Costa Rica Backpacking Budget

Costa Rica backpacking budget

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


Daily Travel Costs in Costa Rica on a Shoestring Budget

US$35 | 18,500 Costa Rican Colones

Costa Rica certainly ranks as one of the more expensive Central American countries. The cost of travel is similar to that in Mexico and certainly more than in Guatemala or Nicaragua. It has a thriving tourism industry, much of which isn’t really geared towards budget travellers but it is still overall quite an affordable place to visit if you steer clear of the pricier tourist places.

Our Costa Rica backpacking budget of $35/day gives you enough for a dorm bed, some local food and drinks in budget restaurants and bars with a bit of money for day-time activities but not a huge amount. The country is pretty small and getting from town to town is really good value and you might not need much more than $20 to get from one end of the country to the other.

However it is expensive in other ways with activities and accommodation likely to take up a good chunk of your budget. Certainly as a solo traveller you won’t be able to afford a private room on this kind of budget as there is quite a leap from the cost of a dorm bed to a private here. Even couples or friends travelling together may struggle to stick to $35/day each if you are staying in private rooms everywhere. Real shoestring types might want to consider bringing a tent and camping which is quite easy to do in Costa Rica.

See where Costa Rica ranks on our World Budget Travel Table.

Backpacking costs in all Central American countries


More Comfortable Costa Rica Backpacker Budget

US$50 | 27,000 Costa Rican Colones

Adding an extra $15/day will give you a bit more freedom to do more organised trips in the day or to spend more time in the national parks which can be expensive to visit. Costa Rica isn’t really the kind of place where you can spend days wandering around towns with the natural sights the main attractions here and they generally cost money to get to and some of them can only really be visited as part of a tour or with your own guide so to get the most out of Costa Rica consider upping your budget to something in the region of US$50/day.


Sample Prices in Costa Rica

Local transport from one town to the next – around 1500 CRC ($3)

Meal at an inexpensive restaurant – 4000 CRC ($7.50)

Typical local dish of meat, rice and fried plantains in a small local cafe/restaurant – 1600 CRC ($3)

Large local beer in a bar or restaurant – 1000 CRC ($2)

Dorm bed – from 5000 CRC ($9)

Budget private double or twin room – from 15000 CRC ($28)

Boat or Kayak tour in Tortuguero National Park – 25,000-30,000 CRC (roughly $50)

Zip-linging in Monteverde Cloud Forest – 25,000-40,000 CRC ($50-75)


Money

Currency – Costa Rican Colon

£1 = 771 CRC

€1 = 608 CRC

US$1 = 535 CRC

(All exchange rates are correct as of June 2016)

US Dollars are pretty widely accepted in Costa Rica and usually at a pretty fair rate.


MFT Recommends

Spend a few days in rural Costa Rica by staying at the very chilled Hostel Casa Chirripo.


street art in Costa Rica

street art in San Jose, Costa Rica (via Jackie SallnasCC BY-NC-ND 2.0)


Share your Travel Costs!

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


This article was published in June 2016.


Cambodia Backpacking Budget

backpacking budget Cambodia

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


Daily Travel Costs in Cambodia on a Shoestring Budget

US$20 (or less)

Cambodia is paradise for the budget traveller with your money stretching further than it does almost anywhere in the world. This after all is the land of the $2 dorm bed and although they are a little harder to find these days, when you get private rooms going for as little at $4, there’s not really any need to stay in dorms in any case unless you have a fervent desire to sleep in a room full of strangers.

Buses between the main towns are also very cheap and although there are a few expensive restaurants cropping up geared towards an expanding mainstream tourist industry, there are still plenty of real local cheapies. Hit the local markets and you’ll find plenty of stalls and small restaurants serving local dishes at bargain prices.

Our Cambodia backpacking budget of $20 is perhaps a conservative one and there is no reason why you can’t spend $15 or less most days. However the one thing that is expensive in Cambodia is Angkor Wat. It is the country’s pride and joy and to visit it you need to pay a hefty $20 for a day pass and given there is so much to see you might need more than one day there, certainly if you’re a big ruins lover. Therefore you could have a couple of days that are going to be more like $40 which is why $20/day is perhaps more realistic as an overall budget. If you don’t visit Angkor Wat or are in Cambodia for more than a few weeks you can probably get by on less than 20 as the main sites in and around Phnom Penh are all very cheap to visit.

See where Cambodia ranks on our World Budget Travel Table.

