It’s not easy to estimate the price of a long-term trip all alone. In this article, we’ll help you accurately calculate your budget, by taking into account the main factors which influence your expenses: trip duration, countries visited, transport, accommodation, equipment, insurance, visas, vaccines… We’ll also give you practical advice to help you save money.
Between 19th and 23rd January 2018, we carried out a huge survey among 848 people who travelled the world for more than three months. We asked them detailed questions about the handling of their expenses by item and by country. Find out more about our methodology
The total average budget of a round-the-world trip is £13,000 ($16,000 – €15,000) per person. However, this figure isn’t set in stone.
Some globetrotters manage to travel with next to no money. They do this by getting around on foot and by hitch-hiking / boat hitch-hiking, camping, or benefiting from other people’s hospitality.
Others, however, take lots of flights or travel in an expensive vehicle, stay in hotels and do lots of activities. The biggest budget from our survey is £70,000 ($85,000 – €80,000) per person!
Between these two extremes, you can find all sorts of budgets. However, more than three quarters are between £7,000 ($8,500 – €8,000) and £17,000 ($21,000 – €20,000)
Note : These figures only correspond to trips whose route strictly adheres to the definition of a round-the-world trip, that is to say, going round the world, and returning to the place that you started from.
During a long trip, expenses whilst travelling make up the biggest part of the budget: around two thirds on average. Next are plane tickets which represent around one fifth of the total amount. Other expenses mainly include equipment, insurance, visas and vaccines.
Unsurprisingly, this is the factor which has the most influence on the total budget of the trip. That’s right, fixed prices (equipment, vaccines…) only represent a very small fraction of the total cost of a round-the-world trip. Whereas fluctuating costs (plane tickets, local transport, accommodation, food, activities, travel insurance, visas…) weigh a lot more heavily on your budget, and depend on the trip duration.
There’s a fivefold gap in the average daily budget amongst globetrotters’ most visited destinations. In India, globetrotters spend £15 ($19 – €18) on average per day, whilst in Polynesia the average daily budget is £73 ($92 – €86).
If you don’t have unlimited funds, the best way to travel for a long time is to stay in cheaper countries as much as possible.
Few globetrotters visit Africa. Unfortunately, therefore, we don’t have a lot of data on this continent. However, contrary to popular belief, travelling in Africa isn’t always cheap. In fact, there’s hardly any backpacker-oriented accommodation or transport.
The data comes from our survey. It only applies to long trips of more than three consecutive months. Most of them took place in 2017.
The budgets, per country, include all costs whilst travelling:
On the other hand, they don’t include the cost of international transport to get to the country, nor potential visa costs.
For each country, we show the number of answers we received in our survey and from that we deduce the budget reliability:
For each country, we’ve established three budget levels:
In the last column, links to Lonely Planet’s budget pages will give you an idea of the cost of accommodation and meals in each country. You’ll also be able to get an idea of an estimated budget for countries we didn’t sufficiently cover in our survey.
|Basic budget||Backpacker budget||Comfortable budget||
