How Much Money Does it Take?

Money Money Money. So how much money does it take to travel the world? The big question everyone wants to know. I will begin with saying you can travel on a 10,000/year upwards to whatever you want to spend. There are programs to volunteer, house sit, work stay, that allow you to stay and eat for free, accumulating very little expense. We met people along the way who traveled this way and had a great time. So it depends on how much you want to jump around and how much you want to do. If you want to see 50 countries in one year then jumping around a lot will cost more, if you want to visit two and take things really slow getting to know the land then it will be cheaper.


This all takes some savings regardless of cheap travel or not. You have to suffer a little before reaching your goal. Cutting back is not easy but a necessity if you are looking to travel long term. If you don’t have much saved up and want to go really badly, look up work away programs or volunteer programs. If you want to spend more than that, then save more!

The categories we cut down quite a bit to save up were drinks with friends, eating out, traveling, and buying a crappy little car instead of a normal one. Looking back on how much it was costing us to eat out was pretty eye opening. Not going out to eat a lot and cooking cheap meals was a huge saver. Many nights in a row we would cook inexpensive chicken and rice. Another big saver was our car situation. Instead of looking at a nice SUV costing a normal $25,000 we bought a 2005 Honda Civic with $200,000 miles that cost $4,800, and ran like a champ! After thinking about it, a car gets you from point A to point B. That is its function. A quote that got me was, “People want to drive an expensive red sports car so they can impress a stranger they will never know again at a stop light for 5 seconds” and I think it’s so true. We started to think simpler and therefore started to buy less. We didn’t buy many new clothes or material things for about two years. Of course we still went out with our friends and still ate out every once in a while, but it was severely cut down from what we were normally used to. Sometimes we just had to say no thanks, we will stay in tonight. A lot of the idea of traveling is cutting down and simplifying. If carrying only a backpack for a year interests you, then your mind will probably be ok with not driving nicer cars, not eating nicer meals, and not buying a lot of stuff.

For us we budgeted $45,000 for this trip. It will hopefully be cheaper but that is what we think we will spend for one year of travel.

Here is the breakdown of what we think our costs are going to be. We will compare this to the first month of what we spend in Portugal to compare how we are doing and adjust accordingly. $48,000 equates to around $4,000 per month which is around $24,000 per person per year. Breaking that down into different categories this is what we came to per month.

~$2,000/month per person
*International Travel: $250
Internal Travel: $100 @ 10 trips inside country at ~ $10 each
Accommodation: $600 @ 20$/night
Food: $500 @ ~7$/meal
Entertainment: $500

*This will be calculated from country to country. This could be less due to frequent flier milage used. This will also be calculated for 40% for the first country we travel to in the continent, and 60% spread across the other countries we travel to in that continent. I think this is the easiest way to depict the actual cost of that country. This is an average per country or month, some months we might have a high cost traveling to remote locations and some we might not.

Like I said before it depends on how much you can and want to spend. We found this volunteer option in Turkey for a whole months stay and food for free to volunteer 5 hours a day with one day off a week. If anyone wanted to see Turkey and experience the country then that is definitely an option for very cheap. There are categories we are ok with cutting and categories we are not ok cutting. I think we can eat enough for fairly cheap by making our own lunch and breakfast and by going to cheap food spots. We don’t have to spend a lot of money on food, but it is also a category we are not going to cut down on. Skipping a few meals every once in a while just wasn’t worth it.

Accommodation can defiantly be cut down in my eyes…not so much in Katie’s. Staying in hostels for around $20 a night for each of us is a pretty good option. If you wanted to, there is couch surfing or watching peoples house for free accommodation. A lot of people are used to staying in hotels for $100-$150 a night. But there are a lot of options out there for a lot cheaper. A lot of travelers will work a few hours a week at a hostel for free stay. One of the perceptions that travel is expensive, is based on the fact that everyone is staying in hotels a lot of the time.

Also site seeing and travel within a city you are staying can be cut as well. Walking around the city instead of taking cabs, and taking buses or carshare programs cuts internal travel a lot. International travel can be cut majorly by signing up for multiple credit cards. We were late to the game, and only signed up about 6 months before taking off so we didn’t reap all the benefits, but we still are taking advantage of it. Signing up for a credit card that gives you 50,000 points in travel (roughly equates to a $500 dollar one way flight to Europe or Asia) is definitely worth it.

There are many different ways to cut costs to save for a RTW trip and many ways to cut costs while on the trip. It is importance to re-priotize your goals and think about what you are working for. After that, then re-categorize your budget and plan for the future of traveling. It all depends on your budget and simplifying your life. Once you can get those two categories under control then you have already started preparing for RTW travel.