Last updated on March 5, 2023
When I left on my first round the world trip, I asked veteran travelers a key question: How much does it cost to travel around the world? It was the single biggest factor impacting my trip length and destinations, and the number of things that impact a long-term travel budget are far different than a two-week European vacation. Estimates varied wildly, and knowing where my own around the world trip would fall in that spectrum was a great unknown. I had no idea how long my travel savings, my freelance income, and travel blogging to would keep me on the road, so over that first year, I tracked every single dollar I spent while traveling.
Since that first around the world travel, I’ve spent more than a decade of traveling, and budgeting for short- and long-term around the world travel is my specialty. My upbringing was modest , yet I was still able to save the money to travel and work remotely for all 15+ years of my world travels.
Breaking Down the Cost of World Travel
Let’s dive into a very detailed breakdown of what it costs to actually travel around the world for one-year trip—the hard costs associated with around the world travel, and the factors that most dramatically impact your travel budget. I’ve included some notes on the impact of the Covid pandemic on costs—from the dramatic inflation hitting the U.S. and the UK to increased costs to test for Covid at the borders, your costs are going to be higher if you travel in 2022, and likely into 2023 as well.
How Much Does Traveling the World Cost?
Generally, $20,000 is the baseline cost for a trip around the world for one person for one year. This estimation falls in line with popular recommendations that budget travelers can spend an average of $50 a day on the road, and allows additional budget for flights and vaccines.
You’ll spend up to $30,000 for a budget trip that includes fewer hostels, and more upscale accommodation, transport, or food. Traveling as a couple or family does not directly double/triple/ etc the costs because lodging and transport are shared expenses.
As you’ll see in the detailed trip budgets below, world travel costs for mid-range to budget-luxury world travelers can run as much as $50,000—or much more!
My Personal Round the World Trip
On my first RTW trip, I traveled around the world for for 328 days (11 months) through 15 countries and I spent USD $17,985.
Then I decided to keep traveling. I’ve been on the road since 2008, still “traveling” as of 2023 (the Covid pandemic but a damper on that, of course), although from my home base in Barcelona, Spain.
In the years since I originally posted my cost breakdown for world travel, other backpackers have loved the precise and meticulous details of just how much I spent throughout a year of active world travel. And even with rising global food costs a decade later, people still travel on similar budgets—yes, so many elements impact travel costs that you can still travel the world for the same price as a trip 14 years ago (more on how that’s possible later).
Let’s dive into the good stuff. The following tables and charts further outline my around the world trip costs including the country-by-country expenses and budget.
Just want the cold hard costs? Navigate my Google spreadsheet by the countries listed at the bottom of my full World Travel Budget.
My Total Costs to Travel the World for a Year
|Travel Expense||Cost (USD$)|
|Activities + Entertainment||$3,613.18|
|Misc (internet, gifts, extra gear, etc)||$1,753.67|
|Pre-Trip Travel Gear||$484.50|
My final costs of $17,985 completely include 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, and surfing lessons, and straight through to my first delicious sub back on home soil when I passed through Philly on my final layover.
What does that number not include? Some personal choices upped my costs: an external hard drive for photo storage, a new camera (old one was waterlogged in Australia), and a rental car splurge in Ireland. 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.
In the above category breakdowns, consider:
- 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 for my chocolate obsession.
- Entertainment covers 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 in Nepal, and all tours, trips, and group adventures—everything from diving to ziplining to visiting temples and museums.
- Transportation excludes flights, but covers all intra-country transportation like buses, trains, taxis, and tuk-tuks.
- Misc is a catch-all and a large portion of costs there came from paying for fast internet—it was pricey to make sure I had a strong connection for my work. It also includes shipping things home, gifts, and toiletries along the way.
- Flights includes puddle-jumper little flights between countries in the same region—I did not use a RTW ticket, but instead booked along the way (here’s why).
Budget of Daily & Total Costs Per Country
Don’t forget to check out my 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 Google drive for editing, or download as an excel file!).
How Much Will Your Dream Trip Cost?
Finding a way to travel the world is a mental obstacle as much as a financial one. Every situation is different, but I believe that if you truly prioritize travel, then it’s possible to plan and execute an around the world trip. The problem is, there’s crappy information out there about how to make it happen—just as many bloggers don’t really share straight costs to travel the world. Many bloggers have shared posts with a handful of tips about how much they saved for their dream trip, but they don’t break down how they arrived at that final figure. You may read this information and see my budget, but it leaves you wondering if your own world travels would cost the same.
For that reason, I wrote two entire guides to address your current hurdle. One is about creating a realistic anticipated budget for your trip. The other is about saving for world travel.
How much will your dream trip cost? I wrote this guide to specifically answer the most common question I was emailed by readers: how much will a specific route/itinerary costs. In it, I share comprehensive and thoroughly practical advice about understanding trip budgets and understanding your own style of travel. The guide is a full treatise on how to estimate what your dream trip will cost and it includes case studies from other long-term travelers who tracked their trip budgets. I’ve spent eight years on the road, and nearly that long talking with with other travelers about how they budget for travel. Using the aggregate of their knowledge and experience, I’ve outlined 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 breaks down average traveling costs for the world’s most traveled destinations, which you can use with the fully customizable Trip Budget Worksheet to create an accurate anticipated budget for your dream trip. Available on Kindle, ePub, and PDF.
True wealth is having the freedom to do what you want with your life. Many travel dreamers get waylaid by the financial side of life. If you’re new to personal finance, or lost about how to start saving for a big goal, this book distills hard-learned information into easily actionable steps specifically targeted at giving travel dreamers tools to become financially literate. This book provides a thorough deep-dive into the principles of saving money, common obstacles, overcoming debt, and the tenets of strong personal finance. It offers a streamlined process to create substantial changes in your financial life. If money is your primary obstacle to leaving on a long-term trip, this guide breaks down exactly the shifts you can make to change your financial situation. Many travelers look at my adventures and experiences these past 12 years that I’ve traveled and they dream of also traveling through the cultures, stories, and conversations. This guide gives you the tools to move the needle from dreaming to doing. Available on Amazon Kindle or as a PDF bundle with the budget book.