Reliability of our budgets
An alternative source of data :
|Afghanistan||0||No data||No data|
|Albania||$2||£2||€2||$16||£13||€15||$29||£23||€27||7||Budget your trip|
|Algeria||0||No data||No data|
|Antigua-and-Barbuda||$16||£13||€15||1||Budget your trip|
|Argentina||$20||£16||€19||$34||£27||€32||$67||£54||€63||246||Budget your trip|
|Armenia||$29||£23||€27||$32||£26||€30||$32||£26||€30||3||Budget your trip|
|Australia||$42||£33||€39||$64||£51||€60||$88||£70||€82||243||Budget your trip|
|Austria||$21||£17||€20||$54||£43||€50||$64||£51||€60||11||Budget your trip|
|Azerbaijan||$5||£4||€5||1||Budget your trip|
|Bahamas||$36||£29||€34||$59||£47||€55||$72||£57||€67||3||Budget your trip|
|Bahrain||$107||£85||€100||1||Budget your trip|
|Bangladesh||$18||£14||€17||4||Budget your trip|
|Barbados||$43||£34||€40||1||Budget your trip|
|Belarus||$22||£18||€21||$36||£29||€34||$49||£39||€46||2||Budget your trip|
|Belgium||$30||£24||€28||$46||£37||€43||$59||£47||€55||14||Budget your trip|
|Belize||$21||£17||€20||$36||£29||€34||$44||£35||€41||16||Budget your trip|
|Bhutan||0||No data||Budget your trip|
|Bolivia||$18||£14||€17||$27||£21||€25||$40||£31||€37||369||Budget your trip|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||$16||£13||€15||$19||£15||€18||$32||£26||€30||6||Budget your trip|
|Botswana||$28||£22||€26||$39||£31||€36||$60||£48||€56||3||Budget your trip|
|Brazil||$32||£26||€30||$43||£34||€40||$58||£46||€54||46||Budget your trip|
|Bulgaria||$11||£9||€10||$19||£15||€18||$29||£23||€27||6||Budget your trip|
|Burkina Faso||$11||£9||€10||$21||£17||€20||$25||£20||€23||3||Budget your trip|
|Burundi||0||No data||No data|
|Cambodia||$19||£15||€18||$25||£20||€23||$33||£26||€31||452||Budget your trip|
|Cameroon||$26||£20||€24||$26||£20||€24||$26||£20||€24||1||Budget your trip|
|Canada||$21||£17||€20||$43||£34||€40||$61||£48||€57||34||Budget your trip|
|Cape Verde||$16||£13||€15||1||Budget your trip|
|Central African Republic||0||No data||No data|
|Chile||$27||£21||€25||$41||£32||€38||$56||£44||€52||339||Budget your trip|
|China||$19||£15||€18||$32||£26||€30||$49||£39||€46||248||Budget your trip|
|Colombia||$21||£17||€20||$32||£26||€30||$44||£35||€41||466||Budget your trip|
|Comoros||0||No data||No data|
|Congo (Republic)||0||No data||No data|
|Congo (Democratic Republic)||0||No data||No data|
|Cook Islands||$37||£30||€35||$43||£34||€40||$56||£44||€52||4||No data|
|Costa Rica||$24||£19||€22||$39||£31||€36||$58||£46||€54||24||Budget your trip|
|Croatia||$15||£12||€14||$24||£19||€22||$37||£30||€35||11||Budget your trip|
|Cuba||$19||£15||€18||$32||£26||€30||$47||£37||€44||19||Budget your trip|
|Cyprus||$64||£51||€60||1||Budget your trip|
|Czech Republic||$12||£9||€11||$27||£21||€25||$41||£32||€38||7||Budget your trip|
|Denmark||$16||£13||€15||$37||£30||€35||$64||£51||€60||13||Budget your trip|
|Djibouti||0||No data||No data|
|Dominica||$16||£13||€15||1||Budget your trip|
|Dominican Republic||$13||£10||€12||$31||£25||€29||$49||£39||€46||2||Budget your trip|
|Easter Island||$37||£30||€35||$49||£39||€46||$58||£46||€54||29||No data|
|Ecuador||$22||£18||€21||$31||£25||€29||$40||£31||€37||43||Budget your trip|
|Egypt||$37||£30||€35||$57||£45||€53||$103||£82||€96||4||Budget your trip|
|El Salvador||$13||£10||€12||$18||£14||€17||$27||£21||€25||5||No data|
|England||$30||£24||€28||$54||£43||€50||$75||£60||€70||21||Budget your trip|
|Equatorial Guinea||0||No data||No data|
|Eritrea||0||No data||No data|
|Estonia||$16||£13||€15||$27||£21||€25||$40||£31||€37||7||Budget your trip|
|Eswatini||$51||£41||€48||$57||£45||€53||$61||£48||€57||2||Budget your trip|
|Ethiopia||$17||£14||€16||$21||£17||€20||$31||£25||€29||3||Budget your trip|
