What Were the Most/Least Expensive Places to Travel Per Day?

As you might have gathered from reading some of our recent posts, we enjoy gathering and analyzing data- especially when this data regards the costs of our recent RTW adventure.

We kept detailed budget information on all of the places that we visited, in part to see how much we actually spent in total for our 10 months of travel, but also to look at the information broken down by country. We recently wrote about how much we spent in total and were excited that we had managed to keep under our goal of spending less than $100/day on the trip.

But for those of us who are really curious about data, or those who might be considering trips to some of the countries we visited, we have a bit more information!

We visited a total of 29 countries on our RTW trip, but for various reasons, we kept a budget breakdown by country of only 17 of them (as well as a budget for our whole self-drive safari in southern Africa). Some of the reasons we didn’t include a country might be: we visited for only a day so the data isn’t that valid or interesting (Egypt, Zimbabwe, Germany, Macau), we visited with our parents and they either changed our mode of travel significantly or paid for a significant portion of the trip so we felt like the data would not accurately represent what we did there (Czech Republic, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia Herzegovina), we visited friends/family/relatives at home (USA), or our activities ended up being so strange and out of the ordinary that they don’t represent a normal trip to the country (Nepal). We also kept our budget for our self-drive safari as a whole rather than separate the countries we visited (Botswana, Namibia).

We took the data that we were keeping which was in categories for spending (Accommodation, Activities, Alcohol, Food, Miscellaneous, Transport, and Visas) and divided each of those out by day to get some idea of which countries were expensive in which categories.

Here are the countries we have full data on in alphabetical order.

expenses per day

As you can see: 17 countries plus our self-drive safari were looked at. They cover three continents: Africa, Europe, and Asia.

We kept a record of how many days we were in each country.

expenses per day days

The shortest amounts of time were in countries that we managed to plan last minute layovers in on our way somewhere else (Ireland and Singapore). We actually are a little regretful that we didn’t spent more time in Poland. As it was, we only crossed the southwestern corner and visited only one city there. Krakow was great and it whet our appetite to see much more of Poland. Hong Kong is small so we spent a short time there, but we ended up wishing we had more! The longest visits were in the places that were farthest away, places where we felt a return trip was slightly less likely. Our self-drive safari took us to 4 countries and was the longest period of time where we did one activity on the entire trip.

Average Accommodation Costs Per Day

expenses per day accommodation

Our cheapest accommodations were, unsurprisingly, in southeast Asia. The surprise there is that Turkey was so affordable. The great thing about all of those is that we also got nicer accommodation in all those places than in some of the others. We almost never stayed in a dorm in SE Asia for example, whereas, our most expensive nights were in Ireland where we rented just one room in someone’s home. Singapore and Hong Kong both were high and both of those rooms were small and relatively uncomfortable. The self-drive safari were all campsites (!) yet this ranks on the more expensive half of our accommodations. Strange.

Average Activities Costs Per Day

expenses per day activities

This is, no doubt, a difficult one to compare. Activities costs depend largely on time of year, length of stay, and interests. Montenegro was low, for example, because we didn’t do a lot while we were there. We took a week to calm down and relax, mostly walking and people watching. Vietnam and Thailand rank more expensive on this list, but that is in part because the cost of activities were so low there, that we chose to do more! For example, we took many day tours in both those places: days with elephants, cooking classes, cave tours, guided excursions, etc. We did none of those things in Albania, choosing more “do it ourselves” activities. However, this does give you a decent representation of activity costs. Ireland and Singapore were very high and that shows!

Average Food Costs Per Day

expenses per day food

Our lowest costs here were in SE Asia again – with the weird standout being Cambodia. We’re not sure what to say about that except that it was the beginning of our experience with hot, humid SE Asia. We weren’t tough yet and looked for places with indoor seating and AC which undoubtedly increased our costs. Bali ranks high because we traveled with some friends who really enjoy food! Our self-drive safari comes in low (for the first time) because we did all of our cooking for ourselves. The same can be said of Montenegro, which also comes in pretty cheap. For our entire week there, we only ate out once. Interestingly though, Vietnam and Thailand come in very cheap and we ate out for almost every meal there! They both are excellent places to be if you enjoy eating! Ireland was just plain pricey!

Average Transportation Costs Per Day

expenses per day transportation

Not surprisingly, our self-drive safari comes in the most expensive here with the cost of renting our safari truck and paying for gas. It is frustrating to see Greece come in so high, especially because the transportation there ended up being so unreliable. Albania was a true winner in this area – easy transport (though not super comfortable) and very cheap prices.

