What is the Cost Of A Trip Around The World?

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.

Methodology

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!

Comments

  1. says

    Congratulations on the completion of your trip, Dave. Your attention to detail is admirable indeed. Overall, I think your budget is a fine precedent for others who wish to follow their dreams. You have proved time and again that one doesn’t need a boat-load of money to go on a trip like this; it being a comfortable one to boot.

    My husband and I dream to do a similar trip (for 6 months, though) and I always refer to your website for guidance.

    -V

  2. says

    Congratulations on the completion of your trip, Dave. Your attention to detail is admirable indeed. Overall, I think your budget is a fine precedent for others who wish to follow their dreams. You have proved time and again that one doesn’t need a boat-load of money to go on a trip like this; it being a comfortable one to boot.

    My husband and I dream to do a similar trip (for 6 months, though) and I always refer to your website for guidance.

    -V

  3. says

    Hi Dave, I can remember the week before you left… Hard to believe so much time has gone by. Thanks for sharing your journey with us. Questions I have now, after all is said and done, What would you do differently? what places do you feel you saw thoroughly vs. what places might you have wanted to see more of? Do you have a feeling there was stuff that you missed due to one reason or another, and might like to see again? I know this could make an entire blog post…

    Regards,
    -Skip

  4. says

    Hi Dave, I can remember the week before you left… Hard to believe so much time has gone by. Thanks for sharing your journey with us. Questions I have now, after all is said and done, What would you do differently? what places do you feel you saw thoroughly vs. what places might you have wanted to see more of? Do you have a feeling there was stuff that you missed due to one reason or another, and might like to see again? I know this could make an entire blog post…

    Regards,
    -Skip

  5. Danny & Jillian Tobias says

    Thanks for all your public budgeting. You’ve inspired us to do the same on our site.

    I’m curious though, did you find it difficult to balance your budget against doing the things you really wanted to do?

  6. Danny & Jillian Tobias says

    Thanks for all your public budgeting. You’ve inspired us to do the same on our site.

    I’m curious though, did you find it difficult to balance your budget against doing the things you really wanted to do?

  7. says

    Thanks! While some backpackers might find my budget outrageous, I found it fit my travel style at the age of 31-32 just right. :)

  8. says

    Hey Skip, thanks for the support all this time! Good questions. I’m sure I’ll be writing a lot more about this stuff in future posts. For now, a few quick thoughts.

    I would probably spend a little less time on the islands of Thailand so I could better afford to take a 1-2 month overland trip in eastern Africa. I really wanted to do that there, but if I did, I wouldn’t have been able to make it to South America, and clearly I am loving Colombia! No regrets.

    I visited 20 countries, though in reality, I spent a lot of time in a select few, which gave me a good feel for them. New Zealand, eastern Australia, Nepal, eastern/northern India, Thailand, South Africa, and Colombia. I felt 18 days was enough for both Cambodia and Laos. I would’ve liked to have seen more of India, but it is so big, hot, loud, and stressful, I could only manage 7 weeks. Of course there is a ton of stuff I feel I missed…the world is BIG and even in countries where I spent 2 months, I feel I only scratched the surface.

  9. says

    Hey Skip, thanks for the support all this time! Good questions. I’m sure I’ll be writing a lot more about this stuff in future posts. For now, a few quick thoughts.

    I would probably spend a little less time on the islands of Thailand so I could better afford to take a 1-2 month overland trip in eastern Africa. I really wanted to do that there, but if I did, I wouldn’t have been able to make it to South America, and clearly I am loving Colombia! No regrets.

    I visited 20 countries, though in reality, I spent a lot of time in a select few, which gave me a good feel for them. New Zealand, eastern Australia, Nepal, eastern/northern India, Thailand, South Africa, and Colombia. I felt 18 days was enough for both Cambodia and Laos. I would’ve liked to have seen more of India, but it is so big, hot, loud, and stressful, I could only manage 7 weeks. Of course there is a ton of stuff I feel I missed…the world is BIG and even in countries where I spent 2 months, I feel I only scratched the surface.

  10. says

    Paying it forward…..perfect! That is what I tried to do by posting my spending online during the trip, as that was the information I most wanted while I was saving up beforehand.

    I tracked my spending, but didn’t really stick to a budget. I basically had a certain style of travel, which was somewhere in the middle of the backpacker/flashpacker spectrum. I didn’t always stay in the cheapest rooms, and I was really bad about cooking for myself. I had to replace my camera twice, and buying a laptop in Hong Kong was certainly a luxury!

  11. says

    Paying it forward…..perfect! That is what I tried to do by posting my spending online during the trip, as that was the information I most wanted while I was saving up beforehand.

    I tracked my spending, but didn’t really stick to a budget. I basically had a certain style of travel, which was somewhere in the middle of the backpacker/flashpacker spectrum. I didn’t always stay in the cheapest rooms, and I was really bad about cooking for myself. I had to replace my camera twice, and buying a laptop in Hong Kong was certainly a luxury!

  12. says

    Well Dave, I have enjoyed following you, even as a fellow long term traveler.

    Everyone travels differently according to their own person uniqueness. I know one guy that has spent 60,000 dollars in two years, traveling over 50 countries.

    I travel slow, and only have spent about 15,000 dollars, and I am in my seventh month. At my two year mark this November I will have spent just a little over $20,000 with 3 to 5 years to go. Although within the last 17 months I have only traveled 7 countries and had to fly only once, which was into Israel.

    Feel free to visit my blog, add my link if you wish.

  13. says

    Well Dave, I have enjoyed following you, even as a fellow long term traveler.

    Everyone travels differently according to their own person uniqueness. I know one guy that has spent 60,000 dollars in two years, traveling over 50 countries.

    I travel slow, and only have spent about 15,000 dollars, and I am in my seventh month. At my two year mark this November I will have spent just a little over $20,000 with 3 to 5 years to go. Although within the last 17 months I have only traveled 7 countries and had to fly only once, which was into Israel.

    Feel free to visit my blog, add my link if you wish.

  14. SFster says

    Hi Dave,
    You are so inspiring! I have been looking at my own trip, and just have a question about your air schedules…..I am only able to book itineraries on AirTreks that begin and end in the same location, but it looks like you didn’t have to do that (i.e., Air Qatar flight from Bangkok to Cape Town)?
    I have found planning the air transportation component to be the most confusting — any tips?

    Much thanks and congrats on a job well done!

  15. SFster says

    Hi Dave,
    You are so inspiring! I have been looking at my own trip, and just have a question about your air schedules…..I am only able to book itineraries on AirTreks that begin and end in the same location, but it looks like you didn’t have to do that (i.e., Air Qatar flight from Bangkok to Cape Town)?
    I have found planning the air transportation component to be the most confusting — any tips?

    Much thanks and congrats on a job well done!

  16. says

    Great insight into some real costs for traveling. Many people over- or underestimate that a lot, so it’s good so see some real life examples. I also agree that you probably spend much less, the longer you stay in a country and learn about the local customs and prices. You will also save plenty on transportation costs if you can negotiate your housing for a little longer term than on a daily basis.

