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Asia & South America: The Cheapest Continents to Travel

Malawean Kwachas - Approx. 280 €

Malawean Kwachas – Approx. 280 €

Of course, the type of travel and hence the level of comfort I chose clearly impacted my Travel Budget. And since I do not always Backpack or “Flashpack” but sometimes travel “Mid-Range” or even go on local Tours when there is no other efficient option, average expenditures should always be seen in a context. This is why further bellow, you find a detailed Budget Breakdown for each of my trips and a link to the Budget Guide I made for each of those trips and for each country.

 

 

 

Budget Breakdown Per Continent
In € per Person per Day
Country Number of
Countries
Local
Transport
Accommo-
dation
Food Every Day
Life
Tours &
Activities
Total
Asia 9 10,93 17,58 11,21 3,10 7,37 50,18
South America 8 13,16 12,46 10,57 2,96 11,47 50,60
Pacific 4 23,65 20,23 16,43 6,83 22,00 89,13
Middle East 2 20,70 32,45 10,60 3,70 22,40 89,85
Africa 6 44,30 19,53 14,38 4,73 83,39 124,85

Nevertheless, the analysis of my Travel Budgets for more than 30 countries confirmed my impressions while traveling

  • Asia in general and especially India & Southeast Asia are the cheapest areas to travel. Prices are overall low, and since you find there a widely developed tourism and travel industry, there are plenty of options and hence competition that keep prices attractive. There are no huge differences between countries in my opinion, though I do not know Japan, which is said to be a high-budget destination.
  • South America can be almost as cheap as Asia, sometimes even cheaper, if you focuse on the northern Andean countries. Nevertheless, there are huge differences in this stunning continent:
    • Peru, Ecuador (from what I heard), Venezuela (ok, this is not in the Andes), and especially Colombia & Bolivia are extremely cheap countries to travel. These are the destination you want to consider if you are on a tight budget.
    • On the other hand, Argentina, Brazil & Chile are expensive countries, with parts relatively affordable (northern Brazil, Northwest Argentina, …) and parts that will litterally blow your budget (Patagonia in Argentina & Chile, the Pantanal or Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, …)
  • The Middle-East cannot be seen as a whole budget-wise, with some countries very cheap to travel (Iran) and some requiring a really high-end budget (Oman).
  • The Pacific is overall an extremely costly destination, no matter if you consider New Zealand (I do not know Australia but heard it is no longer a budget travel destination) or some Pacific Islands. Experiencing the “South Seas Feeling” is indeed an expensive, eve very expensive undertaking!
  • Last but not least, Africa is in my experience the most expensive place to travel, and all in all it was not possible to keep the budget under control while traveling there…
    • True, I haven’t really backpacked in Africa, as the infrastructure is very limited in many countries and as you need your own wheels in many places, especially if you want to reach some of the “highlights”: National Parks in general, remote deserts like the Danakil Depression, but also just travel to smaller cities…
    • Also true, I never took one of those “Overland Trucks”, as I am an independent traveler and only take tours when there are no other possibilities. Moreover, I profoundly dislike the concept of seeing several countries over a short period of time: each Africa country deserves to be discovered in depth!
    • Last but not least, most of the time I went for unique experiences, no matter if trekking the Mountain Gorillas in Uganda, canoeing the Zambezi in Mana Pool National Park (Zimbabwe) or looking down the crater of Erta Ale, one of the 3 volcanoes with a permanent lava lake (Ethiopia)…
    • But all in all, even when I was more or less Backpacking or Flashpacking in Africa, like Senegal or Mali or Malawi, I could not keep Travel Costs low…
Detailed Budget Breakdown Per Continent
In € per Person per Day
Country Year Type of
Travel (**)
Local
Transport
Accommo-
dation (*)
Food Every Day
Life
Tours &
Activities
Total
India 2015 Mid-Range 16,80 38,90 21,10 2,80 7,10 86,70
Myanmar 2015 Flashpacking 12,90 28,30 7,80 1,40 15,00 65,40
Vietnam 2015 Flashpacking 7,30 12,30 9,70 1,50 10,40 41,20
Cambodia 2014 Mid-Range 22,80 19,70 16,00 3,30 17,80 79,60
Laos 2014 Mid-Range 10,80 31,50 10,90 0,90 12,70 66,80
Ladakh 2013 Flashpacking 21,90 13,80 7,00 5,90 1,90 50,50
India 2013 Flashpacking 12,80 16,70 12,40 1,60 4,90 48,40
India 2012 Flashpacking 8,10 17,20 10,30 1,20 6,90 43,70
Thailand 2008 Backpacking 2,50 16,80 15,50 6,50 1,60 42,90
Cambodia 2008 Backpacking 2,40 9,00 13,20 3,00 7,90 35,50
Laos 2008 Backpacking 6,10 6,00 6,00 2,90 2,40 23,40
China 2008 Backpacking 11,60 5,70 7,60 4,60 6,60 36,10
Hong Kong &
Macau
2008 Backpacking 6,10 12,60 8,20 4,70 0,60 32,20
Asia 10,93 17,58 11,21 3,10 7,37 50,18
Brazil 2015 Mid-Range 26,60 35,10 15,40 2,70 31,70 111,50
Colombia 2009 Backpacking 7,00 12,00 8,80 1,30 8,30 37,40
Uruguay 2007 Backpacking 20,10 12,30 16,10 2,00 7,70 58,20
Chile 2007 Backpacking 23,00 13,00 17,90 2,10 1,50 57,50
Argentina 2007 Backpacking 17,80 13,30 10,20 4,70 9,60 55,60
Bolivia 2007 Backpacking 3,10 5,10 6,00 3,10 12,00 29,30
Peru 2007 Backpacking 6,40 5,90 6,80 3,90 10,60 33,60
Brazil 2007 Backpacking 10,70 12,10 9,80 5,30 3,50 41,40
Venezuela 2007 Backpacking 3,70 3,30 4,10 1,50 18,30 30,90
South America 13,16 12,46 10,57 2,96 11,47 50,60
Bulgaria 2010 Mid-Range 21,70 21,90 20,20 4,90 4,40 73,10
Europe     21,70 21,90 20,20 4,90 4,40 73,10
New Zealand 2008 Backpacking 13,90 13,60 13,20 4,80 13,10 58,60
Cook Islands 2008 Backpacking 20,40 21,80 16,40 4,30 10,40 73,30
French
Polynesia
2008 Backpacking 50,90 30,30 20,00 12,60 52,40 166,20
Easter Island 2008 Backpacking 9,40 15,20 16,10 5,60 12,10 58,40
Pacific 23,65 20,23 16,43 6,83 22,00 89,13
Iran 2014 Flashpacking 6,40 15,00 6,80 6,10 11,80 46,10
Oman 2012 Mid-Range 35,00 49,90 14,40 1,30 33,00 133,60
Middle East 20,70 32,45 10,60 3,70 22,40 89,85
Ethiopia 2015 Tour 159,60 159,60
Malawi 2014 Mid-Range 37,70 22,60 17,20 5,10 6,30 88,90
Zimbabwe 2012 Mid-Range 70,70 20,60 12,40 7,50 51,30 162,50
Uganda 2011 Tour 159,30 159,30
Ethiopia 2011 Flashpacking 51,20 15,70 7,30 4,70 8,30 87,20
Ethiopia 2010 Tour 117,50 117,50
Mali 2005 Flashpacking 17,60 19,20 20,60 1,60 24,70 83,70
Tanzania 2005 Tour 140,10 140,10
Africa     44,30 19,53 14,38 4,73 83,39 124,85