So… What were the most and least expensive places?! Let’s find out!

Average Total Cost Per Day

expenses per day total

Our cheapest country was Albania! Who would have thought that the least expensive place to travel would have been somewhere in Europe? The most expensive by far was our self-drive safari. This also seems a bit of a surprise because we were driving ourselves and staying in campsites along the way. Other things we noticed which muddle the data: We tended to spend more in places were we spent the least amount of time (see Ireland, Hong Kong, and Singapore). We think we felt the pressure to cram the same amount of things in but had to do it in a hurry. This definitely caused higher average per day costs.

There you have it! Check out our activities in each country to get a better idea of how this data might relate to you and your travel style.

What Were the Cheapest Places We Stayed?

Over the course of our round-the-world trip, we stayed in quite a variety of accommodations, from campsites to dorm rooms to AirBnb apartments. The price range varied widely as well. We ran some numbers and came up with a list of the 10 cheapest places we stayed. The price shown is the total cost for the two of us.

This does not include the nights where we had free accommodations by staying with friends and family, or when our parents treated us, or when we were on an overnight form of transportation.

10. Tie – AirBnb in Sarajevo and Emerald BB in Battambang, Cambodia – $15.33/night

When with Della’s parents in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, we got a nice two-bedroom unit with a large living room and kitchen for very cheap. Spoiler alert: this is the only place on the list that is not in Asia!

The living room of our Sarajevo Airbnb

The living room of our Sarajevo Airbnb

In Battambang, Cambodia, we got a nice room with an ensuite bathroom at the Emerald BB. Despite the name, breakfast was not included, and the building felt more like a hotel.

Our room at the Emerald BB in Battambang, Cambodia

Our room at the Emerald BB in Battambang, Cambodia

9. TopSky Hostel in Siem Reap, Cambodia – $15/night

We switched to this place for our last three nights in Siem Reap. Despite what the name implies, this felt more like a guesthouse. We got a private room with an ensuitre bathroom and A/C, which was nice to come back to after long days exploring the temples of Angkor.



8. Easy Tiger Hostel, Phong Nha, Vietnam – $14.85/night

We each got a bunk in the 4-bunk dorms at this popular hostel in Phong Nha. The dorm did have its own bathroom. Surprisingly, this is the only dorm that makes the list (since as you can see, private rooms are still pretty cheap in Asia).


The Easy Tiger

The Easy Tiger

7. Nonni Guesthouse, Chiang Mai, Thailand – $14.68/night

We stayed here on our first two nights in Chiang Mai but moved to a different place for a little more space, as the room was a little small and we had a shared bathroom across the hall. It had friendly and helpful staff.

Our first accommodations in Chiang Mai

Our first accommodations in Chiang Mai

6. Gieng Ngoc Hotel, Cat Ba, Vietnam – $14.60/night

Impressive because we even “splurged” for a room with a balcony overlooking the scenic Cat Ba harbor!

The view of Cat Ba harbor from our balcony

The view of Cat Ba harbor from our balcony

5. Hotel Bright Star, Kathmandu, Nepal – $12/night

This family-run hotel had a nice location in the tourist area of Kathmandu, and the owner was very kind and helpful. We really hope that he is able to rebuild his place that was damaged after the neighboring building collapsed in the earthquake.

Hotel Bright Star on its quiet street

Hotel Bright Star on its quiet street

4. Sunny Hotel, Hue, Vietnam – $11.97/night

We had a nice but small room on the top floor of this friendly hotel in Hue. We got a lot of exercise walking up and down the stairs to get there!


3. Vadsana, Pak Beng, Laos – $9.92/night

This was where we stayed on our first night of our trip on the slow boat from Luang Prabang to Thailand. It was a basic room but decent-sized room, and we didn’t spend much time here anyway.

Della and Eric's hotel room

Della and Eric’s hotel room

2. Thanomsub, Huay Xai, Laos – $8.68/night

This was our room the second night of the slow boat trip in this border town. We were able to lower the rate slightly by negotiating as a group with other people on our boat. Again this was quite a bit of room for a small fee.


1. Surya Peak Guest House, Syabru Besi, Nepal – $2/night

By far our cheapest room of the entire trip was at this guesthouse at the start of our Langtang Trek. It was pretty basic, with thin walls and a very rustic bathroom down the hall, but there weren’t many other people staying there so it was quite comfortable.




It’s interesting to us to look back over this list and realize how many of these “cheap” places were actually very comfortable to stay at. Many people think that to afford a long trip you have to only stay in the rattiest dorms, but as you can see, in many parts of the world you can get your own room with its own bathroom and not have to break the bank.