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A Little RTW Budget … How Much Does it Cost to Travel the World for a Year?

A one-year budget breakdown of costs to travel the worldThe single most frequently asked question I get about my travels concerns the cost of budgeting for a solo round the world trip. While understanding how I pay for it all tops the list of questions, the actual cost of traveling for a year around the world is the big unknown. I had no idea how much my RTW trip would cost when I left — some people reported around $10,000 (which seemed absurdly low) while others spent upwards of $40K to travel a bit more luxuriously. So I thought of it as a grand adventure. How much will it cost, and how long can I keep going with my freelance income?

Over that year, I tracked every single dollar I spent on the road.

My full tally is complete and I traveled around the world for for 328 days (11 months) through 15 countries and tracked what I spent, what each and every country cost, and where I could have done better.

Just want the cold hard figures? Navigate the Google spreadsheet by the countries listed at the bottom of my full RTW Travel Budget.

How did I save for around the world travel?

Jumping at the Taj Mahal

While admission to the Taj was pricey, everything else in India was crazy cheap. I spent less for seven weeks in India than I did for one week in Italy. And guys… it’s the Taj! It ranks up there as one of the cooler travel experiences out there.

I have answered incarnations of this question dozens of times. The real question is this: “Traveling the world is expensive, how could you have possibly afforded it?”

It’s not as expensive as you assume, and most anyone reading this post has the ability to save for travel if it’s a true priority. As regular A Little Adrift readers have surmised, I don’t live off of a trust fund. My family is quite poor and I made it through college on merit-based scholarships. Instead of counting on help from family, I budgeted for the trip. I sold my couch, my clothes, my cups. I sold my car too, and I saved ruthlessly in the countdown months. I took on side-work to sock away money, and then, I worked on freelance SEO from the road for the entire year. And through all that, I came to the same conclusions as those backpackers who have adventurously gone before me: RTW travel is cheaper than you think! 

I am not saying it’s dirt cheap, but compared to my life in LA with $1200+ going to rent and bills each month, I used that same online income to travel the world, and I dug into my small savings to pay for the long-haul flights.

Traveling the world is a mental obstacle as much as a financial one. Every situation is different, but I truly believe that if you are ready to truly prioritize travel, then it’s possible to plan and execute a round the world trip. The problem is, there’s crappy information out there about how to make it happen. Many bloggers have shared posts with a handful of tips about saving for travel, but they don’t break down the long slog that it takes for some travelers to eliminate and save for a big dream, like travel. Even more, although I’m about to share the cost of my yearlong backpacking trip, it’s hard to know if your own travels would cost the same.

For that reason, I wrote an entire guide about saving and budgeting for world travel. It gives comprehensive and thoroughly practical advice about how to save for travel. Even more, the budget section is a full treatise on how to estimate what your dream trip will cost and includes case studies from other long-term travelers who tracked their trip budgets.

I spent nearly a year talking with other travelers and using the aggregate of their knowledge and experience to outline a road-map to taking a long-term trip. I wrote this guide to empower travelers and travel dreamers anywhere in the world with the tools to plan their trip. The guide is available on PDF, Kindle, or ePub (or order on Kindle via Amazon). It’s priced low to ensure you can save extra funds for travel. There is no obstacle to starting — right now — with your dream of world travel.

How to Budget & Save for Long-Term Travel

Cost of My One Year Round the World Trip

Now, onto my travel budget!

I documented every single expense from my initial year-long RTW trip with meticulous care. My obsession with accurately tracking my expenses is epic but in the five years since I originally posted this breakdown, other backpackers have loved the precise and exact breakdown of just how much I spent throughout a year of active world travel. And five years later, even with rising global food costs, they are still traveling strong on similar budgets.

Total: USD $17,985

You’re shocked right now, I know, I sprang it on you out of nowhere! Close the gaping jaw.

That’s it?!

lakes-district england

This is how excited I was at the tail-end of my round the world trip when I was in England and I realized I had pulled it off. I had just one month left on the road at that point.

Travel was my bootcamp for life. This trip was the single best investment in both my personal growth and my career. Throughout life we are presented with a series of choices — each has the ability to help us create the life we want to have lived. I am forever glad I chose to travel this big beautiful world.

That figure. A mere $17,985 is fully and completely inclusive of everything from getting jabbed in the arm for my Yellow Fever vaccine to buying all of my pre-travel gear, my travel insurance,  all of my plane flights, bus rides, camel safaris, surfing lessons, zip-lining adventures in the Laos jungle, and straight through to my first delicious sub back on home soil when I passed through Philly on my final layover of the trip.

What does that number not include? Personal choices that upped the price bit: an external hard drive for photo storage, new camera (old one was waterlogged in Australia), and I rented a car alone in Ireland (most backpacker budgets wouldn’t allow for this so I included my car’s petrol to approximate the cost of public transportation for three weeks). My personal total, inclusive of all of that, was just under $19,000… so it’s still a bargain considering I was on the road for nearly an entire year. And again, I stress, this is thousands less than my annual expenses living in Los Angeles, California.

But lest you think it’s an anomaly, know that I have tracked cost of living around the world. If you’re considering a slow trip, I documented how I lived in places like Thailand for less than $600 per month, and Mexico for under $800.

How Did I Keep my RTW Budget in Check?

Five deceptively simple travel tips:

  • Consider staying in a hostel to keep your budget in check. They’re a great place to meet new people (and private rooms mean they work for couples and families too). I love the self catering facilities offered at most, and pretty much always dig a free breakfast. I used HI or Hostelworld hostels throughout Europe and Australia. And in Asia, the guesthouses are very budget-friendly. I love the privacy of guesthouses and the local planning help you can get from the guesthouse owners!).
  • Keep a budget spreadsheet for all of your expenses! Seriously, while I think you should splurge and enjoy throughout your RTW, if you are truly budgeting then know where your money goes. Access the RTW budget spreadsheet I designed for other travelers; it’s formatted, blank, and editable.
  • Limit time in developed countries. Developed countries cost significantly more for travelers, you could quickly deplete your savings by traveling exclusively in Europe, Australia, Japan, or the North America.
  • Travel slowly and overland. Avoid purchasing too many plane tickets and take local transportation. It takes longer, but you’ll have better stories and experience more of the culture. I often opt for an AirBnB or the like for a few weeks or months in a new city that I think I will like. I learn how to live like a local and also save costs that stack up with rapid travel. Bonus: Sign up from this link and A Little Adrift readers receive Airbnb credit off of your first booking.
  • Buy travel insurance. It’s sad to see travelers go home in a hurry, months before scheduled because they got sick and needed medical care, or they got robbed and had no recourse. Though many regions have affordable healthcare, it’s surprisingly cheap to just buy a long-term policy from World Nomads and cover yourself if things go south.
  • Now, the following tables and charts will further outline my RTW budget including some of the country-by-country expenses. And because I just had to go that extra mile, my complete-down-to-the penny budget is available for viewing; the budget spreadsheet includes every single expense itemized out in an absolutely gorgeous Google spreadsheet if I can toot my own horn for a moment!

    Don’t forget to check out the well-loved Travel Planning Resources. And consider using the blank, formatted spreadsheet to log your own RTW travel budget (this is a Google Spreadsheet, either save a copy of this to your own drive for editing, or download as an excel file!).

    RTW Travel Budget Breakdown

    Total Costs to Travel the World for a Year

    Travel Expense Cost (USD$)
    Flights $3,577.40
    Lodging $3,130.77
    Food $2,820.11
    Activities + Entertainment $3,613.18
    Transportation $1,943.43
    Misc (internet, gifts, extra gear, etc) $1,753.67
    Visas $230
    Pre-Trip Travel Gear $484.50
    Vaccines $$606
    Extra Costs $493.33
          TOTAL $18,588.39

     

    * Lodging: Includes all accommodation; I couchsurfed in a few countries and stayed with friends a couple of times.
    * Food: Includes everything from three meals a day, to snacks, and funding my chocolate obsession.
    * Entertainment: Going out on the town, sharing beers with friends — this will be much higher if you drink often. My budget was for drinking on average once a week.
    * Activities: Includes my volunteer program and all tours, trips, and group adventures. Everything from diving to ziplining to visiting temples and museums.
    * Transportation: This total excludes flights, but covers all intra-country transportation like buses, trains, taxis and tuk-tuks.
    * Misc: A large portion is the internet, it was pricey to make sure I had a strong connection for my work. Also includes shipping things home, gifts, and toiletries along the way.
    * Flights: Includes many puddle-jumper little flights between countries in the same region. I did not use a RTW ticket, but instead booked along the way.

    RTW Budget Daily Costs & Total Costs Per CountryMy Average Daily Budget for Each Country on my RTW Trip RTW Expenses, Listed by Country and Number of Days

    **These totals do not include flights, travel gear, and other misc pre-trip expenditures, only my actual on-the-road costs.

    You’re Inspired to Travel. So, What Should You Do Now?

    budget for world travelIt’s easy to see the numbers, be inspired for a bit and then never take action. If you’re actively planning your RTW — fantastic! There are a few more essential resources below that will help you plan your trip. If you’re currently working, studying, or just dreaming of traveling, I have resources for you as well.

    Helpful A Little Adrift Resources:

    How to Plan Your RTW Trip

    • How Much Will Your Dream RTW Trip Cost? (PDF or Amazon Kindle) This guide provides the most comprehensive advice you’ll find on how to save for travel, and how to anticipate exactly how much money you need for your dream trip. It goes far beyond the light savings and budgeting advice out there elsewhere, and instead deep-dives into all of the nitty-gritties. It includes travel budget case studies, detailed worksheets, as well as specific averages for the daily budget in dozens of countries around the world (updated Fall 2016).
    • How to Travel the World on $50 a Day: My friend Matt wrote this book, now in its second edition. It’s an ideal guide for new budget travelers with hacks and tips for saving money on the road with travel cards, points, etc.
    • Navigating travel sickness, solo female travel safety, & loneliness.
  • Find Inspiration from Others. Lauren travels with her boyfriend, so her 2015 year-end totals reflect a mid-range budget of shared expenses — like mine, her budget comes in just under $20K! Rob and Nat detailed their joint trip around the world; they spent $36,532 jointly, which is an even $50 a day. Jimmy is a solo male traveler and he detailed his two years on the road with every expense logged and tracked; he shows it’s also possible on about $20K per year.
  • Budget breakdowns by region (Updated 2016): A thorough list of budgeting links travelers have shared for each region of the world.
  • How to Find Freelance Work & Work from the Road: I work from my laptop and there are a lot of jobs that will let you work from anywhere in the world. This list will get you started.

  • Keep the Dream Alive & Save for Your Travels

    Nearly $20k is a huge sum for most people, but it’s a doable sum too. It really is. I come from a poor family and managed to save some and work online for the rest. I made it on my initial RTW trip because of help from friends and family coupled with a desire to pour all of my extra cash into my travel fund. Here’s some links and resources that will get you on your way.

  • Read this blog post, then if you need more ideas and inspiration consider either highly rated The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (it’s a little wacky for some) or Getting Rid of It. All of these resources will help you pair down your possessions and add to your travel fund. They’re also invaluable once you are packing up your stuff for storage and nearly ready to leave!
  • If you’re keen on more travel inspiration, why not read a few of my favorite classic travel books.
  • How much cost to travel the world

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    • And I thought I was the only one who kept my records to the penny (across multiple currencies).

      • I was pretty anal about it! Lol, felt like I would always be happy to know the final total :-) So no worries, I also meticulously jotted it down!

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    • Gawii

      Wow I’m impressed!! Thought it would be a whole lot more than that! The booze bill would kill me. Are u an accountant or been one in a previous life?? U don’t mention how many of you were doing this.
      Have u ever been to South Africa?

      • Not an account…can't say about previous lives…that's a distinct possibility :-) I haven't been to South Africa but I work on Web sites from the road so it's a probable stop down the line at some point!

    • Katrina

      Nicely done Shannon! I love seeing the break down of how much it all cost — and spent on a year of fun and exciting adventures around the world = worth every penny!

      • Thanks Kat!! I agree that it was so worth it :-) Hope you’re doing well out there in LA!

    • laura carter

      oops! i think i might have had something to do w/ your higher ireland entertainment expenses! :) not to mention dumb extras we had to pay since we basically walked our pet bikes around inis mor….

      • I think you definitely had something to do with Ireland’s beer tab! :-p But I wouldn’t have had it any other way. As for the pet bikes, they were lovely while they lasted but the bus tour was better :-)

    • brian from nodebtworldtravel.com

      Great to see the numbers laid out. I put the numbers up just for my hostels and was shocked at how little I spent. Glad you were able to keep such fantastic records.