(*) Accommodation: Double rooms (for a couple) – so price for the room itself must be multiplied by 2; Except in Laos (2014), Cambodia (2014), Vietnam (2015), Myanmar (2015) & India (2015)

(**) Type of Travel:

  • Backpacking: I define myself that way: “I have never been a budget backpacker traveling the toughest and cheapest possible way, but I am an experienced rucksack traveler who appreciates a minimum level of comfort”. Especially when traveling for longer periods of time, I only stay in Hostels (private room, mostly en-suite), eat at local restaurants, take local buses but the more comfortable ones if they exist, do not hesitate to fly once in a while, and when it makes a difference take a local guide for a museum or an area I visit.
  • Flashpacking: I no longer are in my 20s, so my “camping or dormitory times” are over… Yes, soemtimes I upgrade my standards, go to the more pleasant hostels or small guesthouses, treat myself with a few nicer restaurants and a cocktail in the evening, take local tours or go for activities like scuba diving, …
  • Mid-Range: when I travel for shorter periods of time, comfort plays a more important role. Then I significantly upgrade the standards of travel, chose pleasant local guesthouses, nice restaurants, sometimes charter a car or rent one, fly long distances, …
  • Tours: You sometimes cannot travel on your own, in areas where you need a 4-Wheel-Drive, areas too remote or even too dangerous for independent travelers, … This is the case especially in Africa! Note that I only book Tours locally, and never go through a European or International Agent.

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