How to Decide on Your Final World Travel Budget?
Creating an accurate anticipated budget for your world tour is an important step—you certainly don’t want to plan for a year but run out of funds in month eight! Each person has different goals, a unique trip itinerary, and differing travel styles. These factors can create significant differences in the total cost of a round the world trip.
Assess How Much You’ve Saved for World Travel
A round the world trip is not as expensive as you assume. Most anyone reading this post has the ability to save for travel if it’s a true priority. My family is quite poor and I put myself through college with merit-based scholarships. Instead of counting on help from family, I budgeted for the trip, and I traveled with the budget I had—not the one I wish I had.
Before leaving, I purged everything I owned and saved ruthlessly in the countdown months. When calculating if I could afford my trip around the world, I even accounted for my student-loan and medical credit debt repayments (because yes, I was actually in a fair bit of debt). I took on side-hustles to sock away money. And then I worked on freelance SEO remotely for the entire year.
Compared to my life in LA, where $1,200+ went toward rent and bills each month, I used that same online income to travel the world, digging into my small savings for my travel gear and long-haul flights. I wasn’t sure how much my trip would cost when I left to travel, and the information just wasn’t out there like it is now. Now you can play with your travel route and your travel style and come up with a tally in just a few hours for what your dream trip will cost. In fact, I believe so much that world travel is affordable that I wrote a budget guide and spreadsheet to help you price out your dream trip and have all the possible resources you need at your fingertips.
Decide Your Route & Speed Around the World
This is the single biggest indicator of how much world travel will cost. Slow overland travel lowers costs, and you can minimize the number of flights needed. To save money, also consider visiting fewer places. Every travel dreamer over-packs their around the world route. You surely have a dream list, but unless you have unlimited funds, then you should scale back the number of regions/countries that you will visit. When I first planned my trip, a long-term traveler advised me to cut five countries from my itinerary. Looking back now, I can’t even imagine where they would have fit! It’s my route and speed that allowed me to travel for under $20K.
Read: How to Plan an Around the World Itinerary in 8 Steps
Determine the Types of Countries You’ll Visit
If you add in developed countries like Europe, Japan, Australia, and the United States, your daily budget will double. Instead of spending $25 per day in SEA and India, you will average $75 to $100 per day in most developed countries. For that reason, weight your trip in favor of developing regions of the world. Save Europe or the U.S. for a shorter trip later in life, and add a few off-beat locations to your planned route—these are most often the sleeper-favorites by the end of your RTW trip.
If You’ll Eat Local Food, Street Foods, & Shop in Markets
How you eat on your travels impacts your bottom line. Eat locally from mom and pop restaurants, and sample eats from street food stalls. Contrary to many assumptions from first glance, these locations are perfectly safe so long as you adhere to a few standard food safety practices. Local food is a window into the culture, so dig deep and eat like the locals, asking the vendors questions and learning more about each country’s food peculiarities. Also, when traveling in Western countries, shop for groceries and prepare your own breakfast at the very least.
Read: How to Eat Street Food Without Getting Sick and buy the Food Traveler’s Handbook to learn even more about safely enjoying street eats
Factoring Covid and the Pandemic into you Round the World Trip
The fact is, although wealthier and Western countries have largely moved on from the pandemic, this is not case in all countries. Vaccine iniquities and underdeveloped healthcare systems mean that many countries may continue to struggle to wrangle Covid throughout 2023. If you’re planning world travels, that means you should be prepared for additional obstacles at the border—yes, still!—as well as increased costs to test or meet Covid requirements if another strain were to pop up during your travels. What might this look like:
- Some countries may suddenly re-close to travelers from certain countries.
- Many countries will continue to require proof of vaccination before entering (this may last for years given that proof of vaccination is already required for other illnesses, namely Yellow Fever).
- Travelers may be forced to quarantine, sometimes unexpectedly if you test positive, and this may take place in government-run hotels that cost quite a lot.
- Crossing land borders could be pricier than anticipated—at present the land border between Belize and Mexico costs ~$225 to cross, and it used to cost about $20.
- Travel insurance companies are now mostly considering Covid endemic, but that can change as official travel warning levels change in your home country.
In short, assess the trip you have planned, and read up on Covid policies. Where you choose to travel should likely remain fluid once you set out so you can adapt on the road.
Note that budgets and guides give clear examples of how travelers can truly spend on average $50 per day on average to travel the world. And using the tips above, you can lower these figures even more, if needed. You could likely travel with as little as US $12,000 per year if you stick to one region—overland for a year from Mexico to Argentina; or overland through China, Southeast Asia, and India. The price of a budget trip jumps to US $25,000 to visit many regions rapidly. If you prefer mid-range accommodations, that might increase your expenses by $10,000; same goes if you’re prone to splurging on expensive extras like helicopter rides, diving, and adventure activities.
The bottom line: Understand your route, travel style, and goals before you can develop an accurate anticipated budget for travel.
Recommended Next Steps
It’s easy to see the numbers, be inspired for a bit and then never take action. If you’re actively planning your RTW—fantastic! My site and those of my friends contain every essential resource you need to plan world travel. If you’re currently working, studying, or just dreaming of traveling, I have resources for you as well. And if you want a second look at those spreadsheets, visit my full RTW budget as a Google Document that will open in your browser. Or head to the free blank spreadsheet to track your own expenses as you travel around the world. You can save an editable copy of these to your own Google Drive, or download for your own use.
