Round the World Trip Costs

One of the most common questions i get asked about my trip is: How much did all of this cost you? People wonder how much i spent on the trip altogether, and they also wonder how much i spent in various countries along the way. I wouldn't be honest if i said that this trip didn't cost a lot. It definitely did. But, at the same time, it was actually cheaper for me to be out traveling the world than it would be for me to be sitting at home. Living in the USA is ridiculously expensive. The amount of money that i spend monthly on rent, would cover a months worth of *everything* (hotel, food, transport, fun, etc) in another country.

Anyways, i decided to put together this page for anyone who is planning their own trip, and wanted some information on how much i spent. Of course, your mileage will vary. I definitely could have spent *less* money in many countries, but i chose not to because i wanted to stay in nicer rooms, eat better food, and live it up a little. On the flip side, you could also easily spend much much more than i did.

To give you an idea of my spending habits:

  • I would usually stay in hotels that are one step up from the bottom. In other words, i wouldnt take the filthy flea-ridden room that looked like it hadn't been cleaned since last century, but still took small rooms with no A/C, sometimes shared bathroom, and not TV or other luxuries.
  • Food is my weakness, and i could never pass up trying the local foods. I very rarely bought groceries. Instead i usually ate at the cheaper restaurants or enjoyed street food.
  • I pretty much always took the cheapest form of transport available. I traveled overland as much as i possibly could and only bought flights as a last resort.
  • I didnt really spend a ton on activities, but for the activities that were really expensive, i am setting them apart from my regular finnaces and marking them as "extra spending".

The first chart shows how long i spent in each country. Before leaving i initially made a rough itinerary of how long to spend in each place. I ended up barely following the itinerary at all. It was much better to just go where i pleased, for however long i wanted. In the beginnig of the trip, i spent a week each in london, paris, and barcelona. Then the trip really started. I kind of aimed at about 3 weeks in each country. I spent less time in some small countries, and then of course spent more time in other countries where i just couldnt make myself leave. India is so huge (and incredible), i had to give it two months.

The second graph shows how much money i spent per country. Obviously, i spent a ton more money in Japan than anywhere else. Part of that is because transportation is really expensive there and i had to buy a one month rail pass for 500 bucks. The other reason is that originally i planned on only going to japan for a couple weeks, but when i got there i became totally enamored with it and just couldnt leave. A couple weeks stretched into 5 and soon enough i had spent a ton of money.

The third graph gives a better of idea of how expensive each country is since it is a daily cost instead of a total cost. As you can see, traveling in a lot of the countries was extremely cheap. Syria and Indonesia only cost around 20$ per day! Egypt and India were just 25$ per day. Japan and the UK were by far the most expensive countries to be in. in London, just a *hostel bed* costs about 30$. In both Tokyo and London, just taking the metro around town is really expensive. And if you want to go out at night to bars/clubs and drink etc, the bill adds up really quick. So, in some ways how much you spend on the trip does really depend on where you go. Stick to cheap countries and you can stretch your money really really far. Go to europe or japan, and you will run out quickly. Of course, just because i spent over $100 per day in japan and london, doesnt mean that this is the lowest possible budget. In japan i went out a lot, enjoyed the delicious japanese food, and stayed in a fun area of town. If you tried to do it on the cheap, i bet you could do japan for $50-$60... but you'd have to try pretty hard.

Below are the exact numbers used for the graphs above.

