What is the Cost Of A Trip Around The World?

by Dave on March 20, 2009 · 192 comments

Heli-hiking to Franz Joseph Glacier was worth it, even if it increased my overall cost of a trip around the world

Atop Franz Joseph Glacier, New Zealand

To help others get an idea for the cost of a trip around the world, I realized there was no better way than to track my actual expenses.

I tried to find a balance between providing current and useful data with not being too nerdy and spending all my time calculating exchange rates and accounting for every penny.

I rounded all expenses to the nearest $0.05 and after losing a little pocket exchange calculator in the beginning, I decided to use rough exchange rates to do the calculations in my head instead.


To determine the cost of a trip around the world, I categorized my spending into six buckets:

  • Visas – solely the cost of visas, not inclusive of related administrative expenses
  • Lodging – hostels, cheap hotels
  • Transport – metros, trains, buses, taxis, rickshaws, ferries, boats
  • Food – meals, water, alcohol, snacks
  • Sightseeing – admission tickets, all-inclusive packages (rafting in Nepal, cruise in Egypt)
  • Miscellaneous – internet, phone, guidebooks, clothes, souvenirs, shipping (of souvenirs) home

Some activities included meals and/or lodging for a night or more, such as my treks in Nepal and India.  I did not attempt to separate those costs.

I also did not factor travel between most countries into my daily costs.  This would include international flights, though not the trains and buses I used between countries in Europe.

Cost of a Trip Around the World

Daily Expenses

  • French Polynesia – 5 days – $66 per day – $330 total
  • New Zealand -26 days – $116 per day – $3,005 total
  • Australia – 28 days – $98 per day – $2,743 total
  • Indonesia – 21 days – $55 per day – $1,151  total
  • Singapore – 4 days – $51 per day – $204  total
  • Hong Kong/Macau – 11 days – $65 per day – $711  total
  • China – 20 days – $55 per day – $1,095  total
  • Tibet – 0 days – $N/A per day – $150 total (cost of permit I never received, and loss of money on train ticket)
  • Nepal – 42 days – $54 per day – $2,275  total
  • India – 43 days – $51 per day – $2,179  total
  • Thailand – 68 days – $55 per day – $3,760  total
  • Cambodia – 18 days – $63 per day – $1,139  total
  • Laos – 18 days – $61 per day – $1,095  total
  • South Africa – 55 days – $77 per day – $4,223  total
  • Botswana – 7 days – $110 per day – $771  total
  • Egypt – 11 days – $90 per day – $992  total
  • Europe (Belgium, Holland, France, Switzerland, Spain) – 27 days – $81 per day – $2,176  total
  • Colombia – 49 days – $44 per day – $2,163  total

Total for Daily Spending = $30,162

Inter-country Flights

  • $2,000 – Air Tahiti flights – Washington, DC to Auckland, via French Polynesia (Tahiti).  Jetstar flights – Christchurch to Brisbane, Melbourne to Bali*
  • $127 – Jetstar Asia flight from Singapore to Hong Kong
  • $476 – Air China flight from Chengdu to Kathmandu, via Lhasa, Tibet
  • $247 – THAI Air flight from New Delhi to Bangkok
  • $124 – Laos Airlines flight from Luang Prabang to Chiang Mai
  • $673 – Air Qatar flight from Bangkok to Cape Town*
  • $593 – Air Egypt flight from Johannesburg to Cairo
  • $122 – Jetairfly.com flight from Cairo to Brussels
  • $505 – Iberia flight from Madrid to Bogota

Total for Inter-country Flights = $4,867

* Flights purchased through AirTreks.com

Cost of my 15-month trip around the world = $35,029**

Fulfilling a personal dream = priceless!


For further details, you can review my online spreadsheet.

** This figure does not include pre/post-trip expenses like storage, health insurance, immunizations, etc.  Check out my pre-trip plan for an idea of those expenses.

PS – Through online advertising, Dares, donations, and gifts, I was able to travel longer than I otherwise would’ve been able to on my own.  Thank you to everyone who contributed, whether it was offering a donation or simply reading this blog!

About the Author:

is the author of 1750 posts on Go Backpacking.

Dave is Editor and Founder of Go Backpacking and Medellin Living, and the Co-founder of Travel Blog Success. Follow him on Twitter @rtwdave or Google+

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Categories: Budgeting & Finances, Features, Planning, Post-trip
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