Why the cost of living is less when you are traveling

Why the cost of living is less when you are traveling

It is really tricky to know just how much full-time travel costs.

It may sound crazy to you, but it can cost less to travel than it does to have a “home base” or you rent/own a home.

Let me show you how.

Want to save money? Consider traveling the world!

K, take a minute to read that heading again. Check if i said what you thought i did.

Yup, i did.

But how can it cost less?

Well, start by asking yourself how much your home base costs you to run now?

You probably pay at least 5 of these costs each month:

  • Rent/Mortgage
  • Electricity
  • Water/Sewage
  • Rates and Taxes
  • Homeowners/Household insurance
  • Internet
  • TV subscriptions

Then consider how you may also pay for these things each month

  • Car repayments
  • Car insurance
  • Gas/public transport EVERY day for your work commute
  • Medical insurance (Travel insurance is normally cheaper)
  • Cleaning services/domestic help

cost of living vs traveling

When traveling you pay….

When you are traveling, many of these costs are included in your hotel or Airbnb fee.

Depending on which countries you travel to, it can be exceptionally cheap to rent an Airbnb. Even cheaper if you take out a long-term rental of 10 days or more.

Below are all the costs i used to pay for, but do not pay each month anymore while I travel:

All costs are shown in Rands and US Dollars based on the current exchange rate from our local currency of (R) South African Rands.

  1. Home loan/mortgage: R14,100 ($1,050)
  2. Household insurance: R400 ($30)
  3. Utilities (water & lights): R1,200 ($89)
  4. Car repayments: R2,300 ($171)
  5. Car insurance: R890 ($66)
  6. Gas/Petrol: R2,000 ($149)
  7. Home WIFI: R530 ($39)
  8. Medical Insurance: R1,690 (126)
  9. Gym: R295 ($22)

Total costs at “home”: R23,405 ($1,745) per month

The mortgage and the electricity costs etc.found above are the total cost my husband and i paid monthly, and these were shared costs we both took on together. However, the cost of our Airbnb below is also for both of us and not per person. Apples with apples.

This is what we have to pay while traveling

  1. Accommodation, on average (the cheaper countries average out the expensive ones) it will cost us about $900 or R12,000 per month. This is not $900 plus utilities, plus insurance, plus cleaning, etc. No, this is in total.
  2. Transport in and around a city costs us about $60-$100 dollars per month.
  3. Gym: we walk and hike a lot. I live a much more active lifestyle when i am traveling.This costs us $0.
  4. Travel insurance: We took out a 365 day or 1 year comprehensive insurance for R5,000 or $372 for the whole year. So this works out to R417 or $31 per month.

Total costs of travel: R18,200 or $1,031 per month


Based off of our numbers above, we are Saving R5,205 or $714 each month.

This is an annual saving of $8,568 or R62,460.

Also keep the below in mind

Groceries and Cleaning supplies

When you are running a household, you’re always replenishing your sugar, milk, bleach, ketchup, tile cleaner, mustard, coffee, salt and pepper, dishwashing liquid, etc. etc.

The list goes on.

Looking at how much full-time travel costs us, we never include any trips to the grocery store for tile cleaner or pool chemicals like I did at home.

When you are traveling, a lot of these costs (like cleaning services and coffee) are included too in your rentals.

Many hotels also offer a breakfast included and complimentary fresh fruit. Take advantage. This saves you a lot.


We travel slower

You may be thinking about how much a holiday costs. We ARE NOT on holiday.

You simply cannot live like you do on a holiday every day. We would be fat, broke and just plain exhausted if we lived like this.

When you are on holiday it’s your one or two weeks of annual leave and you came all this way to your destination and you have to cram as much fun and sight seeing and food and sun into your time. That costs.

You either feel like you have to splurge or somehow you just do, because you want to have as much fun as you possibly can when it’s your only holiday time in a year, right?

When you are traveling full-time, you don’t have that mindset. Naturally, you are more careful about where you spend your money, and are less likely to get ripped off and blindly pay the tourist prices. You aren’t in a rush to see and do everything.

It costs less per day.

How much full-time travel costs, is up to you!

You have the choice whether you stay in luxurious 5 star hotels or cheaper Airbnbs or hostels. It is your choice if you decide to take an hour long flight or a 6 hour bus ride.

Choose to eat out every day or buy some fresh fruit, snacks and sandwiches a couple times a week. It’s your choice really. But if you do it with just a little bit of a conscious effort, it doesn’t have to cost you as much as you think.

You can make money from the road, too

You can go over to our post about how it is possible to afford full-time travel here and find out all the ways you can make your travels last even longer by making money from the road.

If you’d like to start saving for a travel adventure but you aren’t sure how to get started, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Read about how you can save enough to get started.

We’re seeing the world!

You might be thinking, it’s still expensive. And some months it is, but… Don’t forget, we’re also getting to see the world. Eeeek. I get so excited thinking about it. It’s an experience i am so grateful for and no one will ever be able to take away from you!

Although we’ll also be paying for attractions, day trips and flights. They won’t cost us more than the amount we’re saving as illustrated above.


I wish more people would realize that it does not cost that much more, if it does at all, to travel the world. If you do it right!


Awesome to have you here!

Thank you for sticking around and getting all the way down here! Please share with your circle on social media and a comment below

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About Me

Full-time traveler. My aim is to inspire others to travel more, and to be less afraid of the world.

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