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Travel the world with €12

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A €12 travel budget


How much does a world trip cost?

That's what we asked ourselves and we started to search on Google. The answers are very different, from €5 to €100 for a day. Everything depends on your way of travelling and the length of your trip. Our plan was to travel for an indefinite time. Our previous trips learned us that we can travel with a daily budget of €15. One year world trip will cost €5.475. This is about €450 every month, which is way less than the average rent of an apartment in Amsterdam. Right now we are travelling more than a year and spent €12 a day. How do we do this?

Living with €12 a day

The last fifteen months we listed all our spendings during the world trip. This way we know how much we spent and what we buy with the money. With €12 a day per person we can travel without any problems. Do we have to live like a beggar or a vagrant? Absolutely not! With €12 a day we can do all these things:

  • Cook a healthy and varied meal every day
  • Eating in a (cheap) restaurant now and then
  • 400 out of 500 nights we were sleeping under a roof. We used our tent only 100 times.
  • Buying spare parts for the bicycles. (if we can't find them for an affordable price at least)
  • Paying ferries and public transport.
  • Visiting national parks and muses.
  • A touristic tour when we want to.
  • Buying new clothes and camping gear, when the old ones are completely worn out.
  • Pay the hosting of our website.

All this we can do for €12. Off course we have to make some sacrifices. Expensive tours, stylish hotels and fancy restaurants are out of reach. We learned to enjoy and appreciate the small things in life. And the one time that we splurge the money on some luxury, we enjoy it double as much. We are not counting our budget day by day. Some days we spent nothing, while other days we need €50. On average it is €12 a person a day.

Sleep for free

Travelling by bicycle saves a lot of transportation costs. But even more, travelling by bike is the reason that we are on a low budget. You learn to live with just little stuff and basic places to spent the night. Accommodation is generally the most expensive part of the trip. Luckily there are enough opportunities to sleep for free, in exchange for wonderful experiences. Travelling by bike helps a lot. Some tips:

  • Warmshowers: an online community of world cyclists who offer a warm shower and a place to sleep, out of love and in exchange for sharing experiences and stories. It is similar to Couchsurfing, but exclusively for cyclists.
  • Locals: it happens often that local people invite us into their house. The bicycles attract the attention, and they want to hear our story. For us those are the moments to learn about the culture. The gratefulness is huge from both sides after a night in a strange house.
  • Wild camping: we are always looking for a nice spot in the nature to pitch the tent. Sometime there a free municipal campings, or we ask a farmer to pitch the tent in his garden. They are always happy to welcome us. With the bicycle it isn't that hard to cycle a few more kilometers for a good spot.
  • Fire brigade: in many countries in South America the fire brigade welcomes travellers to spent the night. Sometimes they have a bed, or a place for your sleeping mattress or tent. Other well known places to try are the hospital, schools, sport centers, the church or the municipality. This won't work in big cities, but in the small villages it is a piece of cake.

In the morning we never know where we are going to sleep. On the bicycle we love this lifestyle and always get amazing experiences in return.

Sometimes we ask the bakery if they have something left from yesterday. Often we get some pastries, cookies or empanadas. On the bicycle we are used to eat old bread, so something from yesterday doesn't bother us. Things like dumpster diving in supermarkets we never tried.


This is impossible in Europe

Off course it is! Accommodation and restaurants are more expensive in Europa but also there we travelled with €12 a day. On the Camino Santiago there a guesthouses and hostels in every village. You can sleep for €5 to €10 in a warm bed. South America isn't that cheap. Supermarkets in Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina have the same prices as in Europe. And Patagonia is more expensive than most countries in Europe. Luckily the nature is so beautiful that we love to sleep in our tent there.

Can it be cheaper than that?

Off course! There are people who travel for free. They do everything hitchhiking, sleep inside the toilet of a gasoline station and ask for free meals in a restaurant. We can do what we want with €12. With less money we would have to lower our standard, which has a negative effect on our wanderlust. With our budget we can travel independent. Whenever we feel like sleeping inside or eating a decent meal, we can afford it. On the other side we are dependent on our adventurous lifestyle and courage to find something cheap now and then. This way our travel budget gives us much more than the €12 we spent every day.

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