Eight Steps of Planning a World Trip
- Save for Travel & Eliminate Debt
- Build a Realistic Trip Budget
- Plan Your Around the World Trip Itinerary
- Pick the Right Travel Insurance
- Pack for Long-Term World Travel
- Work Remotely While You Travel
- Stay Healthy on the Road
- Browse Free Destination Guides
Resources & Further Research
World Travel Budgets
- ALA readers Jesse and Ally sent me their couples budget for a trip that ended in late 2019—they came in at $38.2K for two people for 342 days traveling through everywhere from South America (Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina) to Southeast, South Asia, and even Japan. They didn’t sacrifice on fun RTW trip activities: They hiked Machu Picchu, toured the desert in Morocco, did scuba diving here and there, and more.
- A mid-range couples budget of shared expenses for a year came in just under $20K per person.
- A meticulously detailed couples backpackers budget came in at $36,532 (an even $50 a day).
- A solo male traveler for two years on the road averaged about $20K per year.
- A list of travel budgets by region of the world.
Books to Read First
- How to Travel the World on $50 a Day. Published by Penguin and now in its second edition, it shows you how to stick to a budget while you’re traveling. It’s an guide for travelers new to budgeting on the road and weighs heavily toward backpacker-style travel with basic tips and hacks to save money by using travel cards, points, etc.
- A few of my favorite travel books include: The Geography of Bliss ,Wild, A Thousand Splendid Suns, The Great Railway Bazaar, Behind the Beautiful Forevers.
- My two low-cost guides designed for world travelers include How to Save for Travel and How Much Will Your Dream RTW Trip Cost?
On-the-Road Travel Resources
- ALA Travel Guides share comprehensive information on what to know before you go in each new destination.
- Grassroots Volunteering is ALA’s sister site, offering a database of responsible travel companies and volunteer experiences all over the world, as well as Responsible Travel Guides about how to use travel as a force for good.
- Cost of Living Guides show you how affordable it is might be to live outside your home country. You can sometimes elongate world travels by months or years by stopping in these affordable locations.
Working on the Road
- How to Start a Travel Blog: Record the highs and lows of your once in a lifetime trip. This no-nonsense page details the process and won’t upsell you on any courses you likely don’t need. Just basic facts of how to start your first blog, and maybe even make some money along the way.
- Finding Freelance Work for Digital Nomads. Since money is a huge factor for many travelers, this resource page thoroughly covers remote work—something I’ve been doing since 2005.
I truly believe that world travel is possible for most people. When and how is unique to each person, but by prioritizing and planning travel, you can make an around the world trip possible.
386 thoughts on “A Little RTW Budget… How Much Does it Cost to Travel the World for a Year? (2023)”
I don’t see how you can possibly only send that amount on accommodation. That works to only $8.50 a night. You’d have to be staying in some very skanky bed bug ridden dives for that amount.
The you clearly didn’t read everything. I couchsurfed, I had accommodation included in the fee for my volunteer experience in Nepal (so that month is not included in the accommodation line-item), and I also met many travelers early in my travels who hosted me later in my travels when I passed through Europe. Plus, shared dorms are pretty cheap outside of the US, Europe, Australia, Japan, and the like. Guesthouses truly do cost about $15 a night split between two if you travel with someone. Think a bit more creatively rather than trolling and you’ll get there. fwiw, I have never gotten bed bugs in 15+ years, so I’m doing something right, and I’ve met travelers who got them at 5-star resorts, so price isn’t always an indicator of cleanliness my friend, and you’d be wise to note that if you travel in developing countries.
This sounds about right.
My partner and I travel half the year every year and I budget (In CAD which I’ll put today’s USD exhange rates for)
2200 CAD/1,650 USD a month for flights and accomodation (I know it’s weird to combine these, but I sold my partner on travelling by telling him that I could make all the flights and hotels add up to the same as our rent in Toronto, Canada and that’s stuck – so the more I spend on a flight, the cheaper I try to find accomodation for that month)
1400 CAD/1050 USD a month for food (a mix of groceries and eating out. Drinks we have with meals count in this category)
800 CAD/600 USD a month for activities (Going out for drinks counts in this category, as does public transit)
Bringing our total to 4400/month or $26,400 for dix months for two people.
(3300 USD/month, 19800 USD) So if we did the whole year we’d be close to 39,000 USD.
That said I also usually spend another 500-600 on clothing because I love to shop – but I don’t consider that part of the travel budget.
Believe it or not – I actually spend more when I stay home in Toronto the other half of the year than I do while travelling. Food in Toronto, Canada is really expensive – as is alcohol – as is entertainment. Tho in fairness I do live on a boat on the Toronto Islands, but it works out to costing similar to rent for a two bedroom apartment downtown.
Anyways, thanks for sharing!
Very informative, Thanks for the share.
Came across your blog, I was wondering what current costs were. I travelled for a year in 2015 with about $9k, so today that would be a bit over $11k. I did a mix of hostels, nice hotels (usually thru mistake rates, or points), backpacking (ie camping), and some volunteering for room/board (I think 6 or 7 weeks total). Mix of cheap places like in parts of SEA and also expensive places like Japan, Pacific Islands, or Europe for instance. I didn’t include pre-travel purchases though for gear. Another perspective, anyway!
Great breakdown, thanks!
Thank you for sharing so much of your information! I am just starting to think about our retirement travel, which is still several years off. This information is so wonderful to review for those of us who have a dream of travelling throughout the world and are in the planning stages. I hope you are able to continue to follow your dreams.
Good luck with the planning—this past year has been a bad one for traveling in general, but a great one for planning and dreaming! Best of luck. :)
I have done a RTW twice in the pass, first time 4 months, second time 6 months, now at the ripe old age of nearly 60 years old woman alone I find myself planning on travelling threw South East Asia and beyond for a year or more, thanks for all the great info.
It is so exciting to be doing this again, if it was not for my daugther here in UK, I would stay abroad for good, I will be teaching online so that helps with cost, and I always keep £1,000 aside for emergency at home in UK and abroad, you never know what may happen.
