Japan Backpacking Budget

backpacking budget japan

(Map of Japan from wikitravel, can be re-used under CC BY-SA 3.0)

Daily Travel Costs in Japan on a Shoestring Budget

US$65 | 7000 Yen

Japan is about as expensive as it gets in Asia and consistently ranks as one of the costliest places in the world to travel in. Our shoestring Japan backpacking budget of US$65/day certainly reflects that and to put things in perspective it is over double what we have allowed in our piece on the cost of travel in China.

Lets start with some good news. Eating and drinking out is relatively affordable and overall prices are a bit cheaper than what you might find in more expensive parts of Europe or North America. Entrance to the main attractions also tends to be really good value with minimal entry fees.

Budget accommodation is found in most of the main travel destinations and all the bigger cities with capsule style beds all the rage here and they offer more privacy than you’ll find in your average dorm. However the high cost of accommodation is one of the reasons why Japan is an expensive place to visit.

The other more significant one is the cost of transport and the two questions you really need to ask yourself when setting your budget for Japan is how much travelling am I going to do? and how I am going to travel?

If you spend at least a few days in each destination and are taking the slower trains or perhaps even a budget flight between them, you can probably scrape by on $65/day and it should certainly more than cover your costs in days when you are not travelling around. If you opt for the popular rail passes which allow you onto the bullet trains then you will find it almost impossible to stick to this budget.

See where Japan ranks on our World Budget Travel Table.

More Comfortable Japan Backpacker Budget

US$100 | 10,500 Japanese Yen

By far the most popular option with travellers is to get a Japan rail pass which allows you onto all the bullet trains and also covers the cost of travel on the metro systems in the cities. It is by far the most hassle-free way to get around the country and in its own way whizzing around on Japan’s brilliant high-speed rail network is one of its biggest appeals.

However as you will see from the prices below it is not cheap although it still works out better value when compared to buying a few single tickets each week on the bullet trains. If you are in Japan for only 1-2 weeks and opt for the rail pass, there is simply no way you are going to survive on only $65/day. Even the slightly better value 3 week pass still works out at $25/day and given you might spend close to that again on accommodation each night, you are not left with an awful lot left on our previous budget.

Therefore for a typical 3-4 week trip to Japan with a rail pass you might want to think about budgeting more like $100/day. It is a lot of money for sure but the speed and efficiency of the rail network means you can easily visit 10 or more destinations in that time and experience all the best things that Japan has to offer.

Sample Prices in Japan

Flight from Tokyo to Osaka (1 hour 30 mins) – from 5000¥ ($47) (plus baggage)

7 Day Rail Pass – 28,000¥ ($260)

14 Day Rail Pass – 45,000¥ ($420)

21 Day Rail Pass – 58,000¥ ($540)

Meal at an inexpensive restaurant – 800¥ ($7.50)

Large local beer in bar or restaurant – 400¥ ($3.75)

Capsule Bed in Dorm – from 1500¥/night ($14) (bit more in Tokyo or cities with only a few hostels)

Budget double or twin room – from 3000¥/night ($28)

Temple Pass in Kyoto (access to all temples including transportation) – 1200¥ ($11)


Currency – Japanese Yen

£1 = 154 Yen

€1 = 122 Yen

US$1 = 107 Yen

(All exchange rates are correct as of June 2016)

MFT Recommends

Booking online you can often get dorm beds for as little as 2000 Yen/night (a bargain by Tokyo standards) at the very swanky Emblem Hostel Nishiarai.

street art in Japan

street art in Tokyo, Japan (via Guilem VellutCC BY 2.0)

Share your Travel Costs!

If you’ve been to Japan recently, please let everyone know your typical daily costs by commenting below 😉

This article was published in June 2016.


Italy Backpacking Budget

backpacking budget Italy

(Map of Italy from wikitravel, can be re-used under CC BY-SA 3.0)

Daily Travel Costs in Italy on a Shoestring Budget

US$60 | 55 Euros 

Even though Italy has experienced some pretty serious economic problems in recent years like Mediterranean neighbours Spain and Greece, it hasn’t really got any cheaper as a result and is still overall an expensive place to visit and it has more in common with France than those two countries in that regard.

Like France it is full of tourist traps and many of its finest cities are very hard to visit on anything like a shoestring budget. In somewhere like Venice for example it is almost impossible to get by on just 55 Euros a day with accommodation alone taking up over 50% of that while eating out is also expensive in the Northern tourist cities like Venice, Florence and Pisa.