    Another good benchmark for evaluating prices beforehand can be the Purchase Power Parity Index, which compares purchasing power per country. There is a nice article on Wikipedia about it.

    Anyway – great transparent price listings!

  17. says

    Great insight into some real costs for traveling. Many people over- or underestimate that a lot, so it’s good so see some real life examples. I also agree that you probably spend much less, the longer you stay in a country and learn about the local customs and prices. You will also save plenty on transportation costs if you can negotiate your housing for a little longer term than on a daily basis.

    Another good benchmark for evaluating prices beforehand can be the Purchase Power Parity Index, which compares purchasing power per country. There is a nice article on Wikipedia about it.

    Anyway – great transparent price listings!

  18. says

    Thank you! :) AirTreks worked well for me on some big flights, and the rest I booked myself online. My biggest tip would be to try not to plan too far in advance with flights so you stay flexible. It really was easier than I expected to do it yourself online, and with the exception of Cape Town airport officials requiring I buy an onward ticket before they´d let me in the country!!

  19. says

    Thank you! :) AirTreks worked well for me on some big flights, and the rest I booked myself online. My biggest tip would be to try not to plan too far in advance with flights so you stay flexible. It really was easier than I expected to do it yourself online, and with the exception of Cape Town airport officials requiring I buy an onward ticket before they´d let me in the country!!

  20. Kathi says

    DAVE you R a crazy one!!!!

    All that budgeting and I am pretty sure you did not miss a think! I really admire your detailed insights. You were always so prepared and well organized. Me and Kristina we “just” spent half a year in one country and we had no clue about the Hotspots in the first month. But we met you and I remember speaking about the Ostrich u really inspired us seeing every piece of that beautiful South Africa! All the best!

  21. Kathi says

    DAVE you R a crazy one!!!!

    All that budgeting and I am pretty sure you did not miss a think! I really admire your detailed insights. You were always so prepared and well organized. Me and Kristina we “just” spent half a year in one country and we had no clue about the Hotspots in the first month. But we met you and I remember speaking about the Ostrich u really inspired us seeing every piece of that beautiful South Africa! All the best!

  22. says

    Congrats on finishing your trip! I have been following your blog closely the last months as my own planning for the trip was reaching an end and the adventure was starting. Thanks a lot for the tips and economic insights as they have helped us plan our trip. Im going to post a similar thing on my own blog when I’ve had the time to sum up a bit of our budget so far, hard to do while on the road! Too much interesting stuff to see :)

  23. says

    Congrats on finishing your trip! I have been following your blog closely the last months as my own planning for the trip was reaching an end and the adventure was starting. Thanks a lot for the tips and economic insights as they have helped us plan our trip. Im going to post a similar thing on my own blog when I’ve had the time to sum up a bit of our budget so far, hard to do while on the road! Too much interesting stuff to see :)

  24. says

    Hey Christian, I agree it is not the easiest thing to do on the road, but if you can make it a habit or routine, then soon you won’t think about it too much.

  25. says

    Hey Christian, I agree it is not the easiest thing to do on the road, but if you can make it a habit or routine, then soon you won’t think about it too much.

  26. Hugo Martins says

    Amazing trip. I won’t forget that ever.
    I would like to something like that. I have to save cos the will I already have.
    Congrats
    Hugo from Lisbon, Portugal

  27. Hugo Martins says

    Amazing trip. I won’t forget that ever.
    I would like to something like that. I have to save cos the will I already have.
    Congrats
    Hugo from Lisbon, Portugal

  28. kevin says

    not gonna lie your crazy, but i like it. i thought i was mad with planning savings before i went and checking out the temperature each region will be when im there. wow. you love excel as much as me i guess.

    i will definitely have a more indepth look into your savings when i get the chance to see where its likely i will spend alot of money as i have not budgeted to spend as much as you did. thanks for the great advice tho.

  29. kevin says

    not gonna lie your crazy, but i like it. i thought i was mad with planning savings before i went and checking out the temperature each region will be when im there. wow. you love excel as much as me i guess.

    i will definitely have a more indepth look into your savings when i get the chance to see where its likely i will spend alot of money as i have not budgeted to spend as much as you did. thanks for the great advice tho.

  30. says

    Yea, I felt a bit crazy once I got into the spreadsheets, but I got so use to working with them at my last job, it wasn’t hard.

  31. says

    Yea, I felt a bit crazy once I got into the spreadsheets, but I got so use to working with them at my last job, it wasn’t hard.

  32. V says

    Hi Dave, I’m a Capetonian and are only now starting to think about and planning a trip. Really scary, but all the blogs I read they make it sound so easy. To save all that money before my trip, I guess I will never get anywhere, so I was wondering will it be easy to find jobs as you travel or is it too risky, especially not having a working permit for every country you go to?

  33. V says

    Hi Dave, I’m a Capetonian and are only now starting to think about and planning a trip. Really scary, but all the blogs I read they make it sound so easy. To save all that money before my trip, I guess I will never get anywhere, so I was wondering will it be easy to find jobs as you travel or is it too risky, especially not having a working permit for every country you go to?

  34. says

    Greetings – I loved Cape Town. Beautiful city and I hung out with some friendly locals during my time there.

    Since I didn’t look for a job while traveling, it’s tough for me to comment on this. Try going to http://www.bootsnall.com travel forum and post on the board about working abroad. It can vary in difficulty depending on your nationality. For example, it is super easy for Australians to work in Canada and the UK, and the Brits to work in Australia (picking fruit on the farms is popular), though it is harder for Americans to work in the UK. Colombians have difficulty everywhere, unfortunately, but I still met many who had studied and worked abroad in Europe.

    I think the majority of travelers will work under the table whenever possible, avoiding things like work permits. Helping at hostels, tutoring English, and working on farms are all popular. For me, I went route of trying to build my online income from this blog, which worked out great since it allowed me to be mobile, and earn money in US dollars versus the local currency.

  35. says

    Greetings – I loved Cape Town. Beautiful city and I hung out with some friendly locals during my time there.

    Since I didn’t look for a job while traveling, it’s tough for me to comment on this. Try going to http://www.bootsnall.com travel forum and post on the board about working abroad. It can vary in difficulty depending on your nationality. For example, it is super easy for Australians to work in Canada and the UK, and the Brits to work in Australia (picking fruit on the farms is popular), though it is harder for Americans to work in the UK. Colombians have difficulty everywhere, unfortunately, but I still met many who had studied and worked abroad in Europe.

    I think the majority of travelers will work under the table whenever possible, avoiding things like work permits. Helping at hostels, tutoring English, and working on farms are all popular. For me, I went route of trying to build my online income from this blog, which worked out great since it allowed me to be mobile, and earn money in US dollars versus the local currency.

  36. says

    Hi all, just wanted to chime in because Dave was so kind as to publish this post. And he’s right, while it is possible, booking your own round the world tickets can be a mind-boggling endeavor. There’s a lot to know before booking a lot of international flights, (like knowing you need an onward ticket when flying to South Africa for example).

