Welcome to our ongoing series: How Much Does it Cost to Travel?
The goal of this series is to provide you with real budgets people have used for trips they have actually taken. This could be anything from a long weekend in Miami to 6 months backpacking around South East Asia. It’s our hope that by shining a spotlight on what people are actually spending- and the value they get for it, you will have a better idea of what it really costs to travel.
All of the travel budgets will live on this dedicated page.
Today’s budget is from Laura and Dax from Alpaca the Bag (best blog name ever!)
Where did you go?
In five months, we traveled to 4 continents and 20 countries. We went to Kenya, Tanzania, Jordan, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Vatican, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Canada.
Briefly, what was your itinerary?
We had a very loose itinerary. We had a couple of organized tours (African Safari and Egypt) but otherwise we planned our own trip. We had an idea of where we wanted to go but wanted to keep it flexible, so if we changed our minds it wouldn’t be a big deal. We even added 5 countries that we had no plans on seeing originally.
We started in East Africa, went onto the Middle East, and then onto Europe where we rented a car. We spent most of our time in Europe driving from place to place. Afterwards, we headed back to the States to visit friends and family in Massachusetts, Arizona, California, and Washington. Eventually we went to Canada, where our trip culminated with a visit to Vancouver.
How much money did you spend overall?
We did not plan a very budget friendly trip. We didn’t want to stay in hostels or share a room with people in their homes, and there was a lot we wanted to experience. Overall we spent about $34,000 on our trip. $11,000 of that was spent during our two weeks in Kenya and Tanzania, and the remaining $24,000 was spent on the rest of our trip.
Below is a breakdown of all of our costs:
East Africa– $1100:
- $9,000 Safari + Zanzibar
- $1,250 Nairobi Hotels
- $750 Tips
Egypt Tour- $2,800
Transportation (Flights, Trains, and Car Rentals)- $7,500 (Not including gas, tolls, and 2 speeding tickets in Italy)
Accommodation- $6,300 ($72/night – Doesn’t include nights on Safari or in Egypt)
Food- $4,000 ($50/day – Not including time on tours or with family)
What kind of accommodation did you stay in? (hotels, hostels, apartments, couchsurfing,etc).
We mainly rented apartments, however, we also stayed in hotels in a few cities, and then a couple of places we stayed with friends or family. When we had a rental car with us, we had to stay at places that we could either park on location or close by without breaking the bank.
What sort of activities did you do?
It depended on where we were visiting. In the more expensive places we visited, we would keep to a tight budget and not do too many organized activities.
In Egypt, we could afford to do a lot of activities, so we went scuba diving, hot air ballooning, and visited a Nubian village.
Our favorite activity on our trip came right before our safari when we stayed at
Giraffe Manor, a hotel that takes care of giraffes. The giraffes even wake you up in the morning for you to feed them from your window!
What did you splurge on? Was it worth it?
We splurged on Giraffe Manor (the hotel with the giraffes) and the African safari. Those two weeks in East Africa took up about a third of our budget. Yes, it was absolutely worth it.
What did you scrimp on? Are you happy with that decision?
We mainly scrimped on food…we would pack sandwiches and make our own dinners in the apartments we were staying in. We also didn’t drink a lot of alcohol. Yes, we are happy we made this decision. Making our own food was convenient, cost-effective, and allowed us to do more activities.
Did you purchase any special souvenirs?
We did buy a bunch of souvenirs. We mailed them home and many items were broken. We also sent more souvenirs back with family when they were visiting. If we didn’t have either of those opportunities to send things back, we would not have bought as much as we did. Our most special souvenirs were paintings we purchased from local artists.
Did you do anything special to save up for this trip?
Surprisingly no. We lucked out with this trip. Our landlord asked if they could pay us to vacate our apartment in San Francisco and we happily accepted. We used this money to take our trip!
Do you have any regrets regarding how you budgeted this trip? Would you do things differently next time?
A big cost for us was the rental car we rented for about 40 days. We knew we wanted to rent one early on, but didn’t put any research into it beforehand. We paid almost double for an automatic transmission (so learn to drive stick before renting in Europe!). Then we got stuck in a snowstorm in the mountains and had to dish out another $600 for snow tires! We wanted to be flexible, but we wish we had researched more on getting from point A to B. We believe we could have saved a ton.
Anything else to add?
We loved that we kept an open mind and an open schedule. One of our favorite places we visited was Prague, and that wasn’t even on our original itinerary. This trip was very different from our usual trips, where most things are scheduled out. It was a nice change and opened our eyes to a different way of traveling!