Wind and Whim’s 2023 Full-Time Travel Costs

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Last Updated on: 19th April 2024, 02:53 am

It’s time to review what Steve and I spent on travel in 2023. We had a busy year that included two trips back to the U.S., a two-week trip to Athens with Stephanie and Laura, and a 15-day transatlantic cruise.

We visited 32 cities and towns and spent time on three continents. All our moving around came at a cost, and we were significantly over budget.

Keep reading to see how we spent our money, which locations were a bargain, which were budget busters, and how much over budget we were.

Our 2023 Budget

ItemBudget Per DayAnnual Budget
Daily travel expenses$150$54,700
General expenses$8$3,000
Totals$158$57,700

As you can see, our travel budget for the year is $57,700. This includes $150 per day for traveling ($54,800 for the year) and $3,000 for general expenses such as evacuation insurance, supplies, and website costs.

I was lazy in the fall of 2022 and never broke this down by category as in previous years, so there is no comparison to the budget for each category in the table below.

Our 2023 Costs by Category

We budgeted $57,700 and spent $64,600, ending the year $6,900 over budget. Our cost per day was $177.

CategoryCost
Accommodations$28,900
Food18,300
Transportation9,700
Activities3,600
Insurance1,400
Medical200
Office Related300
Supplies500
Telephone600
Website800
Other300
Total$64,600
Budget$57,700
Over budget$6,900
Cost per day$177

A FEW NOTES ABOUT THIS DATA

* All costs are in U.S. dollars
* All costs are for two people unless noted
* It only includes expenses directly related to travel

The following items are not included:
* Stateside medical insurance
* Routine prescriptions 
* Storage of our possessions in the U.S.
* Clothing (unless purchased for a specific reason like ski wear)

We were over budget because we moved around too much. We took twenty short trips (with an average stay of 6.5 nights). Many of these were side trips from places where we were staying long-term, which doubled our accommodation costs during that time.

Our style of travel is higher than backpacker level and lower than luxury level. I would classify it as three-star. If you are considering full-time or long-term travel, you can do it for much less. Check out the Ways to Travel for Less section below for helpful tips.

Our 2023 Costs by Location

Below is a table of our costs by location. I have listed the countries from the lowest to the highest cost per day and included all the cities we visited in each country.

CountryCitiesTotal CostDaysCost per Day
MoroccoTangier, Tetouan, Chefchaouen, Rabat, Marrakesh, Casablanca$4,90058$84
MontenegroPodgorica, Kotor$5,00050$100
AlbaniaTirana, Durres, Shkoder, Theth$4,20034$123
North MacedoniaSkopje$3,50028$125
RomaniaBucharest, Sinaia, Brasov$6,10040$153
CroatiaDubrovnik, Split, Zadar, Pula, Plitvice Lakes National Park, Rijeka, Opatija$10,80070$154
USA (March)Jacksonville, Marathon, Orlando$6,50028$232
Greece*Athens, Aegina$4,00014$286
ItalyRome, Venice$4,80015$320
Transatlantic CruiseRome to New York City$4,60015$307
USANew York City, Jacksonville, Asheville$6,80013$523
General Costs$3,300365$9
Totals$64,500365$177

*The cost for Greece is for four people and does not include $4,800 for accommodations and transportation paid in 2022. The total for this trip was $8,800 ($628 per day for four people, $314 per day for two people).

The least expensive countries (Morocco, Montenegro, Albania, and North Macedonia) were great places to cut costs. However, except for Skopje, North Macedonia, we found the cities in these countries limited in tourist attractions compared to the more expensive cities.

The cities in expensive countries (The U.S., Italy, and Greece) generally offer many sightseeing options, but they come at a price.

Countries like Romania and Croatia, which fall in the middle, can keep costs down while offering plenty to see and do.

Six-Year Comparison

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

YearAnnual 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
2023$64,500365$177

*The 2018 cost is an annualized number based on what we spent for eight months of travel.

As you can see, we are all over the place, with 2020 and 2021 being low because of the pandemic. Interestingly, our average daily cost over the past six years was $148.

You can see details for all the past years here.

Ways to Travel for Less

There are many ways to travel for less and still have a fantastic trip.

Cut accommodation costs – Airbnb is a good option. Other economical options include housesitting, hostels, and staying with friends and relatives.

Travel slowly – This keeps transportation costs down and allows you to take advantage of discounts on Airbnb for long-term stays. It also gives you a chance to immerse yourself in a place.

Use public transportation whenever possible – It isn’t glamorous and can sometimes be uncomfortably crowded, but in many places, it is a quick, convenient, and inexpensive way to get around.

Plan side trips wisely – Limit the number of side trips you take, consider day trips when possible, or tack a short trip on the end of a longer one to avoid paying accommodation costs at two places at once.

Consider traveling in the shoulder season or the off-season – you should see lower prices and fewer tourists.

Visit less expensive places – If you don’t want to do all-budget travel, you can balance expensive places with less costly places.

Price of Travel is a website that quantifies the cost of travel at the backpacker level for over 200 cities. Even if you plan to travel at a higher level, the listings are a good way to compare the relative costs of different destinations.

You can estimate the cost of a trip on websites like Budget Your Trip. On Budget Your Trip’s site, you can choose the city, the level of travel (budget, mid-range, or luxury), and the currency. The results include the average daily cost and the cost for one or two people for one week, two weeks, or a month.

I find it odd that when showing the cost for two people, the author doubled the cost for one person, since hotel costs for one and two people are virtually the same. Also, keep in mind that the estimates do not include the cost of traveling to and from the destination.

More 2023 Posts

Read about my favorite travel moments from 2023 in “Memorable Moments From a Year of Full-Time Travel (2023).”

You can also learn about a few of the lesser-known places we visited and loved in:
“Sinaia, Romania: A Great Addition to Your Bucharest Trip”
“What is Skopje Really Like? An Honest Review”
“Why You’ll Fall in Love with Opatija, Croatia”
“A Venetian Surprise in Shkoder, Albania”

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.

Happy traveling,
Linda

Featured image by Jizhidexiaohailang on Unsplash.com

4 thoughts on “Wind and Whim’s 2023 Full-Time Travel Costs”

  1. Thank you for sharing this. It is very useful and encouraging to the rest of us to maybe dream of doing something like this 🙂

    1. We love to walk because we see so much along the way, so that’s always our first choice. If walking doesn’t make sense, we use public transportation. We prefer the metro, then buses, then taxi/Uber. We only rent cars when it is absolutely necessary. While public transportation isn’t perfect, we find it less stressful than driving in an unfamiliar place, and we don’t have to worry about parking.

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