – Kuala Lumpur $1143
 Kuala Lumpur – London      $1322
 Barcelona – Amman               $952
 Amman – Chiang Mai           $1380
 Singapore – Melbourne        $1277

The other 11 flights totalled $2009 and were with low-cost airlines flying within Europe and Asia.

The amount of time we spent in these countries was:
  Malaysia – 9 days
  England – 69 days
  Scotland – 11 days
  Spain – 66 days
  France – 22 days
  Jordan – 8 days
  Thailand – 105 days
  Laos – 4 days
  Cambodia – 9 days
  Singapore – 5 days
  Australia – 70 days

Accommodation costs

Over the course of our first year we only had to pay for a total of 88 nights accommodation. This included 60 nights in a rented condo in Chiang Mai and 12 nights in Edinburgh during the Fringe Festival when accommodation is very expensive! 
In addition, we also did an 8-day organised tour of Jordan.
The other 279 nights were ‘free’ as a result of our house sitting services. 
In total, we only paid $4920 for accommodation for just over a year.
For the 88 nights we paid that’s an average of $55.90 per night.
But if averaged over the whole year it’s only $13.15 per night

Total costs for one year

As mentioned at the start of this post, we are very happy with our first year’s travel costs. We had a nice split of house sitting in various countries, independent travel, organised touring and staying “in situ” for 2 months in our ‘own’ place in Thailand.

The grand total for everything for our year came out at $36,615 

This equates to $97.90 per day!

In putting these figures together I noticed an extremely surprising thing. This final figure is almost exactly double our first 6 months costs!!! I have not manipulated the costs in any way – it’s just the way it has turned out. It’s amazing as we did quite different things over the course of the two 6 month periods.

These figures prove that it is possible to travel the world full time for less than $100 per day.
This costs us less than living in our (mortgage free) home in Melbourne, Australia and paying for all our associated living costs. 
When questioned why we do this we answer “why not?”.
It costs us less to travel the world, see wonderful things, meet amazing people and have wonderful experiences than just sitting at home as retirees.

If you’re retired (or not) there is a way to have an exciting life with the world as your oyster. We’re proof that it can be done.
If you want to learn more about how we achieve this feel free to contact us  or take a look at our Introduction to House Sitting page.

If you’ve found this post useful or interesting then please leave a comment or give us a like.
Feel free to share this post too so more people can be aware that there are alternative ways to spend your retirement. Glenn & Jacqueline

15 thoughts on “Travel the world full time for less than $100 per day

  1. Very informative post Glenn, and just goes to show how house sitting helps us to travel without breaking the bank, even throwing a brilliant trip into the mix. I’m impressed with your luggage, ours is small but not that small. Look forward to seeing you both again on the road.

    1. Hi Diane, we finished our initial “gap year” in late 2016 and when we got back to Australia we then spent the next 6 months selling all our stuff. We left Australia in April 2017 and this is now our on-going lifestyle and we love it.
      We plan to continue doing it as long as we can!!!!

  2. Awesome post Glen, thank you for being open and honest! Your expenses look very similar to what my wife Yvonne & I spend per year travelling full time ( and house sitting most of the time). I believe it is important to push out the boat and splurge on a special tour or trip every year, such as your Jordan trip. One thing I did not see was any entries regarding travel insurance – just wondering if insurance is an additional overhead – or if that is covered elsewhere (ie pension benefit)? PS congratulations on travelling light – it is more challenging than it looks! ~ Michael

    1. Hi Michael, we agree that it’s nice to take a break from the sitting and do something special/different. We did our Rhine River cycle this year for that reason. The grand total includes everything including travel insurance, mail re-direction in Australia and some specific travel gear. I thought about mentioning them separately but decided not to. Perhaps I’ll update the post to mention it. Thanks for your input.

  3. Great article and certainly agrees with our analysis of our own travel. The cost of those flights seems high – maybe some more flight hacking can get that figure down. Looking forward to our paths crossing somewhere in this amazing world.

    1. Hi Andrew and thanks. We hope to meet up with you guys in Mexico too. I’ve added a bit more detail on the post re the flights to show the breakdown. We do a lot of research and hacking with the flights BUT also we aren’t huge fans of overnight flights so in some cases will pay a bit more for a more convenient flight time. It’s something we’re happy to compromise on. So, yes, we probably could have a lower total cost for flights. 🙂

    1. Thanks Patsy, we are heading back to Chiang Mai for 6 weeks from Dubai next week. After that we’re going to Mexico for 4-5 months!! It’s a totally new country for us so we’re very excited.

  4. Hello, crushed that the tigers lost last night, just can’t bring myself to support the pies so go the dees!! We are in the first stages of selling up and heading off to travel full-time next year. Is there anything that you wish you had done differently? We will be heading back to Oz 4 times a year to catchup with the grandkids. Thanks for the post, Vik

    1. Hi Vikki, so disappointing after such a great season. My flight from Thailand was in vain!!! There’s loads to do when selling up before embarking on full time travel. It’s a very stressful time but worth it in the end.
      If we had our time again I’d get really stuck into getting rid of stuff AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. The time just gets away from you and before you know it – it’s time to leave. Lists, lists and more lists of everything that needs done.
      Congratulations on making the leap – we’re sure you’ll find it as rewarding as we do.
      Feel free to reach out to us with any other questions or help.

  5. Hi Glen,
    We love your cost break downs, thank you! Matt and I are getting ready to rent an apartment for a month in Valencia for April. How far ahead do you usually rent? And, do you have a recommendation for a place or how to go about it?
    Looking forward to your Mexico stories!
    Debbie and Matt

    1. Hey Debbie and Matt, thanks for following us. We rented an apartment through Airbnb when we were in Valencia. You can usually get big discounts with weekly and monthly rentals and remember everything is negotiable. Reach out to the owner before committing and see if you can get a further discount.
      As you’re going in Spring it shouldn’t be too difficult to get something. I’d start looking now just to get an idea of what’s around and what the costs might be. We start looking once we know we have gap in our schedule – that can be months or just weeks before we need it.
      Valencia has a good metro system so if you’re not right in the centre it won’t matter. There’s a wonderful beach a few kilometres out of town too.
      So many wonderful things to see and do there. We loved it.
      Feel free to reach out to us if you want suggestions. Have a blast. 🙂

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