Statistics From a Year of Travel


frolicking in the sahara desert

When I set out last year to travel I really didn’t know what to expect. My friends were placing bets on how long it would be before I returned home, and having never travelled alone before, or for more than two weeks at a time, I was inclined to believe there was a high possibility I would be back within a month too.

I think I spent every single night of my first week in tears.

As someone who liked to firmly remain in their comfort zone, didn’t know how to talk to strangers and was terrified to try new things, I couldn’t help but spend every single second wondering what on earth I was doing, wondering why I was even travelling in the first place, struggling to understand why I was finding this so hard.

And it was really, really hard.

For the first month at least.

And then, suddenly, something clicked. I got over my reluctance to talk to people I didn’t know, I learnt that the likelihood of dying while trying new food was actually very, very low. The familiar emotion of anxiety that had held a constant presence for much of my life was replaced by something quite different. Happiness.

Travelling was my new comfort zone.

And the thought of going home suddenly started to terrify me.

I started to realise that returning to my old life back in England was no longer an option – I needed to find a way to make this lifestyle sustainable, I needed to start earning money. And so, after months and months of very little travel and a hell of a lot of work – freelance writing and other online ventures – I finally reached the point where I was able to fund my travels and could travel for the foreseeable future.

Being a physics geek, I love numbers and try to keep track of my statistics as I travel. Here’s my round-up of the last year:

Continents visited: 3

Africa, Asia, Europe.

Countries visited: 22

Austria, Bosnia, Cambodia, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, England, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Indonesia, Laos, Morocco, Netherlands, The Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Ukraine.

lauren on the great wall of china

Cities visited: 78

Distance travelled: 60,368km

Number of photos taken: 23,347

frolicking in the sahara desert

Number of planes: 36

Number of trains: 17

Number of buses: 33

surfing in kuta bali

Favourite countries:

Thailand, Taiwan, The Philippines.

Favourite cities:

Ljubljana, Slovenia; Chiang Mai, Thailand; Koh Yao Noi, Thailand; Boracay, The Philippines.

Total amount spent: £8576.78/$13,312

I am pretty amazed at how little I spent over the entire year. Why were my travels so cheap? I’ve put it down to the fact that I spent 10 of the 12 months in Asia and I was based in Thailand for 6 of those months – a country where I frequently spent under $500 a month. It just goes to show that travel can be extremely affordable!

Amount spent per day by country:

Austria: £37.50/day

Bosnia: £40.00/day

Cambodia: £47.61/day

China: £21.23/day

Croatia: £36.14/day

Czech Republic: £10.00/day

Germany: £24.16/day

Hong Kong: £18.90/day

Hungary: £17.00/day

Indonesia: £25.52/day

Laos: £9.44/day

Morocco: £22.33/day

Netherlands: £32.06/day

The Philippines: £25.01/day

Russia: £30.00/day

Singapore: £30.00/day

Slovenia: £27.51/day

South Korea: £10.16/day

Taiwan: £13.55/day

Thailand: £17.60/day

Ukraine: £16.00/day

beach on koh phi phi

The highlights of my year:

at angkor wat

The past year has undoubtedly been the best year of my entire life!

The only thing left to say is thank you SO much for reading along with my adventures/disasters, for commenting and sharing my posts, for all the support – I appreciate it so much! Hopefully I’ve been able to entertain you with all my mishaps and I hope I can bring you even more ridiculous stories over the next year!

– Lauren

78 Comments

  1. Matt Gibson
    July 25, 2012
    Reply

    Pretty sweet budgeting. Good to see that you enjoyed Taiwan. They do have the kindest people in the world!

    • July 26, 2012
      Reply

      Thanks, Matt! Ah, I miss Taiwan so much. The people were AMAZING.

  2. Katherine | Kapcha The World
    July 25, 2012
    Reply

    Congrats on your first year. It’s always scary heading off on your own. I did my year away a while ago now and loved it. Am currently plucking up the courage to move countries and start a fresh.

    • July 26, 2012
      Reply

      Thank you! :) Yep, it’s terrifying if you’ve never done it before – but so worth it!

  3. Jen
    July 26, 2012
    Reply

    Lauren, I have loved reading your site. I remember stumbling across it when I was at the beginning stages of my planning. You have inspired me to step out of my comfort zone! I can’t wait to go on my trip in 2014 and I’m really glad I stumbled on your blog.

