One of the first questions we get asked is : How much did it cost you to travel around the world ?
My partner and I set out on the adventure of a lifetime and what was the most complex itinerary we ever planned to discover some of the world’s most beautiful places on a budget. We explored the marvels of Easter Island, the prominent Registan in Uzbekistan and the Wall of China near Beijing ; encountered the incredible sea water of Bora Bora and New Caledonia; and experienced diverse cultures from the Catholic monasteries of Armenia to one of the most mysterious country in the world : North Korea.
During our 10 months of travel, we traveled 26 countries and spent : two months in Caucasia and Central Asia, two months in Asia, two months in Oceania and Pacific, two months in South America and two months in West Africa. Click here for more detailed information about our itinerary.
We rarely spent two nights in the same place. We opt for moving regularly to the next places to avoid making long distances at the time and see as much as we could. Despite what people may think it did not cost us more than if we were slow travelers spending a week or two in the same place.
WHAT TO EXPECT OF OUR TRIP ?
The way we traveled around the world was surely not for everyone taste ! But it was still very comfortable and safe. We adapted our way of living depending on the countries we visited. We camped and hitchhiked most time in developed countries (Tahiti, Australia, New Zeland, New Caledonia) were costs are high. We enjoyed a bite of “luxury” in places like Asia and South America were you can eat well and stay in nice accommodations for a lot less. We surely did not want to miss out on any places we visited and had to make some compromises at time.
There are a lot of factors that influence how much you will spend on your trip such as the number of countries, the types of accommodations, the mode of transportation, the activities you do. In this post, we will shed some light on the costs associated with a trip around the world and give you an overview of the costs if you have plans for a trip like ours.
SO HOW MUCH DOES IT COST ?
In general, you should expect it to cost between €17,000 to €26,000 per person to travel around the world for a year. We spent €12,000. Our numbers at glance :
ABOUT THE MODE OF TRANSPORTATION:
We did NOT purchase a round the world ticket. Although there are said to make a lengthy, multi-destination trips as cheap and easy as possible, this was not for us the best option and we saved over 1,000 Euros per person by booking our tickets ourselves. We privileged taking low cost flights in Asia, worked hard on finding a multi-destinations awesome deal ticket flying from New Zealand to Tahiti to Easter Island and Uruguay for 800 Euros. We also adapted our trip based on airfare, for instance we flew from Brasil to Cabo Verde 120 Euros and from Morocco back home with Ryanair for 65 Euros and adapted our itinerary accordingly. We hope to make an article soon about our tips on how to best book flights, in the meantime, get in touch if you need help with your flights.
Well suited for a trip on a budget is Hitchhiking. This was our primary mode of transportation in Central Asia, New Zealand, Cabo Verde, Paraguay and the Pacific islands. Of course is the most inexpensive way to travel but it also provides flexibility and the opportunity to meet locals and make new friends. For us it was not just a way of travelling for free so we always offered something in exchange and offered to buy a coffee or a meal or pay a contribution towards the petrol cost. To be honest, we rarely had to pay for anything, people just wanted to get to know us and our story. Hitchhiking can be tricky at times, especially if you are more than one person with bags and you need to stay safe.
To save over the airplane fares, we privileged buses or shared taxis in South America, Southeast Asia and Africa. Some buses took over 24 hours, so you have to be patient ! We also crossed the Caspian sea by boat, Kazakhstan on a 30H train journey and part of Mauritania on a 15H Iron train journey.
One of our best deal was to use a relocation car in New Zealand. Fuel, ferry ticket and car were given to us at no fees for a week. We only had to drive the car from the South Island all the way back to the North Island at Auckland airport !
ABOUT THE ACCOMMODATION:
We did not stay in the world-class hotels throughout the trip but we made sure to have a nice and comfortable hotels from time to time. Most of the places we stayed in were booked on the day and at the place, except for busy places like Singapore or at busy time like during Christmas or at the Carnival in Rio. In this instance, we booked a place on booking.com or Airbnb.
In many occasions, we have also had the chance to be genuinely hosted by friends & relatives , providing us a nice bed to sleep in and giving us great insights into their way of living. This was the case in Tasmania, Uzbekistan, New Caledonia, Brazil, Kyrgyzstan, Tahiti and North Korea. They tremendously helped us with our budget and some of them have been able to visited us back home already !
Below are the type of the accommodations we had (price in descending order):
- Friends room/ sofa
- Guest Houses
- Low budget Hotels
- Mid-range Hotels
We spent in average 9.35 Euros per person per day for our accommodations.
Another way to keep low costs was for us to check the accommodation’s night rate online and negotiate a lower price at the place we wanted to stay. At the exception of Thailand and one place in Morocco, we were always offered better deals than the online prices. Indeed the hosts do not have to pay any commissions (from booking online) and generally prefer to be paid in cash!
ABOUT THE FOOD:
Food is another item that you can control to keep costs down. We rarely went to restaurants and prepared our own meals to save money. In cheaper countries like in Asia we would dinned out every day at the street food stalls and local markets. In South America and West Africa we went to local cafés. We ensured that the hotels were booked including breakfast and avoided spending money on alcohol. Our diet was pretty basic (potatoes, rice, pasta) but we enjoyed even more to come back home !
About activities, tours, and excursions:
This is where we spent the least … Why ? How ? We visited places off the beaten places and privileged activities like hiking, walking, snorkelling which are an inexpensive way to explore. We visited free museums, did some city tours ourselves and went sightseeing with the locals we met along the way
We selected some must-seen sites we felt we had to go like the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, the Angkor Watt temple in Cambodia or the national park of Easter Island. We also privileged uncommon outdoors activities and signed up for a unforgettable horse riding trek in Kyrgyzstan and spent a great fun day at the world famous Ramayana waterpark in Thailand.
We absolutely stayed away from the very touristic tours and activities that can be very expensive and spent as little as 680 Euros per person for the whole trip. Just remember what is the purpose of your travel and do not miss out on something you really want to do.