Date Country # of Days Base Spend Spend Per Day Extra Spend
Sep 15 2004 United States 0 $0.00 0$0.00
Sep 15 2004 United Kingdom 7 $816.50 $116.64 $0.00
Sep 22 2004 France 9 $564.50 $62.72 $50.00
Oct 01 2004 Spain 8 $699.00 $87.38 $0.00
Oct 09 2004 Morocco 13 $531.50 $40.88 $100.00
Oct 22 2004 Transit Time 2 $205.50 $102.75 $0.00
Oct 24 2004 Hungary 2 $145.00 $72.50 $0.00
Oct 26 2004 Croatia 6 $435.00 $72.50 $0.00
Oct 31 2004 Serbia 1 $72.50 $72.50 $0.00
Nov 01 2004 Bulgaria 3 $102.50 $34.17 $0.00
Nov 04 2004 Turkey 17 $707.00 $41.59 $0.00
Nov 21 2004 Syria 13 $253.50 $19.50 $120.00
Dec 04 2004 Israel 13 $726.50 $55.88 $37.50
Dec 17 2004 Jordan 3 $176.00 $58.67 $45.00
Dec 20 2004 Egypt 21 $528.50 $25.17 $455.50
Jan 10 2005 India 66 $1,546.50 $23.43 $589.00
Mar 17 2005 Burma 18 $528.00 $29.33 $0.00
Apr 05 2005 Thailand 21 $754.50 $35.93 $166.00
Apr 26 2005 Singapore 2 $111.50 $55.75 $68.00
Apr 28 2005 Indonesia 24 $489.00 $20.38 $457.00
May 22 2005 Japan 35 $4,138.00 $118.23 $50.00
Jun 26 2005 Russia 23 $937.00 $40.74 $488.50
Jul 19 2005 Latvia 3 $230.00 $76.67 $20.00
Jul 22 2005 Czech Republic 8 $286.50 $35.81 $154.00
Jul 30 2005 Transit Time 2 $136.00 $68.00 $0.00
Aug 01 2005 Ethiopia 13 $423.50 $32.58 $40.00
Aug 14 2005 Kenya 19 $633.50 $33.34 $407.50
Sep 02 2005 Tanzania 15 $512.00 $34.13 $240.00
Sep 17 2005 Transit Time 3 $174.00 $58.00 $0.00
Sep 20 2005 Argentina 32 $1,036.00 $32.38 $186.00
Oct 22 2005 Chile 7 $293.00 $41.86 $0.00
Oct 29 2005 Bolivia 22 $530.00 $24.09 $217.00
Nov 19 2005 Transit Time 2 $80.00 $40.00 $0.00
TOTALS: 433 $18,802.50   $3,891.00

The other really big cost for the trip was airfare. One of the more difficult questions to decide for a RTW trip is whether to get a RTW ticket or to just book flights as you go along. There are pluses to both sides. RTW tickets can be really good bargains, but they have restrictions. Normally you have to set your itinerary in advance and then you have to pay extra later if you want to change it. For me, i love to be able to change my travel plans on a whim, so that didnt sound very good. Plus, the good value of these RTW tickets tends to diminish if you add too many continents. My trip just took in too many places to get a good RTW ticket. Last of all, almost all RTW tickets only allow you to use them for up to one year. After 365 days, your ticket is dead. I wasnt sure if i would be gone more than a year, so that pretty much was the last straw in not choosing a RTW ticket. Below is what i paid for airfare.

San Francisco to London$ 240.00
London to Paris$ 50.00
Paris to Barcelona$ 121.72
Gibraltar to London$ 136.10
London to Budapest$ 124.12
Cairo to Mumbai$ 401.01
Calcutta to Yangon$ 204.09
Yangon to Bangkok$ 135.87
Bangkok to Singapore$ 57.73
Singapore to Jakarta$ 83.88
Denpasar to Tokyo$ 483.63
Tokyo to Vladivostok$ 294.10
Prague to London$ 142.72
London to Addis Abbaba$ 468.88
Nairobi to Frankfurt$ 745.50
Frankfurt to Florida$ 120.15
Florida to Buenos Aires$ 388.30
La Paz to Miami$ 531.10
Miami to San Francisco$ 229.00
Total Flights$ 4,957.88

You may be wondering "What the hell? These flights make no sense, what kind of route did you take exactly?!" Here is a link to a map of my route... it doesnt look all that great, and i hope to replace it w/ a better map soon:

So that's it. There's everything that i've spent over the last 433 days. Below is the grand total for everything. As you can see, it's really not *that* much money for a year and several months worth of travel... a trip of a lifetime!!

Day to Day Base Spend$18,802.50
Day to Day Extra Spend$3,891.00
Total for 433 days of travel:$27,651.38