|Fiji||$25||£20||€23||$62||£49||€58||$103||£82||€96||4||Budget your trip|
|Finland||$16||£13||€15||$43||£34||€40||$60||£48||€56||10||Budget your trip|
|France||$26||£20||€24||$43||£34||€40||$55||£43||€51||20||Budget your trip|
|French Polynesia||$54||£43||€50||$93||£74||€87||$119||£94||€111||32||Budget your trip|
|Galapagos Islands||$51||£41||€48||$60||£48||€56||$88||£70||€82||5||No data|
|Gambia||0||No data||No data|
|Georgia||$18||£14||€17||$21||£17||€20||$27||£21||€25||5||Budget your trip|
|Germany||$24||£19||€22||$32||£26||€30||$55||£43||€51||25||Budget your trip|
|Ghana||$135||£107||€126||1||Budget your trip|
|Greece||$17||£14||€16||$27||£21||€25||$57||£45||€53||13||Budget your trip|
|Greenland||$100||£79||€93||1||Budget your trip|
|Grenada||0||No data||Budget your trip|
|Guatemala||$16||£13||€15||$27||£21||€25||$35||£28||€33||25||Budget your trip|
|Guinea||0||No data||No data|
|Guinea-Bissau||0||No data||No data|
|Guyana||0||No data||No data|
|Haiti||$11||£9||€10||1||Budget your trip|
|Holy See||0||No data||No data|
|Honduras||$16||£13||€15||$21||£17||€20||$37||£30||€35||5||Budget your trip|
|Hong Kong||$34||£27||€32||$45||£36||€42||$61||£48||€57||34||Budget your trip|
|Hungary||$15||£12||€14||$16||£13||€15||$26||£20||€24||7||Budget your trip|
|India||$12||£9||€11||$19||£15||€18||$27||£21||€25||57||Budget your trip|
|Indonesia||$19||£15||€18||$25||£20||€23||$33||£26||€31||86||Budget your trip|
|Iran||$11||£9||€10||$16||£13||€15||$29||£23||€27||3||Budget your trip|
|Iraq||0||No data||No data|
|Ireland||$24||£19||€22||$43||£34||€40||$81||£65||€76||8||Budget your trip|
|Island||$37||£30||€35||$64||£51||€60||$101||£80||€94||12||Budget your trip|
|Israel||$43||£34||€40||$48||£38||€45||$67||£54||€63||5||Budget your trip|
|Italy||$21||£17||€20||$43||£34||€40||$60||£48||€56||20||Budget your trip|
|Ivory Coast||0||No data||No data|
|Jamaica||$46||£37||€43||$51||£41||€48||$56||£44||€52||2||Budget your trip|
|Japan||$32||£26||€30||$46||£37||€43||$64||£51||€60||46||Budget your trip|
|Jordan||$32||£26||€30||$41||£32||€38||$52||£42||€49||6||Budget your trip|
|Kazakhstan||$12||£9||€11||$20||£16||€19||$29||£23||€27||2||Budget your trip|
|Kenya||$22||£18||€21||$51||£41||€48||$125||£99||€117||5||Budget your trip|
|Kuwait||0||No data||No data|
|Laos||$16||£13||€15||$21||£17||€20||$27||£21||€25||74||Budget your trip|
|Latvia||$10||£8||€9||$21||£17||€20||$33||£26||€31||9||Budget your trip|
|Lebanon||0||No data||Budget your trip|
|Lesotho||$28||£22||€26||$37||£30||€35||$56||£44||€52||3||Budget your trip|
|Liberia||0||No data||No data|
|Libya||0||No data||No data|
|Liechtenstein||$40||£31||€37||$51||£41||€48||$62||£49||€58||2||Budget your trip|
|Lithuania||$28||£22||€26||$30||£24||€28||$37||£30||€35||3||Budget your trip|
|Luxembourg||$47||£37||€44||$64||£51||€60||$83||£66||€78||3||Budget your trip|
|Madagascar||$16||£13||€15||$25||£20||€23||$26||£20||€24||3||Budget your trip|
|Malawi||$19||£15||€18||$27||£21||€25||$33||£26||€31||2||Budget your trip|
|Malaysia||$19||£15||€18||$25||£20||€23||$32||£26||€30||53||Budget your trip|
|Maldives||$37||£30||€35||$44||£35||€41||$49||£39||€46||2||Budget your trip|
|Mali||0||No data||Budget your trip|
|Malta||$18||£14||€17||$26||£20||€24||$33||£26||€31||2||Budget your trip|
|Marshall Islands||0||No data||No data|
|Mauritania||$37||£30||€35||$46||£37||€43||$54||£43||€50||2||Budget your trip|
|Mexico||$26||£20||€24||$36||£29||€35||$70||£55||€64||392||Budget your trip|
|Micronesia||0||No data||Budget your trip|
|Moldova||0||No data||No data|
|Monaco||$33||£26||€31||$43||£34||€40||$94||£75||€88||3||Budget your trip|