However if you try and get out and spend more time in the real Italy and perhaps just visit those places as part of a day trip or perhaps a one night stay then our Italy backpacking budget of 55 Euros/day becomes much more realistic. There is a fair degree of regional variation in prices too and generally the further South you go the cheaper things get with even Rome perhaps a fraction cheaper than the likes of Milan in the North. Certainly if you head into the more rural South you should be able to see your money lasting longer.

See where Italy ranks on our World Budget Travel Table.

Backpacking costs in all European countries

More Comfortable Italy Backpacker Budget

US$75 | 70 Euros

As is the case in many countries, the expensive places are generally the ones that are most worth visiting. The problem with Italy is that there are so many of them and a city like Venice really doesn’t need budget travellers to make a huge amount of tourism and as such does little to cater for them. By pushing your budget up to 70 Euros a day, you can afford to spend more time in the pricier destinations but you will still have to be a bit smart with where you eat and drink in order to stick to that.

Sample Prices in Italy

Train from Pisa to Rome (4 hours) – from €24

Meal at an inexpensive restaurant – €12-15

Large local beer in a bar or restaurant – €4

Dorm Bed in Rome or Florence – from €15

Private Double or Twin room in Venice – from €60

Entrance to Rome Colosseum – €15.50 ($10.50 for 18-24 year olds from EU countries)

Compare Italy prices with the cost of travel in Greece.


Currency – Euros

£1 = €1.16

US$1 = €0.95

(All exchange rates are correct as of January 2017)

MFT Recommends

It’s no secret that the majority of the fairly limited budget accommodation that exists in Rome is not of a great standard. The centrally located Hard Rock Rooms is a rare exception.

street art in Italy

street art in Roma, Italy (via Claudio VaccaroCC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Share your Travel Costs!

If you’ve been to Italy recently, please let everyone know your typical daily costs by commenting below 😉

This article was published in June 2016. Exchange rates were updated in January 2017.

Spain Backpacking Budget

Spain backpacking budget

(Map of Spain from wikitravel, can be re-used under CC BY-SA 2.5)

Daily Travel Costs in Spain on a Shoestring Budget

US$50 | 45 Euros

Spain is cheap by Western European standards and considerably cheaper than neighbouring France while it is roughly the same as its neighbour to the West, Portugal. There is a good deal of regional variation though with the Southern part of the country certainly the cheapest, particularly Andalusia. Prices are a bit higher in Barcelona and Madrid than in the smaller towns but not considerably so and the same is true of some of the more tourist-orientated resorts, which line the Costa del Sol, Costa Blanca and Costa Brava.

Backpacker accommodation is plentiful and pretty good value but it is a good idea to book in advance during peak times and certainly national holidays and festivals of which there are many. Eating and drinking out is cheap if you are a bit savvy and head away from the tourist areas but a night out anywhere can still set you back close to our suggested Spain backpacking budget of 45 Euros with entry to clubs alone typically 10-20 Euros including a drink or perhaps two. On the plus side, drinking in squares and parks is generally tolerated and you can get a litre of beer for little over a Euro in the supermarkets.

Getting around Spain is fairly straight forward with plenty of budget flights around the country for longer trips and an excellent if quite expensive high-speed rail network that links the main cities. On a shoestring budget though you are probably best to stick to the inter-city buses which are almost always the cheapest way to get from A to B.

See where Spain ranks on our World Budget Travel Table.

Backpacking costs in all European countries

More Comfortable Spain Backpacker Budget

US$65 | 60 Euros

If partying is likely to be a big part of your trip or you are restricted on time and want to fit a lot in then you might want to consider stretching out to a 60 Euro daily budget. This will allow you to go out regularly and perhaps take the odd flight or train for those longer trips.

Sample Prices in Spain

Flight from Madrid to Barcelona (1 hour) – €35 + baggage fees (more at weekends)

Bus from Sevilla to Granada (3 hours) – €23 with Alsa

Meal in an inexpensive restaurant – €8-10

‘Jarra’ (large beer) in a Cerveceria Montaditos – €1.50

Dorm bed in Barcelona – from €15/night

Dorm bed in Madrid – from €12/night

Budget private Double or Twin Room – from €25/night (more during peak times)

Entrance fee for Granada’s Alhambra – €14

Compare that to the cost of travel in Italy.


Currency – Euros

£1 = €1.16

US$1 = €0.95

(All exchange rates are correct as of January 2017)

MFT Recommends

In Barcelona, stay at Factory Gardens, a good value hostel close to Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia.

Read our full guide to seeing Barcelona on a budget.

street art in Madrid

street art in Madrid, Spain

Share your Travel Costs!

If you’ve been to Spain recently, please let everyone know your typical daily costs by commenting below 😉

This article was published in June 2016. Exchange rates were updated in January 2017.