Now is the perfect time to start planning a trip, and dreaming about travel when the world reopens. Do you think you’ll do a longer RTW this time? My first one was 11 months, but after that I found the sweet spot was between 6-8 months to maximize the long plane flight over and time exploring on the ground, but still have enough energy and enthusiasm to really enjoy each place. SEA remains one of my favorite places in the world, so I hope you have an incredible time exploring it.
Would u please advise ir suggest 1st time where u went RTW
Wow, absolutely incredible. Thank you for sharing your story, Shannon! Going on a solo-RTW trip has been something I only could dream of, but after reading your posts and other similar posts, i’ve realized this is a realistic goal i can achieve. Super excited to begin planning my South America trip! Let the saving begin!
I am so glad to hear that this resonated! You can absolutely make a RTW trip happen when you’re motivated and able to save. Best of luck and let me know if there ever anything I can do to help once you start planning! :)
Marvelous work!. The blog is brilliantly written and provides all necessary information I really like this awesome post. Thanks for sharing this useful post. I really enjoyed reading this blog. I like and appreciate your work. Keep up the good work.
I love the blog! I definitely agree with seeing less countries in your first trip and staying longer is a huge one that can save you money. We just did Croatia in a month and tried to see the whole country. We wouldn’t say it was a mistake but definitely realized it’s maybe seeing less places but getting more out of each place!
Love the blog and enjoy your 10th year of being on the road!
Dom x Jo
Thanks Dom and Jo! So glad you guys also found it true that staying longer in one place can really help your budget’s bottom line! And to be fair to you though, a month is still a lot longer than many people spend exploring Croatia, so I am sure you have some incredible experiences under your belt from being there even that long. Happy travels. :)
These are great travel tips! Whenever we travel, I always make sure that we stick with our budget and one of the best things I’ve learned is not to be so touristy. We try local and live like local. I love these tips. Thank you so much for sharing.
Thank you for this! I’m planning a year-long RTW trip with my husband and two daughters, who will be 9 and 10 when we depart. I know it’ll be life-changing! We’re skipping W. Europe to keep things inexpensive and to see places the children may not easily get to later in life. I’m wondering if, in your research, you came across information or calculated yourself how traveling as a family changes the math? Multiplying your number by four, even when looking at your specific country worksheets, doesn’t seem quite right, so any tips? Your total equals $219/day for a family of four for a year, and I’m not sure how much to reduce that by due to economies of family travel. I saw your Further Research section and will dig deeper there. I appreciate your thoughts, and again, thank you for giving me such a fabulous starting place. So grateful for the details and transparency!
Hi Stephanie! Thanks for you message, that’s a really great question and it doesn’t have an easy answer. It’s definitely not going to be multiplied by 4, because in many cases your accommodation will be doubly more expensive—that’s probably what I would anticipate. Not sure how keen your kids are to share a bed, but in some cases if you are getting places with two double beds, or even just two rooms, it’s likely double the cost. That will fluctuate depending on where you are. Airbnbs are a great idea, but depending on where you are you’ll likely be in guesthouses in rural Loas for example, not renting apartments, and that will average out the perhaps more than double you might pay for a nice 2br Airbnb in Bangkok, for example. But with things like pull out beds/couches in Airbnbs, and that you’ll be saving on breakfast costs when you’re using them, I think double’s a safe bet there.
Lots of places offer a discount for children on public transport (although when my niece was 11 she was much taller and more developed than the similarly Asian children so they gave me a hard time on the kids discount), and things like a taxi would cost the same were it just you and your hubby, or your kids too, so that’s not going to be times four for overland transport. Flights though, of course, are times four!
Big name activities again may offer a kids discount, but it’s not going to be much in the grand scheme—they may get discounts or into a few museums free, but for tours and such it’ll be times four.
Those are some thoughts off the top of my head! Let me know if there is anything else I can do to help as you start planning! :)
That’s amazing information!! With my wife we are planning to travel from January for over a year, we are a little bit concerned about the budget, we think we can together up to $45K AUD not sure if that will be enough. We are planning to use the site TrustedHousesitters as much as possible to save cost of
Accomodation and the plan is to start in South Asia, moving to Europe and finally South America but I’m not sure if the money will be enough. Thank you for all the tips and reccomendations, would be possible to see Scott’s link as well? I’m quite interests to see his expenses around 4 different continents. Thanks in advance
Hi Camilo! Congrats on the upcoming trip, January will be here before you know it, and I definitely think that your planned trip is doable on 45K, but you’ll want to play with the amount of time you spend in each region. Longer time spent in Europe will eat into your budget, so make sure you play with your dailies and length of time in places like SEA, so you don’t run out too quickly in the middle in Europe!
Thank you Shannon for the quick replying. We are planning to spend at least 6 months in SEA and squeeze de budget to the maximum to have enough for 3 months in Europe, I know that will be the most expensive part of the trip. Shannon, any recommendations on insurance?
Yes, that’s an important topic and I have a whole post about it here: https://alittleadrift.com/backpacker-travel-insurance-world-nomads/ It gets into when I use World Nomads, and when I’ve gone with IMG since I’ve used them both over the past eleven years!
My wife and I spent $33k for 12 months and kept a very detailed budget. We traveled in 4 continents and through 30+ countries. We have a detailed budget overview and I also built an excel tool that lets you track your own budget.
That’s a great budget. Your spreadsheet looks a lot like my own spreadsheet—including the former color scheme, layout of the final stats page, and more——but all without any attribution or acknowledgement of modification, so I’ve deleted the links to it here. If you’re keen to link to my post and share where you got the inspiration for your own spreadsheet, I am happy to add the links so others can view your trip totals. Glad you had a good trip, but attribution would have been appreciated since it’s evident you know how much work went into it.