|Mongolia||$17||£14||€16||$24||£19||€22||$44||£35||€41||19||Budget your trip|
|Montenegro||$4||£3||€4||$12||£9||€11||$31||£25||€29||4||Budget your trip|
|Morocco||$24||£19||€22||$37||£30||€35||$47||£37||€44||13||Budget your trip|
|Mozambique||$26||£20||€24||$33||£26||€31||$40||£31||€37||2||Budget your trip|
|Myanmar (Burma)||$20||£16||€19||$25||£20||€23||$32||£26||€30||59||Budget your trip|
|Namibia||$39||£31||€36||$46||£37||€43||$75||£60||€70||6||Budget your trip|
|Nauru||0||No data||No data|
|Nepal||$15||£12||€14||$21||£17||€20||$32||£26||€30||39||Budget your trip|
|Netherlands||$31||£25||€29||$43||£34||€40||$57||£45||€53||13||Budget your trip|
|New Caledonia||$41||£32||€38||$54||£43||€50||$83||£66||€78||15||No data|
|New Zealand||$39||£31||€36||$61||£48||€57||$91||£72||€85||250||Budget your trip|
|Nicaragua||$15||£12||€14||$21||£17||€20||$32||£26||€30||17||Budget your trip|
|North Korea||0||No data||No data|
|North Macedonia||$14||£11||€13||$20||£16||€19||$33||£26||€31||4||No data|
|Norway||$32||£26||€30||$98||£78||€92||$119||£94||€111||10||Budget your trip|
|Oman||$36||£29||€34||$43||£34||€40||$49||£39||€46||2||Budget your trip|
|Pakistan||$10||£8||€9||1||Budget your trip|
|Palaos||0||No data||No data|
|Panama||$25||£20||€23||$37||£30||€35||$51||£41||€48||9||Budget your trip|
|Papua New Guinea||$54||£43||€50||1||Budget your trip|
|Paraguay||$16||£13||€15||$20||£16||€19||$31||£25||€29||9||Budget your trip|
|Peru||$22||£18||€20||$32||£26||€30||$47||£37||€44||609||Budget your trip|
|Philippines||$19||£15||€18||$21||£17||€20||$32||£26||€30||21||Budget your trip|
|Poland||$15||£12||€14||$19||£15||€18||$33||£26||€31||10||Budget your trip|
|Portugal||$34||£27||€32||$48||£38||€45||$54||£43||€50||9||Budget your trip|
|Qatar||$47||£37||€44||$63||£50||€59||$79||£63||€74||2||Budget your trip|
|Romania||$14||£11||€13||$29||£23||€27||$42||£33||€39||6||Budget your trip|
|Russia||$24||£19||€22||$27||£21||€25||$54||£43||€50||19||Budget your trip|
|Rwanda||0||No data||Budget your trip|
|Saint Kitts and Nevis||$19||£15||€18||$34||£27||€32||$49||£39||€46||2||Budget your trip|
|Saint Lucia||0||No data||Budget your trip|
|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||0||No data||Budget your trip|
|Solomon Islands||$13||£10||€12||1||Budget your trip|
|Samoa Islands||$21||£17||€20||1||No data|
|San Marino||$32||£26||€30||1||No data|
|São Tomé and Príncipe||0||No data||No data|
|Saudi Arabia||0||No data||No data|
|Scotland||$21||£17||€20||$44||£35||€41||$65||£52||€61||9||Budget your trip|
|Senegal||$24||£19||€22||$46||£37||€43||$60||£48||€56||4||Budget your trip|
|Serbia||$4||£3||€4||$10||£8||€9||$25||£20||€23||4||Budget your trip|
|Seychelles||$18||£14||€17||1||Budget your trip|
|Sierra Leone||0||No data||No data|
|Singapore||$24||£19||€22||$36||£29||€34||$54||£43||€50||42||Budget your trip|
|Slovakia||$17||£14||€16||$19||£15||€18||$29||£23||€27||5||Budget your trip|
|Slovenia||$17||£14||€16||$21||£17||€20||$27||£21||€25||6||Budget your trip|
|Somalia||0||No data||No data|
|Sudan||0||No data||No data|
|South Africa||$27||£21||€25||$54||£43||€50||$86||£68||€80||16||Budget your trip|
|South Korea||$21||£17||€20||$32||£26||€30||$35||£28||€33||11||Budget your trip|
|Spain||$25||£20||€23||$37||£30||€35||$52||£42||€49||22||Budget your trip|
|Sri Lanka||$21||£17||€20||$27||£21||€25||$33||£26||€31||25||Budget your trip|
|Suriname||0||No data||No data|
|Sweden||$19||£15||€18||$48||£38||€45||$76||£60||€71||10||Budget your trip|
|Switzerland||$35||£28||€33||$70||£55||€65||$98||£78||€92||10||Budget your trip|
|Syria||0||No data||No data|
|Taiwan||$36||£29||€34||$59||£47||€55||$80||£64||€75||3||Budget your trip|
