How much does it cost to travel round the world?

 

In part two of my trip-planning article I go into detail on my pre-trip budget and also share how much it cost me to travel round the world alone for six months. Before we get into the detail though, there are some aspects of my trip that you need to be made aware of, so that you can get a better understanding of my budget.

Round the World Trip Route

My round the world trip route:  London > Thailand > Malaysia > Singapore > Hong Kong > Australia > New Zealand and the USA.  Purchasing the Navigator round the world ticket with roundtheworldflights.com was the best option, because it allowed me to change the departure dates while travelling. Within all of the countries, I travelled using local transport and low cost airline carriers. The majority of accommodation was booked within two weeks of my arrival to receive the best rate.

Pre- Trip Budget Breakdown

Based on a six month round the world trip.

£2,000      Round the World flight ticket

£4,000      Accommodation  (equivalent of approx. £25 per night).

£1,500      Food and drink*

£1,000      Emergency fund

£600         Transport (both local and overland)

£500         Tours and activities

£200         Travel Inoculations

£150          Backpackers Insurance

£50            Visas

Budget £10,000

*It is worth bearing in mind that I did not include alcohol into the budget because I didn’t feel comfortable drinking on my own at night, plus after a day exploring, I prefer to relax in the evening.

Trip breakdown

£2,000      round the world ticket in shoulder season (Darren travelled on a Navigator RTW )

£3,000      Accommodation 

£1,200      Food and drink

£600         Transport (both local and overland)

£300         Tours and activities

£300         Mobile Internet

£50           Contact lenses

£250          Camera

£400          Social Life (including alcohol)

£350          Backpackers Insurance (including cover for type 2 Diabetes)

£25            Banking fees

£15            Visas

Amount spent £8,490

 

 

Saving money on accommodation

The biggest saving was on accommodation.  In Australia I spent four weeks volunteering (check out Helpx.net for volunteer listings) and in return for 3 hours a work a day, I received free accommodation and meals.  Also, while in SE Asia, hotels were cheaper than expected (avg. £8-£10 a night for a single room).  

Lessons learnt

Lots of lessons learnt; leaving my Canon camera on the platform at Chiang Mai train station was an expensive mistake, because purchasing a new one in Thailand was not as cheap as expected.  While in Australia, I left my contact lenses in a hotel, so had to purchase new ones in New Zealand. 

Avoid the peak seasons

The biggest lesson I learnt though was not to visit countries like the USA in the peak season (July & August) because the price of accommodation increased, and if you want to volunteer to save money, the best volunteer positions are taken. Thankfully, while in New Zealand the mistake came to my attention, and with the Navigator RTW ticket, I changed my arrival date in the USA, phew.

Additional unbudgeted expenses

While in Australia and New Zealand the cost of internet was higher than expected because many of the hotels did not offer unlimited internet access, and I wanted to continue to keep in touch with family and friends while uploading videos to my YouTube channel.

Within my pre-trip budget, a social life was not included. I met so many amazing people while travelling, and couldn’t help but go out and enjoy myself.  It’s important that you factor in your social life, even if you are an introvert like me!  Finally, while I made sure that my bank at home did not charge me for withdrawing money at ATM’s, banks in Thailand and the USA did, so factor this cost in.

Hopefully, this article will give you an idea of how much it is going to cost you for your round the world trip, and help you plan your budget.

by Darren Cronian

Daily Spend

 

 

 

Working out the cost of a RTW trip is for many people little more than an exercise in guesswork. There are so many unknowns about a trip that it’s easy to give up on budgeting before you start. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. There are a few simple steps to help you work out roughly how much you’re likely to spend before you go.

Transport

How quickly will you be moving from place to place? If you’re paying for buses and trains on a daily basis then this needs to be included in your costs. In many countries this will be the biggest chunk of your daily spending.

Accommodation

One man’s slum is another man’s palace. Try to be realistic about what standards of accommodation you’re going to accept and budget accordingly. If you’re going to hate being without a private bathroom or you want to spread your things in your room as if you were at home that’s fine; just don’t set aside £5 a night for a bed in a large hostel dorm.

Food

Most travellers will splurge on a decent meal once in a while during a long trip; a diet of non-stop pizza and burgers is not healthy by any measure. But knowing just how often you are going to shun the two dollar dinners and choose a pick-me-up treat can make a big difference to how much you will spend.