Thank you for sharing this information with all. I am quite impress with your traveling costs and need some advise. I am planning a trip to Eastern Europe and Africa, places like: Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, Tunisia, Egypt and more. The current plan is for one year and maybe around 12 countries. Part of the plan is to move from one country to another using ground transportation, sleeping in hostels, buying food at the grocery store, and some activities could include hiking and maybe cooking classes. How much money do you think I need?
Hi Chicho, that’s a good question so I would recommend that you figure out your anticipated fixed costs like flights and visas and travel gear and insurance, and then estimate the daily costs in each of your planned countries. Once you research daily travel costs by country, it will actually help you decide where you should spend more time and less (some countries can cost more than you anticipate, while others might be far more affordable). Play with the numbers and days you’ll spend in each place, then you’ll have a good estimation of how much you’ll need to save!
Thank you for your valuable information! I will do more digging, my budget is not limited and time is open. I have this strong desire to travel because when I was 8 to 9 yrs old I traveled to Iceland, and Europe, visited 7 countries and lived in Spain on the beach in house we rented. Also lived in England and Germany. I long now to travel more then before because finally I can afford to do it. I am 66 and in excellent health. But I know there is no time to waist. Wait advice in planning can you offer? I do not want to waist money. But I want to maximize my enjoyment. I know I want to return to Spain. And my Spanish is now 95% or higher. I might consider renting houses as I travel. Maybe buying? Can you offer me your wisdom tailored to my situation. I am blessed that my dreams are coming into port. And my last days of life I want to broaden even more my appreciation of what I have. Thank you for your answer, ahead I await your attention. Jerry
Hi Gerald! Thanks for reaching out, it sounds like you have a great adventure on the horizon. For planning, I really recommend that you first pick a date and timeline for setting out and leaving—your planning will contract or expand to fit whatever time you give yourself. Then it becomes a question of getting the other things in order—health insurance on the road, your route, etc—all of that is harder than actually buying the ticket and making your dream a concrete reality on the horizon. And to that end, I think you should travel some to Spain, as well as any other places that call to you. It’s definitely easy to rent places for a few months, and that will allow you to start seeing the world and also learning what you want in a new homebase. Spain is a very different place, so come check it out before buying—it sounds like you are ready for a bit more freedom than a house would allow. If you decide on Europe, the long-term/retirement visa will take a bit of time (3 to 6 months or more), but can easily be done when/if you decide you want to settle there. :)
I’ve been traveling for the past 3 years as a solo 70-year-old. I sold my house and have never looked back. Considering you are fluent in Spanish, you might think of doing a trip to those countries to our south. I just returned from a 5-month trip through Ecuador, Colombia, and Panama. During those 5 months, I could count on two hands, the number of Americans I met along the way. For some reason, most Americans don’t think of traveling to South America. I speak very little Spanish but thoroughly enjoyed my trip with no problems. It would probably be much easier and more enjoyable for you. All three countries were very interesting and very safe. I never once felt for my safety. Speaking of budgeting, I spent approximately $2,100 per month, which included 13 separate flights. Also, I did look to see what a furnished apartment would cost while in Boquete Panama: $600 bucks will get you a very nice place in the cool tropical highlands.
What an amazing informative article about traveling and budget! Thank you!
It’s a great article. It has everything you need to travel around the if you the budgeted capital. It has a very detailed content including some images and links too. Thank you for posting this article. Happy posting.
It’s a great article, finally some honest data. But girl, please… I don’t want to be that person. But Amsterdam is not a country! It’s a city in the Netherlands. It’s such a shame that tourists think Amsterdam is a country own. There’s so much more to the Netherlands than just Amsterdam.
Hah, you are not the first to point that out, but I’m still going to leave it just like that. The Netherlands is the only country where I visited just one city, so I think it’s disingenuous to say it’s the budget for traveling the Netherlands when I only visited what is likely the most expensive place in the country. And then on the visuals side, it’s just too long to write Netherlands (Amsterdam)—it didn’t fit. So alas, I made a choice that I know frustrates the die-hard geography buffs. Happy travels :)
Good stuff to know. Thank you. Any chance you, or someone you know, has written a book on surviving in countries where you don’t speak the language? I would like to go to China or Brazil but I only know English.
Good question David! And one I know many travelers face. English is the best language to have in a foreign country, because it’s usually the default language of tourism. But, a big exception to that is China, where a large internal tourism industry makes it harder than some places to visit without any language. But there are work-arounds. I traveled through China using an app on my phone to help communicate, and I had essential phrases written down by a local (I am vegetarian, so I always had that on paper.
As for books, one you are absolutely going to want is a wordless, pointing book. This one and this one are good: https://amzn.to/2QqhO9J and https://www.amazon.com/Point-Travellers-Language-Original-Dictionary/dp/3980880273/ – One of these will get you a long ways in both of your planned travel locations (and are better than an app because they will never run out of battery).
Then, download the Google Translate app, which allows you to point your phone camera at text (on a menu or bus station sign) and it will translate the text into English. You can easily buy a SIM card when you arrive and pop it into an unlocked smartphone.
You could also hire a local guide. Even if you don’t use a tour/guide for the entire time, planning an English-language tour (everywhere will have these) will help you acclimate in the first few days. Urban Adventures offers great day tours, as does Context travel and some others. :)
Hope that helps!
Thank you for sharing these travel tips—some I have never read elsewhere. I love traveling too, and I am planning my budget now to figure out how I can travel the world.
Hi my daring thank you so much for your lovely article I read it word from word. I have never done a Euro trip and I was born in Aus. My partner is Serbian born in Croatia and he has a house in Knin (somewhere in the country). We want to go traveling around Europe for 1 year with 30,000 between us. He has a house in Croatia so will save money there. We want to rent a nice car and go around in style on a budget to all countries but the roads are not safe. What is your suggestion and how expensive is the flights between each country?
