The following tables shows the total costs for the two of us for each location to which we’ve travelled, and will be updated on an ongoing basis. Details on these figures can be found below these cost tables, along with links to the blog post for each location.
We spend December 2021 – April 2022 selling our house, cars, and getting rid of all our possessions before heading out on our full-time nomadic lifestyle.
Location Avg/day – These are our expenses directly related to being in that location, which includes accommodation, groceries, restaurants, entry fees (museums, etc), and local transportation for getting around that location.
Nomadic Avg/day – These are ALL of our costs while living our nomadic lifestyle, which includes the Location Avg/day expenses above, plus flights or other transportation to get to that location, health expenses and insurance, data packages, subscriptions (Netflix and other streaming services, web site hosting, Adobe Lightroom, VPN, misc apps, etc.). We have a nomadic daily budget of $160/day (Canadian, $122 US$, €111). So far we have averaged out to $139.95/day, so feel pretty good about staying within our budget.
Nomadic Total Spent – The total amount we spent in that location, including our full nomadic expenses like travelling between locations, health insurance, our subscriptions and blog hosting, etc.
Nomadic Annualized – This is the Nomadic Avg/day cost multiplied by 365 days. This would theoretically be how much it would cost us to live in that location the whole year, but in reality we should be able to get better rates on accommodation if staying for a full year – we move around pretty quickly, so often can’t take advantage of monthly discounts, and our costs if staying a full year should be lower than shown here.
Travel Treats – The first three locations on this list were trips that had been funded prior to our retirement, and were delayed due to Covid. Accordingly, we aren’t including them in our nomadic travel costs, but did write blog posts so have listed the costs here for interest’s sake. Occasionally we’ll treat ourselves on a short trip that will be more expensive, like the Alaskan cruise, and we won’t include those costs in the nomadic travel budget because we don’t consider them part of our normal nomadic lifestyle. If we are able to splurge, it’s because we’ve saved some money in lower cost locations, and are treating ourselves with a bit of a “vacation”.
Major Takeaways and Costs Explained – As can be seen in the table above, we are currently averaging $51,083k Canadian$ per year ($37.4k US$, €34.9k). This total includes all accommodation, transportation (including gas and road tolls), groceries, restaurants, entrance fees, parking, health insurance/care, phone/data packages, and subscriptions (Netflix and other streaming services, software costs like VPNs, Adobe Creative suite, Quicken, web hosting, etc.). These tables reflect all our expenses for living a nomadic lifestyle.
Some of the lowest priced regions were Bulgaria and Türkiye where we spent almost three months before prices started to creep up in 2022 after the pandemic ended, but you’ll also notice that you can live quite inexpensively in SE Asia. The longer we stayed in a country the lower our costs became because transportation costs to the region are spread across a longer time, and AirBnB rentals usually offer discounts for weekly or monthly rentals. Road trips usually raise the spending, but you can see in places like Portugal where we stayed for almost a month in one location, taking advantage of the discounts for longer stay accommodations and less gas and road tolls, it averaged out comfortably below our $160 budget.
The great thing about this average is that it’s actually less than we were spending living in our house in Calgary, Canada, even though we were mortgage free and had no loans on our cars. With no property taxes and utilities, home and car insurance and maintenance, the relatively high cost of living in North America, not to mention the other things we found ourselves spending money on even though we lived a pretty frugal life, we can do this for less than living in one spot. So why wouldn’t we travel the world like this when we’re healthy and our kids are now independent?
Our Travel Style (Will our costs match yours?)
Quick vs Slow Travel: As you can probably tell from the table above, we move around pretty quickly, often staying a week or less in any one location. Even for the countries with longer durations we often stay in a few different cities to get a good feel of the region. So far we’ve been moving around like this so we could experience as many locations as possible, but it means we usually aren’t taking advantage of weekly or monthly discounts on Airbnbs, plus we’re spending money on transportation. Many nomads we know are slow travellers, staying in one location for at least a month to lower their costs and get the discounts, but so far we like the pace we’re going so will stick with it since we can do it and still stay within our budget
Accommodation Choices: I consider our accommodation tastes to be pretty average, but we do a lot of searching on Airbnb, Booking.com, Agoda, VRBO, and other sites to get as good a deal as we can. You can check out the links in the middle of our About Us page to see the type of places we stay and what they cost. We know nomads who spend way more and way less than we do on accommodations, so figure out what you’re looking for and how that will impact your budget.
When staying more than one or two nights we’re normally looking for a highly rated Airbnb or apartment style unit that’s well reviewed with the following amenities:
- A decently outfitted kitchen. We cook most of our own meals, but we’re not that fancy, so as long as there are some pots and pans, glasses, dishes and utensils we’re normally fine.
- A defined bedroom (not a studio, although we have done them for shorter stays if choice is limited).
- A comfortable seating area with a couch and TV. We’re not on vacation with our travels – this is our life – so relaxing watching Netflix is a normal evening activity. We also check the pictures of the TV on the listing to make sure it’s relatively new so we can attach our Firestick to use our own streaming accounts, along with news and other apps. Quite often the only stations you can get on the TV are in the local language, so it’s nice to have a consistent source of news and entertainment we can understand.
- A work area where we can set up our laptops with accessible plug-ins. Usually this is the kitchen table.
- A washing machine if we’re going to be staying a week or more.
What’s not included in these costs? Our nomadic cost don’t include clothing, luggage, electronics, or cooking items that we bring with us (small utensils that we often find missing in Aribnbs). Most of these items will be used a long time, often years, so it’s not feasible to include them in the total for each location, but those costs are quite low since we don’t buy much due to lack of space in our bags.
We also don’t include the first flight each year to reposition from North America (where we normally spend Christmas with our families) to Europe or Asia where we generally start a new year of travel. This cost would be onerous on the budget for the first location, and should really be spread across all locations in the region, but for simplicity sake we just leave it out. Also, for people looking at our costs it would be misleading to have this large up-front cost skewing the numbers for a location, and each person would have a different starting point, often within the same region of the world, so we just leave it out and know we need to add it into the figures we use for our full yearly spending.
For the initial flight each year we are normally in the $1,000 – $1,500 range for the two of us, and the other costs (clothing, electronics, luggage, and other miscellaneous items) run about $3,000 – $4,000/year, so we normally run around $5,000 Canadian$ in additional costs each year, give or take a thousand ($3,700 US$ / €3,400). These costs can fluctuate quite a bit over the years, and we hope it’s less in 2024 since we’ve now acquired the luggage and electronics that work with this lifestyle, and hopefully we won’t lose another phone this year and have to buy a replacement.
Links to the blog posts with cost details for each location:
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