Drink

All careful budgeting can be undone by a few reckless hours in a local bar. You may congratulate yourself for finding a bed in a great $10 hostel but if you then blow $30 on alcohol then your daily spend has suddenly doesn’t look so small. That’s not to say of course that you should sacrifice a good time for the sake of spending as little as possible. It’s more a case of being realistic, knowing how much you’re likely to drink on a typical night and including that in your budget.

Tours, admission fees

Every trip has its big ticket items. It might be a safari, an over-night luxury train or a multi-day hike. All of these activities are likely to make a big dent in your budget. The same applies to a lesser extent with museum entrance fees, bungee jumps or boat rides. Knowing in advance the costs of the attractions and activities you want to see and do will mean you can better plan your finances and avoid a nasty surprise during your trip.

Above all be flexible about the budget for your trip. Plan how much you think you’ll spend each day, add another 20% for unforeseen items (you’ll almost certainly spend it) and then go and enjoy yourself. Some days will be over budget while on others you’ll hardly spend a thing. Plan ahead and you won’t have to miss doing those things you’ll remember years later as the highlights of your RTW trip.

 

by Stuart Lodge

 

Where's cheap

  

When planning a round the world trip one of the first things you need to consider is how long you’re going to be away for. While there may be a job or a university place that provides you with a fixed end date to your travels, more likely than not it’s how long you money will last that will be the single most important factor in determining the length of your trip.

Some countries have always been more expensive than others. Japan for example has long been considered somewhere where keeping a tight grip on a budget is difficult (although with a weakening yen in the last year even that rule of thumb is changing) , while you can spend weeks in South East Asia and barely make a dent in your cash reserves (depending on how much beer you drink of course).

Then there is the exchange rate to consider. What is an expensive destination one year can suddenly become good value the next and vice versa. So where will your money will last longest?

 

Australia and New Zealand

UK travellers have suffered at the hands of the rising Australian and New Zealand dollars in recent years but times have changed in the last 6 months. The Kiwi Dollar is now over $2.30 and and Aussie dollar is over $2. Times have changed. Put it this way - New Zealand is now almost 20% cheaper than it was 2 months ago.

 

South East Asia

Almost anywhere in this part of the world will seem cheap to those arriving from Europe or North America. You can eat well for a pound, wash it down with a 50p beer and crash at a decent hostel for under a fiver. Transport is very cheap if you use the local buses or tuk-tuks and still reasonable if you choose to ‘upgrade’ to the minibus shuttles.  

As a general rule Laos and Cambodia are two of the cheapest countries to visit with Thailand and Vietnam a little more pricey but still very good value. Be aware that the major tourist-related costs are high everywhere. Entry to Angkor Wat will set you back $20 for a one-day pass and $40 for the more popular three-day ticket, while in Siem Reap mass tourism has meant that most food and accommodation costs are considerably higher than elsewhere in the region.

India

While India has one eye firmly on the growing luxury tourist market there is still a wide variety of budget accommodation and once you leave the main tourist hotspots you’ll find plenty of cheap options. India is a great place to eat well for very little as the delicious and very cheap street food is mostly fried freshly in front of you.

As in many parts of the world entrance charges for the main attractions are higher for foreigners than locals. On the plus side there are countless temples that can be enjoyed for free and for most visitors their highlights of India are their random encounters with people well away from the busy tourist sights.

East Africa


While there are fewer tourist facilities here than in the backpacker hotspots of Asia you can still live well on a small budget. Accommodation is cheap and food very affordable, particularly away from the popular tourist centres such as Mombasa or Arusha.  

The big dent in your travel budget here is likely to be the high cost of safaris and other activities, all of which are priced at western prices. Decide ahead of time how many safari days you want to budget for and stick to this. Camping can save a lot of money and many hostels have camping facilities within their grounds. Or try a tour

 

 


South America


South American countries can dip in and out of budget-friendly status according to their economic woes. It is not as cheap as SE Asia but you can still live on a small budget. Argentina became cheap for travellers overnight when it stopped fixing the peso to the US dollar in 2002 and the currency fell in value by 70%. It still offers good value hotels and hostels and you can eat well for under $10.

Bolivia however is probably South America’s bargain destination and is a popular stop for backpackers, with plenty of very cheap hostels and a well-trodden tourist trail. Even though jungle trips or boats on Lake Titicaca will bump up the cost Bolivia still offers excellent value for money.

 

 

 

Published by Stuart Lodge