How to predict your daily spending

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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.

Ten tips for travelling with cash

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Packing for your big RTW trip…? Lay out all your clothes and your money on the bed then, as the saying goes, take half the clothes and double the money. But then you have to look after your hard-earned road money – here are a few pointers that could save you having to come home early.

Travel’s false economies

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David Whitley looks at the ridiculous things we do to save money on the road – and realises that they often end up costing far more than the options we avoid.

How much does it cost to travel round the world?

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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


Places where your pound will go further

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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, 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. UK travellers have suffered at the hands of the rising Australian and New Zealand dollars in recent years and a budget that would have lasted six months a few years ago might run dry after four months today.

So where will your money will last longest?

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.


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.

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.



by Andy Jarosz