One of the most discussed topics for a Round-the-World (RTW) trip is the budget. Everyone wants to know what it will cost to take the trip of a lifetime. We all want it to be very affordable, but deep down we know it will not come cheap. Back when we were into sailing, the number one question asked by people looking at going cruising was, “What does it cost?” The tongue-in-cheek answer to that question was known throughout cruising circles and was, “Whatever you have!” Budgets for cruising or RTW travel can be as cheap or expensive as you are willing to have it, depending on your lifestyle. Some people are perfectly happy eating ramen noodles, while others insist on caviar.
When doing research for our RTW trip, we were shocked at what other people were actually spending. Many families were spending close to or over $100,000 for their RTW trips, and that was for only one year. We saw other estimates say that the general consensus is $25,000 per person per year. Using those numbers a RTW trip for us, a family of three, would cost $75,000 a year. We didn’t like those numbers!
We decided to crunch our own numbers and figure out a way that we could travel on a RTW trip and to see all the places we have always dreamt of seeing, and to be able to afford it. And preferably without surviving on ramen noodles. The solution seemed rather simple; slow travel. The biggest costs with travel are transportation, lodging, and food. Through slow travel we would save money on all three. Instead of staying in hotels or youth hostels and to be constantly on the move, we decided that we would rent an apartment at each location and stay at least a month. Not only is the rent cheaper by staying a month, but we will also be able to prepare our own meals and save a fortune over eating out.
After researching the costs associated with apartment rentals, transportation, and food we calculated that we could travel RTW over two years for $100 a day, which is $36,500 annually, or about $33 per person per day. This is an average cost, as we know that some places will be more expensive than others. We also determined that it is cheaper to spread a RTW trip out over two years, or more, than to try to do it all within one year. The transportation costs will basically be the same if you travel RTW for 12 months or 24 months.
We have decided to start our RTW trip in Western Europe, an area renown for being expensive. While most RTW trippers usually start in cheaper countries, we feel this is a mistake. By starting in the more expensive countries first, we will strive harder to stay on budget and can use the cheaper countries to help balance out our 24-month average in case we go over budget in Europe.
As we travel, we will post each months expenses for everyone to see if a 2-year RTW trip for a family of 3 really can be done on $100 a day. We think it can, but only time will tell.
To see our actual expenses, check out our budget page by CLICKING HERE