Hi Jen, thanks for stopping by, sounds like you have an incredible adventure you’re planning. Your budget will surely work, especially if you plan wisely how you spend that 30K (not sure if you are talking Euro or US, but both would work, though certainly more leeway if you are talking Euro). Most of the roads in Western Europe are quite safe to drive, and with the open EU borders it’s a great way to get around. Your budget will allow for $82 a day for the both of you. Although that is on the low side of a budget many would recommend, because you are traveling for longer you can aim for that as an average expense. So in Switzerland your rate will be far higher, but you can easily spend under that daily average in Portugal and Spain. So by watching where you visit and perhaps even doing a vacation rental somewhere for a month or two, you could really maximize your budget and experience a ton. If you are flying (I am really unsure why you said the roads are unsafe?), flights are very cheap… you can do a search on Skyscanner but if booked in advance flights in Europe can be as low as $20-$50 to hop between cities, with a max price usually of 150 one way, and I’ve only paid that when I am booking within a week or two of flying. There are also great train passes and such, which are affordable if you book ahead as well. Hope that helps! :)
absolutely great read! What do you reckon, would 50,000 USD be a good budget for 2ppl for a year around the world? No europe countries Mostly South Asia, souh America and some African & Middle estern Countries thrown in for good measure. We have friends in Aus so we would stay with them for two weeks or so… Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
That’s a pretty good budget in general, especially since it doesn’t include Europe! It’s enough in general, but also depends on how you consider your travel style and the speed once you are on the road. Transport and moving quickly ramps up costs, but if you are taking a slow pace as you go, $50K is definitely in the range of budget+, with some mid-range splurges on accommodation when you are in affordable places like South Asia and such. Africa and the Middle East might not be as cheap as you first think, so do some research on a per-country basis when you start planning your route! :)
In little over a month I will begin my last High school year, and I was thinking about doing a gap year before university and travel across southeast Asia. Which and how many countries would you recommend me visiting?
Hi Emma! What a wonderful opportunity you have ahead of you. With a gap year to fill, your best bet is to head out on the road with a rough idea of how you will start, but then leave the rest up to chance. You will meet so many people on the road as you travel, and within weeks and months you’ll have new friends you may want to join, or you may find a place you love so much you want to stay for a while longer. I have a few resources on the site for planning a route and what to consider. Head here: https://alittleadrift.com/rtw-travel/#planning – for advice on what sort of things you should consider when picking a route. And then this page lists out my own route: https://alittleadrift.com/rtw-travel/round-the-world-travel-route/
I hope that helps! SEA is a wonderful place to start travel—it’s a forgiving place for new travelers and there are heaps of other backpackers and traveling culture to help you get your feet under you. It’s also safe, the foods amazing, and the culture is incredible.
Just wanted you to know that you have been an inspiration for me and thanks for sharing all your knowledge with us – it is invaluable! That said, I recently put in my notice at my job and leave May 10th for a year around the world ( which I hope to be able to extend longer :) ) I am so excited! Planning question for you- how far in advance did you plan ? I am in this limbo between not wanting to over plan and would like to keep some spontaneity in my travels but also want to make sure i have safe accommodation as a single girl traveling alone. Another added caveat for me is that I will be traveling with my pup so I have that added concern as the places I stay and the airlines I fly on must accept pets. Thanks in advance!
Thank you so much Steph, it makes my day to know my site has been helpful and inspiring as you plan your travels. I also know how tricky it is to find a balance in the planning. Your situation is trickier than many with the dog going alongside, as there will be some other hurdles depending on the country requirements. I know sometimes places require a standard microchipping, and then proof of entering from a rabies-free country, or things of that nature. I am thinking that you are going a bit slower and sticking to a few regions? Friends have been forced to kennel/quarantine their dogs for up to two weeks when entering some places, so it’s that type of information that you would really need to know far ahead of time. So the balance of over-planning would perhaps be that you extensively research pet requirements for each place on your route. Then, my advice for the rest is that you plan a place to stay your first week, making sure it’s pet friendly, and then figure out the rest as you go. I knew a rough route for my RTW trip, but past that, the actual nitty gritty details of what to see, it’s so much easier to plan those things as you travel. It not only makes it much less stressful in these last months before you leave, but it’s just easier and a lot more fun to ask locals and take advice on the ground. I hope that helps! I am sure you’ve found it, but there is a research portal with information for most countries (http://www.pettravel.com/passportnew.cfm ) and that should help! Please report back on how it all goes! :)
$3,130.77 for a year of nomad lodging? I’m sure you ‘couch surfed’ a few times and stayed with lots of ‘friends’. ;)
Yes, I definitely did couch-surf some and I had a house-sitting gig in Amsterdam. I also paid for a volunteering program for a month, and the fee included housing (but in the calculations it’s in a different category). But I also chose places where my money went further. My cousin and I spent six weeks in India, where we were splitting the cost of a $12 private room each night. Same in Southeast Asia — I would often share with another backpacker and we could sleep for less than $10 each. When you figure I spent half my time in more affordable countries, it makes a bit more sense!
Hi Shannon, I love the spread sheet and have downloaded a copy for our own RTW trip which starts in 6 weeks! I just wanted to find out how to add more tabs across the bottom without losing the formulas? thank you!
Six weeks! That’s so soon! You can actually right-click the tabs at the bottom and click “Duplicate” – that will add one! Then, depending on how many you add, you will have to adjust the front page that auto-calculates. That’s a bit trickier, so if you add all the countries you need and share your Google Document with me then I can help you make sure it’s calculating correctly!
thank you Shannon :-) yes it’s coming round really quickly! So I’m not great with this technology stuff haha, I’ve added all the countries I need, how do I send this via Google? it’s just saved to my documents at the moment :-)
You can send me an email at email@example.com and attach it there! I will take a look! :)
I am heading out on an around the world just about the same time as you! I leave May 10th. How about you? Where are you headed?