    AirTreks can be a great resource helping with your perfect custom round the world trip. And yes, our tickets are fully customizable, meaning you can go from anywhere to anywhere, with any stops in between. Overland legs are fine, so if you wanted to skip all the little legs (around SE Asia for example) you can do be flexible to get those when you’re there, but have the comfort of knowing your more expensive long-haul flights are already set up.

    Thanks Dave for the fantastic info here. I’m sure it’ll be super helpful for other people planning trips like this. Great post!

    Nico from AirTreks

  37. says

    Hi all, just wanted to chime in because Dave was so kind as to publish this post. And he’s right, while it is possible, booking your own round the world tickets can be a mind-boggling endeavor. There’s a lot to know before booking a lot of international flights, (like knowing you need an onward ticket when flying to South Africa for example).

    AirTreks can be a great resource helping with your perfect custom round the world trip. And yes, our tickets are fully customizable, meaning you can go from anywhere to anywhere, with any stops in between. Overland legs are fine, so if you wanted to skip all the little legs (around SE Asia for example) you can do be flexible to get those when you’re there, but have the comfort of knowing your more expensive long-haul flights are already set up.

    Thanks Dave for the fantastic info here. I’m sure it’ll be super helpful for other people planning trips like this. Great post!

    Nico from AirTreks

  38. says

    I found your post extremely informative. I am doing a bit of research about the costs of long-time travel, and it’s great to find a post so detailed and organized.
    While I agree that maybe it can be done cheaper, following the mantra of “take half the clothes and twice the money” I prefer to use a more relaxed daily budget as guideline.

    Although you have finished your trip I will read your blog, as I am very interested in some of the destinations you went :)

    Thank you!

  39. says

    I found your post extremely informative. I am doing a bit of research about the costs of long-time travel, and it’s great to find a post so detailed and organized.
    While I agree that maybe it can be done cheaper, following the mantra of “take half the clothes and twice the money” I prefer to use a more relaxed daily budget as guideline.

    Although you have finished your trip I will read your blog, as I am very interested in some of the destinations you went :)

    Thank you!

  40. segdordeviagens says

    How dare you not including Brazil in your journey plan? 49 days in Colombia and not even a weeknd in Brazil?
    I’m sure you enjoyed the trip but I’m also sure that you’ve lost the opportunity of knowing the best part of this planet!

  41. segdordeviagens says

    How dare you not including Brazil in your journey plan? 49 days in Colombia and not even a weeknd in Brazil?
    I’m sure you enjoyed the trip but I’m also sure that you’ve lost the opportunity of knowing the best part of this planet!

  42. says

    Yes, these numbers were exactly the kind of information I had a hard time finding before my trip. That’s why I ended up spending twice what I budgeted just about everywhere I went! Actually, since everyone’s travel style is different, this info is a guideline at best, but I bet that for some of the older backpackers (ahem early 30’s), this is a good representation. Or for flashpackers.

  43. says

    Yes, these numbers were exactly the kind of information I had a hard time finding before my trip. That’s why I ended up spending twice what I budgeted just about everywhere I went! Actually, since everyone’s travel style is different, this info is a guideline at best, but I bet that for some of the older backpackers (ahem early 30’s), this is a good representation. Or for flashpackers.

  44. says

    Hey Andrei – thanks for the feedback and delving deeper in to the blog.

    Before I left home, I would read travel blogs to get ideas for places to go. River tubing in Vang Vieng, Laos is a direct result of that reading. Even though I would’ve learned about it once in Thailand, it was still cool to have the activity in mind from the beginning, and then realize how far I’d come while floating down the river in the middle of SE Asia.

  45. says

    Hey Andrei – thanks for the feedback and delving deeper in to the blog.

    Before I left home, I would read travel blogs to get ideas for places to go. River tubing in Vang Vieng, Laos is a direct result of that reading. Even though I would’ve learned about it once in Thailand, it was still cool to have the activity in mind from the beginning, and then realize how far I’d come while floating down the river in the middle of SE Asia.

  46. says

    I know – ridiculous to skip Brazil right!!

    I initially planned to do the whole South America circuit – Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia – but I spent more time in Asia then planned, and definitely more money in South Africa than expected. By the time I made it to South America, I really only had time for Colombia.

    Brazil is #1 on my new list. I’d like to make it there in the next 1-2 years.

  47. says

    I know – ridiculous to skip Brazil right!!

    I initially planned to do the whole South America circuit – Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia – but I spent more time in Asia then planned, and definitely more money in South Africa than expected. By the time I made it to South America, I really only had time for Colombia.

    Brazil is #1 on my new list. I’d like to make it there in the next 1-2 years.

  48. says

    Insanely jealous! I'm surprised how much Australia was, everybody says it's cheap. I suppose compared to UK it probably is.

    Great post, retweeted :)

  49. says

    Rhys – thanks for stopping by and retweeting.

    Yea, I was in Australia when it was 1.1 Aussie dollar to 1 US dollar. Months later, Americans were almost getting 2 for 1 because of the economic crisis. I would've been living it up if my timing were different.

    And yes, I was jealous of the British spending power over there!

  50. says

    Hi Dave, it's my first time here and I'm glad this is the first article I got to read. I have always wanted to travel around the world but due to work commitments, was always limited to 1 or 2 cities at a time. Your post inspires me! To think I stumble upon it right after quitting my job! Is this fate or coincidence?

  51. says

    For anyone else that wants to see his per day data sorted from cheapest location to most expensive, I just saved you 2 minutes :)

    $44 Colombia
    $51 Singapore
    $51 India
    $54 Nepal
    $55 Indonesia
    $55 China
    $55 Thailand
    $61 Laos
    $63 Cambodia
    $65 Hong Kong/Macau
    $66 French Polynesia
    $77 South Africa
    $81 Europe (Belgium, Holland, France, Switzerland, Spain)
    $90 Egypt
    $98 Australia
    $110 Botswana
    $116 New Zealand

  52. says

    Hi Veron –

    Thanks for checking out my site. If you're interested, I started blogging about my RTW in early 2007, so everything I did in the run up to it is documented for posterity (and to help others of course).

    The Planning section at the top of my “best” page is a good place to start:

    http://gobackpacking.com/best/

    By the way, I loved the food available in Singapore. I couchsurfed for 4 nights there, and had a great time in your country. :)

  53. says

    Thanks Shawn – cool idea.

    I should note that Colombia is the cheapest because I stopped traveling at that point and got into routines – renting an apartment vs hostel, eating at the apartment vs restaurants. Also, that was a point at which the dollar to Colombian peso exchange was very much in my favor. A few months later, the US dollar had lost about 20% of its value against the peso, so things became more expensive.

  54. says

    Hey Dave just came across this, very handy and I just wrote a similar breakdown for my costs in Australia so far on my blog (scheduled to publish this upcoming Monday) I got the costs right down with sharing a house (and food), Australia is extremely expensive I'm finding so far.

    I'm surprised you clocked up such a cost in Thailand though, I found it a lot cheaper then $55 a day.

    Stumbled this post for reference in the future :)

  55. MsWandaLust says

    Dave – As I am sitting in my cubicle only beginning to ponder my RTW adventure with a planned departure of April 2010 your spreadsheet gave me such peace of mind. I have many of the same items on my list and these are such great starting points for how to get them on THE LIST.

