Cold hard cash – the costs of a round the world trip


One of the few pictures taken by Jonas

One of the things I haven’t discussed yet, but get asked frequently is how much? How much do you end up spending per day, how much did your flights cost.  Some people seem to keep this secret.  When read other backpackers blogs they are reluctant share this information.  This is crap, especially if you want to plan your own adventure.

The amount you spend depends upon the locations you go to and the length of time that you spend there, so for example one month in Japan is more expensive than one month in Vietnam.  That’s in terms of food, drink, travel and accommodation.

I’ve been keeping a track of my spending but wanted to give you a quick run down of what I’ve paid for already.

The first thing to hit you in costs is the immunisations.  I got the full set as many of the countries I have and are planning to attend are  high risk areas for different diseases.  All in all I had about 15 injections (some were courses), and including those that came for free on the NHS, it came to about £600.

You then have the cost of visas to some of the countries you are entering.  For China I needed to have my visa before I left the UK and this came to about £60 including admin fee.  Whilst you are travelling you will have to pay visa fees as you go.  For example just now I have paid $25 USD for a Cambodian visa which I got on the border.

The biggest spend of all is your flights.  Now this depends how you go about it.  I purchased lots of one way tickets as surprisingly this was cheaper and more convenient for my plans than a single around the world ticket (but don’t rule them out if they suit you as they are a bargain). 

Now my flights came to under £4,000.  This included UK – Japan – Hong Kong – Manila – Beijing, Nepal – Thailand – Vietnam, Bali – Australia – New Zealand.  This wasn’t too bad to be honest.  You will also book flights whilst in your trip if you wish to adjust your itinerary, and these can be relatively cheap.  Yesterday I booked a three hour flight from Thailand to Kuala Lumpur for about $80 on a fairly decent airline.

I know of some good stories on the possibilities of cheap flighs. One of them was told to me by Jonas.  His friend has an amazing itinerary of over thirty flights – all first class, and costing no more than $6,500 USD.  This was done by some clever route planning.  For example Madrid to Tokyo would be really expensive, but Madrid to Bangkok and then Bangkok to Tokyo would be a third of the price.  You can also purchase airmiles (that work out cheaper than an actual ticket, but you have to hunt for those promotions with the different airlines.  It’s just how it all works, crazy!

On top of my flights I booked two trips with Gap Adventures.  The first was my Beijing to Kathmandu trip, which included Everest basecamp.   This was about £1,500 and worth every penny!  The second is a 30-day trip I have booked in August from Bangkok to Bali.

So all in all my original itinerary, plus a few other things, came to about £7,500.

Whilst I’ve been staying in each country I’ve been spending about £30 per day including food and accommodation.  Now this is way more than enough.  For example in some parts of SEA (South East Asia) you can get decent accommodation for £8 per day and food can be between £1 and £2 per meal.  My higher spending accounted for excursions, buying new clothes, going out (a lot), those sorts of things.  It is pretty easy to spend less money if you want too.

The other thing I would advice if you’re travelling in SEA is that you do need about $250 USD float for emergencies or when you don’t have any of the local currency as it tends to be accepted in most major places.

Hope that gives you a bit of an insight into the costs of a trip around the world.


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