A Little RTW Budget… How Much Does it Cost to Travel the World for a Year? (2020)

Last Updated on December 30, 2019

taking my round the world trip
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.

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 10+ years of my world travels.

Let’s dive into a very detailed breakdown of what an actual one-year trip cost, the hard costs associated with around the world travel, and the factors that most dramatically impact your budget.

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 some 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 luxury world travelers can run as much as $40,000 to $50,000.

My Personal Round the World Trip

A one-year budget breakdown of costs to travel the world

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 2020, although from my homebase 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 a travel costs that you can still travel the world for the same price as a trip 12 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 ExpenseCost (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

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

My Average Daily Budget for Each Country on my RTW Trip
RTW Expenses, Listed by Country and Number of Days

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 to 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. 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 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 Does It Cost to Travel the World?

BUDGET

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.

save for world travel ebook

SAVE

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?

Travel was my bootcamp for life. My around the world 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 dream of living. I am forever glad I chose to travel our beautiful world.

~ Shannon O’Donnell

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

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

Jumping at the Taj Mahal on my RTW journey
While admission to the Taj was pricey, everything else in India was crazy cheap. Seven weeks in India cost less than spending one week in Italy! And guys … it’s the Taj! It ranks up there as one of the cooler experiences when traveling 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


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

  1. Save for Travel & Eliminate Debt
  2. Build a Realistic Trip Budget
  3. Plan Your Around the World Trip Itinerary
  4. Pick the Right Travel Insurance
  5. Pack for Long-Term World Travel
  6. Work Remotely While You Travel
  7. Stay Healthy on the Road
  8. Browse Free Destination Guides

Resources & Further Research

World Travel Budgets

Books to Read First

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.

~Shannon

377 thoughts on “A Little RTW Budget… How Much Does it Cost to Travel the World for a Year? (2020)”

  1. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  2. 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!

    Reply
    • 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! :)

      Reply
  3. 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.

    Reply
  4. Hey Shannon,

    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

    Reply
    • 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. :)

      Reply
  5. 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.

    Reply
  6. 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!

    Reply
    • 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! :)

      Reply
  7. 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

    Reply
    • 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!

      Reply
  8. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  9. Hi Shannon,

    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?

    Reply
    • 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!

      Reply
  10. 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

    Reply
    • 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. :)

      Reply
    • Gerald,
      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.

      Reply
  11. 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.

    Reply
  12. 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.

    Reply
    • 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 :)

      Reply
  13. 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.

    Reply
    • 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!

      ~S

      Reply
  14. 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.

    Reply
  15. 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?

    Reply
    • 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! :)

      Reply
  16. Hey,

    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.

    Reply
    • 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! :)

      Reply
  17. 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?

    Reply
    • 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.

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  18. Shannon-
    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!

    Reply
    • 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! :)

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  19. $3,130.77 for a year of nomad lodging? I’m sure you ‘couch surfed’ a few times and stayed with lots of ‘friends’. ;)

    Reply
    • 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!

      Reply
  20. 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!

    Reply
    • 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!

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    • Laura-
      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?

      Reply
  21. 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.

    Reply
    • 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. :)

      Reply

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