|Tanzania||$32||£26||€30||$43||£34||€40||$49||£39||€46||4||Budget your trip|
|Tchad||0||No data||No data|
|Thailand||$21||£17||€20||$27||£21||€25||$43||£34||€40||709||Budget your trip|
|Timor Leste||0||No data||No data|
|Tonga Islands||0||No data||No data|
|Trinidad and Tobago||$18||£14||€17||$21||£17||€20||$25||£20||€23||2||Budget your trip|
|Turkey||$17||£14||€16||$28||£22||€26||$34||£27||€32||10||Budget your trip|
|Turkmenistan||0||No data||No data|
|Tuvalu||0||No data||No data|
|Uganda||$17||£14||€16||1||Budget your trip|
|Ukraine||$13||£10||€12||$29||£23||€27||$43||£34||€40||4||Budget your trip|
|United Arab Emirates||$42||£33||€39||$90||£71||€84||$139||£111||€130||7||Budget your trip|
|United States||$32||£26||€30||$54||£43||€50||$75||£60||€70||70||Budget your trip|
|Uruguay||$28||£22||€26||$35||£28||€33||$54||£43||€50||19||Budget your trip|
|Venezuela||0||No data||No data|
|Vietnam||$19||£15||€18||$26||£20||€24||$34||£27||€32||451||Budget your trip|
|Yemen||0||No data||No data|
|Zambia||$18||£14||€17||1||Budget your trip|
|Zimbabwe||$30||£24||€28||$39||£31||€36||$57||£45||€53||3||Budget your trip|
Planning a round-the-world trip is a bit like going to an all you can eat buffet. You don’t want to miss out on anything, and you often tend to want to visit too many countries.
But, once you’re on the road, you’ll quickly realise that a long trip doesn’t have the same pace as a normal holiday. We advise you to not be too greedy when you’re planning your itinerary.
Travelling slowly also allows you to significantly limit your travel expenses on buses and other local transport.
When you stay a few weeks in the same place, you can also negotiate a good price for accommodation.
Travellers who only stay two or three weeks on average in each country spend twice as much as those who stay longer than seven weeks in each country.
To find out more, take a look at our article on planning your itinerary for a round-the-world trip.
Travelling with others can cut a lot of costs in half: rooms, taxis, hiking guides…
More often than not you pay, by yourself, for a room with two single beds and a double bed. If you travel alone, you’ll often meet other solo travellers who’re also looking to save money by sharing a room. It’s also a good way to make travel buddies.
If you’re travelling as a family, you’ll make big savings. Children eat less and can sleep in their parents room. What’s more, transport is usually free for the little ones.
However, these potential savings are not reflected in the budgets noted in our survey for couples and families, as they also tend to travel a little more comfortably than solo travellers.
Average budget for a year-long trip:
There’s nothing you can change about your age. However, data from our survey shows that you don’t travel in the same way when you’re 20 years old, as when you’re 50 years old.
When you’re young, sleeping in a youth hostel or in simple rooms is generally not a problem. Either way, you don’t really have the means to pay for something better.
But, when you get older, and you have a little more money, you sometimes like to have a little more comfort: an ensuite bathroom, aircon…
But, of course, we shouldn’t generalise. It’s quite possible to travel on a tight budget at any age.
Three quarters of long-term travellers mainly travel by plane and local transport. On average, people who travel around the world spend €2,700 ($3,300 – €3,100) on plane tickets (for an average of 11 months travel), whilst those who go on a long trip without doing a round-the-world trip only spend, on average, £850 ($1,100 – €1,000) (for an average of 7 months travel).
