Can You Afford a Round the World Trip?


These days it is becoming increasingly common for adventurous travellers to leave the routine behind them and spend months or even years travelling round the world. For most people this is a once in a lifetime experience but could you afford to do it? The following are the most important points to bear in mind when you are working out whether this is a possibility for you.
The Travel Costs

By far the most popular way of going round the globe is by plane. The most sensible way of arranging this is by getting a round the world ticket with stops in different parts of the world. This can actually work out less expensive than you might think, although clearly the price can vary greatly depending upon when you are travelling and where you are making your stops. The best idea is to spend some time speaking to a specialist adventure travel firm such as the ones which are aimed at students and backpackers. This approach will mean that you have a plan in which you need to be in certain cities at certain times but you should look for as much flexibility as you can get. For example, you might be able to get tickets which let you change the dates for a small fee if you decide to spend longer in one place.

The Living Expenses

Most of us are used to thinking of the flight as being probably the biggest expense in our trips. However, if you are going to be spending months on the road then the living expenses you face will almost certainly add up to a lot more than the flights, given that you need food and a bed every single day you are away. This is a figure which it is pretty much impossible to figure out in advance with any great degree of accuracy but you can do some research to give yourself a ballpark figure to work on. The first step is to work out how long you are going to spend in each country. It costs a lot more to live a day in Australia, Europe or North America than it does in Asia, Africa or Latin America. Even within those continents the daily living expenses can vary widely from one country to another. Once you have an idea of how long you will be spending in each county you will then want to look up some traveller’s forums and find out the average daily living cost there. Everyone spends different amounts each day because we all do different things and have our own tastes and needs. However, you will start to get an idea whether you need to budget for £10 per day or £50 per day depending upon where you go to.

The Creative Solutions

Ok, so you cover off the first two points and it is clear that your budget is going to fall short of what you need. What do you do now? If you are really keen to travel then it is time to be creative. You could start off by thinking again about your travel itinerary and maybe spending more time in cheaper countries. This is nothing to be ashamed of and dirt cheap places like Vietnam, Peru and Costa Rica will probably be among the most exciting places you visit anyway. In fact, you will find that many travellers you come across spend the majority of their round the world trip in Asia and Latin America for budgetary reasons. Another idea is to consider working while you travel. This might not be exactly what you want to do but it could turn out to be a hugely rewarding experience. For British travellers under 30 an Australian working visa is a fantastic way to afford a trip there. Alternatively, you could look for some online work or consider the likes of teaching English abroad. Finally, a nice way to cut costs and do some good is to do voluntary work. In some cases you might need to pay for your food and accommodation but with other projects you could live for free while doing something worthwhile on the other side of the planet.

11 Responses to Can You Afford a Round the World Trip?

  1. My wife and I have actually thought about this. We have nearly enough reward miles to both do this.

  2. Pauline says:

    I did a rtw trip back in 2003 on about £10 a day. The flight was £1200 with a dozen stops on 4 continents. It is not much more expensive than what a lot of people spend on a 2 week vacation!

  3. It’s definitely doable to travel if you pick countries where your dollar is strong. I have a friend who traveled for 8 months straight around Asia and her budget was only $10,000. Not bad for an amazing travel experience.

  4. Like Pauline I’ve travelled to so many countries I’ve lost count but the buck stops as soon as I moved to Canada. Now it’s far too expensive to travel so I’ll be planning a trip back home then travel from the UK to other places. I’ve stayed in low budget places. I did whatever I needed to in order to go places I wanted to. It was fun and it’s not always about staying at ritzy places.

    • Is everything more expensive in Canada? I remember you mentioning the cost of Canadian mobile phone contracts on here in the past Mr CBB but I didn’t realise it was the same story with travel.

  5. Love the idea about a working vacation – what a great way to get to know a country!

  6. Random travel hack: I’ve heard that if you’re trying to fly around Australia if you book on common flight deal sites from their Japanese site instead of English, you can save some good money.

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