A chronicle of Alison and Ron's trip around the world in 2009-2010.

"Not all those who wander are lost"
- Tolkien

Sunday, May 2, 2010

RTW Trip Cost

We traveled to 62 cities in 18 countries over 277 days. We spent a month preparing for the trip and a month or two in transition (read: recovery) after the trip. You may argue, we are still in major limbo. But Ron, bless his heart, has been gainfully employed for two months, where I’m still floating around not yet ready to come down.

A frequent question is: how much did we spend in a year of travels?

Bear in mind we are more Flashpackers than Backpackers. That is, we are not 20-year-old college students on summer vacation and we didn’t work our way around the world. We worked professional jobs and saved our nickels and dimes for several years. We stayed in budget rooms but not at the bottom-of-the-barrel establishments. We traveled cheaply, and overland where possible, but we didn’t hitchhike or ride on the roof of buses or in pick-ups full of chickens. We ate frugally, but we didn’t always eat street food. And the hallmark of the Flashpacker - we brought all sorts of techno gadgets: cameras, ipods, and a laptop.

Health Insurance: $1240
We were insured with IMG Global Patriot Travel Insurance which cost $310 per person for six months of travel coverage. We had a 1M policy with a $500 deductible and all the usual travel insurance benefits like emergency medical evacuation. Even with our scooter accident in Thailand, we didn't hit our deductible, so we didn't file any claims. Overall, we were happy with our coverage and more than happy that we did not need to use our coverage.

Medications/Vaccines: $2424
Before our trip, we loaded up on all the CDC recommended medications and vaccines. I spent five times as much money as Ron in this category due to my shoddy insurance coverage with Blue Cross. I also needed a year supply of birth control which alone cost $345. The list of vaccines we got are outlined in the post All Shot Up

Supplies: $3478
Most of this was spent at REI and includes everything from: backpacks, shoulder bags, cameras, clothes, shoes, sandals, water filters, books, a little netbook laptop, and even the world map we tacked to the wall and put pins in and dreamt about our trip, at the time was but a dream. For a full list, see our post What We Packed.

Moving/Storage: $4753
The move with Corrib Moving was $700 with all the supplies and the tip. Door to Door storage cost $280/month for 4 cubes of storage with extra insurance. Even though we downsized a fair amount, I guess we had a lot of stuff! For more details, see the post Packin it Up.

Daily Budget Europe: $10822
The daily budget includes room, food, drink, local transportation, and sightseeing. Our daily budget in Europe was $100/day, but we ended up at an average of $119/day for the 13 weeks we were in Europe. It is really challenging to live on the cheap in Europe. The most costly was the room which easily took up more than half the daily budget. I would highly recommend CouchSurfing to save money and meet local people.

Daily Budget Elsewhere: $10007
Our daily budget everywhere else (Ghana, India, Nepal, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam) was $50/day, but we averaged $55/day over six months. We tried to keep it cheap but you have to splurge every once in awhile on a good meal, a nicer guesthouse, or a beachside massage.

Daily Budget US: $5000
Most of this expense occurred the month before we left. I had hefty rent and bills on a San Francisco loft totaling over 3k. The remaining was for daily living expenses when we returned to the US in March, luckily to the loving arms and paid-for abodes of our families.

Transportation: $9916
This covered all visas and major transportation between countries, mainly flights and trains. We bought tickets as we went instead of buying a RTW Ticket which we debated for some time. In the end, we had far more flexibility and even saved money because our trip was cut short. But if I had to do it all again, I may have opted for the RTW Ticket. Sometimes too much flexibility is a bad thing.

Special Events: $2226
This was our slush fund and a critical part of the budget. If you get too close to counting your pennies every day, you can forget you are on a once-in-a-lifetime trip and have to live a little. This funded epic luxuries like: a Buddhist Thangka painting, a party in Paris, a romantic hotel room in Venice, an under-the-table gift for Salomey, a two-week Annapurna Trek, and a cruise in Halong Bay.

And the unexpected pitfalls like: being scammed in Istanbul and our scooter crash in Thailand.

GRAND TOTAL: $49,866

I have two emotions when I consider this number. First, I'm amazed at how much money that is! Um, that's a down payment on a house! But then I realize that I would have spent that same amount of money living in SF over the same year. And think about how much we did, how much we saw, and how much we experienced. It is a year we will never forget. A year that has changed us, evolved us, and opened us up to ourselves, each other, and the world. That, I believe, is what MasterCard calls "priceless".


corina July 3, 2010 at 2:52 PM  

Good for you for keeping track so diligently. I have a vague idea that we spent between $45 & $50,000 but I refuse to muddle through my mishmash of notes and visa statements. And while it is overwhelming how much money that is...I also can't think of a better way to spend 10 months with my best friend :)

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