Wind and Whim’s 2022 Full-Time Travel Costs

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Last Updated on: 20th October 2023, 10:52 am

It’s that time of year again! I get to put my accountant hat on and share our full-time travel costs with you.

I started sharing our travel costs in 2019 when I wrote about what it cost for our first eight months of full-time travel in 2018. I did this because I wanted to show how affordable full-time travel can be.

We have now completed 2022, and this is the fifth annual cost post I have written. You can see the previous years’ posts here:

2018
2019
2020
2021

A Quick Recap

We visited:
30 cities
8 countries
3 continents

We slept in 36 beds

We took:
8 flights
12 train trips
8 bus trips

We spent $64,500
which is $177 per day

Our 2022 Costs by Category

CategoryCostBudgetOver (Under) Budget
Lodging$31,800
$18,300$13,500
Food$15,700
$14,400$1,300
Transportation
$8,800
$9,600($800)
Activities$2,600$5,100($2,500)
Currency Exchange$7000$700
Insurance$3,000
$4,500
($1,500)
Medical0
$200($200)
Office Related$400
$300$100
Telephone$400
$500
($100)
Website$400$500($100)
Supplies$400$200$200
Visas$1000$100
Other$200$100$100
Totals$64,500$53,700$10,800
Cost per day$177$147$30

As you can see from this table, we were considerably over budget. We also spent more in 2022 than any year so far. There were two reasons for this.

The first reason was that we had a lease in Budapest for the first half of the year. This was required to get a residence permit to stay in Hungary while we waited for the pandemic to end. Once travel returned to normal, we were able to visit several cities, but each trip meant double accommodation expenses.

The second reason was that we booked two transatlantic flights and five accommodations for 2023 in 2022. This totaled $10,100, almost the total we were over budget. While there is always a little overlap at year end, this year we booked flights and accommodations through mid-April of 2023 as we are planning to spend March in the U.S. and then return to Athens, Greece, with our daughters in April.

Both of these situations are unusual for us. I expect our 2023 costs to be lower since we no longer have a lease and have paid for several large items in advance.

A Few Notes About This Data

* all costs are in U.S. dollars unless otherwise stated
* all costs are for two people
* only expenses directly related to travel are included

The following items are not included:
* stateside medical insurance
* routine prescriptions
* our base telephone service through Hushed
* storage of our possessions in the U.S.
* clothing (unless purchased for a specific reason like ski wear)

Budget Variances

Where We Were Over Budget

There were three categories in which we were significantly over budget: lodging, food, and currency exchange.

Lodging costs of $31,800 were an astounding $13,500 over budget. Here is the breakdown:

Lodging TypeCostNumber of NightsCost per Night
Long-term lease$7,000195$36
Airbnb$8,400127$66
Hotels$10,60097$109
Prepaid for 2023$5,600
Supplies$200
Totals$31,800

The number of nights is greater than 365 because we had a long-term lease for half the year and also had hotel costs for many of those nights.

As you can see, the long-term lease was the most cost effective. We averaged $66 per night on Airbnb rentals, which is a good deal, while hotel stays averaged $109 per night. Obviously, renting through Airbnb or a similar service is the way to go.

Food cost us $15,700 for the year, which was $1,300 higher than budgeted. We stayed in more hotels which meant more restaurant meals. We also saw some effects of inflation.

Currency exchange costs were an astounding $700. $500 of this was a loss on the value of our Budapest apartment security deposit. The deposit was worth $2,200 in May 2021 but only worth $1,700 by July 2022 because the euro decreased in value compared to the dollar during that time. The remaining $200 was fees associated with withdrawing cash.

Where We Were Under Budget

There were also three categories in which we were notably under budget: transportation, activities, and insurance.

Transportation costs of $8,800 were under budget by $800. Here is the breakdown for our 2022 transportation costs:

MethodCostNumber of tripsAverage cost/trip for two
Flights$2,5008
$313
Trains (long distance)$70012
$58
Buses (long distance)$1008$13
Local$1,000
Totals for 2022$4,300

We spent an additional $4,500 for 2023 flights, which brought the transportation total to $8,800.

Our activity costs were $2,600, which was $2,500 under budget. Here is the breakdown:

ActivityCost
Admission Fees$1,200
Hot-air Balloon$500
Guided tours$300
All other activities$600
Total$2,600

Admission fees of $1,200 got both of us into 39 museums and other tourist attractions for an average cost per person per attraction of $15.

We took two guided tours: a day trip to Mt. Olympus and a two-day trip to Meteora, Greece.

Insurance costs were $3,000, which was $1,500 under budget. We paid $1,100 for Medjet evacuation insurance and $1,900 for SafetyWing travel medical insurance.

We were required to have medical insurance while in Budapest and chose SafetyWing. We budgeted it for the entire year but stopped it when we left Budapest. We are self-insuring for medical care incurred outside the U.S. because, in most places, it is considerably less expensive than in the U.S.

SafetyWing allows you to reinstate coverage at any time.