Backpacking costs in all Southeast Asian countries


More Comfortable Cambodia Backpacker Budget

US$25

Adding $5/day will allow you to stay in air-con rooms and perhaps take at least one meal a day in one of the international restaurants which are still good value just not by Cambodian standards. You might read a few articles suggesting Cambodia has got considerably more expensive in recent years but that is simply not the case. It is perhaps not as ridiculously cheap as it once was but it is still great value and $25/day should be more than enough to explore what is a lovely country.


Sample Prices in Cambodia

Bus from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh (6-7 hours) – $6 ($1/hour of travel is typical in Cambodia)

Meal at an inexpensive restaurant – $2.50

Large local beer – $1

Dorm bed in Siem Reap – from $3/night

Cheap double or twin room with fan – from $4/night

Entrance to Killing Fields or Museums in Phnom Penh – $2

Day pass for Angkor Wat – $20

Compare this to the cost of travel in Laos.


Money

Currency – Cambodian Riel & US Dollar

£1 = 5850 Riel | $1.44

€1 = 4610 Riel | $1.13

US$1 = 4067 Riel

(All exchange rates are correct as of June 2016)

The US Dollar is widely used in Cambodia to the point that chances are you will pay for most things including hostels and meals in Dollars and certainly most tourist/traveller orientated businesses quote prices in dollars rather than riels. It is common to pay in dollars and receive change in riels, which are used for buying smaller items.

ATM’s are plentiful in the main tourist towns now and dispense dollars.


MFT Recommends

Cambodia is one country where it is very important to have good travel insurance. We recommend World Nomads who specialise in backpacking trips and will help in the case of you falling sick or getting injured in a country which has limited healthcare facilities.


street art in Cambodia

street art in Phnom Penh, Cambodia (via antjeverenaCC BY-SA 2.0)


Share your Travel Costs!

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


This article was published in June 2016

Get our Backpackers Guide to Southeast Asia 2017-2018 for an overview of budget travel in the region.


Iceland Backpacking Budget

Iceland backpacking budget

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


Daily Travel Costs in Iceland on a Shoestring Budget

US$75 | 8500 Icelandic Krona

Iceland is a country high up on many a bucket list but its isolated location makes it somewhat difficult to fit into any other trip. The bad news for shoestring travellers is that Iceland is getting expensive again after a brief hiatus when the country’s three main banks all went bust during the economic crisis and Iceland suddenly became somewhat more affordable.

For starters there is the cost of getting to Iceland which can be quite high given it’s closer to Greenland than continental Europe and that isn’t even factored into our high suggested Iceland backpacking budget of US$75/day. A good chunk of that goes on accommodation which is very expensive and the cost of eating and drinking out is at least in line with any expensive country on mainland Europe. Then there is the cost and hassle of using the limited public transport. Given the population of Iceland is little over 300,000, the services are far from regular and quite costly so many travellers prefer to rent out a car to explore the island, which has many advantages in that you can stop off at any of the abundant natural wonders that catches your eye.

The only real good news for budget travellers in Iceland is that almost all the main places to see are free to visit. If you are travelling as a group, you might be able to get by on less than $75/day by renting out a car and preparing your own food. Camping and perhaps hitch-hiking are also good options in the warmer months and doing a fair bit of that could see you slip well below $75/day but it’s not for everyone.

See where Iceland ranks on our World Budget Travel Table.

Backpacking costs in all European countries


More Comfortable Iceland Backpacker Budget

US$100 | 11400 Icelandic Krona

To see the best of Iceland, you really want to be renting your own car for a few days, which certainly if you are a solo traveller is going to be expensive. Many of the best places to visit are some way off the main highway and not linked by public transport. On a budget of $100/day even a solo traveller, should be able to afford to do that for a few days at least to explore the more remote parts of the island and then perhaps spend a bit more time based in Reykjavík without a car and doing trips to the nearby places of interest that are more accessible.


Sample Prices in Iceland

Car Rental with full protection – from 8500kr/day (€60) + petrol

Large beer in Reykjavík bar or restaurant – 1000kr  (€7)

Meal at an inexpensive restaurant – 2000kr (€14)

Camping in a designated campground (there are many) – 1500kr/night (€11)

Dorm bed – from 3500kr/night (€25)

Budget private double or twin room – 10500kr/night (€75)

Entrance to Þingvellir National Park – Free!


Money

Currency – Icelandic Krona

£1 = 139 Krona

€1 = 120 Krona

US$1 = 114 Krona

(All exchange rates are correct as of January 2017)

Some shops that cater to tourists do accept Euros and maybe US Dollars but it’s unlikely to be at a very good rate so get yourself some krona!