    Jen

    • July 27, 2012
      Reply

      Jen, thank you SO much! :) I’m glad I’ve helped to inspire you to travel too! If I can do it, anyone can! ;)

  4. GJ
    July 26, 2012
    Reply

    great blog… thank you for sharing all your adventures.

  5. Lindsey
    July 26, 2012
    Reply

    Lauren, I’ve loved your blog since I discovered it in February, and you were one of the biggest influences for my realisation that hey, I can do this too!

    Thanks so much for being so approachable when I emailed you with all my questions, and I can’t wait to see what the next year brings for you. Hope we can meet up on the road some day!

    • July 27, 2012
      Reply

      Awww, thanks Lindsey! :) That’s the point I try to get across through my site – look at all the crazy and ridiculous things that happen to me while I travel, but I’m still alive, I’m still doing it, and if I can, you can too!

  6. July 26, 2012
    Reply

    Congrats Lauren! Hopefully I’ll be able to make my funds last as long as you’ve managed. Going to CouchSurf a lot to keep accommodation costs down and…hmm….well I guess I have to budget the rest!

    Looking forward to seeing where the rest of the year brings you! :)

    • July 27, 2012
      Reply

      Spending the majority of your time in cheaper countries definitely helps – never leave Southeast Asia haha!

  7. Ian [EagerExistence]
    July 26, 2012
    Reply

    Wow. Cambodia is more expensive than I pictured it would be.

    • July 27, 2012
      Reply

      That’s the entrance ticket to Angkor Wat ;) If I hadn’t paid for that, it would have only been around £15 a day.

  8. As a Psychology PhD, I too am a total numbers nerd, so I love these kinds of posts! And I really love that you were able to travel for so long for so little – we are thinking of spending a good chunk of time in Asia, and it’s nice to see that it really is possible to enjoy life and really immerse yourself in the places you are visiting without completely blowing the budget!

    Also, I am hoping one thing I get out of our trip is to get over my dislike of speaking to strangers. If they are the ones to strike up conversation, I do fine, but I really hate breaking the ice with people I don’t know.

    • July 27, 2012
      Reply

      Yep, staying in Asia definitely helps to minimise your costs – especially if you settle and live somewhere for a couple of months.

  9. July 26, 2012
    Reply

    That was a great year, Lauren!
    How did you manage to spend £47.61/day in Cambodia and just £10.00/day in Czech Republic?

    • July 27, 2012
      Reply

      The price of a 3 day Angkor Wat ticket bumped up the price of Cambodia, as I only spent 3 days there!

      I arrived in Prague at night on my final day of travel for this year – so my only expense was the price of the hostel, not food or anything :)

  10. Alison
    July 26, 2012
    Reply

    Congrats on a year of travel, I’ve enjoyed reading about all of your adventures :-)

    • July 27, 2012
      Reply

      Thanks so much for reading along, Alison :)

  11. Beverley
    July 26, 2012
    Reply

    Lauren: congratulations on overcoming your anxiety and finding something that truly makes you happy. I know you’ve had some mishaps (that make great stories!) in the past year but at least you’re having more of an adventure than you would had you spent the last year at home.

    I felt exactly the same when I’d been in Australia for a year; although I hadn’t been “travelling” around as much, the fact that I’d chosen to leave EVERYTHING I knew at home and start again from scratch in another country and not had a breakdown/died was kinda liberating!

    Congrats again hun xx

    • July 27, 2012
      Reply

      Thanks, lovely! Yep, i know if I’d stayed at home over the past year I would have probably spent 90% of my time sitting on my laptop, achieving absolutely nothing.

      You’ve done awesome too :)

  12. Diane
    July 26, 2012
    Reply

    Loved this post! As a new reader, it was a great way to get caught up. I’ve been here for 30 min so far and I’m not leaving any time soon. Lots of posts to read!

    • July 27, 2012
      Reply

      Thanks, Diane! Hope you enjoy reading about all my mishaps ;)

  13. SarahGev
    July 26, 2012
    Reply

    I loved this, what a wonderful heartfelt summary of your trip and using numbers! great.

  14. Ali
    July 26, 2012
    Reply

    Congrats on passing the one year mark! I think it’s so awesome that you spent so little in the past year!