When buying your plane tickets, there are three available options:
The advantage of this option is that it gives you more flexibility. However, it requires more organisation whilst travelling.
You’ll need to buy your tickets well in advance to avoid paying for full-price tickets on the spot.
Star Alliance, One World, Sky Team and Emirates offer round-the-world tickets. The principle is simple: you buy your tickets in one go and the dates can then be changed free of charge (but not the destinations).
Each alliance offers its own range of round-the-world tickets. Their economy class prices range from around £2,100 ($2,700 – €2,500) to £3,900 ($4,800 – €4,500) per person, depending on the number of continents visited or the number of miles travelled.
They combine alliance offers with flights from other companies so that you’re not limited to destinations served by alliance companies.
They can help you optimise your itinerary by lowering the price of your tickets, or adding destinations at a low cost.
Their prices start at around £1,300 ($1,600 – €1,500) for very basic round-the-world tickets, and can be even cheaper for other types of multi-destination tickets.
The best way to cut your budget is by limiting the number of flights you take. The first question you should ask yourself is: “Do I really want to do a round-the-world trip?”. Indeed, a round-the-world trip means crossing the Atlantic and the Pacific ocean, and doing this really increases the price of plane tickets, even with a round-the-world ticket.
It’s entirely possible to do an unforgettable trip without crossing the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans. Of course, when you come back you won’t be able to say, “I went around the world”. But is that so bad?
A good way to save money is to only take a flight when you change continents. You can get to a city, travel around on local transport and set off again from another city.
They are called “overland” or “surface” sections. They can be included in a round-the-world ticket (they’re represented like this //).
If you travel like this, you’ll be able to do a round-the-world trip with just three or four flights.
For example: London – Bangkok // Singapore – Perth // Sydney – Santiago // Lima – London
On average, globetrotters spend £500 ($650 – €600) on equipment. However, this average hides some significant differences. Whilst some travellers mostly make do with what they already have, others like to invest in top-of-the-range equipment.
A basic equipment can certainly do the job. You can make do with what you already have at home, and add the finishing touches with cheap new or second hand equipment.
If you plan on camping, trekking in high mountains, or you want to travel ultralight, it’s a good idea to opt for high performance equipment. You can take advantage of sales or online promotions to find these products at reasonable prices.
Some examples of equipment prices:
To find out more, take a look at our long term travel packing list.
It is strongly advised to take out long-term travel insurance.
On average, globetrotters spend £340 ($430 – €400) on their travel insurance. This is a sizable budget, but one that can save you a very steep bill if something goes wrong.
Most travel insurances cover the following risks: repatriation costs, medical costs, death, infirmity, legal aid, search and rescue costs, early return, cancellation, luggage and third party liability.
Comparing the many travel insurance contracts available on the market isn’t an easy task. That’s why we built a thorough comparison long stay travel insurance comparator to help you chose the one that’s right for you.
You’ll need to pay for a visa to enter some countries. Most Latin American countries are accessible without a visa for stays for up to 90 days. In Asia and Africa, on the other hand, lots of countries ask for one. On average, globetrotters spend £170 ($215 – €200) on their visas. When the option is offered, go for e-visas as they’re usually cheaper than conventional visas.
Some examples of tourist visa prices for the most visited countries by frequent travellers:
To find out more, take a look at our article on visas.
Before going to tropical countries, you need to get your vaccines done. In the UK, some GP practices are signed up to provide free NHS vaccinations for travel. If not, try a private travel vaccination clinic or a pharmacy offering travel healthcare services. If possible, do this at least eight weeks before you’re due to travel.
The number of vaccines you need to take depends on the countries you’re visiting, what jabs you’ve previously had done, and how much risk you’re willing to take.
The following travel vaccines are available free on the NHS if your GP practice is signed up to provide vaccination services:
You’ll have to pay for other travel vaccinations. On average, globetrotters spend £170 ($215 – €200) on jabs.
Some examples of vaccine prices in the UK:
To find out more, take a look at our article on travel vaccinations.
Rather than travelling by plane and local transport, some globetrotters prefer to set off with their own vehicle. You can make huge savings on plane tickets by choosing an alternative mode of transport.
On average, travelling by bike is a lot cheaper than flying, even when you include the purchase of equipment. However, the amount of money that globetrotters spend on their bikes and equipment massively varies. We know some people who got away with £400 ($500 – €470), whilst others spent over £5,000 ($6,200 – €5,800).