  56. says

    Yep, I was in Australia when it was 1.1 Aussie Dollars to the US. If my timing were later, I'd hit with a much more favorable exchange due to the recession.

    Yes, when I went to cheaper countries, my spending was still high because I compensated – private rooms, nice meals (I rarely cooked for myself), plenty of sights and drinking. I had a great time. Oh, and a ton of money spent on internet access since my netbook was a glorified word processor.

    Thanks for the stumble!

  57. says

    Thanks so much for the feedback! It is funny to hear that it is reassuring people because I still feel a bit self-conscious about the amount of money I spent. :)

  58. says

    Hi Dave

    Interesting comparisons there.I am rather disappointed that my own country New Zealand was the most expensive…tho' not too surprised.Interesting that Botswana came in 2nd worst. I would have expected it to be cheaper.

    No doubt in the last little while the volatile exchange rather had an effect. If you came to NZ now you would probably have had considerably cheaper holiday.

    You have had an amazing experience.

    I was surprised Hong Kong was not much different to Cambodia….my experience would have had Hong Kong – last month…. quite a bit more expensive than Cambodia…. 3 years ago.

    When people look at this list they do need to take into consideration the exchange rates with their own currency! I suspect from New Zealand the same experience might have had very different results for this reason.

  59. says

    Having just got back from a trip around the world by bicycle, this strikes me as so expensive! My husband and I spend about $50,000 for a 3 Year trip, including all the extras like flights, vaccinations, replacement gear etc. Okay, it's a different style of travel but far more economical and very interesting if you want to meet the local people. More people should try it! You can always combine it with a little backpacking.

  60. says

    Hi Friedel,

    Thanks for stopping by Go Backpacking, and congrats on your RTW bike trip. I have a lot of respect for those who are willing to travel long distances on a bike (I met a few in China on there way to Nepal). I'm just starting to get into short bike trips when I travel (not multi day….yet).

    A lot of people have found my expenses high, however I didn't hold back much. This was my dream trip, and that meant if I felt like taking a helicopter up Franz Joseph Glacier, I did so. Foie gras ravioli in a Laos restaurant? Yes please. Heck, a week in Switzerland alone was a splurge, but I'd been wanting to go for years. I spent more time then planned in South Africa, and the exchange rate in NZ and Australia when I was there was akin to spending US dollars.

    If anything, I'm only going to spend more as I get older, and appreciate a comfy bed and privacy more. I'd still be taking my backpack though!

  61. says

    Hi Dave! Your trip looks incredible. My husband and I just finished a year long trip. We decided to set up a website to help other people figure out travel costs by country. I was wondering if we could use some of your data since you've done such a great, detailed job of keeping track of costs. The website is http://www.budgetyourtrip.com. We could enter the data if you don't have time.

    Thanks!

  62. Michael Tieso says

    Hey Dave,

    Interesting budget. I tried to calculate my expenses but ended up too caught up traveling. I just know how much total I've spent so far. It seems like you've spent quite a bit in some countries. What are up to these days now?

  63. says

    Thanks for the recent comments on Go Backpacking.

    Since returning to the States in July '09, I've been working hard to build this travel blog, and a new one I'm going to announce next week. In between, I'm applying for online editorial positions with travel sites in NYC.

  64. keananO says

    Hey guys, I'm freaking a little bit about my trips travel expenses as I'm not going for a package ticket, I'm booking my flights as I go. I'm not a seasoned traveller but I'm not paying four grand for a ticket when I think I can do better than that.
    I'm going to SE Asia, Europe and South America at the end, one year all up but I don't want to get stuck somewhere…. am I crazy to do it this way? i don't think I am but it's good to hear from travellers who know the deal.

  65. says

    There's no need to worry. Did you see all the flights I listed out? They were almost all bought by me, individually, over the internet while traveling in a foreign country. Super easy. Whether you can beat the cost of RTW tickets is a good question. I think I beat it because I lasted longer than 12 months, and hit South America, Africa, and Nepal – all out of the way places which can really increase those RTW ticket fares.

    A site I used often to check routes flown by discount airlines is http://www.airninja.com

  66. aliciav says

    VERY HELPFUL! I am starting to plan my travels, i hope to be gone for about a year. this is going to be very helpful to make sure i dont forget anything!

    thanks!

  67. Rene says

    I have a general question, did you all go on your Around the world trip with somebody else / a few friends etc… or simply alone…?
    I want to do a trip, but it would be only myself, so I am curious if that's “common” or not…..I know everybody should do what he wants but I still would like to know…

    Also, would you consider a trip like that dangerous? That maybe sounds like a weird question, since I know that of course a trip like that is an adventure and isn't easy all the time etc..and I know there are bad people everywhere, but in many countries you will surely draw attention to your site, simply because people can tell you are from somewhere else, know you unfamiliar with the area, think you have sooo much money etc…

  68. says

    Hi Rene, thanks for stopping by.

    I went solo on my trip around the world, and yes, it's quite common. Probably a little more so for men then women. I noticed women are more likely to travel with a friend or group then guys.

    But once you hit the road, everyone – women, men, couples, and friends will usually connect with other travelers along the way, and share in little 1…2…3… or more week adventures together. This often happens if your itineraries in the same region are the same, and you're getting along well.

    There are potential dangers with any form of travel, whether on a group tour or traveling alone, in Westernized countries, or the poorest on our planet. Practicing common sense precautions such as you would while visiting or living in any large city is often the best approach. Fear of dangers shouldn't stop you from making your grand adventure a reality.

    Figure out your personal concerns, then post questions like these on message boards, such as the ones on Bootsnall.com or on blogs by solo female travelers to get feedback on their experiences. Women do have it a bit tougher, especially in places like India where the men can be very gropey, but again, there are thousands of travelers making their way through most popular countries at any given time. :)

    • says

      I worked for 5 years at home in the USA, saving money so that I could travel wherever I wanted. I organized all the travel myself.

  69. nadiajoz says

    Hey congrats i could really understand how you are feeling at this point of time om achieving your dream..traveling all around the world is an experience in itself, and it is true that here price doesn't matter..im sure that your $35,029 is nothing in front of your achievement

  70. says

    I saved up for 5 years to be able to afford to travel on my own. I didn't use package tours except for a few safaris and a Nile cruise in Egypt.

  71. Sophie says

    Hey Dave, I'm planning a big trip like this also. $35,000 in 15 months is a great effort!! Maybe I'm a bit self-indulgent but I can't believe you're self-conscious about that amount, or that people think you can do it cheaper – that was around what I had worked out for my trip, going to similar sorts of places, and splurging when I want to, really good to see somebody who's already done it and survived! Thanks :)

  72. Sophie says

    Hey Dave, I'm planning a big trip like this also. $35,000 in 15 months is a great effort!! Maybe I'm a bit self-indulgent but I can't believe you're self-conscious about that amount, or that people think you can do it cheaper – that was around what I had worked out for my trip, going to similar sorts of places, and splurging when I want to, really good to see somebody who's already done it and survived! Thanks :)

  73. Nick Orsini says

    Dave,

    Your trip is amazing and, of course, inspiring. I would like to do a much smaller rtw trip (3-6 months) but am very much so a people person. I think i would really love to have a wingman with me when I make my trip. I see the benefits of going it alone and meeting hundreds of different people along the way, but what would you recommend? Do I search for a travel partner or is it more qualitative to go solo and experience different places with new faces.

