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Three Tips for traveling the world for a year under $10,000

By SammyK on Wed, Apr 29th 09 at 01:50PM | Permalink | Comments (13)

** Update May 3rd: Even though we've run out the original budget, we're not going home yet. **

We came, we saw, we blew 10 G's in 7 months.

We failed to travel to all the places we wanted to under $10,000, but we learned that traveling under $10,000 is a completely obtainable objective.

1) Don't try to see the whole world all at once.

That was our first mistake. We planned to go to 17 countries which is a lot of travel expense for buses, trains, airplanes, taxis and old pickup trucks full of chickens.

Slow down - you've got your whole life to travel. Stay in once place for a few months and soak up the culture there.

2) Stick to "cheap" countries

When you're on a tight budget, traveling to Europe, New Zealand, Australia, the States and other "expensive" countries, your dollar doesn't go very far.

To get by on a $10,000 budget in these countries, you've got to cut down to the bare essentials. You'll eat rice and beans everyday, your bed will be a mat on the floor of some stingy apartment shared by 10 other people, and you'll do nothing all day long because whatever it is, it's too expensive.

Go to places like Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Costa Rica. Your dollar will go far in these countries.

Not only will you live "comfortably," but you'll have extra money to go on weekend excursions through the jungle for $30, or go for a one-hour oil massage for $6, or eat at the fanciest restaurant in town for $6.

In fact, if you chose about 4 "cheap countries" to live in for the year, you won't even need the whole $10,000. You could do that under $7,000 easily.

3) Couch Surf - it's way more than just free accommodation

If you don't have a profile set up on yet, create one. is an online community of travelers who open up their house to you for free.

For example, if you're going to Rome for a week, instead of paying $130 per night for a hotel, you can search the Couch Surfing database for people in Rome who have an "available couch". The search will pull up a plethora of hosts in Rome. You can browse the host profiles with comments from previous surfers to ensure they are good people.

Once you find someone that you want to stay with, you just send them a "Couch Surfing request" and most of the time they get back with you soon.

Couch Surfing not only saves you loads of money on accommodation, but you also learn so much about the culture you're visiting and you get to befriend the locals.

Couch Surfing is the way to travel - whether you're on a budget or not.


Photo by The Consumerist.


Kevin wrote on April 29th 09 at 02:45PM
Great to see an update. Stinks about the cash though! Live and learn, I guess.
Corey wrote on April 29th 09 at 08:20PM
Hey guys! You know, being able to see and do all that you've been able to do for under $10,000 and in 7 months is still a MAJOR achievement. You really showed that travel is attainable for everyone.

Remember, there are probably a ton of people that blow $10,000 for a two week vacation to some resort. Now, I wonder who had a better time???

Congrats on getting as far as you did. . . . now don't stop!!!
Claudia - The Bavarian wrote on April 30th 09 at 11:28AM

That is all very true, so in your case be very happy that you went to SEA after NZ and OZ.

By the way, if you tell me in advance what time you´re planning to hang out in Munich, let me know. If I don´t attend any flights you can certainly stay with me! So much for couchsurfing...
Scott C. wrote on May 1st 09 at 07:02PM
I definitely agree with Corey. You guys deserve a huge major congrats for all that you were able to accomplish so far, and it is a huge bonus to be able to document it/make these videos and show all of us your adventures and inspire us all! ;)
Shane wrote on May 2nd 09 at 04:04AM
Totally awesome that you guys were able to last 7 months on 10 grand. I've managed to blow that much in a few weeks easily enough, so again, well done.
Heather wrote on May 8th 09 at 08:28AM
Was that $10, 000 per person or for both of you?
heather wrote on May 8th 09 at 08:29AM
Nevermind. I just saw that it was per person.
nomadicmatt wrote on May 15th 09 at 01:48AM
i thought u guys were crazy for trying to do it under 10k with visiting NZ and OZ and such
Ren wrote on July 19th 09 at 05:04AM
US$10k in 7 months is still heartening for someone like me who keeps thinking he'll never get enough money to travel. I'm already on CouchSurfing, so that's one out of three down. :-)
Casey wrote on October 1st 09 at 11:09AM
I love what you guys have done. I just did 13 months on $20k and agree completely that if just stuck to SE Asia you could easily do 1-year for $10k. Enjoy the Journey & CHEERS!
Lindsey wrote on October 4th 09 at 11:03AM
I'm trying to do virtually the same thing starting in June. I'm thinking of trying out WWOOFing, CouchSurfing, and GlobalFreeloading in the more expensive desinations.

Great job with the whole blog. It's fantastic!
romulo wrote on October 21st 09 at 09:46AM
ixtrade wrote on January 25th 11 at 08:39AM
great advices
The incredible story of how two recent college grads are traveling around the world on an impossible budget.
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