travel blogTravel Planning & TipsTravel Resourcetravel tips

How I managed to travel around the world for cheap? – Less than $42 a day

how I managed to travel around the world for cheap - under $42 dollars a day, miss walking shoes leena

travel around the world for cheap, travel, backpacking, how I managed to travel around the world for cheap - under $42 dollars a day, miss walking shoes leena

In continuation with my previous post on how much money you need to travel around the world, here is an analysis of how I managed to travel around the world for cheap – Less than $42 dollars a day (Rs 2792 INR a day). But before I start with the nitty – gritty of my travel spends, I would like to inform you that $21667 (14.44 lakhs) for 17 months do not mean that you would be able to travel for $15294 (10.19 lakhs) for a year.  

The currency for long-term travel is TIME and not money. The longer you travel, your spends get averaged out. For example: if you wish to travel to France, Germany and Switzerland and you visit them one at a time, you spend for 3 return tickets. However, if you negotiate longer time off, you can travel three of them together and pay only one return fare. And this is exactly how I traveled.

How did I decide where to go & for how long?

The selection of the places was influenced by my bucket list, ease of travel (read – not too much running around), and how I can make most of my resources considering a good mix of expensive and not-so-expensive countries. It was a difficult choice to make as every continent figures high in my bucket list. In the end, I choose 3 continents which I felt were easier to navigate – Europe, N. America, and Asia, leaving Australia, Africa, Antarctica, and S. America for the future.

For the start, I planned to stay in N. America and Europe for three months each, dividing 1.5 months between West and East Europe; rest 6 months I decided to spend in Asia which got extended to 11 months. Read more about my RTW itinerary here.

travel around the world for cheap, travel, backpacking, miss walking shoes, solo traveler india, top travel blogger india, miss walking shoes, leena,
Yes!! I managed to travel around the world for cheap

How I managed to travel around the world for cheap?

For the sake of understanding, let me divide the major expenses into 4 buckets:

  • Airfare
  • Accommodation
  • Food
  • Miscellaneous – Everything else including Visa fees, day to day expenses, ground transportation, activities, unexpected costs

Airfare – This is the biggest expense while doing a world trip. I decided to keep it to the minimum and for that, I planned to use air transportation only when flying in and out of a continent. Of course, I broke this rule, not once but four times – twice while traveling in North America and twice in Asia. I made these exceptions because it was logistically and moneywise smart.

All the other travels were overland. Buses, trains, and ferries in most parts of the world are very cheap, especially if they are the type of transportation that the locals use. Many a times, I found myself being the only foreigner in a bus full of locals and that feeling was awesome.

TIPS for you:

  • If you prefer flying, there are plenty of budget airlines such as RyanAir, AirAsia.
  • Booking tickets months prior to the journey does help to reduce costs but you lose flexibility. In the battle between spontaneity and higher cost, choose what suits you best.
travel around the world for cheap, travel, backpacking, miss walking shoes, travel on cheap, top travel blog, solo traveler, RTW, long term travel, round the world,
Travel around the world for cheap – Some pictures of my overland journeys around the world

Accommodation I spent a majority of nights in dorm rooms of hostels. Contrary to the popular belief, hostels are not always unsafe or dirty. Plus they provide a host of services like free WIFI, kitchens, refrigerators, laundry and are an excellent place to meet other travelers.

travel around the world for cheap, travel, backpacking, miss walking shoes, leena bansal, solo traveler, solo woman traveler, female traveler, budget travel, hostels, cheap travel,
Travel around the world for cheap – Staying in a hostel is a great way to save costs on accomodation. A typical hostel looks like this.

In USA and Canada, I saved up a lot on accommodation by staying with friends/ acquaintances. In Southeast Asia, I traded my work (teaching English) with accommodation. I  also took night buses/ trains on several days to save on accommodation.

Average costs of staying in dorms:

  • Western Europe: 26 (Rs 1800)
  • Eastern Europe: 15 (Rs 1083)
  • USA, Canada – $27 (Rs 1830)
  • Mexico – $18 (Rs 1179)
  • Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Nepal – $5 (Rs 330)
  • Indonesia – $7 (Rs 458)
  • Myanmar – $9 (Rs 580)

TIPS for you:

  • You can try Couchsurfing to get free accommodation while traveling.
  • Negotiate: If you are planning to stay for a few nights in the same place, ask if you can get a cheaper deal. I always got the deal! 
travel around the world for cheap, travel, backpacking, miss walking shoes, top travel blog, leena bansal, budget travel, backpacking,
A good way to save money when you travel around the world for cheap is by traveling overnight

Food: When traveling long term or solo, staying healthy is crucial. I would definitely not recommend anyone to skip meals. In fact, my appetite increased drastically during my traveling days, I would eat at slightest craving and multiple times a day because I was sure that I would not gain any weight.

To stay within my budgets, I would cook my meals wherever possible. Usually in countries where food is expensive, most hostels provide kitchen facilities and complimentary breakfasts. In other countries, I would eat on streets, at places where I could see people cooking fresh food or where locals were eating. That is a great way to learn about and enjoy the local cuisine at right prices.

