How to live traveling on a low budget? (Our first year of travel in numbers and statistics)


Our first year of travel on the map

The million dollar question: what does it mean to live traveling?

Or rather, how do we live it? Do we live on vacation? Do we move every so often? Do you have to be rich to live traveling? Neither one nor the other. We like to define this “living traveling” as a moving, nomadic lifestyle, in which we take our life (with all its good, bad things, projects, jobs, desires, dreams, etc.) wherever we go. Sometimes that movement is slower and sometimes faster, which depends on a lot of circumstances. Therefore, in this post, we want to tell you in numbers, statistics and some other ways, the details of how 2019 was for us, our first year of living traveling with a low budget.

The departure from Argentina, on the 31st of December in 2018, when we still had no idea of ​​all the adventures that were to come…

First thing’s first: How much did we spend?

PS 1. This does not mean that we have spent the same amount on every day of the trip, sometimes we spend more and sometimes less. This number is our average expense, counting the 365 days of 2019, our first year of traveling.

PS 2. This expense does not include the departure ticket from Argentina, it starts counting from the first thing we spent on when we set foot outside the plane, in our first stop of the trip, Istanbul.

PS 3. In many of the countries we visited, Euros are not used, however we calculate everything in Euros, to simplify and make the comparison easier.

Is this value a lot? Is it little? This question is as relative as it is impossible to answer, so we will not attempt it. What we are going to do is to tell you how we lived and what we did to reach that value.


Accommodation: How did we accommodate and how did we save money?

The accommodation (in general) is one of the biggest expenses of traveling and for us it would have been virtually impossible to pay for each of the nights of this year. That’s why we searched and found plenty of alternative ways to lodge without paying for accommodation.

PS 1. If you want to read more about house-sitting (and start doing it too!) You can read about it in this post “House-sitting: A guide to travel the world taking care of houses”

PS 2. If you want to know more about traveling by volunteering, you can read this guide: “Volunteering: A guide to travel the world with few expenses and many experiences”

House-sitting in Granada, Couch-surfing in Tetouan and the greatest learning of the year: that we can adapt to anything


Beds: In how many beds did we sleep during a year of travel?

At first glance it sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? Have you thought about how many beds did you sleep during 2019?

3 of the 52 beds we slept in this year: Buljarica, Pristina and Marrakech 


Family: For how long did we receive family visits? (or we visited them)

Sometimes it seems that living traveling means that we will never see our families again. In the following graph we want to show you that this may not be so. In our case, when we told our families that we wanted to live traveling, everyone supported us 100% and they immediately signed up to come and visit us wherever we went. 

Omar’s mom in Turkey, Omar’s dad in Croatia and Noe’s mom and dad in Spain, some of the family visits we received in 2019


Car: Free vs rented

During 2019, we had a car during 159 days, which means 44% of the whole year. In 4% it was rented cars and those happened because our families came to visit and well… actually they rented the cars (lol). 40% of the year we had a free car and we owe it to the four house-sittings we did, because the use of the car was included in all of them. And the 56% of the year that we didn’t have a car, doesn’t need much clarification, we didn’t have a car, period.

Left: car rented in Turkey / Right: free car (yes, a convertible Mini Cooper) in Granada


Environment: metropolis, cities, towns or countryside. In what kind of environment did we live during this year?

Another great thing about statistics is that it allows us to see clearly (and with specific numbers) information that is otherwise quite difficult to visualize. Sometimes that information surprises us for good and sometimes it gives us an alarm signal. But the good thing is that with that information we can make better decisions for the coming  years (and trips). For example, now we know that next year we don’t want to spend 45% of the time in the countryside, not a chance! (even though it’s so much cheaper!) 

From major to minor: Madrid, Plovdiv, Chefchaouen, the Alpujarras Granadinas 


Animals: How many and which animals did we care for during 2019?

As we have shown above, a big portion of the year we spent doing house-sitting and volunteer work. The vast majority of this time included taking care of animals, which sums a total of… 53 animals!!! (another one of those surprising numbers). Below the graph of which animals form that number…

We in our first house-sitting, taking care of 5 doggies in the Alpujarras Granadinas (Spain)

 

We in our second house-sitting, taking care of Ioni and Breta in Firenze (Italy) 


Geography: How many countries did we visit during 2019 and which were they?

Which were:
Turkey, Spain, Morocco, England, Italy, Croatia, Montenegro, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Bulgaria 


Time: What percentage of time were we in each country?

Expensive countries vs cheap countries: how much did we spend in each and how did we lodge

A huge lesson from this year of living traveling is that, for our numbers, it is not so important if a country is expensive or cheap but the kind of accommodation we ​​have in it. For example, can you believe that we spent practically the same (on average), in Morocco than in Italy? Sounds weird, doesn’t it? What happens is that, it all depends on the type of life we do, how we lodge, how much we move, etc. During the 3 months we were in Morocco, we visited 17 places, and despite traveling quite a lot by hitch-hiking, this movement involved a lot of costs. In Italy, however, in the same amount of time, we visited only 3 places and in addition, most of the time we were doing house-sitting and to a lesser extent couch-surfing and volunteering. The result? We spent 3 months in Italy without paying a single night’s lodging. In the following graphs, you will find the details of how we accommodated in each country and how much we spent per day, per person, on average. This information seems to debunk the popular division in “expensive countries” or “cheap countries”

Left: England, the country where we spend the most per day / Right: Morocco: the country that didn’t turn out to be as cheap as we expected


You have reached the end. We hope this post will serve you and provide you with useful information and data for your future trips, that you enjoy knowing a little more about how our first year of travel was and that you see that there are as many different ways to travel as travelers in the world.

It served us infinitely and we believe that seeing the trip translated in numbers is a great tool to make decisions and continue planning for the years to come. This year 2019 was our first, the pilot and now we can say that we know ourselves much more, as travelers (and as people), we have a much clearer vision of what we want, why and how to achieve it.

If you want to read a little more, here is my personal farewell letter to 2019. It gives some emotional insights about how our first year of traveling felt for me (Noe):


Postscript

If you liked this post and want to help us continue traveling and writing, here are some ideas on how to do so

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