MFT Recommends

Possibly the cheapest dorm beds in Iceland at a fraction under €20/night are found at the Grábrók Hotel and Holiday Homes near to the crater of the same name. A good option if you’d rather stay in natural surroundings than in the capital.


street art in Iceland

street art in Reykjavik, Iceland (via Rob YoungCC BY 2.0)


Share your Travel Costs!

If you’ve been to Iceland 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.


Canada Backpacking Budget

Canada Backpacking Budget

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


Daily Travel Costs in Canada on a Shoestring Budget

US$60 | 80 Canadian Dollars

Canada is one of the hardest places to give an accurate budget for mostly because it is enormous. Our other budgets are generally based on trying to visit all the main destinations in the country and a few things in-between but in Canada that will either involve covering in excess of 5,000km by land or taking a domestic flight that is as long and expensive as a cross-continental one. Montreal is roughly the same distance away from Vancouver as it is from London for example.

So our Canada backpacking budget of 80 Canadian Dollars is primarily based on picking one area of the country (for example Southern Ontario & Quebec) and sticking too it. If you want to visit another part of the country, treat the cost of a flight as extra. In terms of daily expenses Canada is not cheap by any means and is pretty much in line with what you might expect in Western Europe although you should find it slightly cheaper than the UK or France.

Although it is so big, there isn’t a huge amount of regional variation in terms of prices although Vancouver is generally considered to be slightly more expensive than the cities in the East such as Montreal or Toronto.

See where Canada ranks on our World Budget Travel Table.


More Comfortable Canada Backpacker Budget

US$75 | 100 Canadian Dollars

Again it’s tough to give an accurate figure as people tend to come to Canada for specific reasons rather than just to travel around and take each day as it comes. If you are planning on doing a lot of winter sports then you can certainly expect to spend considerably more than this but there do tend to be quite a lot of ways to work in Canada that will help fund all that. If you want to spend a long time in the country but don’t have enormous funds, consider applying for a job at one of the ski resorts during the ski-season and using it as a base to travel.


Sample Prices in Canada

Toronto to Montreal bus (7 hours) – from 35 CAD

Vancouver to Toronto flight (4 hours 30 mins) – 300+ CAD

Dorm bed in Vancouver – from 25 CAD/night

Dorm bed in Montreal – from 20 CAD/night

Budget private double/twin room in Montreal or Toronto – from 45 CAD/night

Meal in a cheap restaurant – 15 CAD

Large local beer in bar/restaurant – 6 CAD

Entrance to Canadian Museum of History – 15 CAD (11 for students)

Compare Canada prices with the cost of travel in USA.


Money

Currency – Canadian Dollars

£1 = 1.91 CAD

€1 = 1.45 CAD

US$1 = 1.30 CAD

(All exchange rates are correct as of June 2016)


MFT Recommends

Go to Montreal and stay at the Auberge Saint Paul. Excellent hostel with best value beds in town.


street art in Montreal

street art in Montreal, Quebec (via AV DezignCC BY-NC-ND 2.0)


Share your Travel Costs!

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


This article was published in June 2016.


UK Backpacking Budget

UK Backpacking Budget

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


Daily Travel Costs in the UK on a Shoestring Budget

US$60 | £50

The UK is well known as being as an expensive country to visit but our UK backpacking budget of £50/day is by no means unrealistic. The biggest expense is generally accommodation which is not cheap. Couchsurfing is a good idea here and you can get by on much less than £50 per day if you do a lot of it. Travelling around isn’t that expensive as it is a pretty small country and flying is recently necessary at any point unless you want to visit Northern Ireland, in which case there are a host of budget airlines that cater for that with flights from £20 or less plus £10-15 for your backpack.

Getting around in the UK can be very cheap too, but it really does help to book trains and buses in advance. This can all be done online via The Trainline, while Megabus offer some extremely cheap coach travel between the big cities. Eating and drinking out remains expensive though and you can easily blow £45 on a night out alone in most UK cities. If you’re looking to save a bit of cash, then start your night in Wetherspoons, which is a popular chain of pubs that has the best deals on drinks and can be found all over the country, with most cities having several.

As a general rule London and the Southeast is considerably more expensive than the rest of the country but you can still get stung badly in cities like Edinburgh, which receives plenty of visitors.

See where the UK ranks on our World Budget Travel Table.