TIP for you:

  • In most countries, food and accommodation costs are proportionate. If your accommodation cost is less than your food spending, it usually suggests that you are budgeting right.
  • If you are a vegetarian or vegan or on any other dietary restrictions, you may find this link useful – Tips for Eating Vegetarian & Vegan Food When Traveling 
food around the world, food, countries, travel around the world for cheap, travel, backpacking, miss walking shoes, food, eating cheap while traveling, local food, exotic food, vegetarian food, solo woman traveler, top travel blog,
Eating was definitely one of the highpoints on my trip around the world

Miscellaneous – This includes every other cost that comes up during travels ranging from a fresh stock of toiletries, to on ground transportation, museum fees, adventure activities, tours, VISA fees (I spent Rs. 38699/ $590.49 alone on this), replacing old stuff etc.

There are multiple ways of saving money here and that depends totally on your traveling style. I started my trip by carrying body wash, face wash, shampoo, conditioner and detergent and within a few weeks, I was using just a body wash cum shampoo for everything. Such small changes not only saves you a lot of space and money but also makes you realize that you don’t need much.

As for activities, I indulged in everything I wanted to – from kayaking to paragliding to trekking to diving to visiting museums, doing tours, attending concerts and Operas. Unlike popular perception, budget traveling is not traveling poorly. It is utilizing your money to gain maximum. I minimized the unnecessary expenses such as shopping and maximized my travel experiences.

TIP for you:

The best tip I can give you is – don’t skip things that make you happy. I met too many travelers who were obsessed with keeping within budgets that they miss on enjoying new experiences. If you keep skipping things/ activities because they are too expensive or because you can do them in future or with someone, then you are missing out on the very reason why you decided to travel. Don’t postpone your happiness – Life is now or Never.

If you spend wisely, you’d be surprised at what you can do with limited money. If you are still short on finances, it is better to do a short trip than do a long, unfulfilled one. But that is just my opinion, you are a better judge of how you wish to travel.

In the end,

I would like to reiterate that no two travel budgets are same. You might end up spending much more or less during your travels. This is because the amount that you will end up spending depends a lot on you and your preferences.

Nonetheless, I hope this post will be helpful if you are planning to do an RTW trip or travel for extended time periods.

If you have a question, let me know. I will get back to you asap. 🙂

23 thoughts on “How I managed to travel around the world for cheap? – Less than $42 a day

  1. your blog is so informative! And Its amazing to see that you explored this all alone! Hats off to you! Wish we all had the courage and determination that you have shown. Respect.:)

  2. Hey MissWalkingShoes,
    Really amazing to hear your travel stories!!! I have came across lot of travel blogs/websites most of them focus on selling some products with some use full information for other travelers but all of your posts have lot of valuable information. When I started reading your blogs I had questions like how much did you spend, how did you travel, where did you stay, how did you plan and lot… Your latest blogs answered all those questions. You are great inspiration for me, Keep inspiring us with more stories…

  3. Great to know about an Indian performing world travel. Very informative, interesting and summerized your narration is.
    Have you also performed Couchsurfing. Will Indian male be welcomed in coucsurfing? What are your views? as I have hosted many whites male & females both in my home at Mandi Himachal India.

  4. You do inspire me !! i am also from the field of advertising (ex-JWT) and left my job to start saving up for the next Europe trip i am planning.. I plan to visit France-belgium-Netherlands with my boyfriend. Can you give me some crucial tips for saving up some bucks ? we are travelling on December, so should that reduce some expense, if i am not wrong ?

  5. It’s truly inspiring to read… Just had a few more apprehensions, before setting off on such a life adventure!
    You didn’t mention anything about sources of income, during such long travels…. Did you already have 14-15L in your bank a/c when you started the travels? Or did you manage to generate any additional cash flow during the travels? If so, what ways?

  6. You truly are an Inspiration for everyone who wants to travel the world, which includes me too. Wish that all your dreams come true.

  7. you are an inspiration. hope to see you around. incase you travel to Nepal again. i would love to host you and provide you with fooding,lodging and can email me. ..#womenpower#gogirl#lovefromnepal

  8. Hi Leena ,
    I just came across an inspiring article on your dreamy run between continents 🙂
    and it’s in Malayalam 🙂

    May you go on treading news vistas 🙂

  9. Hey Leena, it was delightful to read about your adventures around the globe. Your blog has given me inspiration to further my plans for a solo trip that I have been planning/dreaming about since the past 3 years.

    I think we all need some motivation to pursue our dreams. It’s not just the passion, but a need to feel good about ourselves. With your blog and endeavours, you have lead by example. And this is a quality that builds a leader. The articles have generated a good response and you’re doing some great work by helping others. Thank you.

    Love the name Miss Walking Shoes!

  10. Hi Leena, you are truly an inspiration. Thanks for this wonderful blog. This reconfirms that travel is the best love one can ever fall in love with. #travelerpriya

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *