How Much Does a RTW Trip Cost?

Golden gate bridge -- Jack and Jill Collection

How much would it cost me to do an around the world trip?

Difference in Standard of Living

With the huge difference in living standard between countries (just giving you an example, Lonely Planet estimates that you can get by in Mongolia for $10/day. Russia, its neighboring country, however, could set you back $150/day), the different styles of travel, and other variables, well, it is hard to estimate…

I spent 2 days looking for was real-life examples from other budget-obsessed people – and banking on the law of average to take care of the rest. Specifically, we were looking for a budget break down per country, per day, including the unexpected costs, the big item “most-do’s”, all that good stuff… And since we’re both into spreadsheets (well, not really) and lists (lists are okay)… if they come with those, that’s even better.

2 days of Googling and I could only find three such examples.

How Much Has It Cost Other People?

So thank to these 3 groups of people (and Google), we know the answers to questions such as:

How much did it cost for one person to travel 22 countries in 15 months?
The answer: $35000 – $2333/month/pp

How much did it cost a couple to travel 21+ countries in 13 months?
The answer: $57200 – $2200/month/pp*

How much did it cost for a couple to travel 11 countries in 9 months?
The answer: $22500 – $1260/month/pp

*Adjusted for inflation since the trip was taken in 2006

These three groups of people have a similar type of traveling style. Budget, but not really sleeping-in-airports-and-eating-bread-every-day kind of budget. All are into staying in hostels, but allow themselves to go on some organized tours every now and then. In short, they sound just like us.

I thought it’s kind of interesting to notice that the cost per person per month seems to correlate much stronger to the number of countries visited than the number of days spent traveling. It makes sense in a way: inter-country travel (usually by air) adds up really quick, but does it really matter that much?

I really wish I had more data points to compare. Three data points really don’t tell much.

Please let me know if you have more examples, either from your own experience or a site you came across on the interweb… would love to hear them!

Update: This site found an example of a couple spending $3000 pp/pm in 6 months! That seems like a lot! But from their description, it sounds like they stayed in hotel and flew a lot.

Update: Christine and her husband traveled to 12 countries, in 9 months.. and it cost them $33605 — $1870 pp/pm

Valuable Resources

  • Atlas Obscura: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders, for those who love anything weird and offbeat.
  • Resource Toolbox: How I find cheap flights, accommodations, and other travel hacks.

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10 Replies to “How Much Does a RTW Trip Cost?”

  1. Hi there !

    funny enough, i happen to be a spreadsheet freak and I've been traveling for 29 months now (769 days precisely). So i guess i can share my number love with you guys !

    I'm a little behind on my data so lets say 28 months of travel. I have spent so far 2270€ on accommodation and 5725€ on transportation, bust once i'm up to date probabely more about 7000€. FYI if i take out flights and cargos this goes down to 2000€.
    i have travelled alone 33% of the time.
    when i am alone i spend an average of 4.69€ a night,
    when we are 2 people we average 2.06€ a night.
    there is quite a bit of hitchhiking/woofing/friends and family visiting involved, or sometimes we buy a car, so this is why this budget is so low.
    It has taken me to 29 countries, so it is safe to say i average one a month 🙂

    After two rough years most of the electronic tends to die so i have had a bit of spending to do recently (laptop, camera, phone, hard drive). so far i must have spent about 3000€ on gear.

    That includes backpacks, camping gear, water pump, cameras, everything. Before i had to renew everything i had spent less than 2000€.

    Oh, i also spend about 1200€ on insurance, and i don't regret it ! it helped me big time when i needed it !
    all of this takes us to about 17000€.

    See, i am absolutely terrible at keeping a budget, so my technic is to cheap out on all the above, and then feel free to eat all the time, get a new dress if i want one, buy a 3G plan for a month or pay for laundry. it is all about the little pleasures in life.

    so on top of the 10 000 on flights, cargo, insurance and gear, i spent between 500€ and 800€ every month.

    To see which countries i've been to it's over here :

    i hope this helped ! keep up the good work your blog is great !

    My recent post Sky Lantern Festival in Pingxi, Taiwan

  2. I guess how much it costs to travel is such a subjective things to each couple/individual….but at least you were able to find a few resources for people to at least get an idea and compare it with their own funds.

  3. I traveled with my hubby for 20 months through NZ, Asia and South America (18 countries including destinations like Galapagos and Easter Island) and it cost us $19,600 per head and this includes about $4600 for flights. The rest is lodging, food, ground transport, sightseeing, souvenirs etc. Travel insurance and gear not included – we didn't really buy any gear prior to the trip and as far as insurance goes we got sponsored 🙂
    Two of those 20 months we stayed with our families in Europe and didn't really have many expenses at that time. So we can say that we were on the road for 18 months, which cost us on average $1088 per person per month including flights.
    We pretty much always stayed in double rooms (we stayed in dorms maybe 10 times during those 18 months), ate 3 time a day (but almost always at local restaurant and avoided tourist restaurants), we cooked and camped in more expensive places (Argentina and Chile) etc. So it was budget traveling but very far from extreme. Let me know if you would like more details 🙂

    1. Hey Lisa,
      Thanks for the sharing the link. I've never seen that post before… I'm going to update this post in the future with all of these new data points you guys have pointed out. Thanks again!

      Jack n Jill

  4. Hello there. We're the couple listed above with the cheapest travel. Your budget really all depends upon the type of travel you prefer. We traveled comfortably, but by no means in luxury. We did mostly overland travel and did not buy a RTW ticket, preferring to plan as we went. Here are a few more RTW budgets from fellow bloggers:

    One Giant Step
    Johnny Vagabond

    1. Hey, thanks for visiting Jodi. I really enjoyed your site (just asked a question on your Trans Siberian post). Thanks for the links!

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