    Also, I don't believe I have any friends who are spontaneous enough or financially secure enough to partake in a rtw trip, so can you recommend a website where I can connect with potential travelers that would be interested in planning a trip together? Possibly recent college grads like myself..

    Thanks Dave, and congrats again.

    Nick

  74. says

    Hey Nick, thanks for checking out Go Backpacking. Great to hear you're planning a long term backpacking trip!

    It is incredibly easy to meet people while traveling, and it's almost the norm, even for the shyest among us, to travel for a week, a month or more when we run into people we like along the way. I found that a mix of traveling with others, and then on my own, was the perfect solution. Traveling with other people can be incredibly intense because you're together 24/7 a lot of the time. I learned the hard way that traveling with best friends from college wasn't as great as I expected. Everyone had different priorities, and that they didn't want to do what I did started to get on my nerves. After two weeks, all 5 of us had split up and gone our own directions.

    I'd recommend http://travbuddy.com where you can post where you plan to travel and connect with others. I did this for my Nepal trek and it worked great. Also, check out the forums at http://bootsnall.com and Lonely Planet which usually have a subforum just for people trying to find travel partners.

  75. says

    Congrats on your trip, and fulfilling a lifetime dream.
    I can say though, that the budget was just huge.
    I have been travelling for 13 years, and what you spent on that trip would keep me going for 6 years more !

  76. says

    Finding travel advice on the Web can feel a little like buying a car. First, you settle on the make and brand. Then you decide on the details and fittings you want. Last, you go hell-for-leather for the best deal. A search for “get travel advice” on Google throws back 80 million results; the market is packed with brands to get you what you need. So to help winnow down the choices, following are a few of the better sites that I've used to eke out pre-trip advice, including suggestions for a trip to Quebec next month where I'll literally only have a half day to explore. Note that I don't really go into too much detail about social-networking sites like Facebook, Bebo, and Twitter, where the efficacy of your search for advice can depend on the breadth of your network, plus your own engagement and activity within those networks. If you have lots of well-traveled friends, tap into their font of travel wisdom. If not—or in addition—the below resources might help you get the info you need without too much extra legwork.

  77. says

    I too agree that it is necessary to get travel advice from a trustworthy source. This will definitely be of great help to anyone who wants a joyful journey.

  78. Ken says

    Dave, is this your pre-trip budget plan? Because I just don't see how you're spending so much in some of those countries.

  79. says

    Ken – no, that was my actual spending. All I can say is that “to each their own” when traveling. I ate in restaurants (2-3x/day) almost 100% of the time, rarely cooking for myself or self-catering as they say. I think I also averaged in the cost of the 2 new cameras I bought when others broke, and all the time spent in internet cafes uploading photos/writing for the blog. I spent a lot on souvenirs — about $300 on a single thangka (Tibetan painting) in Nepal, for example.

  80. says

    How many days did you spend on researching and preparing booking all those detail tickets before starting the trip? It was really nice, buget but complete the tour with highlights and happy memories,,,makes people admiring.

  81. LeslieTravel says

    Thanks for sharing your cost analysis. We also went RTW for a year and we shared our country averages with blog readers. It’s the best way for travelers to get accurate info since guide books tend to be out of date. Appreciate it!

  82. Newton Steven says

    Cool!! You’ve given me a lot of overviews about how to make a travel blog. It makes me want to have this career also. Thanks for inspiring me. :)

  83. Howard Boesch says

    I seriously appreciate this post. We need extra people today like you bringing value for the community. Can I put this post on my blog? I’d give you credit and link back of course.

  84. honda civic hybrid says

    Hello, This page is incredibly educational and fun to read. I am a huge follower of the things blogged about. I also love reading the comments, but it seems like a great deal of readers need to stay on topic to try and add something to the original topic. I would also encourage all of you to bookmark this page to your most used service to help get the word out. Thanks

  85. Anonymous says

    this is a cracking candid insight mate – thanks a lot. A bit beyond my budget but if you can afford it, then thats the way! thanks for sharing =)

  86. Mic says

    hi. u think u could spare some extra money. because i think for ex. 45 € for india per day is a loooot. dont u think?

    • says

      Hey Mic, yea in retrospect I do think that was a lot, but I doubt many backpackers would spend $60 on a lunch at one of Delhi’s best restaurants at the end of their trip. I also took quite several jeep tours and a guided trek that are factored into this overall price — it’s not just food and shelter.

      • Mic says

        nice, nice. i thought so :) well i am still in the preplanning phase and i am just gathering opinions. well to get a first hand feeling i am just travelling to india in 20 days, and i rellay hope i have 15 $ a day enough :)

        i really like reading your posts. makes me feel like it really is possible :)

        • Magda says

          Hi Mic
          $15 a day is very doable if you travel slowly. I spent 2 months in India. I was spending $15 a day per person (for 2 people travelling together) in Rajastan, Himchal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh and $20 in Ladakh (when I rented a car with a driver a few times). It was hot summer in Rajastan, to I stayed in air con rooms. I never went hungry, but I ate 70% of my meals at non-tourist restaurants. I traveled with cheap local buses. And even if I was using higher classes of transport and eating only in tourist restaurants I could never spend $51 a day. I would love to know what Dave did do go through $51 a day in India :)

          If you are going to move a lot between the places than $15 could not be enough. One of the rules of budget travelling is that the more you move the more you spend :)

  87. Nicole says

    I love the last part…. “fufilling a life long dream = priceless!”

    It is amazing that you were given that opportunity! I am looking at travelling worldwide next year (Less places though- thinking Jamaica, Africa, Australia, Ireland, Thailand, and Indonesia)… would you have done anything differently and could someone on a tight bidget accomplish this trip? I am not sure of the price range but I was estimating around a 7000 budget… would you deem that impossible? Also, did you find 15 months to be tiring or would you have wished for more time? Hope to hear from you again! Nicole

    • says

      Hi Nicole, thanks for stopping by. Anything is possible, but you’re trying to get all the way around the world over the course of a year and flight costs can add up quickly. If you’re budgeting $7000 for 12 months I’d imagine you’d have to work at some point along the way, reduce your travel time, or stick to one region, such as Asia. Ireland is expensive, Australia can cost as much as the USA, and Africa can be surprisingly expensive if you want to do the safaris and cool stuff like that. I found 15 months of continuous travel to be tiring. I think my sweet spot is about 6 months. After that, myself and others I’ve talked to tend to get less impressed by the stuff we see….you take it for granted, which is unfortunate but true the longer you’re traveling.

  88. Roeyurboat says

    Between $35,000 and $40,000 for 15 months of travel is hardly even close to a “backpacker’s budget” $54/day in Nepal? $51/day in India and similar rates for Thailand and Indonesia. Dave must have been enjoying some very high end accomodations to average those rates in those countries. 2 years ago I was in Bali for an extended stay and I averaged $30/day including very nice accommodations, a car, petrol, a driver, 3 meals out, massages.

    • says

      Actually the most expensive room I had in 15 months was in Laos — $42/night for 4 nights. $160 that week was a huge splurge for me, and I didn’t enjoy it until I was already 8 months into my travels.

  89. Txrizzle says

    My opinion is that the spending listed above is much to excessive. One could take that same $30,000 and spend 3 years traveling the world. $50+ in Thailand? That’s intense.

    • says

      As I’ve mentioned in earlier comments, everyone has a different style and standard of travel. I stayed in many cheap hostels and hotels (in places like India where there are no hostels), but I also spent $300 on a Tibetan thangka painting. Yea, some backpackers might balk at paying that much, but to me the artwork was worth it.

      What’s excessive to one person is not to another. We shouldn’t be judging each other — traveling is not a competition.

      • travelozzz says

        Dave, well done for being so patient all this time. I can’t believe how many people feel the need to query your spending and call it ‘excessive’ etc. Having just read your post and all the ensuing comments, you’ve said quite politely about a hundred times how it really is ‘each to their own’. Great post, very informative, 10 points for staying calm with your replies ;-)

  90. Andyl says

    My admiration & envy for your marvelous travels is certainly beyond words…however I agree with many here, I don’t know how you managed to spend $63 a day in cambodia but that’s nowhere near “between backpacker/flashpacker” That’s living 30 times costlier than the average citizen…I found $20 a day to be on the lavish side of things, with a cozy room, 3 meals, transport & getting rather drunk off scorpion moonshine ;)

  91. Robbs says

    Your trip sounds AMAZING! and really even for 2009 you did a damn good job spending wise … as a woman & me being me … i’m not i could, i’d probably spend $30 000 in my first 20 days!

  92. Stellasbarandgrill says

    This is great! Reading this my boyfriend and I are pretty positive we are gonna do this. Thanks for sharing your adventure!!

    • Ciao196 says

      Tks for the information Dave I Found this blog  very helpful ….Congrats for your trip

      Best Regards

  93. Gemmbird says

    51$/day in India? hm … i’ve spent max 30 and in goa around 10-15 $/day. I think you’ve spent so much money because you had them. If your budget was much much smaller you’ve spent only what you had:) imho

  94. Gemmbird says

    51$/day in India? hm … i’ve spent max 30 and in goa around 10-15 $/day. I think you’ve spent so much money because you had them. If your budget was much much smaller you’ve spent only what you had:) imho

    • says

      Agreed, to a degree. My idea of the trip around the world was to do what I wanted, and if I ran out of money sooner rather than later, I would return home.

      • Sachinrj40 says

         hi dave, help me out please can u jus let me know prospective tourist destinations across the globe, my budget is $11000

        • says

          Hi, this question is far too big for me to answer — too many variables and questions you’d need to answer before I can give that kind of advice. What do you want to see? How long do you want to travel? What level of comfort do you require?

          Generally, you’ll get the most value for your dollar in Asia, especially Southeast Asia and India. Also, there are many inexpensive countries in South America, such as Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.

  95. Bala says

    Dave,
    Inspiring!
    1. Did you planned the duration of your stay in each city beforehand or adopted a dynamic plan?
    2. How did you learned about the local transportation, you made reservations or just enquired locally?
    3. Do you make hotel/dorm reservations prior to your arrival or walkins?
    Thanks,
    Bala

    • says

      1. Kinda. I estimated how many weeks I’d want to spend in each country so I could get an idea for how much money I’d need on the trip.

      2. I carried guidebooks most of the way, and if they didn’t have enough info, I could usually get it from the hostal or hotel staff. Worst case, I showed up at train or bus stations and just figured it out on my own.

      3. No, 99% of the time I do not book in advance. I like to remain flexible, and unless I’m going to a village or city during a festival or holiday when it’s busier than normal, I haven’t had any issues. In those cases, I do make a reservation online in advance.

      Thanks!

  96. Ashish says

    hey dave..i read your blog and it was a really cool initiative…i am planning to move to gaborone,botswana..can you tell me about the accomodation(considering an average spender),fooding and in overall about the total expenses?

  97. Ania says

    Hmm, I backpacked Thailand and Laos. I spent between $5.00 and $12 a night for lodging. Less than $5.00 a day on food and drinks. I think what you quoted is way too high for SE Asia other than maybe Singapore. The prices quoted above would be more for a backpacker who likes to travel in a more luxurious way. Certainly, the backpackers I met were not traveling luxuriously. We stayed in hostels and guesthouses.

    • says

      Hi Ania,

      Thanks for sharing your experience traveling in SE Asia. I agree you can travel for much cheaper, however I can assure you I wasn’t living luxuriously. The hostels, guest houses and bungalows I stayed in were probably of the same style and budget as yours. Here’s a post I wrote in response to feedback similar to yours.

  98. Ibrahim says

    Hi, it looks a great trip , really you are lucky man, thanks for the useful details
    Ihave 2 quistion, do you like to repeat the same adventure again?
    from your contact with the airlines do you have an idea how much
    it will cost a full air fare round the world like starting from one point
    like London or Washington for an instance and returning the sam point
    such a ticket how much it will cost? . how many countries or stop
    it will cover and for how long it will be valid? waiting to hear form you soon.
    thanks

    • says

      Thanks Ibrahim, I do feel lucky for the experience, but I also worked my butt off for 5 years to save up the money to make it happen.

      I prefer to travel more slowly now. It was exciting to visit 20 different countries in 14 months, but I don’t think I would cover that much ground again. It’s very tiring. I’d rather spend a few months in each country I visit versus a few weeks.

      It’s hard to answer your question regarding the cost of RTW plane tickets because they can vary greatly depending on where you want to go. Generally, they’re cheaper if you stay closer to the Equator — cities like New York, London, Berlin, Hong Kong, Tokyo. The further away from the Equator you go, the more costly it can get. Also adding South America to the itinerary can greatly increase the price (I have no idea why that is). I recommend using http://airtreks.com to price tickets. Very friendly service!

  99. james says

    Oh come on, guys! If you would have read the spreadsheet you would have noticed that he accidentally switched India’s days and $ spent per day. He really only spent $43/day for 51 days.

    Personally, it cost me $31/day paying absolutely no mind to what i was spending until the last 2 days. However, I could have spent another $10/day easily. Dave, what class did you ride in the train? Second class sleeper here, always. Tho, i only did public busses once. The others were always ‘volvo’.

    Anyways, dude, this is a wonderful resource and i appreciate it.

    My 1 question. What happened that you had to buy 2 cameras in such a short period of time?! Bummer.

    • says

      I always rode 3AC on the trains in India, and I usually got a good night’s sleep.

      Regarding the cameras, the first one broke toward the end of my 10-day trek in Nepal. I have no idea what happened, but it was beyond repair. The second one broke 3 months later in Thailand. I have this bad habit of taking photos and quickly putting the camera back in the case to prevent damage as I’m walking around. Well, I put the camera in the case before the lens fully retracted, and crunch, broke it.

