Are cruise trips cheaper than backpacking for millennials?

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If you’re planning the backpacking trip of your dreams you’ve probably not considered a cruise as a travel plan. But what if we told you that you could save nearly $700 when booking a cruise around Fiji compared to traditional backpacking for the same route? Let us explain.

Cruises have earned themselves a reputation as a holiday choice favoured by over 45s, which is backed up by the sales of our cruise travel insurance. We decided to do a bit of research to find out why cruises don’t appeal to more young travellers, with unexpected results.

Looking at popular backpacking destinations for 18-25s, we gathered the cost of flights, transfers, hotels, food and cooking, activities and entertainment as well as the time taken to travel and then matched these with equivalent cruise itineraries.

The first route we looked at starts in Singapore, making its way down to Bali with a stop at Komodo Island before hitting a few of the Northern parts of Australia. The cost breakdown reveals that you could save $439 on this journey by taking the cruise option.

Indonesia Cruise Comparison

The second route – starting in Auckland and sailing to Fiji – produced a similar cost saving. But perhaps the best bit for some travellers is the time saving. We found that both journeys would give you 19+ hours of added time that’s not sitting around in airports and on buses. That’s an extra day and a half of fun!

Fiji Cruise Comparison

Just like backpacking, cruises zip you from amazing place to amazing place, offering the same sense of community you’d get in a hostel, but you’ll also have your own bathroom with fresh towels and get all your meals cooked for you by top chefs.

Cruising as the new backpacking? We’re sold.


  • The proposed cruise routes have been taken from top Australian cruise provider P&O and have been selected based upon popular backpacking destinations
  • Package costs are based on a 4 person shared room onboard
  • The cost of alcohol onboard the ship has been taken from the cruise provider’s beverage costings
  • The cost of tourist attractions when travelling by cruise are same as the backpacking route cost and have been researched using Tripadvisor, Price of Travel and Budget Your Trip
  • All flight and travel costs for the backpacking option have been taken from Skyscanner and local bus companies
  • All food, alcohol, overnight accommodation, public transport and entertainment costs for the backpacking option have been researched using Price of Travel , Budget Your Trip and popular travel blogs


TID is an Australian online travel insurance company.

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