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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.


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 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 buses and trains 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 – flight from Cairo to Brussels
  • $505 – Iberia flight from Madrid to Bogota

Total for Inter-country Flights = $4,867

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

Fulfilling a personal dream = priceless!

For further details about the cost of a trip around the world, you can review my online spreadsheet.

** This figure does not include pre/post-trip expenses like storage, health insurance, immunizations, etc. 

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 just reading this blog!

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Tuesday 4th of October 2016

Thank you so much Dave. It is a great idea and also it is a really precised budget. All the categories are perfect, and finally this is not so expensive to do 15 month world. It will help people to make their dream come true :)

R Aatta (Uzbekistan Airways)

Monday 28th of March 2016

Dave that's the best blog I've read so far on cost, the best part is the accuracy though it's been published couple of years ago but still it is almost close to what's the cost is today.


Thursday 26th of March 2015

What about a world cruise for a month? Id love to do it to get to see too many different countries!


Saturday 17th of May 2014

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.

Peter Taylor

Monday 10th of March 2014

I was surprised that you managed to travel around Europe for $81 per day. Do you have any special tricks for keeping costs low?


Wednesday 6th of April 2016

Yes! I would love to hear about how you managed to do the most with your money at such a small cost! Also how you were able to keep your money without losing it or just keeping it safe.

Comments are closed.