We traveled the world for one year for less than $10,000 per person

How much does one year of travel in Asia cost? Here’s how much we spent in our year of backpacking in Asia (Eurasia, to be precise), plus some tips on how you, too, can travel long-term on a budget.

 

Holy shit, we’ve been on the road for more than a year.

It seems like a crazy long time… but it doesn’t feel like it. The only indicators we have of our time on the road are our deteriorating English skills, woefully stained clothes, and of course, depleted bank accounts.

BUT. Our bank accounts are far less painful to look at than we thought they’d be.

We expected to spend about €10,000 each in one year of travel, and we’d saved around €12,000 each. Actually, we only spent about €8,000 each in 12 months of travel.

Chill, right?

 

Curious to know how much one year of travel in Asia costs? Here's how much we spent in 12 months of backpacking through 10 countries in Eurasia, complete with a country-by-country breakdown, average costs, and tips on how you can travel for a year for even less than we did.

 

How much does one year of travel in Asia cost?

Together, our grand total was €16,052. That’s €8,026 ($8,909) per person for 12 months of travel.

On average, we each spent €22 ($24.50) a day.

How much did we spend in each country?

In the last year, we traveled to 10 countries:

  1. Georgia
  2. Armenia
  3. Iran
  4. Pakistan
  5. China
  6. Kazakhstan
  7. Kyrgyzstan
  8. Uzbekistan
  9. Afghanistan
  10. India

These countries were chosen primarily because they’re awesome, but also because they’re cheap. A month of backpacking in Armenia is going to be a lot cheaper than a month in Argentina.

To get an idea of just how budget-friendly these places are, here’s how much we spent in each country.

 

How much did one year of travel in Asia cost? - Monk in Kazbegi, Georgia - Lost With Purpose

A monk walking into the mountains in Kazbegi

Georgia

  • Time: 21 days
  • Total spent: €413 / $438 per person
  • Average daily costs: €20 / $22 per person
  • Full breakdown: Georgia budget report

 

How much did one year of travel in Asia cost? - Spires of Goris, Armenia - Lost With Purpose

The epic spires of Goris

Armenia

  • Time: 19 days
  • Total spent: €440 / $488 per person
  • Average daily costs: €23 / $26 per person
  • Full breakdown: Armenia budget report

 

How much did one year of travel in Asia cost? - Dorud Andimeshk train in Iran - Lost With Purpose

The stunning train between Dorud and Andimeshk

Iran

  • Time: 55 days (~2 months)
  • Amount spent between two people: €1,376 / $1,528 per person
  • Average daily costs: €25 / $28 per person
  • Full breakdown: Iran budget report

 

How much does a year of travel in Asia cost? - A camel ride on the beaches of Karachi, Pakistan - Lost With Purpose

A sunny afternoon on the beaches of Karachi

Pakistan

  • Days spent in Pakistan: 44 days (1.5 months)
  • Total spent: €813 / $903 per person
  • Average daily costs: €19 / $21 per person
  • Full breakdown: Pakistan budget report

 

How much did one year of travel in Asia cost? - Karakul lake in Xinjiang province, China - Lost With Purpose

Karakul lake, our most epic camping spot to date

China (Xinjiang province)

Note: Alex had to go back to the US for personal reasons while we were in China (tickets not included in costs), and Sebastiaan was stationary for a while in Urumqi. This led to relatively low costs. If you plan on extensive travel in China, expect to pay more.

 

How much did one year of travel in Asia cost? - Kolsai lakes in Kazakhstan - Lost With Purpose

The pristine Kolsai lakes near Almaty

Kazakhstan (Almaty region)

  • Time: 14 days
  • Total spent: €377 / $419
  • Average daily costs: €27 / $30 per person
  • Full breakdown: Kazakhstan budget report

 

How much did one year of travel in Asia cost? - Kyzart town in Kyrgyzstan - Lost With Purpose

Typical Kyrgyz scenery on the way to Song Kul lake

Kyrgyzstan

  • Time: 26 days
  • Total spent: €716 / $795 per person
  • Average daily costs: €28 / $31 per person
  • Full breakdown: Kyrgyzstan budget report

 

How much did one year of travel in Asia cost? - Sunrise at the Registan in Samarkand, Uzbekistan - Lost With Purpose

Sunrise in Samarkand

Uzbekistan

  • Time: 19 days
  • Total spent: €450 / $500 per person
  • Average daily costs: €24 / $26
  • Full breakdown: Uzbekistan budget report

 

How much did one year of travel in Asia cost? - Dragon Valley near Bamiyan, Afghanistan - Lost With Purpose

