When I was planning and saving money to travel around the world, this was one question that was on my mind all the time. How much will it cost, how much should I save, should I look for an earning opportunity while traveling and many other similar questions. I checked a lot of RTW (round the world) travel blogs in the quest for a clear answer – a round figure but I was disappointed.
While some blogs suggested that RTW trips can be done for less than $18000 a year, others vouched for anything upwards of $20000 a year. All confused, I decided to save for X years and travel with that money, for as many months as it lasts. In my case, it lasted for 17 months.
With the knowledge from all the research, my conversations with other travelers and my own first-hand RTW travel experience, I can tell you that there is no ballpark figure that you must have, to travel around the world because “it depends” on a lot of factors.
So what’s the point of this article? Well, to tell you about how much money I spent while traveling around the world.
I know you are curious to know about the money I spent while traveling because this is one question I get asked all the time. I’m glad to tell you that I have kept an account of my spendings and so a few days ago, I opened my journal and my bank account statements to arrive at the most accurate figure of my spendings.
the magic figure for my 17-month journey is little more than Rs. 14.44 lakhs.
This total is inclusive of everything from visa fees, airfare and other transportation, food, lodging, activities and anything else that came up during my journey including replacing my stolen camera lens.
I’m sure many of you will call it bullshit because it seems too less, and then there will be others who will call it bullshit because this is too high to be called budget. In fact, I myself know people who do the real budget – like a couple I met, they do not spend more than $25 a day and a group of Canadians who traveled in Europe for €6 a day.
The point of telling you about how much I spent – is to inform you that long-term travel is possible and manageable on this kind of a budget.
So, if my travel spends have made you happy, thrilled and/ or optimistic about your travel dreams, then this article is for you.
On the basis of my personal experience, I have compiled a list of factors that will help you determine your travel budget.
1. Countries you wish to travel – Some parts of the world are more expensive than others. The United States, Oceania, Western Europe, Japan, Australia and Scandinavia are going to cost more. While Central America and Asia will bring the costs down.
I have observed that my food and lodging expenses in expensive countries (West Europe, USA, and Canada) were upwards of $32 (Rs 2090) a day while I was able to manage with less than $18 (Rs 1100) a day in less expensive countries of East Europe and Asia.
My suggestion to you is to divide your time in a way to include both expensive and not-so-expensive countries. By alternating between these kinds, you will be able to avoid the (possible) burnout of traveling on a tight budget for a long time.
2. Time of visit – Prices in a given location can vary wildly depending on the time of year you’re there. Getting right before or right after the peak tourist seasons is a good idea, in that way you can enjoy good weather along with cheaper tariffs.
3. Duration of Stay – The fun of travel lies in spontaneity and the freedom of movement. I would definitely never recommend anyone planning each day of the trip but having a little idea of the duration of stay can go a long way in saving money and negotiating deals. I was sure of spending 3 months in Europe and so I bought a Eurail Pass and even though it seemed expensive, Eurail Pass was the sole reason I could travel so widely and comfortably, as well as save money while traveling in Europe.
4. Your travel style: The biggest influence on how big your budget needs to be is your travel style. Let’s accept that not everyone is comfortable sleeping in dormitories or traveling long distances in buses. Most of us like to believe that we can adapt to the budget lifestyle, but the truth is that many things that we take for granted in our homes become luxury on the road. And that can make you really miserable. Know your style and plan your budgets accordingly. Remember, it is your journey and should be your way.
This list is not exhaustive and there can be multiple other factors that can drastically impact your budget such as a policy change, currency fluctuations, sudden discounts etc. Yet, by considering these factors, you would be able to understand what variables to consider when planning to travel around the world.
In my next post, I would let you know how I managed to travel around the world for 17 months on a budget of 14.44 lakhs INR.
Are you inspired to travel now?
Usually, when I tell someone about the expenses that I incurred while traveling around the world, they get really inspired. But in few days, I see them getting back to their old habits of postponing their travel dreams to some other day. And so I would really like to urge you to stop dreaming and start doing. Take the first type right now – set yourself a date and start saving. There are so many people and stories and adventures waiting for you in another corner of the world.
And if you have a question, go ahead and send it to me. I would be more than happy to be your partner in crime.