How We Travel

We travel at a three-star level. No hostels for us, but no five-star resorts either. We can save money by staying in most places for a month, which allows us to take advantage of deeper discounts on Airbnb rentals and spend less on transportation.

We eat more meals at home than in restaurants, but our budget allows us to eat in restaurants when the mood strikes.

We rely on public transportation to get around cities and prefer trains and buses over airplanes when moving between cities.

Cost by Location

LocationTotal CostDaysCost per Day
Budapest, Hungary$14,400155*$93
Aquaworld Resort$4003$133
Szeged, Hungary$9005$180
Vienna, Austria$1,6006$267
Visegrad, Hungary$700
4$175
Prague, Czech Republic$2,30010$230
Austria and Slovenia$2,90012$242
United Kingdom$5,40017$318
Turkish Coast$8,00045$178
Cappadocia, Turkey$1,7006$283
Istanbul, Turkey$4,00027$148
Thessaloniki, Greece$3,30028$118
Meteora, Greece$400
1
$400
Athens, Greece$3,60028$129
Tangier, Morocco$2,60018$144
General Costs$2,200365$6
2023 Expenses$10,100365$28
Totals$64,500365$177
Budget$53,700365$147

* The days spent in Budapest are net of the days we spent in other locations while still having a lease in Budapest.

The Most Expensive Locations

Meteora, Greece at $400/day – this overnight trip was part of a tour to see the monasteries that are built atop 1,000-1,800 foot or 300-500 meter high rock pillars. The tour itself was $300, which included transportation from Thessaloniki, hotel accommodations for one night, and two four-hour tours. We also spent $100 on food, entry fees, and attire, as women are required to wear a skirt that covers their knees, even if they are also wearing pants.

Two monasteries in Meteora, Greece
Two of the Meteora monasteries atop rock pillars

We booked this trip through Meteora.com. Even though it was expensive, we were happy with the tour company.

The United Kingdom at $318/day – we spent 17 days in the U.K., 6 in Manchester, and 11 while walking the Dales Way. It is no secret that the U.K. is outrageously expensive, but what really made this trip costly was that we booked the walk through a tour company. We spent $4,200 on our Dales Way walk, including transportation and meals that weren’t included in the tour package.

Cappadocia, Turkey at $283/day – this was a six-day trip, the highlight of which was a sunrise hot-air balloon ride for $500. Find out more about visiting Cappadocia in our post, “18 Things to Know Before Visiting Cappadocia.”

Vienna, Austria at $267/day – like the U.K., cities in western Europe tend to be pricey.

The Burgtheater in Vienna, Austria
Vienna and its attractions aren’t cheap, but they are incredible

Four cities in Austria and Slovenia at $242/day – this twelve-day trip included four cities, Vienna and Salzburg, Austria, and Bled and Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Bled Island in Slovenia
Bled Island and the scenery around Lake Bled must be seen to be believed

Prague at $230/day – we spent ten days in Prague. Check out “12 Of The Most Interesting Things to Do in Prague.”

The Least Expensive Locations

Budapest, Hungary at $93/day — the fact that we had a long-term lease combined with a lower cost of living than in many European cities made Budapest a bargain.

Thessaloniki, Greece at $118/day – a month in this northern Greek city was a bargain. While there isn’t as much to do as there is in Athens, we enjoyed the relative quiet of this city after the intensity of Istanbul.

The White Tower in Thessaloniki, Greece
The White Tower on the waterfront

Athens, Greece at $129/day – Like Thessaloniki, Athens is a cost-effective European city. We saved money by eating at home since the restaurants in our neighborhood were particularly pricey. We decided to save the food money for when we return to Athens with our daughters in April of 2023.

Aquaworld Resort Budapest, Hungary at $133/day – Our last visit to one of our favorite places was a great bargain. Our three-night stay included our room, half-board, and access to the thermal baths, the waterpark, and the spa facilities.

Aquaworld Budapest
You get a lot of bang for your buck at Aquaworld

You can find out more about Aquaworld here and in our post, “Aquaworld Budapest: Tons of Fun in Hungary.”

Comparison to Previous Years

Here’s a look back since we started traveling full-time in 2018:

YearAnnualized CostDays in YearCost per Day
2018$58,400365$160
2019$52,900365$145
2020$41,700366$114
2021$42,300365$116
2022$64,500365$177

Our daily cost for 2022 was the highest so far and can easily be lowered in 2023.

I believe that the $145 cost per day for 2019 is the most representative of what our type of travel should cost for two people. There were no big expenses in 2019 as there was in 2018 (a two-week Transatlantic cruise) or 2022, and no impact by the pandemic as we had in 2020 and 2021.

What 2022 Taught Us

In 2022, we strayed from our basic tenets: travel slowly by spending about one month in each place and use Airbnbs more than hotels.

However, given what we all dealt with during the pandemic, I’m not going to sweat the decisions we made in 2022.

You can read about our whirlwind year in “Memorable Moments From a Year of Full-Time Travel (2022).”

Until Next Time

I hope you found this post informative. If there is other data you would like to see, please let me know in the comments section. Or just leave a comment to say “hi.”

Happy traveling,
Linda

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