Dara-e-Azdahar, the Dragon Valley, near Bamiyan

Afghanistan

  • Time: 20 days
  • Total spent: €1071 / $1,189 per person
  • Average daily costs: €54 / $60 per person
  • Full breakdown: Afghanistan budget report

 

How much did one year of travel in Asia cost? - Celebrating Diwali in Chennai, India - Lost With Purpose

Celebrating Diwali in Chennai

(South) India

  • Time: 125 days (4 months… and counting)
  • Total spent: €1,975 / $2,193 per person
  • Average daily costs: €15 / $17 per person
  • Full report: South India budget report

 

How much does one year of travel in Asia cost? - Pitching a tent to save money in Kazakhstan - Lost With Purpose

Pitching a tent to save on accommodation for the night in Kazakhstan

A little bit on our spending habits

As you can see, we tried to stick to a budget of €25 per day, less in India. For some that’s a lot, for many it’s not.

We’re very budget-oriented, but there were times when we spent more than we intended to, on things like clothing and electronics. These expenses bumped up averages for some countries, but if you’re planning on long-term travel, they’re going to happen eventually.

(Unless you’re a magician who never breaks anything nor destroys clothes, which, alas, we are not.)

How much does one year of travel in Asia cost? - Getting new clothes in Bamiyan, Afghanistan - Lost With Purpose

Being sized up for new clothes in Afghanistan

Since we’ve been on the road for a while, we’re also more willing to skip out on sights we find too expensive. Many a traditional house in Iran was skipped, and we’ve walked away from plenty of sights in India out of frustration at the dual pricing system.

If you’re on a short holiday these sights are worth the extra buck, but we’d rather have a few more days in India than see seven traditional houses.

How much does a year of travel in Asia cost - The rooftops of Kashan, Iran - Lost With Purpose

The traditional houses of Kashan, Iran were too costly for us… but we did cough up to see the bath house!

Finally, we have our vices. I’m a creature of comfort, and would rather pay for a bus than wait several hours to go hitchhiking. Alex is an antisocial cave troll, and can only sporadically handle the socializing necessary for Couchsurfing. If you’re willing to either hitchhike or go Couchsurfing more often, you’re going to spend a hell of a lot less money than us. Do consider it.

 

How much does one year of travel in Asia cost? - Getting lost while hiking in Dilijan, Armenia - Lost With Purpose

Getting a wee bit lost in Dilijan, Armenia

Our point: backpacking isn’t as expensive as you’d think

Long-term backpacking really doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg, especially compared to your cost of living. In the Netherlands we were spending almost €2,000 a month… each. That’s four months of travel in India!

For us, traveling is much cheaper than living in one place. Of course, that’s not true for everyone, especially those from developing countries with lower wages. But traveling can still be relatively cheap, and many people from countries all over the world can afford travel IF they prioritize and plan accordingly.

If you’re trying to up your backpacking game in the future, here’s our advice to you:

How you can backpack on the cheap like us

Visit cheap countries. Your dreams of wining and dining in Paris will have to wait.

Set a daily budget… and stick to it. Like I said, we stuck to €25/day, less in India. Once you have the number in your mind, it’s easier to make sure you stay under.

How much does a year of travel in Asia cost? - Cheap pastries in Tbilisi, Georgia - Lost With Purpose

Plentiful cheap pastries in Tbilisi, Georgia made it exceptionally easy to stick to our budget

Track your expenses. I anal retentively track every. single. cent. we spend. It helps to see exactly where your money is going.

Travel domestically. We met plenty of Pakistanis and Indians that say they can’t travel because they can’t get visas. Um, dudes and dudettes, your home countries are awesome. Explore them.

Hitchhike and use CouchsurfingThey’re the greatest ways to save money and meet people at the same time.

How much does one year of travel in Asia cost? - Friend from Couchsurfing - Lost With Purpose

Our friend Ismat, who we met in Kabul, Afghanistan via Couchsurfing

Take photos, not souvenirs. We don’t buy stuff. It weighs us down. Photos on the other hand…

Use public transport. Forget taxis and drivers. Public transport is more interesting. Make an effort to buy the tickets yourself at stations rather than through travel agents to save more money… and have more adventures.

How much does one year of travel in Asia cost? - Riding in a marshrutka in Osh, Kyrgyzstan - Lost With Purpose

The inside of a marshrutka minibus in Kyrgyzstan. This ride cost us less than $0.25.

Don’t fly. Flying is the same everywhere, and it’s costly. That’s no fun.

Use sites like Trusted HousesittersIf you’re on the road for a while, it’s a great way to find yourself a “luxurious” home base in which you can save money and lie low for a bit.