I cannot tell you how incredibly lucky I feel I am to have found your website! The information you share with all of us is invaluable. I have read all that you have shared on all of the topics you have discussed in this post! I admire you so much! I will be travelling later this year and will want to talk to you.
Thank you Marg! I am so glad that you found it useful! So wonderful that you are traveling soon — don’t hesitate to let me know if I can help with anything. :)
I’ve edited a list resources for finding seasonal jobs – these have helped me get nearly every seasonal job I’ve had. Most of the jobs provide housing which is deducted from your wage. So you don’t need to worry about finding your own place to live, and food is often included as well. If you’re willing to work while you travel, it’s a really excellent way to see the world on a small budget.
That’s a great article indeed! A really wise thing to do before going for a trip somewhere is to think over everything twice. Once bitten twice shy, you know. So, think over all the problems you might face up with. Make sure the accommodation you chose for your stay corresponds its actual price. Get in touch with the owner beforehand. Thank you again for this post. I wish next year everyone has a chance to have their own dream trips.
After deciding that it was time and purchasing a really inexpensive one-way flight from FLL to Auckland, I have been reading and researching on what my next step should be. I think I have a plan (sort of, maybe, I don’t know AHHH), but would you be able to direct me to articles, boards or anything on what type of meet up opprutunities are out there. I am a 31 year old female and am doing this adventure solo. I don’t mind being solo, but I think it would be great to meet up with people who are also traveling for more then a vacation.
Hi Stephanie, congrats on the decision to just set out and travel! I know that can be such a scary leap. I can definitely help you find ways to meet other solo travelers, although you will definitely and absolutely meet them along the way as well. Especially if you are staying at low-cost and budget accommodation (like hostels) — it’s nearly impossible not to make new friends if you want to find people heading out on day trips and what not. For boards, there are some great FB groups where you could share your route and ask if others are looking to meet up along the way:
Then there are forums and such. Nomadic Matt has a “travel companions” tread in his forums: http://forums.nomadicmatt.com/forum/39-travel-companions/
As does Lonely Planet Thorntree: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/categories/sell-swap-meet-up
I hope that helps get you started! :)
I am also going to do this around the world solo too! and I am 31 this year as well. I am thinking if I dont do now, when would I have the chance to do it? ;p
Is this a book? :D If not, pls make it one!!
Found it, never mind. :D :D xxx
So glad you found it! Don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions as you read it. :)
Thank you very much for sharing!!!
I bet you had an amazing experience on that budget as well. It’s so doable at every level. Some people assume it’s hugely expensive, while others assume you have to stay at hostels. Looks like you guys had a wonderful trip without sacrificing comfort!
great and inspirational story and in fact it also provide the best and in depth knowledge about the Cost per day on different countries.
Thanks and God bless you :)
So glad you found it helpful!
Thank you so much for all the time dedicated to your passion and thank you so much for sharing all of that with us. I will make a big use of your Google template, with my partner we plan to leave our lives here and start our passionate and adventurous journey to the unknown. I like the fact that you are ultra precise on everything, I keep your website as a reference. We have started a website and I will write blogs and articles on our journey, I will not forget to mention and link your pages; it’s just the beginning so if you have other advice and experience with blogging, digital marketing, …. I’ll be happy to take it on board.
Thanks again Shannon for everything, enjoy the ride!
I am so happy to hear that you plan to use the Google template! It’s still so handy on my own travels. As for the blog, it should be a passion project for you, something you love to build even if you never make money, and it should provide value that you can’t find elsewhere. Either a truly unique perspective on it all, information others aren’t sharing, or a niche that hasn’t yet been done. Find a voice and a story to tell and others will read. I wish you all the best luck! :)
Ma’am. I love all the detail you went into about saving for a RTW trip – something I’ve always wanted to do and am currently in the process of saving up for. I do have a question though (and I apologize for the ignorance – i just can’t seem to get an actual answer for anything).
What are the visa requirements for just going on holiday to a different country? Will I be required to get a visa for every country I plan on visiting on this trip?
I saw that you got an Indian visa, but no others were listed that I saw. Does it matter how long your there as to where or not you need a visa?
Wow… this has opened up my mind to what is possible… so really I just need to save the initial flights and a bit of a buffer for a month or so… and if I can get money by working online or something… I can then just continue to live in south east Asia or something for far less than where I live now (Australia). Just one question… how do you get the accommodation cheap? Like do you need to rent a place and sign a lease? Doesn’t it cost a lot more to live in a hotels for such a long time? or am I just use to Australian prices…?
So glad that it opened your mind to some more possibilities out there! As for rents, these are much different than the hotels you are thinking about, although even hotels are significantly cheaper than Australian hotel rates. Right now I am on a renting a bungalow for a week on the beaches of southern vietnam, 100 meters from the ocean, for $15 USD per night. Some monthly rents in Hanoi, Chiang Mai, and other places are in the $150-400 range per month. You’ll definitely want to have a read of these two cost of living posts I wrote for Thailand and Mexico: https://alittleadrift.com/cost-of-living-mexico/ and https://alittleadrift.com/living-costs-chiang-mai-thailand/
Wow, thank you so much. I’ll definitely check out these posts!
Hi Shannon! I plan to go on the road next April 2018, so I have one year and a half to save up money. I believe I can save up to 7000 euros (being pessimistic, because I think I could earn more) and I would like to travel for 3 to 6 months. I live in Europe, so I think I wouldn’t travel, and I have 3 plans, so to say: 1) A tour including Letonia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Rumania, Eslovenia, Viena. 2) A tour in Canada 3) A tour in Asia (I’d like to visit China, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodja and Korea). How much do you think I should save to do so? Which tour do you think it’s the most-doable one?