      • Thanks! Deep down inside I am secretly a bit Type A :-) As for the hostels – I just couldn’t believe how cheap it is to do it that way either – and even staying in guest houses in Asia!

    • I gotta pile on the compliments here. Nice work! It really does look like a lot of work to keep such records. I’m way too lazy. When ppl ask me how much I spent on my big trip I usually just make up a number :) . At one point I looked at my bank account and saw how much money I withdrew while I was gone.

      Anyway, your price/day figures are really helpful. Combined with your blog so I can tell what kind of stuff you did…

      • Thanks Dave! I actually did it primarily because I couldn’t find this information when I was planning the trip and it frustrated me! Your own trip looks pretty stellar – how’s it feel now that you’ve been back for quite some time?

    • Noel

      I’m blown away that you spent just over $1 a day on ‘booze’ and ‘fun’. Please tell us you did have fun.

      I’m off for 12 months in the new year and was looking at budgeting $20k. But I can see myself spending at least 10 times your $373.15 on alcohol. Time to reassess expenditure.

      Very helpful. Thanks.

    • Megan

      You are inspiring me to travel more! I am extremely tempted. Were the places you stayed at very cheap?

    • Mike

      Thanks for sharing, this gives an idea what to plan for.

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    • AdventureRob

      Always good to see a budget laid out like this, I've been tracking my expenses since I left, it's surprising how some places build up.

      • Ireland killed me on prices…like I died a little inside when I saw how over-budget I went…it was a really good thing I went right home after that place! I was actually so surprised by how cheap India turned out to be; still surprised actually! :-)

      • Ireland killed me on prices…like I died a little inside when I saw how over-budget I went…it was a really good thing I went right home after that place! I was actually so surprised by how cheap India turned out to be; still surprised actually! :-)

      • Ireland killed me on prices…like I died a little inside when I saw how over-budget I went…it was a really good thing I went right home after that place! I was actually so surprised by how cheap India turned out to be; still surprised actually! :-)

    • RPG

      Excellent breakdown, THANKS! I'll definitely be coming back to read more from your blog…

    • CMB

      Oh man, I have to tell you that I am all giddy inside finding your website, and this page in particular. My husband and I are planning our trip now and are expecting to leave in January. Your website is providing a lot of inspiration and I see many similarities between our trips already. :) Now I'm off to go see if you've made that spreadsheet available yet, I love this! Thank you!

      • Hi! You are most welcome and I am so glad that you found the budget helpful! Let me know if you can't find the downloadable spreadsheet, I posted it about a week ago! :-) I checked out your blog- looks like the setup is coming along nicely and I look forward to reading about your travels. Don't hesitate to shoot me an email if I can help in any way :-)

    • cheylene

      Wow. That's not too bad. My boyfriend and I wanted to keep a budget of under 20k per year once we embark on our travels. It looks like that might be possible. Thanks for all the details! I'll definitely refer back to it when I get closer to leaving.

    • ShannonOD

      I think it is DEFINITELY do-able – traveling as a couple will keep the costs down, and if you stay out of the UK and a lot of Europe then you will do better than my figures by a lot! I look forward to following your travels when you guys set off! :-)

    • cheylene

      Wow. That's not too bad. My boyfriend and I wanted to keep a budget of under 20k per year once we embark on our travels. It looks like that might be possible. Thanks for all the details! I'll definitely refer back to it when I get closer to leaving.

      • ShannonOD

        I think it is DEFINITELY do-able – traveling as a couple will keep the costs down, and if you stay out of the UK and a lot of Europe then you will do better than my figures by a lot! I look forward to following your travels when you guys set off! :-)

    • Akila

      Wow! Very impressive. I think we're going to blow your Australia budget because we definitely spent a lot in that country. But, New Zealand has been a lot cheaper.

    • ShannonOD

      Lol! Likely true, I was a little conservative in Oz trying to get used to the whole solo travel thing, I think if I had it to do over again I would have blown a tad more ;-) I'm jealous of your outback picks – it rained all 4 days I was there if you can even believe it!

    • ShannonOD

      You're most welcome! Thanks for popping in :-) I look forward to reading some of your more “fights” :-)

    • ShannonOD

      All hostels in the developed countries and guest houses in Asia – never the “absolute cheapest” though! I like a little clean at least! :-)

    • Akila

      Wow! Very impressive. I think we're going to blow your Australia budget because we definitely spent a lot in that country. But, New Zealand has been a lot cheaper.

      • ShannonOD

        Lol! Likely true, I was a little conservative in Oz trying to get used to the whole solo travel thing, I think if I had it to do over again I would have blown a tad more ;-) I'm jealous of your outback picks – it rained all 4 days I was there if you can even believe it!

    • Pretty soon we will have to face our expenses too after almost a year on the road but I am confident we are fairly there with our planned budget something similar to yours and at least we haven’t broken the bank. RTW trips are definitely more affordable that what people think and if you are willing to let go to that new plasma TV or new car I am pretty sure anybody can do it. The only problem I guess is to get back to work after it, first cause there are probably no jobs with this economic situation and second cause I don’t want to work any more! Shannon, I can see Italy was the most expensive place you have been but I hope it worth, nice food isn't?

    • Pretty soon we will have to face our expenses too after almost a year on the road but I am confident we are fairly there with our planned budget something similar to yours and at least we haven’t broken the bank. RTW trips are definitely more affordable that what people think and if you are willing to let go to that new plasma TV or new car I am pretty sure anybody can do it. The only problem I guess is to get back to work after it, first cause there are probably no jobs with this economic situation and second cause I don’t want to work any more! Shannon, I can see Italy was the most expensive place you have been but I hope it worth, nice food isn't?

      • ShannonOD

        Italy was the most expensive, but I did that knowing I was going to let it be. I studied abroad there for a bit a few years ago and just love the food and wine. When I went back, I told myself, no budgeting! I just really wanted to enjoy my time. I'll be interested in seeing your own budget and not breaking the bank is always heartening – I broke my bank account a bit with the rental car in Ireland ;-)

    • ShannonOD

      Italy was the most expensive, but I did that knowing I was going to let it be. I studied abroad there for a bit a few years ago and just love the food and wine. When I went back, I told myself, no budgeting! I just really wanted to enjoy my time. I'll be interested in seeing your own budget and not breaking the bank is always heartening – I broke my bank account a bit with the rental car in Ireland ;-)

    • gloworm817

      Thank you so much for doing this! I'm planning to start a solo trip in May 2010. I found your country-by-country expenses super helpful. It gives me better sense of the amount of time I think I can afford to stay in each place.

      I wanted to access your blank, formatted spreadsheet to log my own RTW budget but it doesn't seem to be working. Can you check on this for me? Thanks!

    • ShannonOD

      Thanks for letting me know the link was down, working on your email now :-)

    • Thank you so much for doing this! I'm planning to start a solo trip in May 2010. I found your country-by-country expenses super helpful. It gives me better sense of the amount of time I think I can afford to stay in each place.

      I wanted to access your blank, formatted spreadsheet to log my own RTW budget but it doesn't seem to be working. Can you check on this for me? Thanks!

      • ShannonOD

        Thanks for letting me know the link was down, working on your email now :-)

    • Shannon,

      Talk about Details! We did that when we were in Thailand and our daily cost less than $60 for three peeps! We were there almost two months. Moving to Chiang Mai next year. I see you spent 3 days there so if you fancy to return to Thailand, count on us in Chiang Mai!

      Thanks so much for sharing this.. you have inspired to get off my butt, away from Twitter and FB to really get down and dirty with our Summer trip!!

    • Shannon,

      Talk about Details! We did that when we were in Thailand and our daily cost less than $60 for three peeps! We were there almost two months. Moving to Chiang Mai next year. I see you spent 3 days there so if you fancy to return to Thailand, count on us in Chiang Mai!

      Thanks so much for sharing this.. you have inspired to get off my butt, away from Twitter and FB to really get down and dirty with our Summer trip!!

      • ShannonOD

        $60 is really cheap for three people! And thank you so much for the offer of a visit in Chang Mai…I'm actually REALLY pondering there next year! Oh, and I SO have the same problem with Twitter some days, man, talk about addicting! :-)

    • ShannonOD

      $60 is really cheap for three people! And thank you so much for the offer of a visit in Chang Mai…I'm actually REALLY pondering there next year! Oh, and I SO have the same problem with Twitter some days, man, talk about addicting! :-)

    • Loved this Shannon! We're keeping notes down to the penny and using Daytum to keep track — it can send our heads spinning sometimes, though! I really liked the daily costs per country here, I think that's invaluable to backpackers!

    • Loved this Shannon! We're keeping notes down to the penny and using Daytum to keep track — it can send our heads spinning sometimes, though! I really liked the daily costs per country here, I think that's invaluable to backpackers!

      • ShannonOD

        Wow, that Daytum site is amazing – I loved looking through your expenses all laid out like that! It's interesting how that logs the data for you, I'll have to consider it for my next trip :-) Thanks for tip!

    • ShannonOD

      Wow, that Daytum site is amazing – I loved looking through your expenses all laid out like that! It's interesting how that logs the data for you, I'll have to consider it for my next trip :-) Thanks for tip!

    • David

      Wow, I'm impressed. Really, blown away by that figure. I had no idea you could travel RTW on such a small budget. Nice to know it's within reach.

      • I'm loving your site, you're just as meticulous as I am so I'm getting a lot out of it. I did a three month tour of Europe and the whole cost was about $8000 (and it was *really* low budget), so that'll show you the difference between Europe and the rest of the world.

    • ShannonOD

      It really is do-able and I promise you that you can do a RTW for that or
      even less if you stay out of Western Europe! :-)

    • Budget Travel Blog

      Wow, I'm impressed. Really, blown away by that figure. I had no idea you could travel RTW on such a small budget. Nice to know it's within reach.

      • ShannonOD

        It really is do-able and I promise you that you can do a RTW for that or
        even less if you stay out of Western Europe! :-)

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    • Such great detail. Some surprise me a little – Slovenia was the second most expensive, but I guess all these things depends on what you did in each country and if you managed to couchsurf etc. Great summary.

    • Such great detail. Some surprise me a little – Slovenia was the second most expensive, but I guess all these things depends on what you did in each country and if you managed to couchsurf etc. Great summary.

      • ShannonOD

        It's true on the activities – I did a rafting tour in the country that
        bumped it up a bit. But really though, with it on the Euro, it's not cheap
        in the least, pretty much like France and Italy, which surprised me too :-)

        • Aaahhh, I travelled to Slovenia pre-Euro and that is probably what made it a fair bit cheaper. It was one of my favourite places in Europe with its wonderful mountains, rivers, caves and history.

          • ShannonOD

            I have to agree with you! I went rafting on the Soca, and the color of the
            water was just incredible – then hiking through the forests and wine
            country, the country has definite potential and I'm surprised that so many
            people haven't even heard of it!

    • ShannonOD

      It's true on the activities – I did a rafting tour in the country that
      bumped it up a bit. But really though, with it on the Euro, it's not cheap
      in the least, pretty much like France and Italy, which surprised me too :-)

    • Aaahhh, I travelled to Slovenia pre-Euro and that is probably what made it a fair bit cheaper. It was one of my favourite places in Europe with its wonderful mountains, rivers, caves and history.

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    • You've kept a really impressive budget! Sounds like a great trip. My husband and I just got back from our year long RTW trip and decided to start a website to help others. I was wondering if you'd mind if we used some of your data to help generate our estimates? You can check out the site at http://www.budgetyourtrip.com. Thanks!

    • You've kept a really impressive budget! Sounds like a great trip. My husband and I just got back from our year long RTW trip and decided to start a website to help others. I was wondering if you'd mind if we used some of your data to help generate our estimates? You can check out the site at http://www.budgetyourtrip.com. Thanks!

      • ShannonOD

        Feel free to use the information, if there is a place to add credit or link back to this post though that would be great. Many thanks and best of luck on your new project, I know that estimating and calculating costs is a really important of planning a RTW trip! :-)

        • Thanks! I'll add you to our links page.

    • ShannonOD

      I have to agree with you! I went rafting on the Soca, and the color of the
      water was just incredible – then hiking through the forests and wine
      country, the country has definite potential and I'm surprised that so many
      people haven't even heard of it!

