A Little RTW Budget… How Much Does it Cost to Travel the World for a Year? (2023)

Last updated on March 5, 2023

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 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 ExpenseCost (USD$)
Activities + Entertainment$3,613.18
Misc (internet, gifts, extra gear, etc)$1,753.67
Pre-Trip Travel Gear$484.50
Extra Costs$493.33

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 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 Does It Cost to Travel the World?


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


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 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

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

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

  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

  • 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

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)”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  4. Shannon,

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

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

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

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

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

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

        Ive read tons of blogs but yours seem on point.

        Thank you so much for all your help!

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

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

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

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

  6. Hi Shannon,

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

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

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

  7. Shannon
    Thanks for detailed blogging.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Anthony,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  34. Hi Shannon,
    Excellent information! I keep track of my travel budget as well, with as much detail as possible. I created an app for iPhone which initially I used for myself, but now I’m sharing it for free in the app store. It features many reports (per category, country, payment method) and features that might be useful for other travelers. You can find it here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tripcoin/id896518806?ls=1&mt=8

    I hope someone else finds it useful!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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