Backpacking costs in all European countries


More Comfortable UK Backpacker Budget

US$80 | £65

£65 per day is a lot of money to spend as a budget traveller but on this kind of budget, you can afford to stay in the best hostels and be a bit less rigid with your planning and just buy transport tickets on the day which is normally considerably more expensive than doing it in advance. One of the good things about the UK is that a lot of museums are free to visit, but many attractions can cost in the region of £20 for entry so you can afford to visit a few more of them on this kind of budget.

One other bit of good news for budget travellers in the UK is that since Britain voted to leave the EU in 2016, the Pound has taken several serious hits so visitors from around the world should now find it slightly more affordable.


Sample Prices in the UK

London to Birmingham by train – from £6 (booked in advance), £15 on the day

London to Manchester by train – from £20 (booked in advance), £80 on the day

Day Travelcard on London Underground – £12

Pint of Beer in a pub – £3-4 (£4+ in London)

Meal in an inexpensive restaurant or pub – £8+

Cheap dorm bed in a city – £12-15+ (often considerably more at busy times)

Stonehenge admission fee – £15.50 adults, £13.90 students


Money

Currency – Great British Pound

€1 = £0.86

US$1 = £0.82

(All exchange rates are correct as of January 2017)

Apart from the odd retail store with dubious exchange rates, Euros are not accepted anywhere in the UK with the exception of a few parts of Northern Ireland which are close to the border to the Republic of Ireland, which uses the Euro. If you are considering hopping over the Irish Sea then read about the cost of travel in Ireland.


MFT Recommends

Stay at a proper British pub! The Exmouth Arms, conveniently located near Euston Station has 6 and 8 bed dorms above the bar.


street art in bristol

street art in Bristol, England

(photo may be re-used with a link to this page)


Share your Travel Costs!

If you’ve travelled in the UK 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.


Vietnam Backpacking Budget

Vietnam backpacking budget

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


Daily Travel Costs in Vietnam on a Shoestring Budget

US$20 | 450,000 Vietnamese Dong

Vietnam remains very budget friendly despite an enormous rise in visitor numbers over the past decade. Costs are pretty typical by Southeast Asian standards and you are likely to find it slightly cheaper than Thailand or Laos but a fraction pricier than Cambodia although it is likely to get more expensive over the coming years. $20 is a realistic Vietnam backpacking budget but doesn’t allow much lee-way for extra excursions and activities. If you eat in ‘local’ restaurants and street stalls all the time, you can probably get by on even less, certainly if you aren’t doing much partying.

See where Vietnam ranks on our World Budget Travel Table.

Backpacking costs in all Southeast Asian countries


More Comfortable Vietnam Backpacker Budget

US$25 | 560,000 Vietnamese Dong

You travel pretty comfortably on US$20 in truth and doubling that doesn’t really provide an enormous upgrade. The temptation to waste your money on partying and alcohol isn’t quite as great here as in Thailand as the backpacker scene is slightly calmer and bars and clubs are less plentiful and shut earlier. Allowing for $25-30 will allow you to fork out on the odd extra excursion/activity every now and then, such as a more extensive boat trip around Halong Bay or kite-surfing lessons at Mui Ne.


Sample Prices in Vietnam

Hue to Hanoi by Train (13-14 hours) – $25-35 (air-con berth on sleeper train)

0.5 litre domestic beer in Ho Chi Minh City bar/restaurant – $1

Meal at a cheap restaurant – $2-3

Cheap dorm bed in a big city – from $3

Budget double/twin private room – from $8

Full day kayaking trip around Halong Bay – $25-30

For money-saving tips, read How to bargain in Vietnam.


Money

Currency – Vietnamese Dong

£1 = 32,700 VND

€1 = 25,000 VND

US$1 = 22,400 VND

(Exchange rates correct as of June 2016)

US Dollars are accepted in many places and are frequently used for larger transactions such as paying for excursions or accommodation in places geared towards foreigners. Therefore it is useful to carry a stash of both currencies.


MFT Recommends

If you find yourself in the Vietnamese capital then we suggest staying at the Hanoi Traveller Hostel, in the charismatic old town, Hanoi’s backpacker hub close to Hoan Kiem Lake. Beds start at around $5/night.


street art in Vietnam

street art in Hanoi, Vietnam (via Mike HauserCC BY 2.0)


Share your Travel Costs!

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


This article was published in June 2016

Get our Backpackers Guide to Southeast Asia 2017-2018 for an overview of budget travel in the region.