    • ShannonOD

      Feel free to use the information, if there is a place to add credit or link back to this post though that would be great. Many thanks and best of luck on your new project, I know that estimating and calculating costs is a really important of planning a RTW trip! :-)

    • Thanks! I'll add you to our links page.

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    • For the people that think this is such a huge hassle, it's really not. I had my trusty Moleskine in my pocket at all times, so any time I spent any money I would just open it up and write it down.

      And booze is the easiest way to blow all your money, especially in Europe. Luckily, I don't drink, and it didn't (and doesn't) deter from me having fun at all. I feel kind of bad for those that can't do one without the other.

    • I'm loving your site, you're just as meticulous as I am so I'm getting a lot out of it. I did a three month tour of Europe and the whole cost was about $8000 (and it was *really* low budget), so that'll show you the difference between Europe and the rest of the world.

    • For the people that think this is such a huge hassle, it's really not. I had my trusty Moleskine in my pocket at all times, so any time I spent any money I would just open it up and write it down.

      And booze is the easiest way to blow all your money, especially in Europe. Luckily, I don't drink, and it didn't (and doesn't) deter from me having fun at all. I feel kind of bad for those that can't do one without the other.

      • ShannonOD

        Wow, $8 grand in three months! It just adds up so quickly in Europe, yikes!
        Glad that you're like me on the expense tracking – I agree with you, once I
        was in the habit of jotting it down, it was a cinch to keep meticulous notes
        :-) (ditto on the drinking too – I do drink, but not all of the time and
        certainly dont need it to have fun :-)

        • That includes my $560 roundtrip plane ticket, $1960 three month Eurail pass, and about $5500 for sights, additional transit, lodging, food, etc. or about $60/day.

          I could easily do it for cheaper if I tried again, but someone else will have to foot the bill for that.

          • ShannonOD

            When you put it like that it makes sense – $50 a day in Europe is pretty
            impressive! I daresay if you went much cheaper though you wouldn't have had
            such a great time – you can only go so budget before you start missing out
            on major sites and activities! Quite impressed with your figures, sounds
            like you found a nice balance! :-)

    • ShannonOD

      Wow, $8 grand in three months! It just adds up so quickly in Europe, yikes!
      Glad that you're like me on the expense tracking – I agree with you, once I
      was in the habit of jotting it down, it was a cinch to keep meticulous notes
      :-) (ditto on the drinking too – I do drink, but not all of the time and
      certainly dont need it to have fun :-)

    • That includes my $560 roundtrip plane ticket, $1960 three month Eurail pass, and about $5500 for sights, additional transit, lodging, food, etc. or about $60/day.

      I could easily do it for cheaper if I tried again, but someone else will have to foot the bill for that.

    • ShannonOD

      When you put it like that it makes sense – $50 a day in Europe is pretty
      impressive! I daresay if you went much cheaper though you wouldn't have had
      such a great time – you can only go so budget before you start missing out
      on major sites and activities! Quite impressed with your figures, sounds
      like you found a nice balance! :-)

    • elmo1984

      Hiya Shannon

      I just came across your site – fantastic. In 19 weeks i'm going RTW with my partner for 12 months. South America, NZ, Fiji, Aus, finished with 6 months in SEAsia. We are estimating to have saved £21k (about US$34k) between us for the year to include £6k (US$9.7k) pre trip expenditure. Obviously you were in slightly different places but off the top of your head do you think we can do this? We'll be staying in dorms where possible and have a tent for NZ and some parts of Aus. Would like to spend more on drink than you but won't be breaking the bank with sky diving or anything.

      I'd really appreciate any adivce you can provide?

      Many thanks Liz

    • elmo1984

      Hiya Shannon

      I just came across your site – fantastic. In 19 weeks i'm going RTW with my partner for 12 months. South America, NZ, Fiji, Aus, finished with 6 months in SEAsia. We are estimating to have saved £21k (about US$34k) between us for the year to include £6k (US$9.7k) pre trip expenditure. Obviously you were in slightly different places but off the top of your head do you think we can do this? We'll be staying in dorms where possible and have a tent for NZ and some parts of Aus. Would like to spend more on drink than you but won't be breaking the bank with sky diving or anything.

      I'd really appreciate any adivce you can provide?

      Many thanks Liz

      • ShannonOD

        Hey! Well, it sounds like you will be going pretty budget – and camping out
        in NZ and Oz will save you a lot- because that's where you're really going
        to start spending a lot of money – esp if you want to drink a bit
        more…booze in Oz wasn't cheap. SEA is really quite cheap, but the others
        not so much.

        My initial thought is that a full 12 months on that budget for two people
        will be incredibly tight. (Im assuming all of the upfront costs include
        plane tickets). Something that you'll want to play with is budgets for the
        different countries – the longer that you stay in developing countries the
        cheaper it gets – 6 months in SEA sounds amazing and will be very healthy
        for the budget – how much of the other 6 months is spent in the “developed”
        world will play a key part in you pulling it off!

        Hope any of these thoughts help! I think it's doable if you travel slowly
        (and thus cut down on excessive land transportation costs) :-) Have an
        amazing trip and keep me posted on how it goes, when do you leave?

        • elmo1984

          Hiya

          That sounds fab. I'm spending 3 months in SAmerica and 5 weeks each in Aus (inc 1 week with family so lots of free stuff) and NZ. Fiji is 2 weeks but this is set price as we're staying with a tribe. I've calculated our costs and after accommodation and transport we have about £15/£18 for 2 of us per day in SEA, £30 in Aus, £25 in NZ, £18 in Fiji, and about £25 SAmerica.

          We have racked our brains and I can't think of any more money saving schemes ha ha!

          We leave on the 10th June this summer – I have yet to tell my employer ha ha!

          Thanks for responding

          Liz

          • ShannonOD

            Your daily budgets sound spot on – congrats and let me know if you are going
            to blog about it along the way! :-)

    • ShannonOD

      Hey! Well, it sounds like you will be going pretty budget – and camping out
      in NZ and Oz will save you a lot- because that's where you're really going
      to start spending a lot of money – esp if you want to drink a bit
      more…booze in Oz wasn't cheap. SEA is really quite cheap, but the others
      not so much.

      My initial thought is that a full 12 months on that budget for two people
      will be incredibly tight. (Im assuming all of the upfront costs include
      plane tickets). Something that you'll want to play with is budgets for the
      different countries – the longer that you stay in developing countries the
      cheaper it gets – 6 months in SEA sounds amazing and will be very healthy
      for the budget – how much of the other 6 months is spent in the “developed”
      world will play a key part in you pulling it off!

      Hope any of these thoughts help! I think it's doable if you travel slowly
      (and thus cut down on excessive land transportation costs) :-) Have an
      amazing trip and keep me posted on how it goes, when do you leave?

    • elmo1984

      Hiya

      That sounds fab. I'm spending 3 months in SAmerica and 5 weeks each in Aus (inc 1 week with family so lots of free stuff) and NZ. Fiji is 2 weeks but this is set price as we're staying with a tribe. I've calculated our costs and after accommodation and transport we have about £15/£18 for 2 of us per day in SEA, £30 in Aus, £25 in NZ, £18 in Fiji, and about £25 SAmerica.

      We have racked our brains and I can't think of any more money saving schemes ha ha!

      We leave on the 10th June this summer – I have yet to tell my employer ha ha!

      Thanks for responding

      Liz

    • ShannonOD

      Your daily budgets sound spot on – congrats and let me know if you are going
      to blog about it along the way! :-)

    • elmo1984

      Yay, thats made me happy thanks!

      I sure am i'm using http://www.offexploring.com/liznadds

      Thanks for taking the time to help me out

      Liz

    • Wow Shannon, I can't believe how meticulous you were, great stuff – very interesting. I went around the world on a tiny budget last year but took a different approach which was to see if I could actually make some money along the way as I could never keep a grip on it like you have here. So I ebayed and gumtreed, worked, traded and a few other little tricks en route. In the end I just put it all in a blog if anyone is interested check it out at http://80bays.blogspot.com and let me know what you think.

    • ShannonOD

      Thanks Stephen! Tracking it became a game after a while – I really wanted to
      have an accurate picture of how much it cost to do my 11 month trip! It
      must have been really neat to find those working opportunities on the road –
      I did freelance work, but nothing like the big push you were doing! Cheers
      and good luck adjusting now that you're back home :-)

    • Wow Shannon, I can't believe how meticulous you were, great stuff – very interesting. I went around the world on a tiny budget last year but took a different approach which was to see if I could actually make some money along the way as I could never keep a grip on it like you have here. So I ebayed and gumtreed, worked, traded and a few other little tricks en route. In the end I just put it all in a blog if anyone is interested check it out at http://80bays.blogspot.com and let me know what you think.

      • ShannonOD

        Thanks Stephen! Tracking it became a game after a while – I really wanted to
        have an accurate picture of how much it cost to do my 11 month trip! It
        must have been really neat to find those working opportunities on the road –
        I did freelance work, but nothing like the big push you were doing! Cheers
        and good luck adjusting now that you're back home :-)

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    • Bobby

      I can get all budget travel details in this blog and additional info about it.. I have been looking for a blog like this for past many months.. The points mentioned in this article are valid..
      Budget Travel Blog

    • Hi Shannon, Thanks for sharing your experience and all this info.
      I just found your site a couple of days ago and I intend to read it all.
      Me and my husband decided this year to take our own RTW trip and the amount of things I have in my to do list is quite overwhelming (the plan is to leave in June). Sites like yours help a lot and cut on the research time.
      At this point my two major concerns are: 1. Do we have enough money to follow through? 2. What I am going to say that work and what is going to be of my career after that? I am 30, so so it is not like I am only 20 or I am high up already and a couple of months will not make a difference, but well… If it is hard now to take the time, I am sure it will just get harder with time, as responsibilities growth at an unfair pace.
      Me and my husband have $30K saved up for the trip and the plan is to spend about 2 months in Southeast Asia, 2 months in Africa and 2 months in Europe (hopefully less from my side as things get more expensive and I have been there already, but my hubby really wants to cover some ground). Do you think that is enough? I was looking at RTW ticket and I am wondering if it is worthwhile. It is more than I first hoped for and reading your blog I am tempted to do the acquisition on my own as you did. My only concern is that flight tickets seem to be a big cost in my budget and I am afraid that not getting deals during the trip may have an impact difficult to predict at this point on our budget. Any thoughts? Did you change date or destinations based on the best deal you could get on flights? Again, thanks for all the information here.

    • Hi Shannon, Thanks for sharing your experience and all this info.
      I just found your site a couple of days ago and I intend to read it all.
      Me and my husband decided this year to take our own RTW trip and the amount of things I have in my to do list is quite overwhelming (the plan is to leave in June). Sites like yours help a lot and cut on the research time.
      At this point my two major concerns are: 1. Do we have enough money to follow through? 2. What I am going to say that work and what is going to be of my career after that? I am 30, so so it is not like I am only 20 or I am high up already and a couple of months will not make a difference, but well… If it is hard now to take the time, I am sure it will just get harder with time, as responsibilities growth at an unfair pace.
      Me and my husband have $30K saved up for the trip and the plan is to spend about 2 months in Southeast Asia, 2 months in Africa and 2 months in Europe (hopefully less from my side as things get more expensive and I have been there already, but my hubby really wants to cover some ground). Do you think that is enough? I was looking at RTW ticket and I am wondering if it is worthwhile. It is more than I first hoped for and reading your blog I am tempted to do the acquisition on my own as you did. My only concern is that flight tickets seem to be a big cost in my budget and I am afraid that not getting deals during the trip may have an impact difficult to predict at this point on our budget. Any thoughts? Did you change date or destinations based on the best deal you could get on flights? Again, thanks for all the information here.

    • Mike

      I am in awe of this spreadsheet. I am leaving in October for a RTW trip and this will be most helpful. You've also given me budget ideas because you traveled to a lot of the same countries I'm planning to visit. Thanks!

    • Mike

      I am in awe of this spreadsheet. I am leaving in October for a RTW trip and this will be most helpful. You've also given me budget ideas because you traveled to a lot of the same countries I'm planning to visit. Thanks!

      • ShannonOD

        You are most welcome Mike! Glad that you're finding it handy :-) If you ever
        have any questions as you prep for your trip don't hesitate to shoot me an
        email! Cheers and happy planning :-)

    • ShannonOD

      You are most welcome Mike! Glad that you're finding it handy :-) If you ever
      have any questions as you prep for your trip don't hesitate to shoot me an
      email! Cheers and happy planning :-)

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    • Gemma

      Hi, just wondering how central america added up? im going there in January and trying to work out a daily budget.. many thanks Gemma

      • Anonymous

        Central America is incredibly budget and you can do it for a similar budget
        as SEA… I stayed in private rooms in a hostel a lot for about $10 to $12 a
        night, it’s half that for dorms. Then food is cheap if you eat local foods.
        What I found in Central America is that you can spend more if you choose to
        upgrade – ie. there are chicken buses for dirt cheap or you can upgrade to
        the private bus…one costs $3 and the other $15…seems like not too much
        of a splurge but can add up. So, that being said, you can go uber cheap and
        affordably upgrade when you need a bit of extra comfort :) Hope that helps.
        Email me if you have some specific questions I can help out with!

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    • This is insanely inspiring. Gosh, really freakin cool! I will do something like this for my trip. Thanks for your openness too!

      • Anonymous

        You’re welcome! If you ever need any help, I am here just shoot me an email and we can sort out the budgeting and planning  :)

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    • Rebecca

      WHERE did you find such cheap flights? I can’t find a flight across North America for less than $500!

      • Anonymous

        Hi Rebecca! Cheap flights are the golden nugget, and they are hard to find, but I use a couple different options:

        – Fly on a Tuesday or Saturday night
        – Fly in and out of hub cities with the major airlines, then take the discounts to where you need to go (can save hundreds)
        – Use a discount airlines…love this master list: http://www.airninja.com

        That’s about it, I hunt around a lot and research a good deal! Hope that helps :)

        • Rebecca

          I’ll keep that in mind! Thanks for the tips! :)

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    • Nicfreeman.com

      Hey Shannon, Thanks so much for sharing this! I’m currently planning a 9 month trip to Europe and appreciate the budgeting insights. No matter how much I read, I find there will always be that niggling uncertainty before leaving for a big trip – can I afford it? But, like you said, using spreadsheets and keeping an overall idea of spendings is a great way to keep it under control.

      • Anonymous

        So glad the budget has helped — definitely keep track of your expenses and move slowly, those are the two biggest ways to keep it all in check. Transportation adds up (and gets stressful) so if you can find more budget friendly destinations and stay for a week there, then a few days in the more expensive ones it should help! Best of luck and safe travels :)

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    • Hey

      Not as expensive as one would think. What resources did you use to book your RTW plane tickets? Kayak, Travelocity, STA, etc…?

      • Shannon

        Kayak is a favorite of mine, but if I am in Asia I like to check SkyScanner.com since they include some of the smaller local carriers in this area. Also, if I was booking a one-way to a nearby country (say Thailand to India) I checked some of the discount airlines! Hope that helps, happy planning :)

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    • Ellen

      Well written article.I really appreciate your writing skills.Its great.You have done a good job by sharing this post with us.I would like to read your more updates.Keep in touch with us in future too.

    • Ray

      When we are planing to travel  then managing the fund for travel is really a daunting task. How you manage this.You have explain this in this.I’ve recommended this blog to some of my colleagues. I’m sure they’ll find it is useful as I did.

      • Anonymous

        I work on the road, while I am traveling, so it’s hard to give specific tips on managing it, but the best idea is just to start saving, then travel within your comfort bracket until it runs out! :)

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    • Liz

      This is so helpful. I now (as I’m sure many do) take advantage of iphone budgeting apps – CashTrails is my favorite for traveling, but I’m trying to estimate how much to plan on needing as I get ready to hit the road in a few months. Thanks so much! Maybe I’ll see you in a random country this year!

      • ShannonOD

        I haven’t used the CashTrails app, but I do love my iPhone, so I’ll check it out. Also, for budgeting, Jodi at Legal Nomads collected all of the various budgeting posts from travel bloggers and has the budget links broken down by region/county — could prove useful for planning! 
        http://www.legalnomads.com/wds

        • Liz

           WOW! What a wealth of information she packed into that page!!! So grateful you shared :) Thank you so very much!

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    • Sophia

      That’s some great information you have shared with us. Travel needs funds and your information is really very helpful for us. I’m looking forward to more updates. Keep them coming!
       

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    • Renata

      Hi Shannon. Thanks for all of the information you shared on your blog. It’s probably the most detailed blog out there on RTW travel. I would like to know approximately what percentage of your budget you had saved a head of time, and how much of that was covered by your work while on the road. I’m thinking of taking off in about 2-3 years (yes I know it’s a long time)

      • ShannonOD

        It is really heartening to hear you say that Renata, thank you! I had about 45 percent of my budget saved ahead of time. But I also had a guaranteed client for the rest of the money (I still work for the company even), so in that way I left very sure of my work and travel. Two-three years out should hopefully be a good long time so you can save up and have a nice cushion if you also plan to work as you travel. Good luck planning and keep in touch! :)

    • This
      concept is very interesting, you have added in this concept travel budget. Thanks
      to given to this info.

    • Matthew Hutchins

      Wow you sure did spend a lot while in the Czech

      • ShannonOD

        I was getting burned out by the time I got to Czech, so I found a nice place to stay and hunkered down for a bit. Then, I booked my flights on the wrong day out of Prague and extended my stay by another couple days on accident! Always something! It’s a pretty country though, and good beer :)

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    • It’s so true. We just got back from SE Asia and including thousands of dollars for scuba diving, 20 flights, the return flight from canada to bangkok, and 10 months of travel, was $15K. Bam!

      • ShannonOD

        15K is great for 10 months, particularly if you did a lot of diving! Nicely done, I really wish I had done more diving on my trip (I only managed it in Australia) but I’m impressed that you stayed at the 15K mark for all that time on the road! Location is everything, and it’s one of the reasons I love SEA :)

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    • gagan deol

      this is really the most helpful budget article across internet for RTW trips. I am leaving in January next year and this article will be helping me prepare for my trip. I want to know where will I lead my career. I mean to ask that can I make money through adventures and travels after I return back home. please do reply.

      • I am so glad you found it helpful! The amounts are a bit out of date, but it is an accurate assessment of the rough costs at least. And if you didn’t see it, Jodi from Legal Nomads has a great compilation of other budget posts here http://www.legalnomads.com/wds if there is a region I didn;t cover that you plan to visit.

        For working on the road, I have a big section of the site that has ideas for that very conundrum! http://alittleadrift.com/rtw-travel/#money

        Safe travels and let me know if I can help in any way. :)

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    • krishna

      its a good thing, i wish i had a habit of doing that

    • Dana

      WOW. I am in the beginning stages of thinking about ATW, and this information will be extremely helpful. Thank you!

    • Nikki K

      Wow. I’d just like to say, you are my hero! My best friend and I are planning a RTW trip, and this helps so much. You give so much good advice and show that it really is possible. Thank you for the inspiration <3

      • So glad you found the information useful! And please don’t hesitate to shoot me an email when you are planning if there is something I can help you with :)

    • mhendry

      how come so much free accom. in scotland

      • I stayed with friends that I had met earlier in the trip, there were a bunch of Scots on the road so it made that country heaps cheaper, and heaps more fun too!! :)

    • ra

      wow thank you!

    • James

      Thanks, really good info

    • Fahad

      It’s been my life long dream to tour the world, and I’m sure my college fees would cost more that a life-changing trip. Definitely saving up!

      • Good luck saving up, I did find it worth the year’s expenses. Let me know if I can ever help with advice! :)

    • Ultan Breslin

      Why was Cambodia so expensive? Did you go to Vietnam and malaysia? any clue of the per day costs of those 2 places.

      • I volunteered there for a bit, and that could have added some. Plus Angkor Wat is not cheap to buy the three day pass. It’s worth it, but some of the activities in Cambodia made the cost jump up a bit. I have traveled through Malaysia and I have friends living in Vietnam — these costs will be similar to what I experienced and somewhere between the Laos and Cambodian expenses. Malaysia a bit more expensive, and Vietnam about the same. Safe travels!

    • Jay

      Not to be negative, but how can you say you traveled the world and you didn’t hit every continent. No Africa, no pyramids, no wildlife preserves, no Maldives nor Madascagar?

      I’ll give it TP you for doing on the cheap, but how comfortable, and furthermore, how safe where you as an American female travelling abroad.

      I have been to over 30 countries and couldn’t imagine doing the globe that cheap.

      • Hitting every continent is a pretty specific definition of traveling the world I went around the world for a year, this budget back in 2008-2009, and five years later I am still traveling and haven’t seen it all (if you follow me, you know I just made it to Africa for four months overland and yes, solo). I tend to go overland and slowly, and I travel in more developing regions so it’s cost effective. So this was actually a doable budget for most anyone willing to stay in budget accommodation and go slowly, plane flights are the priciest part of travel.
        The hangups on a woman traveling solo isn’t something I have, I wrote about it here if you’d like to know more about the realities of that side of traveling. http://alittleadrift.com/2013/06/solo-female-travel-safety/

        Cheers and thanks for commenting — have a look around the site and perhaps you’ll understand how and why I travel like I do! :)

    • Brokepinkbloke.com

      Thanks for the amazing budget spreadsheet! I’ll update my own and share it with my (non existent) readers. :D Your site has been a huge help while planning my own RTW-trip.

      • So glad it was helpful! Safe and happy travels, hope you have an amazing trip. :)

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    • JT

      I have always dreamed of traveling around the world however, I do hesitate to travel alone although I’d much prefer to travel solo then accompanied. I worry about the safety hazards involved when traveling alone as a female. Did you run into any trouble that could of been avoided had you been with someone? Have you also got any places that you would recommend visiting that you particularly enjoyed?:)

      • Hi Jodi, the safety question is a big fear for many travelers — I wrote a piece about it here: http://alittleadrift.com/2013/06/solo-female-travel-safety/ that covers some of the issues (very few) I’ve had on the road and my thoughts on some of the fears that hold people back from traveling. For solo travelers, I recommend Southeast Asia as an easy and very safe region to travel within with a large and developed network of backpackers to make friends with. Hope that helps! :)

    • This is just soo helpful, I wouldn’t get how much I need and probably ended up with no money to come back from the first spot. I’m planning to start a trip in June 2015, 13 countries, half in Latin America, 4 friends on the road to stay over, lots of hitchhiking & couchsurfing included. And I also plan a budget around $10.000, I know it may sound ridiculous, but I plan to do a lot of volunteering (done it before-no fee, accommodation and food in exchange for work) in Mexico, also US will be cheap, because I will work there for 2 months and then spend it only there for travelling around.
      Thanks for this :) Will be coming back for more tips!

      • So glad you found it useful! Your budget definitely sounds doable, especially if you are sticking to just a couple regions, like Latin America — that will cut down on the expensive plane flights between places. Happy planning and safe travels, I have a resource page for long-term travelers that you may find helpful here: http://alittleadrift.com/rtw-travel :)

    • ZeroCapital

      Im 17 years old and I want to travel too.So I need some advise.I m going to become a game designer and if not then a programmer.When I’ll become one I will be 23 years old.I will need to save up for my journey wich will take me 2-4 years depending my salary.Howerver
      when I’ll be done with my travel budget I will be 25-27 years old and after I depart for my journey I will be unable to work so I will have to quit my job.The journy will take 2-4 years and when I’ll return I will be 27-31 and unemployed.This kind of plan seems realy risky to me because I may end up an unsuccesfull person without anything left since I abandoned my whole normal and comfortable life in order to make my foolish dreams come true.So to conclude can someone give me some advise about a better plan or how to make one?

      • That seems like a lot of things you are holding as firm truths where there is actually flexibility and unknown in all of that. It may seem certain that this is your path — and it might be! — but you dictate what your future will look like, not some unknown path that says that it will take you this amount of time and that when you come back you will be “behind” others or in a risky place. Those are assumptions, not truths.

        The world and the future are great unknowns. There is every reason to think that you could travel, find synergies and work for some of the largest Asian-based gaming firms in the world just as a matter of making connections on your trip. That is just as likely to happen as the scenario you laid out. Neither is a more a truth than the other, they are both open possibilities for your future. You are choosing to see one as an obstacle or the only way it could shake down if you travel.

        The savings part is negotiable as well — I bartended throughout college and managed to save up enough for what would have been a 3-6 month trip through Southeast Asia, just in a single summer living at home with my parents (I instead chose to spend it on 2 months in Europe, but the savings was the same and could have fostered either trip). Every person’s situation is different, has different levels of support and opportunities, but I come from a low scoio-economic bracket and made it work. All you have to do is believe it’s possible and is something you want — open your mind to the possibilities that this trip is 1) something you can make happen and 2) something that doesn’t necessarily predicate career failure, but rather could open new doors you can’t even imagine right now.

        Best of luck, here if you ever need help planning that long-term trip. :)

        • ZeroCapital

          Someone said that the only thing that gets between yourself and your goal is the obstacles that you put there by yourself.Thank you for reminding me that.

          • Matías R

            Hi there,
            Sorry to jump into the discussion! ZeroCapital, if your plan is to be a sofware/videogame developer, you shouldn’t worry too much. Today it’s rather easy to work remotely, every day more and more companies allow their employees to do that.
            You can of course create your own video games or be a consultant, which you can do from anywhere in the world.
            So don’t worry too much, your skill will be in high demand in the future!

    • cameraandcarryon

      I love how you break down the cost of travel, because ultimately that’s what people are looking for when considering a crazy idea like traveling for 6 months (but are just too afraid to ask). We did a full budget, too, before leaving our cushy jobs in NYC — planned, saved, leaving room for a little ‘extra’ for emergencies — and managed to stick to it and came in $100 under budget after our 6 month adventure. Imagine that ;) We hope you check out our video recap of our journey and share this with your followers (we’re pretty proud of it!). In some small way, we hope to help inspire others to get out there and live out their dreams and explore all this awesome world has to offer. http://www.cameraandcarryon.com/2014/07/video-traveling-and-living-dreams/

      • Thanks for sharing the video of your journey, I will have a look now. Underbudget is a great place to be on the flip side of your trip and it’s likely a testament to the careful research it sounds like you did before you left! Safe travels :)

        • cameraandcarryon

          Thanks, Shannon! (I’m a Shannon, too… hehe)

          I want to say we were lucky to come in under budget, but I think careful purchases and recording our expenses along the way was key to sticking to the ‘plan’. Careful consideration of how much money you’re comfortable spending, while being realistic about expectations of the experience you’ll have, is one of the most important factors in successful extended travel IMO.

          We love your writing, tips, and information. Thanks for being a great resource and voice!!!

    • dannyrock1981 .

      First of all I just want to say how much I love this website, so thank you! And secondly I have been looking all over the web for an actual breakdown of costs for a RTW trip like this. I have travelled a lot in the past but I am currently saving and planning for a long trip starting late next year, North America for a few weeks then Central and South America will be my main focus after that and possibly back over to Europe and Asia. I’m just at the budgeting and route planning stage. I will keep reading through your blogs for any other advice and once again, thank you.
      Danny

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    • Thanks for sharing your iPhone app link Matias! Tracking your budget on the road is an important part of the travel process, I’ll definitely check out your app! :)

    • Rosa Sophie Renn

      Most interesting european countries for travelling are missing: France, Germany, Spain and Sweden. Replaced by visiting poor countries most europeans don’t want to travel: Bosnia, Slovenia, Czech Republic and Croatia… So sad i loved france and the others so much.

      • I agree those are great countries and I have loved visiting each one of them. On a round the world though, there is compromise between the very expensive countries and the less expensive ones. And, as an American I have to factor in that I only have three months in the Schengen zone — on my trip I chose to spend it in the Netherlands, UK, Scotland and Ireland. You could definitely switch those out on yours. Safe travels.

      • Jennifer Smith-Parker

        Most Europeans don’t want to travel to Bosnia, Slovenia, etc etc? Wow then the Europeans I met in Bosnia, Serbia, Kosovo and Macedonia must have been MAKE-BELIEVE. You obviously have no idea what you are talking about.

    • Rubab

      We are a family of 3, my Husband, my 6 month old daughter and I. We’re planning on a RTW trip in 2015 most probably in the summers. Started thinking of getting a house and living our lives like we’re suppose to as a family with security but both me and my husband feel we need to see so much before we put our foot down and live in one place forever (or for atleast a few years). We’ve travelled a lot as a solo traveler and couple but with a daughter this young, do you feel the RTW is doable. What places seemed comfortable enough for a kid to tag along to? I am sure we need a lot of planning. But we’re thinking if we should use our savings for buying a house or travel the world. Because you know wise people say YOLO! haha

      • Hi Rubab — so glad you found the budget and are planning some round the world travels. You can DEFINITELY make a go of your trip with a baby in tow, I have met other travelers with younguns and though they often had a different style of travel (slower, nicer places than the budget ones I was often in) they were on an adventure and had few regrets about acting on their desire to do a RTW with each other and their children. Almost Fearless traveled with an infant through Asia, and then she had another and continued: http://almostfearless.com. And the folks from Going Anyway had a very young baby and several kids and I met them in Thailand and they were all on the adventure of a lifetime: http://www.goinganyway.net. There are definitely resources out there to give you an idea of other families on the road with small children, you aren’t alone. Your child can be as portable as you see fit, so places like Southeast Asia, South America, Europe, all of these are options — they have good tourism networks, some are very budget, and you can see some amazing things along the way. :) Safe travels and best of luck in planning!

    • sachin97

      Hi my name is sachin and I m from India my dream is to travel whole wor ld meet new people and I m 17 year old I want to go to boania and serbia for 1 month I need you help how much will it cost me ? Please help me to see this beautiful world

      • I’m not sure of the current costs in that region, but I know that there is a great hostel and train network that should help you keep down costs. They also have some good and easy lunches (bureks in Bosnia) that are cheap and easy as well. All these things add up to making it a lot more affordable than most of Europe. In this budgeting post you can look at my spreadsheet and see what my daily costs were in Bosnia. Then, I suggest you do some research on the price of hostels (http://www.hostelworld.com/) in the places you want to go and use that as a base for what your daily cost will be. You can also use sites like Couchsurfing to keep accommodation costs down. Best of luck!

        • sachin97

          Where you gonna travel next ? And I don’t want to stay in hostel because I m sacred I m 17 and this is going to be my first travel experience so please give me something other tips to save money and have fun

          • Honestly, I think you should work on overcoming the fear of hostels — these are the best places to meet other travelers your age and the hostels are often the best place to find affordable things to do. Basically, they are the heart of the budget backpacking network around the world. If you are looking to go with a higher budget, you can use hotel booking sites and things like that — lots of planning tools out there and this page on my site has heaps of resources :http://alittleadrift.com/rtw-travel/ Good luck!

        • sachin97

          And please give me ur email I cant find ur email on ur page so please give it to me thanks

    • JessRep

      Thank you so much for this. I have one question… what is a puddle jumper flight? Thanks for sharing and safe travels on your next adventure!!

      • Glad you found it useful! Puddle jumpers just refers to smaller flights that jump small distances, sometimes from tiny regional airports and use smaller planes. Asia has a lot of discount airlines (Europe too, though not as cheap) that jump between the various cities and help you get around for a lot less than using the major airlines. Good luck planning. :)

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    • Jennifer Smith-Parker

      Honestly, 20K IS a lot. So for a couple, that’s 40K, which is a hella lot of money to travel. So in the end, traveling is expensive and I HATE when travel bloggers act like it isn’t.

      • I see your point but I still disagree. 20K is a lot if you are planning on dropping it all out of pocket at this very moment; some people save for 6+ years and do that. I didn’t leave with anything near 20K (6K because I sold my car). I have a friend making 20K doing 30 hours a week of content writing work for an online education company. Point is, for her, she could travel with that job/income, and yet that money doesn’t get her very far living in Denver. I grew up in a trailer park, I know that 20K is a lot, but if you can make money online, or have an open mind to jobs you can take overseas, you can likely travel for what amounts to a poverty-level salary here. And that is a god’s-honest fact. Also, it’s not actually double for a couple because you are splitting all the accommodation and local transport—I’d have spent a couple thousand less if I had traveled with someone the entire time.

        • Jennifer Smith-Parker

          I can see your point to an extent, especially in Southeast Asia, where I have traveled myself a few times. But again, that was JUST me, and not my husband. And yes it IS double for many aspects like food and drink, cultural attractions, and bus/plane fare. The only way we would possibly save would be accommodation.

        • Rachel C

          Could you tell me about traveling alone? Especially as a female.. Was it ever scary?

          • There are some tricky times on the road when you need to be very aware of your surroundings and take precautions, but in general I have loved traveling solo. It gave me a freedom and an openness to make new friends and really focus on the new cultures, people, and stories. I wrote a piece on solo female travel safety here: http://alittleadrift.com/2013/06/solo-female-travel-safety/

        • Rob Small

          I love your heart felt advice Shannon 👍

      • Debbie Green

        I don’t agree that it would double for a couple. Travelling is worth every cent

        • Jennifer Smith-Parker

          You don’t have to agree with facts and can choose to have your head in the sand. And to say travelling is worth every cent is just ignorant. Travelling is all I think about, every day and most hours of that day. But I also have to ya know, eat and pay rent.

          • Rachel C

            Maybe you were just having a bad day when you wrote this, but you sound like a very angry person. How is someone saying, “Traveling is worth every cent” ignorant? YOU sound ignorant. You don’t have to agree with their opinion. Doesn’t make them ignorant. Honestly i feel the same way. And 20k for traveling around the world for a year is not a lot. You’re insane. Some people make that much a year and struggle everyday. To get to go around the world and do and see so much for a year and only spend 20k is great. This blog is so awesome and helpful. Take your negative ass somewhere else.

            • Jennifer Smith-Parker

              What I posted probably didn’t come across right. What I meant to say is that “traveling is worth every cent” is an idea I agree with in concept but in reality is much harder. And yes traveling around for 20K IS A LOT. Maybe you have some trust fund Rachel or mommy and daddy are shelling out nicely but I don’t have that and 99.9% of people don’t.

              Overall, the advice here is awesome and I appreciate it very much. But people like you Rachel don’t like the hard, cold truth of numbers. Rather to paint me as negative. So be it. SMH.

            • charoferg

              I think 20k inclusive of shots, visas, gear, flights, etc. is pretty reasonable depending on how you look at it. Before I found this site that’s how much I had estimated – so seeing a woman who has done it, solo and assuming her income is probably not even as much as mine (based on how I have interpreted what she’s written) I know I can do this.

              Don’t be angry about it – maybe you don’t need to do a year. Maybe you can do three months and that won’t cost as much. Maybe you can find other alternatives to make your budget smaller. I don’t see the point in being harsh at her budget. She did it already.

              This budget has really inspired me and I’m sitting at my table right now, in a few hours I’m going to be thirty and I’m excited because I know a year from now I will be gone from this place. Inspiration at it’s best. I’m choosing to see the positive. I’m halfway to my 20k and I know I can do this. Positive thinking. Don’t shake ya head boo. Shake the cramps out your fingers and start writing out a plan.

            • I am so happy to hear that this inspired you, and that you are currently in the planning and final savings stages — what an incredible adventure you have in front of you. And planning and dreaming about it are half of the fun, so I wish you so much luck this year as you align all of your plans for your trip. Don’t hesitate to shoot me a message if there is ever anything I can do to help. :)

            • charoferg

              Thanks so much! I def will shoot you a message if I get a little flustered. My family is 100% behind me in my effforts to travel. They even bought me a backpack and donated money as a bday present and when we were talking about budgets I referenced you. I am very inspired.

            • Jennifer Smith-Parker

              Sigh, again, I’m just making the point it’s a lot of money. I’m NOT saying its not doable. Good for you that you can do this- again YOU. Traveling single is so.much.easier than doing it as a couple. I have traveled solo enough to say this (and will continue to do so as I have more hols time than my husband).

    • megan

      Hi :) I’m 18 and want to go travelling for 5/6 months later this year by myself through Europe, America and South America :) Just wondering if you think it is a good idea for me to bring my laptop? To Skype home etc? Love your blogs!

      • Congrats on the big trip coming up this year. I think a laptop is good in some situations but not for everyone. Think about what you need to do– will you update a blog, or do you just need photo storage (easy in an external hard drive). If you surf the Internet and want to be able to do that, most hostels have free wifi. Weigh out the pros and cons and then consider if a smartphone would suffice! Happy travels. :)

      • Congrats on the big trip coming up this year. I think a laptop is good in some situations but not for everyone. Think about what you need to do– will you update a blog, or do you just need photo storage (easy in an external hard drive). If you surf the Internet and want to be able to do that, most hostels have free wifi. Weigh out the pros and cons and then consider if a smartphone would suffice! Happy travels. :)

    • Graham Johnston

      Your details are very informative, and thank you for sharing your experience. I am 46 years old, and am considering on quitting my Fashion business for a year so that I can enjoy my travel. As soon as I feel confidence with my photography (as am currently learning), I would like to travel as a Photography vacation especially in Southern Africa (from Kenya to Cape Town overland), and then to South American countries plus Cuba ………. the rest of the countries – still deciding.

      • That would be an incredible trip, I was in Africa last spring and it was incredible to do that route (in reverse, I started in Cape Town). If I can ever help with anything, just let me know. Happy planning. :)

        • Graham Johnston

          Thank you Shannon. I had planned to start in Cape Town too, but I would need to be in Kenya in mid to late August to witness the ‘Great Migration’ so it makes sense to start in Kenya. Antarctica needs to be in December or January for full lights and for the warmest weather (still cold though).

          • Yes! That makes perfect sense and the Great Migration looks incredible, I wish I had timed my own trip to see it. And with Antarctica too, you have an incredible trip lined up! :)

    • Reid Cockburn

      This is really fantastic! I’m just starting to consider a RTW trip. It’ll be less extensive, I’m looking at 3-4 months, but your budget speadsheet is terrific reference! Thanks!

      • So glad you found it helpful! Just let me know if there is ever anything I can do to help, happy travels! :)

    • kim

      Are the total costs for your budget in US dollars?

      • Yes, all of the costs in the spreadsheet are logged in local currency, but then on the right column translated into USD.

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    • Anna Gomersall

      Hi! I turned 15 in December and am a sophomore in high school. I am planning on doing a program that allows me to go to high school and a community college at the same time for free. With this program I will be able to graduate a year earlier but will graduate as a 16 year old, or I could graduate when I am a senior with my associates degree. I would love to graduate early and travel around the world and am able to save enough money for a trip like this but graduating high school as a junior in college also sounds very tempting. Also, I would always be able to travel I graduate too. As someone who has travelled around the world, what would you recommend I do?

      Thanks,
      Anna

      • That’s a tough choice Anna, but what a wonderful situation to be deciding between. Congrats on all the hard work and studying that goes into both those choices. As far as travel is concerned, there is no way I could know what is the right next step for you, but I do think that a long-term trip could be easier when you are over 18 with all the legalities of entering and exiting countries and navigating. Have you thought of a compromise —perhaps staying in school until you’re a senior but spending your nearly three months of summer traveling. You could combine the two and get some travel under your belt while still finishing school? Get creative with your options, and then really look at what you think is going to be the best fit for your goals and how you want to be living your life. Travel is never a bad idea, but that can look like whatever you want it to look like — summers, a long-term trip at 16, or any combination you can think of. Best of luck and let me know if I can ever help. :)

    • Iz Bishop

      This helped a lot, I’m going on a world trip right after I graduate high school, and needed to know about how much it would cost me. So thanks for posting this!!!

      • Glad you found it useful and congrats on the upcoming trip! Good luck and let me know if I can help with anything else as you plan. :)

    • Yu Chi

      If I am holding s working holiday VISA for a year in New Zealand. Do I have to buy the insurance for one year? I am confused!?

      • That’s a tough one, I’m not sure! You may very well need insurance still for your time in NZ unless it’s possible to get it through the government there? Sorry I don’t have that answer, but I believe that working-backpackers in Oz purchase travel insurance.

    • Jennifer Sinclair

      I’m just beginning to plan a RTW trip for next year, and this post is BY FAR the most helpful thing I’ve come across! Thank you!!

      • So glad you found it useful! And congrats on the upcoming RTW — that is huge and you must be so psyched. Don’t hesitate to shoot me an email if there is anything I can do to help. :)

    • Sophie

      Oh my gosh, that is so expensive! Almost 19000 dollars…

      • It is a lot in one lump sum, but it is the entire cost to live for about a year, which is far less than I spend for a year in the U.S., and it included some awesome adventures throughout. (Also, it could be done for a lot less if you leave out Europe and super developed countries). Happy travels. :)

    • স্মৃতিলেখা চক্রবর্ত্তী

      This insurance of “World Nomads”; does it cover Indian travelers as well?

      • They sure do! It’s really easy to input your details on their site and see what it will cost for the length of your trip. :)

        • স্মৃতিলেখা চক্রবর্ত্তী

          Awww! Thanks. Will definitely try that…

    • janaya

      My name is janaya, I am 15, I am from California, I am extremely poor, I live in a hotel even, I am trying to work so hard to travel the world, I know I am young, but I already wish I started this journey years ago, I am trying to become an interpreter, I know English, German, Russian, French, Spanish, and of course I want to learn MANY more, not just to get a good job but I really love doing it, I am absolutely fascinated with diverse cultures, anyways my point is, I want to travel the world and work hard and donate my money even , I want to volunteer and many things, I have no help though, I just need some advice even, some really good ways to save money and to boost confidence, someone who’s experienced something like this and overcame it, thank you maybe I should put down my email, so here curejanaya@gmail.com

      • Chance kizito

        We will travel together

    • Anthony

      Hey Shannon, I’m Anthony. I’m your typical 40-60 hour work week guy in his mid 20’s who is fortunate enough that he gets to do one 2-3 week trip a year. My goal though, is to see and experience the world, and I won’t ever be able to do that with 2-3 weeks of travel time a year (as many travelers quickly discover). I’m a numbers focused nerd (engineer by trade) who doesn’t party, doesn’t drink, and is a bit unsocial (or so I’m told). I’m attempting to project costs in order to establish a realistic budget, and your spreadsheet has been a blessing; I do have some questions for you related to it though. You mention that you’ve done some couch surfing, and you’ve stayed in dorm style rooms rather than private rooms (both of these options obviously reflect a huge cost savings). Could somebody who is not overly social and doesn’t drink at all comfortably couch surf or stay in dorm style rooms in hostels? If you had stayed in private rooms only, how much do you think that would have increased your cost (assuming you only paid your share of the room)? Also, the general consensus from a number of blogs I’ve read say that in order to keep food costs down, you should focus on small food vendors or “hole in the wall” type restaurants. In theory that sounds like a great idea, but I was in Europe the Summer of 2014, and that was not only difficult, but quite frankly, I found it nearly impossible in practice. As an example, I spent 2 hours wandering around Geneva, Switzerland one day trying to find a lunch for under $25 and there were plenty of times where I spent a fortune on bottled water just to keep cool and hydrated ($20 plus a day sometimes). In practice, how do you actually keep your food/drink costs down?

      • Dennis

        Geneva is probably one of the most expensive cities in the world as most cities in Switzerland so I do not find it hard to believe that you could not find a cheap place in Geneva. As she mentioned Western Europe is kinda expensive but Switzerland is ridiculous. If you plan right and have a schedule you could also use TripAdvisor for each place you will go and there you can find useful info.

      • Dennis is right Anthony, a lot of your budget will come down to the places that you choose to travel. And Switzerland is one of the priciest places in all of Western Europe, so it makes sense that you were blowing money. When I was in Italy though, I would often just buy some bread and cheese for lunch (you could get salami or something too) and do that for lunch, and that kept lunch costs way down. For the most part though, you really start to see some savings when you get out of Europe and travel through Asia, Central America, and then Africa and South America can be pricier than the other two, but are still cheaper than W. Europe.

        For dorms, in Europe I usually stay in small 3-5 bed dorms as the private rooms are very pricey, but now, as I travel in the last couple of years I managed to spend between 3-10 more a night for a private room at a hostel in the developing countries. It’s still super budget, and you get access to the other backpackers in the hostel and their knowledge base (which is a big part of knowing when and how to save money, but you have a bit more privacy.

        How you are willing to travel is a big part of the costs, if you can handle the hostel environment and stick to budget meals at least twice a day (I often eat breakfast in my hostel/guesthouse and then make a cheap lunch, and then eat out for dinner). This gets me by in the pricey places, and in Asia and other areas you can eat out three times a day and still stay on a budget.

        Good luck! I encourage you to really dig through Jodi’s resources on this page: http://www.legalnomads.com/wds she has compiled a huge list of regional budgets, and you can try to find someone who has a similar travel style and locations, and then flesh out your budget some more. legalnomads.com/wds

      • Hannah Marvin

        Anthony,

        I am currently in a similar situation as you (an Engineer in a 40-60 hour work week wanting to travel the world). Do you have any plans to work while you are traveling? Have you found any technical types of jobs that will still allow you to travel or that you can do online? I’d like to work while I travel and put my degree to some use but it seems that engineering is just not the right degree to do that with. I have student loans that I plan to put on hold for at least a year so that I can travel without needing to pay the 300-500 monthly payments. Any advice would help.

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    • cody

      I want a travel buddy any takers? kinda hard to do the things you dream of alone:/

      • It can be a lot of fun with other travelers. I recommend you look in some of the forums for where you want to travel and see if you can align that way — they have very active communities of like-minded travelers looking to share the experience.

      • Heya! This morning this site just came across my twitter feed and I thought of you: https://www.triptogether.com/ :)

    • Zachary Hinds

      But you didn’t really travel the World. Just Europe, Asia, and Australia, not South America or African countries were listed…

      • Quite true, but at the suggestion of veteran travelers when I planned my trip, I cut some locations so that I could move slower and travel more extensively in each region I visited. I have been to these areas since, but not on the one-year trip. There’s only so much you can do in a year on a budget, and cutting out a region saves on costs! I still went all the way around the world and back. :)

    • Leah Dunne

      Hey! This has been so helpful and you look like you had a really great time! I am wondering if you can advise me. I am planning on leaving for rio (I live in Dublin) and spending some time there before moving on to Bolivia & Peru. Then flying from there to Sydney and picking up some work there – as I will have approx €9-10k for travelling and I think I may be running out at this stage! Then provided I can get some work there heading to Japan, Hanoi & India before flying home. As a 1st time solo female traveller I am wondering if this is a reasonable expectation? Any help/advice would be great!

      • Hi Leah! Thanks for the email, I would love to try and offer up whatever advice I can. I am not sure how long you plan to be in each place, but in South America your 9-10K Euro should last at least 6 months, if that’s your plan. Then, flying onto Australia — the working permit there allows you to pick up seasonal or specialized work, and it’s very, very common, so there is a very good chance you will be able to replenish your funds after some months working in Australia, and then continue onward. That being said, the cost of living in Australia is very high, so it may take a while to save up funds since you will also be spending money to live and travel in Oz. All very doable though. You are picking locations that have good backpacking networks as a solo traveler, and your budget seems reasonable if you plan to stay in hostels and such. Good luck and safe travels! :)

    • Thank you for posting this! The hype-organized side of me is worrying about how much I should be planning on saving for each country I want to visit and this is fantastic. Now to save, save, save!!

      • So glad it’s helpful in helping you frame how much to save! Good luck and I hope you have an amazing time planning your trip as you save, that’s half the fun. :)

    • MK

      I am 14 years old and my dream is to travel. I want to pack my bags and just go. I don’t realy have a destination in mind, but I want to get to six contintents (Antarctica isn’t really a place I want to go to) I wondered if you have any tips/suggestions about traveling for me? And also what are your favorite places so far? Just wondering what to put on my list!

      • I love that you already have that clarity now that you want to travel! I often speak to high school and middle school students, and here is one piece I wrote aimed just at your question: http://alittleadrift.com/2013/05/travel-young-travel-far/ The trick is to keep your eye on the long-term goal, even if you have some obstacles over the next few years! As far as favorite places, my top five are: Myanmar, Ireland, Italy, Thailand, and Guatemala! So take a look at those and see if any look like they inspire some wanderlust in you. :-)

    • One Year 75 Times

      I could hug you for posting this! Thanks SO MUCH!!!

      • Aw thanks! Hugs right back atcha. And if you’re planning a trip and I can help in any way, just shoot me an email. :)

        • One Year 75 Times

          I can’t believe you spent so little! It’s really possible!!! LOVE IT!

    • David Gardner

      Hello Shannon, Great blog I have been referencing it a lot in my research to take my own trip. My wife has a chronic disease and is required to take medicine daily so we would need to keep health insurance in the US as we travel. Do you know anyone who has done this or perhaps yourself? If so I was curious if this was considered in your travel budget?