Get a tent. Once you have one, you can sleep for free virtually anywhere!

How much does a year of travel in Asia cost? - Camping for free with our tent in Fairy Meadows, Pakistan - Lost With Purpose

Camping for free at Fairy Meadows in Pakistan

Be nice to people. You never know when you’ll meet a friendly soul willing to host your sorry backpacker ass.

Eat too much bread. It’s filling and cheap. Don’t blame us when you get scurvy, though.

 

 

We spent one year backpacking through 10 countries in Eurasia for less than $10,000 per person. Here's exactly how much we spent in each country, and advice on how you can do the same... for even less!

 

Want to know more about our epic journey? Here’s what Lost With Purpose is all about.

 

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Sebastiaan

Just another Dutchie. Extrovert with introverted tendencies. Some say I’m lazy, I say I’m masterfully inactive.

More about Sebastiaan

29 thoughts on “We traveled the world for one year for less than $10,000 per person

    Meg says:

    There are some seriously awe-inspiring locations in this post that have me going ‘ooooh’ as I read! What a great summary of your travel expenditure and a helpful reminder of how you can make your trip a reality by careful budgeting.

    Thanks a lot! You have any specific places you’d like to visit on this list?

    Wow, I can’t believe it’s been a year already! I just found your blog a couple of weeks ago and have been slowly reading my way through all your posts from the beginning – you’re both really great writers and your photographs are always evocative and make me feel like I’m right there with you exploring Asia. I hope your next year of travels will be equally as amazing as the first one – happy travels! 🙂

    You’re too kind. Thanks for following along.

    Veronika says:

    I love your post, all these countries are usually forgoten by people but the nature looks stunning! It is definitely on my bucket list to go to lot of these countries. Thank you for the great report!

    Prashansa Poddar says:

    Loved the post, I am Asian (Indian) and there are still so many of these places I would like to visit. Ps: the photograph of karakul lake is stunning!

    Thanks a lot. You live in a stunning country too, so much to see.

    Laia says:

    Great post! And very useful since you went to many places that are on my list 🙂
    I do also believe that traveling can be cheaper than staying at home, specially while traveling to cheap countries. And I feel the same as you, after along time on the road I just skip expensive sights and activities.
    Stunning destinations by the way!

    Thanks a lot. Glad it’s useful.

    Megan says:

    This is an awesome post! Central Asia is like, the top of my list and this makes me want to go even more!

    Thanks a lot. Which if the countries is top of your list?

    Megan says:

    I’m not sure if Mongolia counts, but that. If it doesn’t probably Tajikistan. Or kyrgyzstan.

    Happily Tanned says:

    Wow! That’s awesome. I have traveled extensively in India but couldn’t travel on Budget as we find flight tickets very expensive and it costs 40% of our total travel expense.

    Will try exploring the other countries that you have mentioned in the post 🙂

    Why didn’t you use the train?

    Irina says:

    Great post! Thanks for the awesome pics and tips! Central Asia just got higher on my wishlist 😀

    Thanks a lot. We highly recommend it!

    Quentin Mak says:

    In hotter countries (Iran, Pakistan, India), do you always opt for (private) accommodation with air-conditioning?

    We usually take private rooms, as dorms are often terrible value in these countries. We don’t usually take rooms with A/C, although in Pakistan it was so hot that we sometimes did.

    I’ve never done couch-surfing but I’m with Alex on this one. I’m not always sociable but I would consider it if only for the experience (and to save money).

    CS is a great way of meeting people, too.

    Reyhan Hidayat says:

    Wow thanks! Your posts are really inspiring! Love the photos. Definitely gonna see more of Central Asia.
    I’m going to Iran in a couple of days from now!

    Hi Reyhan, thanks for letting us know. Iran is great, we’re sure you’ll love it. Let us know if you have any questions. Cheers!

    Hi, thanks for letting us know. We’ve deleted the link in your comment as we don’t see how it’s relevant.

    SelfHike says:

    Hey Sebastiaan, dam good man, One year in Asia for less than $10,000!! its unbelievable. I had gone through your blog and saw that you have also gone to Iran, well that’s my place. What a superb description you have given on your spending for each place, really amazing. Really other people can get good information about planning their next trip. Well best of luck to you too for your next trip.

    Sebastiaan says:

    Hi there, great to hear you liked the article. One of the things that annoyed me when researching this trip was the lack of info on costs. Hope this an help other people with their budget planning.

    P.S. I have deleted the second part of your comment, as we don’t allow advertisement like that in the comment section.

    Jagdish says:

    Nice post and great picks. Here in South Asia $10000 is too big amount actually.

    Sebastiaan says:

    Thanks a lot!

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