    • July 27, 2012
      Reply

      Thanks, Ali! I was really shocked when I added it all up!

  15. Sal
    July 26, 2012
    Reply

    That is actually SUPER cheap! Very inspirational! Thank you VERY much for sharing.

  16. Nomadic Translator @latinAbroad
    July 26, 2012
    Reply

    Gotta love ya Lauren! Very surprised at how little you spent. Do these figures also include long-haul flights across said continents, trains, etc.? If so, I’m even MORE impressed! Def. stumbled this so I can use it for reference when I finally entail on another RTW trip :)

    Can’t wait to read more — for another awesome year!

    Cheers,

    Maria Alexandra

    • July 27, 2012
      Reply

      Yep, all the flights and transport is included :) It makes me miss the prices of Asia…. :D

  17. Congrats on your first full year of travel! Traveling the world on that amount of money is definitely impressive, but I’m personally more impressed by your resilience. Kudos to you for sticking with it and finding your happiness!

    • July 27, 2012
      Reply

      Awwww, thanks Christy :) I’m SO glad I didn’t give up and run home in the beginning…

  18. Jaime
    July 26, 2012
    Reply

    Wow… a year already. I remember when you were leaving home. Fuck time flies. I love all the statistics I haven’t kept track of many but have a few interesting ones I cant wait to share once the trip is over…lol!!! Congrats on the year and cheers to many more!!!

    • July 27, 2012
      Reply

      I know, a year sounds HUGE! I like telling people in hostels that I’ve been travelling for a year because finally my number sounds impressive LOL.

  19. Susan @ Travel Junkette
    July 27, 2012
    Reply

    Love it! Congrats on such a great year!

  20. Sunee
    July 27, 2012
    Reply

    It’s great that you’ve managed to build an income that will keep you travelling. I’m curious – any of the work you do online physics related?

    • July 27, 2012
      Reply

      Nope, I think I’ve forgotten everything I learned during my degree now!

  21. Jen
    July 27, 2012
    Reply

    Lauren, this post makes me all kinds of happy!! xxxxx

    • Lauren
      July 29, 2012
      Reply

      Awww, I’m so glad! :)

  22. Christy
    July 27, 2012
    Reply

    Wow. I can’t believe you were able to keep track of all this stuff. You are way more organized than me! Congrats on a year of travel!

    • April 17, 2013
      Reply

      Ha thanks Christy! I can’t believe it either! :-)

  23. jade
    July 27, 2012
    Reply

    Congrats! What an amazing year it has been!

    • April 17, 2013
      Reply

      Thanks, Jade! Amazing definitely describes it!

  24. Stephanie - The Travel Chica
    July 27, 2012
    Reply

    Quite impressive. Not just the stats but the fact that you actually are able to calculate them!

  25. Elle of Solo Female Nomad
    July 28, 2012
    Reply

    Wow! You have really come so far in a year – and I don’t mean in miles! Travel has a great way of forcing you to overcome your fears as it has done with me. Im not sure the person I would have become if I hadn’t traveled. Congratulations on your success!

    • April 17, 2013
      Reply

      Thanks, Elle. I definitely agree with you. I don’t think I’d be much of a fan of the person I’d be if I hadn’t travelled…

  26. Congrats on your first year! love how you broke it down.

    • April 17, 2013
      Reply

      Thanks, Sara! I’m looking forward to seeing what my expenses are like next year!

  27. Olivia
    July 30, 2012
    Reply

    Shoutout from the Philippines! Happy that you loved our Boracay!

    • April 17, 2013
      Reply

      It’s one of my favourite places :-)

  28. July 30, 2012
    Reply

    Great summary post :D It always amazes me how people say travel is so expensive, and yet your whole incredible year costs far less than funding most ‘normal’ lives. Keep it up :D

    • April 17, 2013
      Reply

      Thanks, Laurence! So true! :-)

  29. Vicky
    July 31, 2012
    Reply

    Really inspiring to read that you spent less than £9k in a year. Thanks for revealing all your stats – another push for me in the right direction to giving it all up and going travelling :)

    • April 17, 2013
      Reply

      Awww, that’s so lovely to hear Vicky! I hope you manage to head out to see the world soon :-)

  30. July 31, 2012
    Reply

    Wow! I could never keep track of all that. Really impressed with how little you spent–good work!

