The following is a guest post from fellow travel bloggers who have done a RTW trip (round the world trip) and wanted to share about how much it costs and how you can do a year around the world, too.
How You Can Travel A Year Around The World
“How much does it cost?”
That’s the one question that comes up the most when discussing long-term travel.
Well, it depends on the countries you visit and the way you travel.
Are you going to Southeast Asia or the US?
Will you be sleeping in dorm rooms or fancy hotels?
These are decisions you need to make to be able to draw up a realistic budget.
Let me give you a real-life example: we, as a couple, traveled for a year around the world for $61,074. Yes, we tracked every single dollar.
Keep reading to find out if you could travel the world for $61,074 as well.
Note that these amounts are subject to fluctuations in exchange rates. It cost us $61,074 to travel around the world in 343 days for two people.
We traveled around the world in 343 days (from September 2015 to August 2016) for $61,074.04 to be precise. This includes every cent we spent during that short year of full-time travel around the world. Vaccinations, flights, gear, accommodation, food & drinks, activities, and so on. You can definitely do it for less, but you can splurge way more as well.
A year around the world for two people for $61,074 equals to $89 per person per day.
In Southeast Asia we stayed well below this average. In New Zealand, Australia, and the US it was the other way around.
These numbers include everything we did and brought with us on our one-year trip around the world. Notable exceptions: our laptops, cell phones, iPad, Kindles, and GoPro.
Here’s an elaborate list of everything that is included in this grand total of $61,074:
- All pre-travel expenses: Before you can even leave on a trip around the world, you’ll need to spend some money on vaccinations, travel insurance, and international travel documents like an international passport and driver’s license.
- All transportation: All flights and overland transportation like buses, trains, boats, taxis, tuk-tuks, cars, bicycles, motorbikes, and campervans. We used them all!
- All accommodation: We mostly stayed in hostels and motels, or on campsites in our rented campervan. Sometimes we stayed in an AirBnB apartment, and from time to time we splurged on a hotel as well.
- All gear: From our backpack to a headphone splitter, everything in terms of gear is included. Travel clothes and shoes, travel towels, a daypack, a good but compact camera, a mask and snorkel, a reusable water bottle, it’s all in there.
- All food and drinks: This includes the funds to satisfy our occasional Belgian beer cravings and some fast food here and there.
- All toiletries and other necessities: There are some things you (arguably) can’t go without, like deodorant, insect repellent, sunscreen, tampons (yes, I’m a woman), medication, haircuts, and laundry.
- All activities: Every entrance fee, day trip, tour, and even some gambling in Las Vegas is included. And we didn’t skip the expensive activities like scuba diving, bungy jumping and a ridiculous amount of theme parks either.
- All extra travel expenses on the road: Some of the things people often forget to take into account when drawing up a budget are visas, local SIM cards, paid WiFi, and ATM fees. It’s next to impossible to travel without these extra expenses.
Things that influence your RTW budget
When planning a trip around the world, it’s best to do your research about the cost of this amazing adventure ahead of you. You don’t want to be stuck somewhere without money, or have to return prematurely.
Make a realistic budget and stick to it.
While drawing up your budget, you need to think about the countries you want to visit and the way you want to travel. Here are some things that will influence your RTW travel budget.
The countries you visit
Asia is obviously cheaper than Australia, New Zealand, or the US. However, deciding to gradually make your way around the world, minimizing long distance travel, will keep your budget down too.
We spent 3 months in Southeast Asia, 3 months in Australia, 1 month in New Zealand, and 3 months in the US.
The food you eat
When you’re in Asia, it’s expensive to eat Western food, so stick to local food to keep your food budget down. Remember that food stalls are cheaper than restaurants, and alcohol can be crazy expensive. When you’re in Western countries, cook your own food to save some money.
We mostly ate local food in Southeast Asia, with the occasional splurge for a Western meal. While traveling Australia, New Zealand, and the US, we tried to keep eating out to a minimum and mostly cooked our own dinner.
The places you sleep
When you prefer the luxury of a private room in a fancy hotel over a dorm room in a hostel, you’ll obviously need to budget more for accommodation. Try alternatives like a campervan, AirBnB, or Couchsurfing if you’re up for it.
We mostly stayed in private rooms in hostels, and occasionally booked a hotel for a couple of nights. While traveling Australia and New Zealand, we rented a campervan and spent our nights on campsites. That’s transportation and accommodation in one!
The luggage you carry
Save money on flights (and yourself from a backache) by only bringing a carry-on on your travels. We did it, so it’s possible!
The mode of transport you use
Walking is obviously the cheapest way of getting around, but you can’t walk everywhere. Make use of public transport or Uber instead of taking a regular taxi or booking a tour or tourist bus. Maybe try renting a bicycle, motorbike, car, or campervan. That’s what we did!
The experiences you want
Many things in life are actually free. Why not go on a free walking tour instead of a sightseeing bus? Check out a free museum and take up geocaching as a hobby to find some lesser known gems, all by foot. That said, don’t be too stingy either. Bungy jumping and flyboarding in Queenstown was expensive as well, but we’ll never forget those experiences. Make sure to leave some room in your budget for those memories.
Things you should and shouldn’t take on your RTW trip
If we could do our round the world trip over, there’s only one thing I would change: the clothes I packed. Some pre-travel research showed that it’s best to bring travel clothes on your long-term trip. They dry quickly and don’t get smelly like regular clothes. Well, don’t!
Bring clothes you don’t mind wearing every day, on every occasion, for a year.
If your clothes get worn out, buy new ones on the road. They sell clothes everywhere, you know. There’s no need to hand wash them either. In Southeast Asia full-service laundry is crazy cheap. How about Australia, New Zealand, or the US, I hear you think. Well, we did our own laundry in coin-operated washing machines at the campsites or motels. Easy and cheap!
Brecht really loved his travel clothes though. I guess it’s different for men. We do recommend buying socks and underwear made from Merino wool or some similar fabric. They really aren’t as smelly as regular socks and underwear, and because they’re quick to dry, you can hand wash them when needed.
A couple of other often forgotten things we were glad to have brought on our round the world trip are Dr Bronner Magic Soap, a small first aid kit, and a reusable water bottle.
Record your journey
On a trip around the world you’ll see and do too many things to remember. Don’t let these great experiences go to waste, but write a journal or start a travel blog. It’s so much fun to look back on that awesome year through the stories and photos on our travel blog!
There’s just one thing I regret: not filming more. I get really jealous when seeing other people’s travel after movies. But between all the notes, photos, and Snapchats, I don’t think we could manage yet another way of recording our journey.
What do you think? Will you be able to beat us and spend less on your trip around the world? Don’t get too stingy though, or you’ll forget to enjoy your travels and miss out on some awesome adventures!
Interested in reading more about our journey and a full-blown analysis of where all our money went? Have a look at our website: Wandering the World!
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