Lots of families and some couples opt for a motorised vehicle for their round-the-world trip: camper van, truck, kitted out van, 4×4, sailboat… Once again, the investment varies a lot depending on the type of vehicle: from £2,000 ($2,500 – €2,300) for an old kitted out van, to more than £250,000 ($320,000 – €300,000) for a top-of-the-range 4×4 truck.
If you choose to travel with your own vehicle, you can travel to continents that are connected to yours by land or cross the ocean to another continent and buy a local vehicle there.
If you want to do a proper round-the-world trip with your vehicle, you’ll need to factor in a significant additional budget to transport it by cargo ship from one continent to another. You’ll also need to pay for plane tickets, as it’s usually not possible to board the ship with your vehicle.
The best of the best: 4×4 expedition truck, that’ll set you back more than £250,000
On average, globetrotters spend £9,000 ($11,000 – €10,500) whilst travelling, this is around two thirds of the total budget.
Generally speaking, you can roughly divide the budget whilst travelling into four equal parts:
But this divvying up varies from country to country. If you do a guided trek in Nepal, or if you take diving lessons in Thailand, the activities budget will be higher.
If you go to Patagonia in Argentina, your transport budget will be greater. In wealthy countries, it’s quite the opposite – your accommodation and food budget will be higher.
Sleeping on an overnight bus is a great way to save money on accommodation.
During their trip, most globetrotters stay in backpacker accommodation. These are often guesthouses or bungalows in Asia, and youth hostels or small inexpensive hotels in Latin American and wealthy countries.
In very touristy areas, prices soar during peak season. But, the peak season isn’t the same in every country. Therefore, with a little organisation, you can avoid being amongst the hordes of holiday-makers and paying a high price.
When you travel in low season and your accommodation isn’t very full, you can often get a discount by haggling a bit. The important thing when negotiating is to stay calm and keep smiling.
You can make huge savings by opting for other types of accommodation:
In many countries, you don’t need to go to a restaurant to eat well. Street food and food markets are always fresh and their dishes aren’t made to please western palates, making them more authentic.
But, when in countries with a higher standard of living, be aware of how much you’re spending on food.
It’s much cheaper to buy food in shops and cook than it is to eat out. Most youth hostels have kitchens you can use.
Pick local products, they’re often cheaper than imported products. If you’re camping, invest in a portable stove and a cooking pot as this’ll help you save a fair amount of money on food.
It may sound like a minor detail, but a boozy evening in a bar or restaurant can quickly throw your budget off track. In a lot of countries, a beer is more expensive than a meal. So, reducing your alcohol intake will be good for your liver and your wallet.
However, we wholly understand your need for a tipple from time to time. So, rather than depriving yourself completely, try local drinks which are usually cheaper than beer.
Buses will be your main mode of transport. Go for local buses, they’re cheaper and more authentic than tourist buses. In several countries, particularly India, the train is just as cheap, as long as you avoid luxury classes. Domestic flights are generally more expensive. However, in Asia, low-cost flights are sometimes worth a shot.
In countries where the cost of living is low, you can get around by taxi, tuk-tuk or rickshaws without breaking the bank. By reading your guide book and asking around you, you can quickly, and easily, find out the “normal” price for a ride. Setting a price in advance will help you avoid a hefty bill on arrival. Most travellers now use Uber or a local equivalent to avoid bad surprises.
Always agree on a price before getting in.
Visiting top-rated tourist attractions, going on tours or doing sporty activities like trekking with a guide and diving can quickly make your budget skyrocket.
As soon as you arrive in a new city, your hotel usually offers you activities in partnership with local agencies.
By looking around, you can often skip the agencies and do them by yourself: – sightseeing, visiting a monument, doing a hike or making the most of all kinds of tourist attractions…
Of course, you’ll be the target of what we call “fear marketing”. People will try to convince you that you can’t do it by yourself, that it’s impossible, blah blah blah… Don’t be fooled.
For example, in Nepal, it was very easy for us to to hike the Annapurna Circuit trek without a guide, but with a good map.
Some examples of prices for sightseeing tours and activities:
Each time you use your bank card to pay or withdraw money abroad, your bank charges you a fee. If you’re with a traditional bank, these fees can go up to £400 ($490 – €470) for a year-long trip.
