• A Year Around the World

A Year Around the World for $61,074: This is What We Learned

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.

A Year Around the World

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.

A Year Around the World

A Year Around the World

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.

A Year Around the World

A Year Around the World

A Year Around the World

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.

A Year Around the World

A Year Around the World

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!

Pin it for later:

A Year Around the World


About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Hippie in Heels, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Hippie in Heels has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. Stephanie May 15, 2017 at 2:16 am - Reply

    Wow I actually think that is a lot of money!!! I wish you guys had showed per post how much you had spend, because I would like to know where the money went :) You said you stayed in rooms in hostels and cooked a lot yourself…..so I wonder what was so expensive?! My friend did a RTW trip with a little over 10,000 (but she skipped the usa and canada).

    • Hi Stephanie!

      Like mentioned in the article, it all depends on the countries you visit and the activities you do. We spent 4 months in SE Asia, where we could eat and sleep pretty cheap, but the other 7 months we travelled through Australia, New Zealand and the US, where life is a little more expensive. We went diving, visited a lot of theme parks and didn’t skip expensive activities like bungy jumping and a helicopter tour.

      Did your friend include every cent spent on and for his trip in that $10,000 as well? We included our backpacks, travel clothes, camera, vaccinations, travel insurance, flights, simply everything. On our blog, you can see a detailed list of everything we spent, and expense reports on the Asian countries we visited as well: https://wandering.world/our-journey/expenses/ We’re still working on expense reports for the other countries and our RTW trip in general. If your friend has a budget breakdown, we’d be interested to see that one too. :)

      Greetings from Belgium!

  2. Venus John May 17, 2017 at 12:15 am - Reply

    amazing..thanks for sharing!

  3. thebritishberliner May 17, 2017 at 2:44 pm - Reply

    Nice one!
    I love the article, but at first I was like what? $61,000 is a hell of a lot ‘cos I did my GAP year and travelled for a year too, and spent less than this.
    Or so I thought!

    Because you’re right. Firstly, there’s two of you which makes it $30.537 PER PERSON which is incredibly cheap! Secondly, I spent that year in only Asia and Eastern Europe. Thirdly, this was a hell of a long time ago so prices were much cheaper. I mean, I went to Hong Kong and Singapore, and I didn’t skimp. Mind you, in Asia, I didn’t skimp at all. I was traveling solo so I stayed in boutique hotels and flew everywhere! Eek! And lastly, Australia and New Zealand are the devil when it comes to prices. Paris would be cheaper!

    I noticed that you’re from Belgium, did you include Europe on your list.
    p.s. I calculated 10 months…

    • Glad to there you love the article! We from Belgium indeed, and didn’t visit Europe during our (nearly) 1 year world trip. We decided to cram a bunch of faraway destinations in that year and keep Europe to explore gradually from our home in Belgium. We skipped Africa and South America as well, there’s only so much places you can visit in one year, right? Sounds like you had an awesome GAP year too! Thanks for commenting, it’s nice to hear what other people think. :)

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