      The third one I bought eventually got some water damage that slowly messed up the display. I bought a Canon S90 in 2010, and it has been dropped twice and banged around, but still takes perfect photos.

  100. Holly says

    Hello,
    I’ve been reading your information on your trip. I am seriously considering taking a trip around the world, did you have a travel agent? Did you know exactly where you wanted to go? I’ve never made plans like this so I don’t know where to start. Also I was considering taking a cruise instead of flying….can you give me any advice? I’d greatly appreciated.
    Holly Wood

    • says

      Hi Holly, no I didn’t have a travel agent. I knew from shorter trips in the past that I could just hop from country to country without much trouble.

      I used Airtreks to help me book my first few flights, and then did the rest online — it was way easier than I expected.

      There are some helpful books you can read about planning trips around the world. I’d search on Amazon.com for books about Around the World trips.

      Also, forums like http://bootsnall.com are really helpful because you can learn from others planning their trips as well.

      Taking cruises around the world is insanely expensive, unless you’re catching a ride or working on someone’s yach or sailboat.

    • says

      Hi Holly, no I didn’t have a travel agent. I knew from shorter trips in the past that I could just hop from country to country without much trouble.

      I used Airtreks to help me book my first few flights, and then did the rest online — it was way easier than I expected.

      There are some helpful books you can read about planning trips around the world. I’d search on Amazon.com for books about Around the World trips.

      Also, forums like http://bootsnall.com are really helpful because you can learn from others planning their trips as well.

      Taking cruises around the world is insanely expensive, unless you’re catching a ride or working on someone’s yacht or sailboat.

  101. Scott says

    People need to click the link and look at the underlying detail that supports the daily expense amounts. This post is insanely helpful and if you look into the detail you can really get an idea of the true cost to travel somewhere, which includes food/visa/sightseeing and transportation, averaged out to a daily basis- so that you can adjust accordingly for your intended trip duration / extracurricular expenses.

    For example, Nepal daily lodging and meals was only $12 per day. If you only accommodate to spend that much, you are overlooking the cost of any trips/tours and additional expenses, which certainly factor into the cost of travel, and Dave happened to do that for us.

  102. says

    I’ve seen a lot of these breakdowns around the travel blogging world. This is, without a doubt, the best. It was a huge help when planning our own around the world trip. I referenced this several times and liked how specific it was.

    Thanks for providing!

  103. Chris says

    Hey Dave,

    First, I must congratulate you on an epic sounding journey. Nice job, bro.

    Second, I was wondering if you, or any of your readers, could give me their two cents on what qualifies for an around-the-world trip? I’m planning on starting in Seoul, South Korea, flying to Beijing, train to Mongolia, train to Moscow, train to London, fly to Boston, train to San Francisco, fly to Los Angeles. Would this be “around the world”? Thanks so much. Happy travels!

    • says

      Hey Chris, yea man, in my opinion that route would be a proper RTW trip. I think it matters more what you think then what anyone else thinks of your itinerary. Not all RTW trips are created equal — everyone’s got a different budget, and different interests.

      One of the most basic RTW itineraries includes: Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, SE Asia, maybe India, a few spots in Europe, and some major American cities (NYC, Las Vegas, LA). That’s partly because it’s cheaper to stick to destinations close to the Equator, and adding Africa and South America stops immediately jacks up the cost of the RTW tickets.

      • Chris says

        For sure. I agree with you that not all RTW trips are created equal and, if you ask me, Seoul heading west towards L.A. is definitely a RTW trip. I was just curious as to what other’s opinions were as kind of a general consensus. I want to be able to confidently say I went on a RTW without leaving any room for someone to challenge my definition of one.

        Furthermore, I got to Seoul (where I’ve been for 7 months) from L.A. across the Pacific, so if I started in L.A. and end up in L.A., then I guess it’s a pretty legitimate RTW trip.

        Thanks for your quick reply and advice. I’ll look forward to reading about your next adventure. Happy travels!

  104. patricia says

    you only visit 22 countries spend over 35,000 usd …its a terrible deal…you pay to much to visit very few countries…thats not a trip arround the world…example you visit colombia and skip all latin america, skip north america, skip most of africa and europe, skip the caribean….and you call that a trip arround the world for 35,000 usd (22 countries)?!!!! are you on drugs?

    • says

      Hi Patricia, yes I do. We’re all going to have different ideas of what constitutes a “trip around the world” so I think it’s best not to judge one another based on numbers alone.

      I only visited Colombia because I’d run out of money by that point, so I had to return to the USA. Also, I’d already been to Costa Rica, Belize, and Tikal in Guatemala, and didn’t want to visit any more of Central America on that trip.

      Since my RTW trip, I’ve been to Rwanda, Japan, Ecuador and am in my 3rd month traveling in Peru. It may not be a lot of countries, but the world is a big place and I intend to take my time getting to know it.

  105. Victoria says

    Hey Dave, great info! I’m planning on a trip around the world later in the year and am wondering how you managed to find/book lodging as you traveled – you mentioned that you didn’t book in advance most of the time. I suppose my question is when you landed at whatever airport or train station at your destination, what was your next step since you had no set place to stay? Thanks in advance! :)

    • says

      Hi Victoria, I was always carrying a Lonely Planet guidebook, so I’d just head toward whichever hostel/bungalow/guest house I picked out. Unless there was a big event or festival going on in the city at the time (like the Australian Open in Melbourne), finding a bed wasn’t difficult.

    • says

      Nowadays, I rely on an ATM card to take out cash once I arrive at a destination. I use the actual plastic, or a credit card, for larger purchases (a really nice dinner), or online purchases (like a plane ticket).

  106. Felipe says

    Hi Dave! Don’t mean to sound repetitive but thanks for all the info on your trips!! I’m planning a trip to Europe in August and I was wondering what was is the cheapest way to travel between countries there? Flying, trains, buses etc.

    Thanks!!

    ~Felipe

    • says

      Hey Felipe, all of the above! When I spent a month traveling through Western Europe at the end of my trip, I evaluated each trip separately. I’d first start by checking the cost of airfare for longer trips. This is easy to do with sites like http://Kayak.com

      If the price seemed to high, I’d explore bus or train costs. Eurorail passes are worth the cost if you plan to travel between a bunch of countries in a short period of time.

    • says

      In Europe try low-cost airlines – Ryanair or Wizz Air, I guess, it’s the best option for a longers journeys through Europe. With a luggage, you can fly… ie. from Paris to Milan for 40$, book in advance, about 30 days before.

      Eurorail it’s not good option, i think. In most of countries you’ll find very cheap transport like buses or trains, except France, Germany, Spain or Austria.

      In UK or Ireland you’ve got really good bus connections, when you booked in advance by a website, it’ll be nice. I paid something around 10$ from London to Glasgow, all night trip, booked in advance.

      In centeral and eastern Europe try trains, even these “not cheap” are cheap (Poland or Romania). I highly recommend you Italy by train! It’s the best country in Europe for backpaper to travel by train. use the cheapest trains, they’ve got really got standard!

