How Much Money Do You Need To Go Travelling?

Travelled by Brucini on 9 July 2009 | 10 Comments

Travelled By

Brucini Brucini

Brucini started seriously travelling after attempting to move to Queenstown, New Zealand, in 1996.Inspired by drunkenly meeting a world of travelers on a Kiwi Experience bus, he changed his plans and roamed the world for a year. ...Find out more!

How Much Money Do You Need To Go Travelling?
Here at Travel Generation we’ve recently been asked how much money does someone need to go travelling? It’s understandable, money and budgets are usually the main concern or inhibition to someone’s travelling agenda. We’ve compiled a simple guide to help you plan. Although some of the information might seem obvious, consider these five basic questions you need to ask yourself as a starting point for your travelling planning.
Canadian cash, Image by

Canadian cash, Image by

  1. What will your core expenses be each day?
  2. How long will you be travelling for?
  3. Do you intend on working while you travel?
  4. Are there laws requiring a minimum amount of available funds for the country you are visiting?
  5. What is the exchange rate between your home currency and the country you are visiting?

I’ll exclude questions of money required for airfares simply because this will depend on where you are flying from, to, and how many countries you are visiting en route.

Let’s look at each of these questions in more detail.

1. What will your core expenses be each day?

Your expenditure on each of these core expenses will probably reflect your style, tastes, routine and expectations in your every day lifestyle.

Accommodation: Will you stay in hostel dorms, twin/double, or camp?

Food: Budget for 3 meals a day. Will you cook for your self or always eat out?

Transport: How will you travel around a city? Taxi, public transport and costs of travel between cities.

Activities/Sightseeing: What are the costs of seeing what you want to?

Communication: How often will you use the internet, will you buy a mobile phone or take your own with global roaming to stay in contact

Entertainment: Are you the type to go out every night or happy to stay in?

Russian passport and currency  Image from

Russian passport and currency Image from

You should be able to research your destination via available guidebooks, online search, accommodation and transport providers to get a fair sense of the relative costs of each of those elements.

For each core element you can then establish a daily average expenditure.

2. How long will you be travelling for?

As a general rule, the shorter your travelling time, the higher your average spend will be. You are there for a short time and a good time so you won’t skimp. Travel for longer and it’s more likely you will pass up that extra drink or expensive restaurant, especially if you have limited funds.

An easy equation therefore is: Time (Days) divided by Funds = Daily Budget

3. Do you intend on working while you travel?

If you don’t, and you intend on travelling for more than a month, naturally you will need more money saved up in advance.

If you intend to work, and have been granted the necessary working holiday visa, then you can top up your savings.

Do some research about the job market and the demand for your skills. If the job market is tight, have some extra money available to hold you over until you get a job - it may take 4 weeks or more even in good times.

If you are applying for a Working Holiday visa to Australia, for example, you will need to have a sufficient amount of funds to support yourself. “A sufficient amount is generally regarded as being a minimum of AUD$5,000 (£pound;2,200), although the amount may vary depending on your length of stay and how much travelling you intend to do. You should also have a return or onward ticket or the funds for a fare to depart Australia if travelling on a one way ticket.” Source: Visa Bureau

American Pingers  Photo from

American Pingers Photo from

4. Are there laws requiring a minimum amount of available funds for the country you are visiting?

Many countries require visitors to have minimum funds available. This is to lessen the vulnerability of people to attempting to illegally work to supplement their travelling funds.

Conditions will also depend upon what passport you are travelling on.

To enter most countries there’s a standard condition you will need to meet which is usually worded, “you have enough money to support yourself and live in the [country] without working or needing any help from public funds.”

If you only intended to stay a week then $500 it could be assumed is enough money. But if your intention is 3 months and $500 is all you have then, as expressed above if you were challenged, you would need to show you had sufficiently more funds available.

5. What is the exchange rate between your home currency and the country you are visiting?

Take into account the relative strength or weakness of your home currency compared to the currency of the country you are visiting.

Planning your travels where you can take advantage of the exchange rate will allow you to travel longer and in greater comfort.

You might even feel like a millionaire, literally, by holding millions of devalued currency when your exchange your stronger currency.

Be aware that a positive exchange rate might be offset by a higher cost of living within a country especially when local consumption taxes are factored in.

Your Turn: How much money did you start travelling with?

A Golden Rule: Whatever budget you calculate, add 10% to it to give your self some additional economic freedom.


  • AussieMumTwo says:

    I left for England in 1997 with less than $3,000 Aussie in the bank.
    I had friends I stayed with when I first arrived, but I was still spending money on food and transportation. It only took me a week or so to find a job as I had already lined up an employment agency in my field before I left, and I also chose to take a position outside of London. There was no competition for the job as nobody else wanted to be in the sticks and it was a 6 week assignment. I made great money and my cost of living was very low compared to London (Less than 60 GBP per week in a B & B). It was really scary not having a lot of money to fall back on, in case I didn't find work. I would recommend having more money to fall back on in case it takes a while to find work, and to be able to set yourself up with housing prior to getting your first pay.

    When I travelled for long periods of time and wasn't working I planned my budget out in an Excel spreadsheet, allocating money for accomodation, food and transportation, and of course the fun money each day. It was always nice at the end of a trip to come home with money left over :)

    5 years ago

  • xebidy says:

    Hi Linda,

    I think you guys were in an enviable position. When I very first travelled on my 'Big OE' I arrived in Europe with les than NZD$2,000 which at the time was about GBP£800.

    It took me ages to find work and I was miserable.

    My recommendation to anyone today is to have some money behind and like you say even if you don't use it, it is fantastic to know it is there. I was lucky enough to have great parents too - but that is another story in stress management and travel.

    5 years ago

  • Linda says:

    My husband and I worked really hard to pay off debts and build a savings buffer before we left. We were planning on working, but though it was easy to find work, we didn't get paid for quite a while, and needed to dig into savings. We had about NZ $18,000 in the bank when we left, and never came close to using it all, but it was nice to know it was there in an emergency.

    5 years ago

  • David Whitley says:

    Or, if in doubt, set what you think is a reasonable budget. Then double it.

    5 years ago

    • says:

      I want to go on travel to australia to c how beautiful is australia plz someone help how to visit

      2 years ago

    • says:

      2 years ago

    • says:

      I must say you have maintained a nice blog with useful information.

      2 years ago

    • Dawnrichard says:

      Australia is amazing...

      2 years ago

    • says:

      forgot the most important, what can you live without ? can you give up new clothes, makeup fancy restaurants, a car, hotels or more, then your budget plumets and the length of your trip increases !

      3 years ago

    • says:

      i wanna travel to australia and i dont know where to start can anyone help me??

      4 years ago

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