By , July 9, 2012 11:00 am

If you know me and my love of numbers, you were probably wondering where all the stats were in our one year travel post.

Well, here they are!  I never meant to disappoint.  I simply had so many wonderfully awesome and arguably useless stats that they needed their own post.  And don’t worry… I’ve managed to contain myself to just a single pie chart.

The BIG Number: Budget

We (ok, I) have meticulously written down every penny spent in the past year… the cost of each hotel room, pupusa, dive lesson, tube of toothpaste, bandaid and bottle of water has been carefully recorded in a notebook and then transferred to the nifty little site,

So, at any given time, I know our spending to the penny.

Drum roll please…

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Total Spending after One Year of Travel (for 2 people): $20,040.68 CAD (16,013.46 €)
Average Cost per Day (for 2 people):  $54.76
(43.76 €)

Our original budget goal was $100/day, so it seems we’re doing pretty good spending wise.  Obviously, that goal was too high for us. Having realized that about 6 months ago, we decided to make it our spending cap goal for expensive places.  Our new budget goal is $50-55/day, but as with everything else on this journey, even that’s a work in progress.

Here’s a breakdown of where we spent the money:

Year One Expenses
But wait, there’s so much more…

Countries & Transportation

Countries visited: 11 (Visited means we spent at least 24 consecutive hours in the country) – Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador, USA, Spain, France, Austria

Border crossings: 17

Number of times we were turned back at a border: 1 (in Costa Rica, but they let us through after making us spend $50 on overpriced return bus tickets)

Total Distance Traveled: 29,764 km

  • by plane: 9492 km on 6 flights
  • by bus/automobile: 9444 km on 98 buses/colectivos/pick-up trucks/vans/tuk tuks
  • by train: 185 km on 4 trains
  • by boat: 9662 km on 32 boats
  • by foot:  923 km
  • by bike:  58 km

Most memorable mode of transportation: other than walking the Camino, definitely hitchhiking and getting a ride in the back of a pickup with dozen other people in Mexico


Average daily accommodation cost: $12.94 CAD

Most expensive bed: $78 CAD for dorm beds in Paris (but it included breakfast and supper!)

Least expensive bed (excluding free places): $3.65 CAD for a private room ensuite in San Pedro La Laguna, Guatemala

Number of different beds slept in:  98 (39 of these were on the Camino)

Number of nights spent sleeping in:

  • Private Rooms: 146
  • Dorms: 95 (most of these, 52, were in Europe – while on the Camino and to cut costs in cities)
  • Apartments: 84
  • Five star cruise ships: 14
  • Work exchange programs: 11
  • Friends’ Homes: 5
  • Couch Surfers’ Homes: 5
  • Buses:  2
  • Airports: 2 (both in Barcelona… and let me tell you, it’s a lot more comfortable when you’re past security!)
  • Private Islands: 1
  • Climbing a Volcano (ok, there was no sleeping), then watching the sun rise:  1


Average daily food cost: $10.51 CAD

  • Meals cooked/purchased in grocery stores & bakeries: 61%
  • Meals eaten out: 30%
  • Meals included with accommodation/tours: 8%
  • Free meals: 1%

Favourite foods:  tacos, Guatemalan pineapple, baleadas; Jewel Cay donuts, gingerbread, banana tarts, and pizza; pupusas, gallo pinto,  fried yuca balls, mangoes, cashews and cashew fruit, French Brie, Paris baguettes, aged Spanish sheep’s cheese, lentils (yup, our home province is the second largest producer of green lentils worldwide, and we had to travel halfway across the globe to try our first taste of them), chocolate croissants, dinkelbrot, and really any bread in any bakery in Austria


Weight Lost:  56 lb (Mike – 22 lb, Ashley – 34 lb)

Sick Days:  20 (17 for Ashley, 3 for Mike)

Bouts of Traveller’s Diarrhea/Food Poisoning: 3 (Ashley – 3, Mike – 0… man with the iron stomach!)