      • Hi David. That’s a good question, and one that has changed over the years. In this budget, my one-year RTW, I did not have U.S. health insurance, just my travel insurance (which would have ended once I landed on U.S. soil if they ever medically evacuated me to the U.S.). Now though, I pay for U.S. health insurance on a basic plan (I got ObamaCare last year and it was pretty cheap), and then I buy my travel insurance on top of that. Keeping U.S. health insurance will definitely up your budget some, but it sounds like it may be a wise idea. And if you are gone for a year though, you could likely get away with catastrophic U.S. coverage, or a higher deductible. Really it would be your backup plan and only needed if your issue is so severe that your travel insurance sends you home rather than paying for an healing you in the country you’re visiting. I hope that makes sense? It’s going to be highly personal to your situation for sure, and this budget you read only included travel insurance. I wish you so much luck planning your own trip! Keep me posted and let me know if I can help with anything. :)

    • Just came across this article. Incredibly helpful for a first time planner of the RTW trip. Thank you :)

      • So glad it was helpful! Good luck planning your trip and let me know if I can help with anything. :)

    • Helena Marie

      This is an amazing article! What is your input on traveling alone and staying in hostels alone? I hear safety is a major concern (especially in Asia) so I wanted your input on that. Thanks!

      • So glad it was helpful Helena! I traveled solo for nearly seven years now, and much of that was solo at hostels, so I think that you can absolutely do it safe. And Asia is pretty regional with it’s concerns — you will be totally fine in Southeast Asia. India is the big worry for solo females, just making sure that you are generally safe, for accommodation there, I stayed in family compounds and it seemed very safe to me the ones I chose. Though there are some concerns like scams in tourist areas of Bangkok, sketchy transportation standards, and things like that, I haven’t really heard anything bad about the hostels and guesthouses in Asia. I loved them and the community of backpackers passing through them. Safe and happy travels :)

        • Helena Marie

          Phew! Super relieved to hear that! I’ll definitely be popping back in to badger you with more questions :) thanks so much for the helpful and quick response!

          • Sure thing, don’t hesitate to shoot me an email with questions if I can help. I did a solo female safety post here as well: alittleadrift.com/2013/06/solo-female-travel-safety/

    • Jess

      Hello! I’m 17 and i was thinking of saving up for a year (or longer) and going around the world. The problem is is that my parents (particularly my father) thinks it’s too dangerous and too expensive for me to do this alone especially, as my dad puts it, because i’m female and i guess he’s scared i’ll be taken???? It kinda heart me since i’ve been dreaming about doing this yet he refuses to even support. He would rather me go to college when i really don’t want to waste money if i don’t know what i want to do instead of do something i want to do. and i found this blog and got really excited knowing that you were able to do this and seeing things like this keeps my motivation going. so thank you

      • Hi Jess, so good to hear from you and it sounds like you have an amazing plan in place! Traveling the world can be safe and can be a great education, but on the flip side, your dad has some legitimate fears and a formal education should be considered too. I went the traditional route of college, and then did a study abroad one semester and it was incredible, I am so glad I did it and also glad that I got my degree so that I could then work and travel for the past nearly seven years. It was a path in life that worked for me. Only you and your family know the one that is best suited to your dreams, passions, and needs. If I were in your position, I would come up with a clear plan of how long you plan to travel, when you’ll return for college, where you’ll go, and present it to your dad calmly and ask for his feedback, as him his concerns and to ask him to have a frank and open discussion about why he doesn’t support the trip. Opening those lines of communication in a controlled environment (on a good night when everyone is rested, eaten, and no looming time constraints) could help you both better understand where each other are coming from. Best of luck Jess! Let me know if I can ever help with anything. ~Shannon

    • brit cameron

      You are pretty much the most amazing person ever. My fiance and i just traveled europe for 7 months straight and I wish I would have found your blog sooner you are seriously like my long lost twin. I wrote down every single expense to the penny and what exactly i spent it on. i have not put it in to categories yet it’s just divided by what place I was in and each day. I have never met another world traveler let alone one who would make a spread sheet with every detail. Good for you. Your amazing.

      • I love that you tracked your European trip too! There is a deep satisfaction in being able to look at it after and see where and when you spent your money. I just find it fascinating in how it all breaks down. Good luck segmenting it out in the future if you choose to! :)

    • Kara

      How about the Philippines? You totally should visit Palawan! The islands there are marvelous! El Nido and Sabang are my favorites :)

      • I would love to make it there soon! The photos I have seen of the Philippines just look incredible. Thanks for putting Sabang on my radar, I hadn’t really considered it before!

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    • Rick

      Hey Shannon, great blog, absolutely love it. I am planning a long trip abound the world with my partner :P what we are finding really hard is to save up for it. My graphic design job pays only 7500$/yr where am at. So it might take nearly 2 years not spending a penny to save up for a year of travel :( I try doing stuff on the side too, but still its a lot to save. Anyways I have faith that l figure it out…

      • That is tricky to save with a low salary, but I encourage you to look at the forums and sites that talk about “side hustles” — they are amazingly active with people sharing ways that they have made money on the side ( http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/who-has-a-side-gigjob-that-brings-in-extra-cash-share-with-us!/ — this thread is years long and still active). It is a slow, gradual process, but any extra gigs can help speed it up, or add to a bonus fund for fun things on the road. Best of luck and let me know if I can help when you’re planning it! :)

        • Rick

          Thanks for the tips, Ill definitely check it out…and yeah ill probably need a few more when planning :) cheers

    • Karol

      Great blog!

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    • JiggityJackson

      You were pretty anal about it ?

    • Bere cm

      Hi! I absolutely loved this article! I am from Mexico and I want to go to Europe alone an this helped me so much with the amount of money I need to save, but there’s just one thing I don’t understand? The costs that you put are on dollars or in euros or in the currency of the country? Please can you tell me? I am 17 now and next year I want to travel solo but I need to see the amount of money I need to save and work for it! Thanks!

      • Hi Bere, that’s a good question! The prices in this article are in USD and for my trip back in 2009, so you will want to think about that. A few places have gotten more expensive since then, but some have also gotten cheaper (the Euro to USD rate is better now). So, there is a good chance you could plan a similar budget RTW trip for a similar budget. Within the spreadsheet if you click through to the Google Doc, those prices are in the local currency and then also calculated into the price in USD at that time.

        And if you are looking for budgets of a specific place I did not go, Jodi from Legalnomads did a wonderful round-up of budgets here: http://www.legalnomads.com/wds#budget

    • Roopa W

      Shannon
      Thanks for detailed blogging.

      I am from India and I am also looking to cover the world. Basically Europe with parents and lil more challenging like Antarctica in Cruise solo.
      That’s how I am sketching my future travel all the time, easier ones take parents and tougher ones just alone or with some another solo buddy.
      Currently I am also looking for such travel documentary types of jobs so that I can go to such places as a job :) :) . I am v optimistic here :P :P
      You have any suggestion in mind. I am checking trip together website too. But first would be Europe trip with family,
      Saving money somehow gives me an indication that it would take long to fulfill these dream. Any suggestion or such job suggestions in mind?
      Nevertheless, I loved your money managing skills along with your blog.
      Keep travelling

      Thanks
      Roopz

    • Tanya

      Hi Shannon,

      Great article thanks :) I am hoping to go and travel with my boyfriend and ideally a RWT would be what we are looking to do. We are flying from Europe and planning on starting in South America down in the South and then moving up North. It sounds so inspiring when you say that you managed to do your trip in under 20k usd………but when I look at the costs involved for our trip everything seems so expensive and I feel like I honestly do not know where to start. Financially, things to pre-book and plan, how much luggage to take, how much time to allocate to each area. I would love to also be able to stop in countries and work as I go…to be able to stretch our travels out, so that we are not chomping away at our savings :( How much time do you think is needed to preorganise and plan a long term trip for like 10 month to a year? And do you have any tips on South America?

      • Hi Tanya! I know it can seem so, so overwhelming when you are first diving into the traveling, but I promise that you will start to dig through all of the noise to the pieces of budgets that best work for you. One key thing about my RTW is that I had a really solid mix of developed and developing world travel, and I also limited my trip to three continents. Flights and rapid transport are some of the biggest budget killers, so if you can land in one or two spots and then go overland, that helps a lot! I haven’t actually been to South America yet, but I hear that it’s in the mid-range to expensive in areas. Chile and Argentina are going to set you back, as are some of the high end things like the Galapagos and Machu Picchu. Comparatively, you could plan to start south but limit your time there and spend more time in Central America. Same goes for Africa versus Asia. I found Africa to be more expensive than you would expect when you added in the activities and such, and it was generally more than I had anticipated. South and Southeast Asia, however, are VERY budget, so if you plan the bulk of your time there, you again start to offset the cost of more expensive places.

        Jodi has a great list of budget posts so you can dig in and get a good idea for it. And one last thought is to look into WWOOFing ( http://wwoofinternational.org it sounds exactly like what you will want to do to stretch the budget and also really get to know an area well. Hope that helps! Keep me posted if I can help with anything, or check out my planning page for all the tips I wish I had known as I was planning too! ( http://alittleadrift.com/rtw-travel).

    • Dumbao

      how were you able to pay your visa at such a low price in all those countries?

      • Well, I travel on an American passport, which means there are certain countries where entry is free (all of Europe, Thailand). The other countries weren’t too expensive, usually around $30 to enter, and since I stay in places for a month or two, it helped spread out those costs. There are regions of the world that are much more expensive and tricky to get visas (Central Asia is tough on an American passport). There are sites you can use to check out costs and requirements ahead of time: http://alittleadrift.com/rtw-travel/#visas

    • King Manikya

      HI Shannon thank you very much for the information provided by you about Travelling.i would like to ask you provide me little information,i am from INDIA,next year i.e 2016 FEB i am planning to travel Singapore and i would like to stay at hostel. but Is there any age restriction to stay at hostel reason for asking i am 28 years old.

      • Hi King, usually the only age restrictions at a hostel are for teenagers or older people. At 28, it’s highly unlikely that your hostel has any restrictions, usually I would say 18-45 is a safe age range to assume most places. You can also email them if you are concerned, but they would have it written on the site if they had that type of policy. Have a wonderful trip!

        • King Manikya

          thank you very much for your response have a great day :)

    • Mitch

      Shannon,

      Amazing article. I am about to quit my job and travel around the world and im very analytical so your budgeting breakdown was amazing! I have never been backpacking but am excited to go.

      I saved about $35,000 So hoping to be as efficient as you.

      A couple things I am worried about. Have you had any trouble with people stealing things at hostels or getting robbed?

      Also what did you do for money? Any credit cards you recommend or an ATM card?

      • That’s a great savings to get you on the road! For safety, I haven’t ever been robbed, which is a combination of simply luck alongside some careful planning. I am meticulous about locking things up at a shared hostel, and at guest houses I am careful about leaving expensive things out. But then, there are just some things you can’t always totally prevent. I use Clements for my gear insurance, never made a claim but it makes me feel better (http://alittleadrift.com/rtw-travel/#insurance and http://alittleadrift.com/rtw-travel/#safe have more info) and for the ATM card, my hands-down rec is to get a Schwab card if you are American (http://alittleadrift.com/rtw-travel/#cards).

        • Mitch

          Holy crap. That link you provided to me was absolutely perfect.

          Ive read tons of blogs but yours seem on point.

          Thank you so much for all your help!

          Im looking forward to my adventure alone and I am American so thank you for that link as well!

    • Amanda

      Thank you for posting this. I have a decent job but am not really feeling it right now. I’d love the experience of taking a year off and just traveling. I figure that if I work another couple of years I can take a year off and do just that. I had budgeted around $28k but it’s wonderful to hear that it can be done more cheaply.

      • So glad that you found it useful! I think that aiming higher in the savings is always good, that way you can splurge when needed, and you may visit some more expensive countries. But in general your estimations are spot-on and you will surely have enough to set out on your travels! :)

    • Shahul Hameed

      Inspiring. I am 27 yo now, and planning to take a 1 year unpaid leave to travel. I really need to work on it seriously, It has been a day dream so far but reading your post, I know I can work on it.

      • I wish you the best of luck Shahul, it can take time to save up the funds but will be worth it when you head out on that dream trip!

    • Briettani Michael

      What is it like traveling with a kid?

      • Good question! From a cost perspective, it’s slightly less than double the costs. And it’s less than traveling as a couple. The kids get discount bus/train tickets in some areas (my niece got discounts since she was under 12, the boat in Laos was half-priced). Sticking to the cheaper regions and they don’t really add on much costs because you would already be doing many of the activities and the entrance fees can be low. I found myself doing more things like hanging out for free at the local park so she could play with other kids and less time out and drinking and such. If you want to know what the actual experience is like, I traveled with my niece for seven months in SE Asia, those posts are here: http://alittleadrift.com/category/traveling-with-ana/ And I traveled in Mexico this past summer with my two nephews: http://alittleadrift.com/2015/12/yucatan-mexico-kids/

    • Dutch

      Amsterdam is not a country it is a city from the Netherlands.