So, it may be worth opening an online / mobile bank. Some banks offer free withdrawals abroad.
To find out more, take a look at our article on the best debit cards with no foreign transaction fee.
Other expenses may include:
We often forget them when budgeting for our round-the-world trip. Certain fees at home don’t stop just because you’re travelling. Remember to leave enough money in your account to avoid going into debt without realising it.
To find out more, take a look at our article on pre-departure paperwork.
If you own property, you’ll have to pay property tax each year.
If you keep your housing during your travels, you’ll have to continue to pay your home insurance.
Whilst you’re away, you can register your vehicle as off the road to avoid paying car insurance and vehicle tax.
When travelling, it’s sometimes useful to have a small phone plan that works internationally. In this way, you can receive calls and OTP codes from your bank by text.
We advise you to open mobile or online bank accounts and close your traditional bank account to limit fees. Some online banks allow you to withdraw money abroad with no extra fees.
If you’ve left your accommodation and you don’t know anybody who could store your furniture, you can put it in a storage unit. To limit costs, consider peer-to-peer co-storage platforms as they’re cheaper than traditional self-storage units.
If you have any outstanding for your accommodation, car or education, you’ll need to continue to repay them during your trip. If your contract allows it, you can however ask to suspend the repayment of your credit for the duration of your round-the-world trip.
You can suspend your private health insurance if you go overseas. You can drop a year and come back in when you choose. However, the premium can go up or down.
We advise you to put a little bit of money aside for your return. According to our survey, on average, globetrotters put £1,700 ($2,100 – €2,000) aside for their return.
To help you estimate your budget before you leave and follow your expenses during your travel, we created the ultimate travel budget spreadsheet.
It’s free if you subscribe to be notified by email when we publish a new article or carry out a survey about travellers’ choices.
We explain in details how to use the spreadsheet below.
Select the countries you plan on visiting with your arrival and departure dates. Our tool automatically calculates your total estimated budget by country and depending on the number of travellers (adults and children).
The calculation is based on the median budgets that were obtained in our survey.
The degree of reliability of the estimation (which depends on the number of survey respondents) is shown in the table.
You can also choose to increase or decrease your budget in relation to the globetrotters’ median budget so that it reflects the way you travel more accurately. You can also use it to make sure you have a safety allowance.
A graph is automatically generated to illustrate the breakdown of your budget per country.
We’ve listed all the possible equipment that you might take travelling: bag, clothing, camping gear, toiletry bag, medical supplies, electronics, accessories, paperwork and even kit for the kids. Of course, you don’t need to take it all, but this comprehensive list will ensure that you don’t forget anything.
Select the equipment that you already have and those that you need to buy. Note the quantity, price and unit weight. The tool automatically calculates the total budget and weight of your equipment.
The spreadsheet also lets you estimate the budget of the following things:
Once on the road, you can continue to use our spreadsheet offline to jot down your expenses as you go from country to country. Note the date, the amount in the local currency and the type of expenditure. The spreadsheet automatically calculates the total expenses in the country and the remaining budget in relation to your estimated budget. It also generates a graph to help you visualise the distribution between the different cost items: accommodation, food, local transport, activities, drinks / going out and shopping.
You can also follow:
The recap tab lets you:
Aside from the number of adults and children, don’t fill in anything on this tab. All other amounts will be automatically calculated when you’ve filled out the following tabs.
For optimal usage, we advise you to use our tool in Google Sheets. It’s just like Excel, but online.
Go to this page. Connect with your Google account if you already have one. If you don’t have one, create one.
Once you’re logged in, drag and drop our file into your Google Sheets space. You can share it and use it with others, which is practical if you’re travelling as a couple or a group. You can also access it on all of your devices: computer, mobile phone, tablet…
During your trip, you’ll be able to use our tool offline by following this tutorial.
If you have any problem using our spreadsheet or if you have any suggestions for improving it, send us a message. We’ll get back to you quickly, and that’ll allow us to continue improving it for future globetrotters.
If you use it during your trip, it’d be great if you could give us some feedback. This will allow us to be even more precise when estimating future budgets.
To help you estimate your budget before you leave and follow your expenses during your travel, we created the ultimate travel budget spreadsheet.
It’s free if you subscribe to be notified by email when we publish a new article or carry out a survey about travellers’ choices.