Good question! All of your trip ideas sound incredible. For that €7,000, you will get the most for your money if you stay out of the Western countries. Your money won’t go as far in Canada, but even more than that, Canada is a trip that you may find yourself taking later in life when you have more money, kids, etc. It’s an easy destination to visit. You should look at picking a spot that really excites you and that also matches the adventurous spirit you have right now. My bet is on Southeast Asia since it’s very affordable and also a good spot for a first-time traveler since it’s very safe. Since you live in Europe, it’s dead simple for you to plan another trip in the future for the Baltics and Eastern Europe. I am going to send you a private email with some more thoughts! :)
I’ve heard some people travel for a year in the same continent for under $10,000 USD, South America, Central America, SEA… I hope I get my chance soon!
That is absolutely within the realm of possible if you are limiting the number of flights that you take. Flights are usually the biggest expense, with accommodation next. So if you can limit the flights, and then pick regions of of the world with affordable accommodation (definitely SEA and Central America… South America can be pricier in areas and in the activities). Best of luck plotting and planning those travels!
I just randomly came across this because as you mentioned, you get addicted to long-term travel…lol. I was trying to get some ideas for my 10k I’ll have saved up this year. But, wow! Seriously, 10k RTW is possible, I’m surprised that 5 yrs ago you didn’t think that. I spent 8k last year and went to 25 countries in Europe, Asia (South, Southeast, Central, and East/North), Middle East and Oceania. This year I’d probably concentrate on South America where I’ve not been yet, which should be even cheaper. I did things like a private 12 day tour in Mongolia, spent a month in Japan (usually expensive) etc. It’s definitely possible. I have friends who did this on even less, they hitchhiked and couch surfed most of the time (I only did this a couple times though I did get some accommodation/food free from some volunteer things I did. On the other hand I also stayed in 4-5 star hotels sometimes too.)
My name is Claire and I’m currently a junior in high school from Seattle, WA. I’ve have plans to take a gap year or two after graduation to travel throughout Europe. I would like to land in Barcelona, and take the Eurail throughout most of the other countries(Germany, Sweden, England, Czech Republic, Italy, Greece, etc.) I’m aware of the Eurail system, so I will plan on buying a pass. I’m also aware that staying in hostels is probably the cheapest/easiest way to go. The problem is, it’s a very vague plan and I am not very familiar with coordinating plane trips, train rides, hostel stays, etc (Since this is will be my first solo traveling experience).
Do you have any suggestions on how to make money while I’m traveling, the steps to take before I go, how to find affordable places to sleep at night (that are close by the Eurail stations), and advice you wish you knew before you started traveling? From your experience, do you think $30,000 is enough to travel with for a year(assuming I also make money along the way)?
Thank you so much for your time,
Hi Claire, thanks for writing. I absolutely think that your gap year is doable and that you can certainly save the funds for that. An entire year in Europe would be hard because of the visa situation, and because it would be very pricey. You can backpack Europe for 90 days on a tourist visa, then you have to leave for 90 days. So with that in mind, you’ll be looking at other places you could work and travel. Have you thought about getting a work visa to a place like Australia? They are fairly easy to obtain straight out of school and many Europeans go there and work (picking fruit or waiting tables) and travel and save the funds that way to continue traveling. There should be good information about that online. I have a work and travel page here if you are keen to find a way to work online: https://alittleadrift.com/how-to-work-and-travel-rtw/
As for planning it all out, that’s the least of your worries. The planning part is more straightforward once you are on the road, but finding ways to work and save now is, perhaps, the most important part of your plan. That work and travel page should give you some ideas. I have a ton of planning resources on the site (https://alittleadrift.com/rtw-travel/), and the working page lists out a lot of other job boards and ideas, from teaching English to finding an online skill. Best of luck! You’ve totally got this. If you dream of travel, then you can make it a reality with focus and determination to save the funds and work toward that goal.
Im guessing this was a while back and prices of things have gone up quite a lot since then. I keep coming back to this page like I did for past 2 or 3 years..keeps me motivated when i’m gonna start mine…Thank You
Hi Mohammad! Suprisingly, it’s still possible to do a RTW trip for that same cost. Somethings have certainly gone up, but others have gone down. So it’s gotten significantly cheaper to travel in Australia, and I would save several hundred dollars a month if I was backpacking there now compared to being there in 2008 with the Aussie dollar was a much stronger global currency. Gas is also cheaper, meaning flights have gone down. So the cost of food in Thailand is about 50 cents more a meal, but that has been counteracted by other changes too. Take a look at this woman, she spent the same figure for a RTW in 2015: http://www.neverendingfootsteps.com/2016/02/16/how-much-does-it-cost-to-travel-the-world-for-a-year-my-2015-expenses/
Good article, Thanks!
I love your honesty! This is going to help so many travellers. I can’t say I kept my totals to the penny, though, but maybe to the nearest pound.
To the nearest pound is still pretty fantastic. So many people dream of a trip and are surprised when they see the real costs broken down for them.
My business partners required DS-82 several days ago and used a website with lots of sample forms . If people require DS-82 too , here’s
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?
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. :)
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
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!
Alright, thank you so much for your help! I’ll be patiently waiting. ????
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. :)
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. :)
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: https://alittleadrift.com/rtw-travel/
Best of luck!
Thanks again..things are more clear now
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. :)
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. :)
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,
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 ( https://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.
Thanks so much for your quick reply ! I will respond more in email !
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.
I used this post while planning my RTW trip! Thank you so much for your advice!
So can you just get a year off work like that or did you just leave your job
I wasn’t able to do either of those. I actually worked my online job while I traveled. I had the nearly fulltime work before I decided to travel, so I worked out a budget and figured out that I could travel on the money I made online. I explain that all a bit more here: https://alittleadrift.com/2012/06/how-to-travel-and-work-abroad/ and this page has some freelance ideas for how to build up an online income, which can help offset the costs of traveling: https://alittleadrift.com/how-to-work-and-travel-rtw/
I am so jealous of you.
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! :)