      I’ve made last year small trip though north and central Italy… I’ve made by train around 1400km and paid for tickets around 120$ – it’s really worth it. It’s cheaper than in Poland! Combine cheap airlines with buses and trains, there is no general clue, depends on region of Europe, mainly.

      Best regards,
      Piter from Poland

  107. Lize says

    Hey Buddy awesome calculations here! Just did a google search on travel blogs~ yours looks good just read this one first i love all the replies arguments debates made me laugh a bit.. cant people read ? and good on the guy that did the check in your spread sheeet! Have you done any more missions? im soo going to have a further look around im loving travel blogs at the moment im a few weeks away from embarking on my mission!

    • says

      Hey Lize, glad you found the blog :) and nope, I stopped doing the missions (dares) after my trip around the world concluded. But it taught me to be more adventurous, so I try to keep pushing my boundaries.

  108. Cody says

    Dave this blog was truly inspiring and it’s my dream to travel the world as well! I will work as hard as I can to save up but I have a question! This entire trip you went all by yourself correct? What advice do you have to make sure I don’t get lonely? And how is it possible to meet fun people along the way??

    • says

      Thanks Cody! While the majority of my travels were solo, I did travel for a week or two at a time with various people I met along the way.

      I spent the most time with one UK friend who I hung out with for a total of about 8 weeks in 3 different countries!

      It’s very very easy to meet people once you start staying in hostels and budget accommodations, especially those listed in guidebooks. You’re not alone — unless you want to be, which I prefer from time to time.

      It sounds strange, but traveling alone opens you up to meeting tons of new people, whereas if you travel with another person or group, you tend to insulate yourself by only talking to and hanging out with your friend/partner.

  109. Katie says

    Aces Dave!! Full of useful information for those looking for information, maybe not for those with a scorecard in hand. I was surprised with all the judgments passed on such a fun subject. I am a traveler too, am I a penny pinching traveler?…sometimes, am I a lavish traveler?…sometimes. It escapes me why people get offended by what other people spend. Backpacking, done it..It’s amazing for those looking for the experience and not the badge of honor of getting by on 37 cents a day, not showering for year, all the while visiting 284 countries…obviously making them a far superior backpacker than the next. People who judge others’ journey as if it’s a competition come off bitter and lacking, missing the true spirit of travel. I think you did an amazing job saving and executing your dream. Thank you for sharing your adventure and financial breakdown.

  110. says

    Hi: Stumbled on your website and find it to be enlightening and realistic. At last someone who does not brag about living on $1 a day for two years! I am a solo female traveler and of a certain age and want to do an around the world trip but I am not interested in spending much time in each place. I really want to cross off my last three continents from my life list, then go back to visit where I find it to be the most interesting. So I am thinking I just want to use the ATW ticket to hop in and out and not be frantic about “seeing” everything. Right now I have Kathmandu, Morocco, Ayers Rock and Cape Town as places that are a must. Any suggestions for me? My goal is to photograph clotheslines on the other three continents: Africa, Asia and Australia. I think AirTreks looks like my best bet. Thanks and many good wishes to you!

    • says

      I def recommend AirTreks, but off the bat I can tell you adding Kathmandu and Cape Town to a RTW ticket will bring up the price quite a bit. Generally, the cheapest cities are the ones closest to the Equator. Anything in Africa or especially South America jacks up the price. I decided to just book flights as I went, and found it to be super easy. Ultimately, I estimated that the costs were equitable compared to paying for a RTW ticket, and I didn’t have to worry about changing flights, fees, or a 12 month time limit.

  111. mahsa says

    wawwwwwwww dave …its amazing … it gave me a good look … i think world is so extended and our life is so short in comparison … so i hope to start same trip not only as a travel but also as a living way … im a girl and in iran so it makes it alittle bit harder …bcz costs and value of money in my country doesnt let me start it as i want ,,,but the important step is start … now im 22 and this year i finish my bachelor in mech engineering… after that ill work for 3 years to save money ,,, and i hope start it at this age(25) and wenever it was needed ill stay more and work! and make money to continue :D … i think its better that to save money till 40 years old and start then :))))
    do u hav a better idea for my condition ?????????

    • says

      well said!
      but why not making your travels more meaningful by volunteering instead?there is so much more you can discover by immersing yourself in a different culture

  112. says

    it is a very interesting and useful budget calculation, it gives readers general idea about roughly how much money to prepare and how much money to put aside for incases. thx,

  113. says

    Wow ! So you did what I will keep dreaming about all my life ! 30000 dollars is something I can earn / save only in my dreams. But a nice read and gave a good idea on how to calculate the expenses when I make my multi nation trip the next time :)

    Thanks

  114. says

    Oh my goodness!
    I always admire people who write things down and check these things out. I never have any idea at all what I’ve spent, I just find a job until I’m out the red! I’m going to be more sensible next trip though.
    Wicked! good for you!

  115. says

    Hmm it looks like your blog ate my first comment (it was super long) so I
    guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly
    enjoying your blog. I too am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any tips for inexperienced blog writers? I’d certainly appreciate it.

  116. Jomar says

    Hello Dave. I will try to do this someday…Im praying hard that i will be able to see the world.. i tried backpacking only with my Co-South East Asian counties. I visited Thailand, Laos and Vietnam for twelve days for 300 dollars…:) So happy to achieve that feat!

  117. Bryan Schmidt says

    Pretty spendy price tag but like you said this is more of a feasible budget for a 30 year old who is more stable financially than say a college student like myself. Do you have any suggestions on how to cut the budget down to something that would be affordable for a college age person, Dave? any suggestions would help.
    I also recently wrote a page on some of the places I would most like to visit around the world. have any suggestions on some of the best things to do in these areas?

    Travel Around the World: Best Places to Go

    • says

      Bryan,

      There are plenty of ways to keep costs low. The biggest is choosing your destinations wisely. Southeast Asia and India/Nepal are two of the cheapest regions you can spend your time. In South America, some of the cheapest countries (in this order) are: Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Colombia.

      Self-catering (cooking for yourself), taking buses vs flying, and not partying as much (buying beers) are also ways to keep your spending low. It all depends on what you want out of the trip.

  118. says

    I love how you’ve broken all the expenses down for us. I’m definitely going to try and keep track of my spending on my trip next year. Great post!

  119. Leila says

    Hello,

    I had a question regrading health insurance, did you have health insurance in US while you we’re traveling around? Is it necessary to have one? Any suggestion highly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Leila

  120. Andres says

    Great post, thanks for sharing. Im planning to travel south east asia this summer for almost 2 months, arriving to shanghai china and then working my way down (Im Colombian so this is where I start). I was wondering about the visas to these countries, do you need to apply in advanced? how much do they cost, etc.
    Thanks for all the help

  121. says

    Nice breakdown of costs. Now it’s time to start planning that trip to Asia. I’ve heard there some great climbing spots out there.

  122. says

    Hi Dave. Interesting post. I will be interested to work how much our trip works out to be as we are trying for extreme budget. So far less than AUS$40/day in Asia and aiming for less than AUS$100/day in Europe for our family of five including all expenses ie accomodation, food, travel, sightseeing, etc.

    Saw your travel blogging tip on hostelbookers and visited your site for inspiration.

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