Number of Doctor’s Visits:  1 (needed physicals for divemaster program)

Number of Times We Probably Should Have Seen a Doctor, but Didn’t: 3
Surprise, surprise, it’s all Ashley here – 8 consecutive days of Montezuma’s revenge in Mexico (should have self-medicated), nasty sinus infection in Utila (did self-medicate after I realized it wasn’t going away), and food poisoning on the cruise ship (they require that you report all gastrointestinal issues to the ship’s doctor, but I self-quarantined myself while I was sick instead of a forced quarantine)

Unintentional Changes to the Gear List

Number of Times We Were Robbed: 3 (camera pickpocketed in Quetzaltenago, Guatemala; bag stolen from overhead bin of bus in Costa Rica; wallet with ~$15 pickpocketed in Antigua, Guatemala)

Number of Items We Lost:  5 (Ashley’s hat, both our Nalgene bottles, camp soap, Ashley’s quick-dry Northface t-shirt)

Number of Items Broken: 2 (Ashley sat on her Kindle in Antigua, Guatemala and Mike’s (cheap) beard trimmer)

Other Stuff

Money Earned from Working:  Mike – $30 (divemaster job = $5, cutting the grass at our apartment in Austria = $25), Ashley – $0

Number of Photos Taken:  6071 (actually, this is the number we’ve kept… many many more were taken)

Books Read:  96 (Ashley – 56, Mike – 40)

Postcards Mailed Home:  34

Souvenirs Purchased: 0 When I left home, I fully intended to buy something from each country or region and mail it home.  That way, when we eventually settled down, we could have a house full of cool stuff from our travels.  I even made Mike promise me that he wouldn’t harass me about the money when I did the souvenir shopping.  But, to date, I never saw anything that I just had to have. I’m 100% satisfied with the memories (and maybe a few photos) of our experiences… no stuff necessary!

Number of Times We Paid to Get Our Laundry Done:  1 (Rio Dulce, Guatemala… I’ve never seen it rain so much for 3 days straight… we had no hope of hanging our clothes to dry)

Mountains Summited:  4 (doesn’t include mountains crossed on the Camino, as they weren’t summited)

Total Time Spent Underwater:  74 hours, 30 minutes (each)

UNESCO World Heritage Sites Visited:  19

Like these stats?  You can find just about all of them, updated year-round, on our permanent stats page.

11 Responses to “A Year of Travel through Nerdy Numbers”

  1. Vicky says:

    I love posts like this where you can see all the stats from our year of travel! We are starting our trip in Sept so I’m hoping to take meticulous notes on everything to be able to provide a one year update as detailed as this! I can’t believe how much weight you guys lost! I was thinking we’d be losing weight on the trip but it seems that most backpackers gain weight for all the street food and eating out that they do. Good for you guys!

    • Ashley Lenzen says:

      At the start of our trip, we would always be drawn to the fried deliciousness of street food. And we still lost most of our weight then. I think the biggest reason is we have been living a drastically different lifestyle than we did at home. At home, we spent all our time working or recovering from working (by watching TV or playing board games or otherwise not being active). Now, we’re always out doing something… walking around a city, hiking, biking, etc. I imagine we may have had different results if we were already more active before we left home.

      Now, we tend to cook a lot of our food since the novelty of eating out all the time has started to wear out.

  2. Randy says:

    Wow, and you had time to travel after all this recording of data?

  3. Jennie says:

    Atta girl! Amazing! I’ll show the students next year! Happy year2 travels!

  4. Wow! This is such a great breakdown of your yearly costs. I’m impressed by how frugal you both were.

    • Ashley Lenzen says:

      Thanks. It turns out frugalness comes naturally to us these days. Without an income, you really learn to seek value for your money spent… we are always asking ourselves “would I be happy spending $3 if I buy that coffee? Is this museum worth $20? Is it worth the cost?” If the answer is no, we skip it. If yes, we spend it. Looking back at the past year, we can’t think of one thing we missed out on because we were too frugal to spend money on it – instead, we have a pile of experiences that were worth every penny that we paid.

      I think we’ve approached spending a lot different than many travellers that are on one year or 15 month trips. Since we have no end date, we know the longer we make our savings last, the longer we can keep doing this. Of course, we can’t live this way indefinitely, but it’s nice to know we have lots of time to play with by being frugal where it counts.

  5. Alexa says:

    Hey Mike and Ashley, I am a new reader, and WOW. I am so utterly impressed with these statistics. That’s incredible how you guys recorded all your spending info. I bet I could have saved way more money traveling had I taken the time to record like you guys. With all that knowledge, you now know how to budget even wiser and better. How long did it take you record and transfer everything to Did you transfer info every day or do it in bulk?

    • Ashley Lenzen says:

      Thanks, Alexa. Recording the spending is actually a pretty quick process. At least once a day, I pull out my notebook and jot down the date, what we spent money on, and how much it cost. Sometimes I carry it with me and jot things down every time I buy something, especially if it’s going to be difficult to track that many items in my head.

      As for transferring the data to the website, sometimes I do it daily and other times I have as much as two weeks of data to enter. It all depends on how much free time I have and what my internet connection is like. I prefer to log in at the end of each day, and transfer everything then. It only takes a minute or so and makes the task much more manageable and enjoyable.

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