  31. Sky
    August 2, 2012
    Reply

    As I mentioned on Twitter, I find it amazing that you spent less than what an American would make working minimum wage for a year…it just proves how affordable travel really can be!

    Congrats on one year of travel! :)

    • April 17, 2013
      Reply

      Yep, definitely! I had a lot less comfort but it was definitely worth it for me :-)

  32. August 7, 2012
    Reply

    What a fantastic year! Awesome!
    I’m impressed with how much you’ve managed to do with so little money. It’s an inspiration to anyone who thinks they can’t afford to travel.
    Here’s to many more great years!!

    • April 17, 2013
      Reply

      Thanks, Michael! It’s definitely much more affordable than people think.

  33. Alison
    October 26, 2012
    Reply

    Congrats on a great year, Lauren. I wish I was as good at budgeting and watching my money as you seem to be :-)

    • April 17, 2013
      Reply

      Thanks Alison! If I didn’t have my monthly summaries I’d be a lot worse… :-)

  34. William
    April 14, 2013
    Reply

    The amounts on amounts per day seem pretty surprising. Why is Cambodia so high and South Korea so low? Also, Indonesia and Philippines are both higher than Hong Kong?? What gives?

    • April 14, 2013
      Reply

      Well I spent 3 days total in Cambodia and spent all of that time at Angkor Wat. A three day pass costs $40 and I had to pay $15 a day for a tuk-tuk driver. If I’d spent a month in Cambodia and hadn’t been to Angkor Wat then, of course, it would have been much cheaper.

      I stayed with friends in South Korea and Hong Kong so I only had to pay for food while I was in those countries, which is why my costs were so low :-)

  35. Den
    May 16, 2013
    Reply

    Hey Lauren, just came across your blog. Great stuff! I’m from Singapore and saw the posts you made when you were here. Just thought i could share with you some stuff.

    -Try visiting sentosa at night and catch “Songs of the Sea”. Its a water performance out at the sea at siloso beach.

    – Ask around for recommended hawker centers if you are keen on trying tasty local dishes. Cheap and the most authentic tasting. If you want great local food, hawker centers are where you should be heading to. Just have to bear with the heat though as it is not air conditioned. haha

    – you can catch a return ferry (S$50) from harbor front that will take you to a small island in Indonesia called batam (1hr journey). Cheap clothes, cheap food, cheap spa, and water sports widely available too. Just make sure you avoid the usual tourist traps.

    Just some of the few stuff to share with you. Hope it helps you the next time you visit Singapore. Have fun travelling! Cheers!

  36. May 24, 2013
    Reply

    Hi Lauren,

    What an amazing year you’ve had!

    I’m currently planning a RTW trip myself and am starting to worry about the budget and if I’ll have enough money to keep me going for a year.
    I’m really impressed with your break-down, thank you for sharing, it really helps other travellers who are organising a trip.

    I was wondering how much of that budget was spent on flights and how much on overland travel?

    Not long now until your second year summary, can’t wait to read it!

    Jenny

  37. Dems
    August 22, 2013
    Reply

    Oh wow! I’m so happy you love the Philippines! You should go back and explore Palawan, see the Rice Terraces, etc.!

    • August 25, 2013
      Reply

      I definitely need to see more of Palawan. I wasn’t very excited by Coron :-)

  38. BakoymaTravels
    September 5, 2013
    Reply

    Thank you for the statistics! Not many travellers post stuff like that, I don’t know if it’s because they think it might be boring or what, but I find it very useful.

    Happy trails in the future, we’ll be following you around :-)

    • September 18, 2013
      Reply

      Glad you found them helpful :-) I’m all about the statistics!

  39. September 21, 2013
    Reply

    What a refreshing post and I wonder how many people have experienced what you did on the slow boat! Not many I hope. I love the statistics of your daily spending per country. This is extremely useful. Thank you. Congratulations on your travels and on a truly inspirational blog.

    • September 21, 2013
      Reply

      I hope not many too! :-) I’m so glad you found my statistics useful and thank you for your kind words!

  40. Phil
    April 13, 2020
    Reply

    Hi Lauren
    I am in the process of saving. To take at least take a year off and travel.
    You said “ Total amount spent: £8576.78/$13,312“. In your first year

    Did that include flights and main travel between countries ??

    If so do you mind saying how much you roughly spent on the travel part..

    Many thanks phil

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