      • Very true. It was done on purpose. It’s the only country where I visited just one city instead of traveling around, however, so it felt like a lie to report that as the cost of traveling the Netherlands since Amsterdam’s costs are so different.

    • Chill Investor

      Hi shannon
      i am very inspired by your journey. I have a question did you travel europe in car?

      • I traveled by train and bus in Europe — it was really quite easy to get around this way. I rented a car for three weeks in Ireland, and that was the only spot that i did that.

    • Traveler

      Hi! Thanks for this informative article!
      The main thing I am worried about is safety as a woman traveling alone. I’d like to think I am above all the poor, fragile girl rhetoric and while I’m not THAT, the truth is women do have to take different precautions, especially when traveling and traveling abroad. Do you have any advice or and experiences that you can share?
      Thanks!
      Rachel

      • Hi Rachel, so glad you found the piece useful. Safety is a valid concern. It’d be crazy not to talk about the fact that solo females have some specific concerns on the road. I wrote a piece here that looks at my experiences on the road, and how I’ve managed to stay safe. It includes some tips and thoughts about where your actual concerns should be, versus what aspects of travel we are taught to fear (most of which don’t pan out!). http://alittleadrift.com/2013/06/solo-female-travel-safety/

    • Aloha! I read your article a few years ago and I’m re-reading it again. We seem to have inadvertently used your article as a blue print for our careers. Becoming care takers has afforded us with a nice way to travel and submerse ourselves in a local culture. Kudos to this articles longevity and relevance today. BTW – You were way ahead of the AirBnB curve!

      • Well it makes my day to hear you say that you found it relevant both a few years ago, and now too! And I am so happy to hear that you are traveling and immersing and cultures and on a life path you love. Happy travels! :)

    • jealousofyou

      I am so jealous of you.

    • DJAW

      So can you just get a year off work like that or did you just leave your job

    • Sam G

      Does that 20k (ish) include air fare?

      • Yes indeed. $3,500 of that is flights. I didn’t book a RTW ticket, I booked as I traveled and it totaled out to just a portion of the total. If i had done fewer long-haul flights jumping continents it would have been lower on the flight expenses.

    • Bianca

      Hi! Happy to see that your still responding on this blog post. I plan to pick up my things and just go very shortly. I currently travel on short trips every month in the US but I still crave more. There is just something about meeting new people, experiencing new things and just seeing the world that draws me in. I really think just finally deciding to go and experience such a once in a lifetime opportunity is what my soul needs.

      The only problem is I literally have NO idea where to start. I read blog post after blog post but still can’t find a starting point, nor a travel path that will be the most cost efficient. I do have about $20k saved up so thats not the problem its just determining my path that continues to pull me back. Any help on what to do when in this situation?

      Also, was wondering if you are still traveling? If so, where about may you be now? Do you expend your trips a bit longer then a month now a days. ?

      Thank you for any help,
      Bianca

      • Hi Bianca! You have definitely reached the hardest step, which is saving up the funds. In terms of actually traveling and setting out, there are so many various options. There are a few key ideas that can help stretch a travel budget. If you stick to one region of the world, especially affordable areas of the world, then those funds can stretch to 18 months or even longer. You could slowly backpack around Asia for a very long time on a budget like that. Or even start in Central America and then head south until you reach the end of South America. This style of travel allows you to cut down on expensive plane flights, while also exploring neat cultures and countries, and also giving you the flexibility to stop for a few months in a spot if you end up loving it. All of these things would stretch the budget a good deal. I suggest that you start looking at what other travelers have spent in the countries that you are interested in. There are two levels — traveling daily rates accounts for things like touring and getting between cities. But cost of living breakdowns that some digital nomads post ( http://alittleadrift.com/cost-of-living/ ) will give you a good idea of what it will cost to go very slowly. I will send you an email with a few more ideas. As for me, I am currently in England, I was in Spain house sitting for two months, and now I am going to head to Australia for two months to visit a friend there. I go much slower now than I did on that first RTW trip.

        • bianca

          Thanks so much for your quick reply ! I will respond more in email !

    • Chandan Mazorwar

      Hi I am chandan planning for a backpacker trip of 20 days in may/June 2017 please help which countries should I visit. I am planning to visit whole world on continent basis say one continent or two in a year. Would like to start with Europe. Since I am from India will need help on 1. Which country to start and end. Visa requirements.trip cost with minimum air travel. I like to feel the place I visit. And best places to stay.

      • Hi Chandan! So exciting that you have a good trip coming up. Europe is wonderful and will make for a fun way to start your years of exploring. As for starting and ending points, hub cities are the best. I recommend that you use Skyscanner to look for open-ended routes from the airport you will leave from and then you can just type in “europe.” This will allow you to find good rates into cities you might not have considered that have easy routes to and from India. Then look into Eurorail passes, the Global pass may be the best bet for the maximum way to move around and explore a lot of the countries on offer. Best of luck! It’s such a culturally rich area of the world to be exploring. :)

        • Chandan Mazorwar

          Hi just update me on the best and cheapest season. Which countries have good landscapes. I love them. Considering 20 days trip which countries do u think I should opt. BTW thanks for immediate reply and such an informative post.

          • I think you should look up the weather information for the countries you’d like to visit and you can chart a course through them in the right time of year for your ideal climate. There are warm parts of Europe even in the winter, or you could go north and ski. Up to you and will depend on what you are looking for! That type of information is not something I specialize in, but once you are planning the trip, I have a lot of gear resources and the such here: http://alittleadrift.com/rtw-travel/

            Best of luck!

            • Chandan Mazorwar

              Thanks again..things are more clear now

            • Amanda Calderon

              Hey Shannon, your story was amazing and inspired me to travel for about 3 months… Would $12,000 suffice? 🤔

            • Hi Amanda! $12K is a good sum! It will surely get you three months of travel at almost any travel style too. Even if you have a mid-range budget, that will last more than three months in developing countries. If you are backpacking Europe, then it’s a good sum to really enjoy and have tasty food and nice lodging the entire time. :)

            • Amanda Calderon

              Thank you so much! I also started following you on FB, your page is amazing!! 🙌🏻.
              Also I was wondering how far $12K would take me in SEAsia (Time Wise)? 🤔

            • Well, if you are willing to travel as a budget traveler, then you could backpack around Southeast Asia for about $1,200. That is staying a low-cost guesthouses or hostels, and going with the backpacker vibe. If you decide to stop in one spot for a month or two, it can be much cheaper. You can temporarily “live” in Chiang Mai or Bangkok for as little as $600-$800 for a month. If you plan to stay in nicer places, it will just cost a bit more each month. The $1,200 is a guestimate though because it really depends on the countries you choose. Vietnam is very, very cheap to backpack, and you will spend less than that for a month backpacking there, but Myanmar can be pricier. I think $1,200 is a good backpacker average estimate if you are in SEA for 8 months or so. :)

    • Kathryn K

      Hi Shannon,
      I’m just starting grade nine, but I have a passion for travel and I’d love to do a solo RTW yearlong trip after going to university. My dream would be to leave right after finishing all my schooling, but I’m not sure if I’ll have enough of a travel fund by then.
      I’m very roughly planning on 2 months in Central and South America, 2 months in Africa, 4-5 months in the southeastern half of Asia (all the way from India to Thailand and up to China), 1 month in Australia/New Zealand, and 2-3 months in Europe. I’d be departing from and returning to Canada.
      I’d probably stay in hostels and guest houses most of the time, maybe couch surf in more expensive regions.
      I’m definitely considering working online while on the road, but I’d like a minimum of $15k before I go. Do you think it’s possible to save $15-20k in 4 years of high school plus 4 years of university? Or would you recommend finding a full time job for a couple years before the trip?
      Thanks, Kathryn

      • Hi Kathryn, it is so nice to receive your comment! I have no doubt that you can make it happen with that much time and since you are clearly planning now. Since I doubt you can formally work, I suggest you save a portion of your babysitting money or any work you can do in the summers — enjoy some of it but get a savings account and set aside a portion. Then, once you can work, if you spend your summers really working hard, then you can easily reach the 20K in the next eight years. It’s even easier if you have help by living with your parents or family in the summer, then you are saving costs on accommodation while you work between college years. I know that the summer after I graduated high school, I had a job waiting tables and I managed to save nearly all of that money ($4K). I used it to buy a car, but if you put even a portion away each summer, you will surely reach your goals. I encourage you to talk to your parents now, ask for their help in getting a savings account set up, and ask for them to help you prioritize your savings. It can be easy to spend money on the little things, especially with so many activities in high school that require expenses, so with their help you can perhaps really focus on saving a healthy portion of anything you earn. I definitely think you can make it happen with savings ready for when you graduate! Keep me posted, and don’t hesitate to email me if I can ever help as you are saving and dreaming and planning. :)

        • Kathryn K

          Thanks for the advice! I’ll definitely consult my parents to set up a savings account for travel, and although you’re right that I can’t apply for a traditional job yet, I have a semi regular pay cleaning my grandparents house for them. Not too many babysitting jobs, since I live outside of a small town, but there are a few. I’m planning to apply for a part time job as soon as I can. Thanks so much for the positivity and support, and I’ll make sure to keep you posted! :D

        • Kathryn K

          Hey Shannon, so after looking at lots of RTW travel blogs and seeing how much Europe can raise the cost, and realizing just how much time I want to spend there, I think I might save that continent for a trip of its own farther down the road. The time I would’ve spent there will be spread throughout the other parts of the trip. How significantly would skipping Europe lower the total cost? Do you think $15k USD would be enough for the whole trip?

          • I think that is a great figure and plan. Europe will be there and surely you will make it back there in the future. 15K will go a long way toward backpacking all over. I am going to send you an email in a few days to something that I wrote — I think it will help you better play with the figures and potential budget!

            • Kathryn K

              Alright, thank you so much for your help! I’ll be patiently waiting. 🙂

      • alis H

        Hi! Im just starting 10th grade, and i also dream of traveling the world!….just like you Im going to try solo backpacking. Maybe ill try for a year or two Im not sure right now…and since im homeschooled i have time have a job so i can save up money to go. Im trying to go as soon as I turn 18 and school finishes which is roughly in another 2 years…
        Im trying to save up at least $30-40k in the next two years and even though it sounds like a long shot I truly believe its possible.
        Im going to Greece and Italy next year as part of my school trip and so ill get to see what it would be like to travel alone.
        I have this huge map on my wall and Im trying to plan out where in the world i want to go. Making a travel route of sorts.
        Pinterest helps alot!
        I was thinking of renting an apartment (cheap) so I can just travel through out Europe and always have somewhere to come back too… Do you think its a good idea? i dunno…
        I have some money put away so I don’t necessarily have to save up but it would be great to challenge myself and get some experience in working.
        I want to work and travel in bars, restaurants, cafes, teaching etc… would i need a special visa for that or something?
        Do think i should go to college first?
        All in all my end game is to find a place in the world i truly love and live there forever!
        After that ill go to university and get a degree in nursing!

        • Thanks for writing! So sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I love that you are heading out on a solo trip. It’s wonderful that you are able to work now and save up the funds. As far as getting an apartment, that can definitely help save on costs in some parts of the world, but there are other considerations about getting a visa and such. In Europe, you can’t stay for longer than 90 days. Plus, it’s pretty pricey. Perhaps look into budget backpacking through Europe — you will meet a lot of others at the hostel. Then you could rent a place in Thailand, Mexico, or somewhere very budget that has a lot to explore.

          And yes, working is a whole other thing. There are times that you can find under-the-table work waiting tables or you can often work in a hostel and earn your bed (this is very common). It’s best to save up the majority of the funds that you will need, and not count on finding work. That said, look at the work-visa for Australia — it’s very popular and you qualify for that one-year visa until you’re in your late 30s. This is hugely popular and lots of backpackers work the farms picking fruit and waiting tables in Oz, and then backpacking this region (https://www.gooverseas.com/blog/americans-guide-working-holiday-visas).

          Lastly, it’s a tough call on going to college. I am very glad that I had my degree when I left long-term, it has allowed me to earn more money and stay on the road longer because I have a degree. It really depends on your situation. You could always backpack in huge chunks every summer throughout college and then go on a longer one- or two-year adventure. There is no wrong decision, and it comes down to your goals. There are travel nursing programs that could be an incredible fit for you, I recommend that you google these organizations that send nurses for several months to spots all over the world. I’ve met a few on the road and they seem like they have found a good dynamic to work-life-travel. (My friend Candy has a great blog about it: http://www.thegypsynurse.com). Best of luck! Keep me posted if I can help with anything. :)