The Cost of an RTW

by design on December 19, 2010 · 24 comments

What Does It Cost To Travel The World?

It is weird to talk about money.  Especially my money.  Especially when I know that someday my friends and family will be reading this blog.  The reason I’ve decided to share our finances with the world is because I hope it will help others who are planning an RTW.  In the course of my research on the cost of year-long around the world travel, I’ve found that other RTW travel bloggers that have shared their budget and finances have been an indispensable resource to me. 

Brian and I have set a savings goal of $60,000 dollars.  We plan to travel with $50,000 and save $10,000 as money to come home to.  This is, of course, assuming we come back to our adopted home of Portland, Oregon.  Maybe we’ll make somewhere else home.  Maybe we’ll travel indefinitely. 

In addition to our $60,000 in savings, we also have retirement accounts that we could access.  We prefer not touch those accounts, and we know we’d be heavily taxed on the money, but maybe that will become less important to us as we travel.  At the moment, I’m leaving all the doors cracked. 

I’ll admit that at first I just sort of picked the $60,000 figure out of thin air.  It seemed like a lot of money, but because I meticulously track our finances (I write down every dollar I spend in one of those old-school bank ledgers, and am incessantly teased by my friends for it), I knew that it was a figure we could reach in a short-ish amount of time.  After doing some research, it started to become clear that $60,000 might be spot on.  For some travelers, our budget is exorbitant, but I know that Brian and I are not the couchsurfing, sleep in the train station type of travelers (at least not anymore). 

All of the RTW budgets referenced below are mid-price-range backpackers.  In other words, they stay in inexpensive, but not dirt cheap, accommodations, partake in some spendy indulgences like tours, safaris and treks, prepare food for themselves but also eat out, and drink beer but not until the sun comes up. 

The budgets and grand totals range, but fall between about $2,000 and $4,000 a month.  Brian and I are planning for the $4,000 a month mark, and hoping that we can stay below that range in some countries in order to allow for splurges like the aforementioned tours, safaris and treks.

I’ll make sure to post a more detailed budget when I have one.  I also plan to post our real-life expenditures as they happen.

Many thanks to these RTW bloggers that shared their budgets and expenditures with the world (click on the blog to see their budgets):

One Giant Step

Seat of our Pants

Living the Dream

The Travel Year 

Thirteen Months