The cost of traveling independently (or backpacking) obviously depends on what your personal standards and preferences are. It also depends on how fast you travel and what you hope to experience. Organised tours and activities such as diving, skiing, sand dune boarding, sea kayaking, mountaineering or jungle trekking will all cost way more than loafing on a beach.
But another factor which will impact how much you need to budget for a backpacking trip is which destination(s) you intend to visit and how long you spend in each place. As a general rule, the more developed the infrastructure of a country or region, the more it is likely to cost to travel once you get there. But there are exceptions to the rule. Approximate guideline travel costs (the approximate costs of backpacking independently) are illustrated on the map.
The countries of South Asia and South East Asia such as Thailand, India, Malaysia, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia are some of the most popular backpacking destinations. They offer fantastic value for money, are relatively safe to travel and offer a range of sightseeing and cultural experiences. Northern Europe, Japan, Australia, North America and parts of South America are generally more expensive destinations in which to travel. Africa and the Middle East vary in cost but contain regions which can be difficult for independent travel.
So, if you are unsure where to go, it is worth remembering that a week or two backpacking through Europe may cost little less than several months traveling slowly through South East Asia.