For Those Who Dream Of Round-The-World-Trips, Here’s How Much They Actually Cost


For those who made travelling a goal only a few years ago, round-the-world (RTW) trips are probably not even on the radar. But for others who were bitten by the travel bug early, travelling around the world is a real fantasy that is exciting and equally frightening.

Photo of For Those Who Dream Of Round-The-World-Trips, Here’s How Much They Actually Cost 1/5 by Himani Khatreja
Live out of a suitcase, with no permanent home. That's the ultimate dream.

Itʼs the ultimate dream. Take off to see the world, and stop only where your heart wants. Live out of a suitcase, with no permanent home, schedule or friends. Make quick and spontaneous decisions and have days that are unpredictable.

It's not easy to answer the question of how much it costs to travel the world. A lot of variables influence how much you spend, especially when you go and where you travel to. Generally, you spend on five major things – flight tickets, accommodation, ground transportation, food and drinks and activities you indulge in.

Recently, a lot of real RTW travellers came on Reddit to tell people what their trip was like and how they managed to travel around the world on their own terms.

Here are some insights from their comments.

How they did it

One of the questions that worries most RTW enthusiasts is how they will make it work in terms of their jobs and savings.

Photo of For Those Who Dream Of Round-The-World-Trips, Here’s How Much They Actually Cost 2/5 by Himani Khatreja
Find a job that lets you work from anywhere and on your own time.

A traveller who did a 333-day RTW trip in 2014, said, “I was fortunate enough to have a flexible job that let me work while on-the-go. I worked 10-15 hours/week doing programming work. This was enough income that I barely had to dip into savings.”

So, if you don't want to touch your savings or simply don't have any to use, find a job that lets you work from anywhere and on your own time. Unlike freelance, this will assure you of a paycheck at the end of the month.

Another way is to be in a high paying job for a few years, like this traveller was. “For some perspective, my wife and I are 31 and 32. We had saved for the trip but I also have a side business that has been taking off so we're making solid money on the road. I also had a high paying job prior to leaving.”

How much does it cost

Your travelling style and the level of luxury you choose will determine how much you will spend in total. But if you keep an eye out for deals and use the things you already have, you should be able to keep within your budget.

Like this traveller, who did a lot of hard work finding hacks and deals to keep his cost low.“I've been traveling non-stop for 2 years now. My GF Just (sic) finished our year-end expense report and we came to a total of $31.45 per day including all planes/trains/hotels/food... everything. We didn't live cheaply, we eat out three times a day stay in 2-3 star hotels and go on adventures twice a week. It's a matter of using Credit Card miles wisely, hotel deals/ points, couchsurfing occasionally and choosing budget friendly locations,” he said.

Photo of For Those Who Dream Of Round-The-World-Trips, Here’s How Much They Actually Cost 3/5 by Himani Khatreja
Your travelling style and the level of luxury you choose will determine how much you will spend.

Another way of going about it is to break down the items that you'll be spending, one by one. This helps you organise your expenses and see where you can cut back and in general keeps the whole thing from becoming one giant expense.

“First things first you gotta figure out airfare. Google's flight matrix is the best way to do this but also subscribe to some of the newsletters out there from people who do some serious airfare deal hunting. There was a deal to New Zealand a month or so ago that was like $200 RT from the US. Insane! When I was in Africa there were throngs of Americans from the East Coast who got a $500 RT to Cape Town,” said a traveller, who many many other great insights on long-term trips.

You can also buy a round-the-world tickets, which are a convenient way to get around. So instead of buying tickets from multiple airline operators, you can pre-book some tickets with one airline, which can also be used with their partners. RTW tickets cost between $2,700–$10,000 USD, depending on your number of stops and route, though a two- or three-stop RTW ticket can cost as low as $1,500 USD. And as long as you don’t change the destinations, you can always change the dates and times at no extra charge.

A man from the United States said, “One big cost-saver was using travel hacking to accumulate miles before the trip. The main tickets were round-the-world tickets with 15 international stops. It was just $550/person, which was purely taxes and airport fees - the rest was paid on points.”

Favourite place in the whole world

This is the big reveal. Not the cost, which can always be managed, but the one place in this big world that has endless options on how to meaningfully fill your days and evenings. And the destination that has the best temperature, transport links, cleanliness and most importantly, people.

Photo of For Those Who Dream Of Round-The-World-Trips, Here’s How Much They Actually Cost 4/5 by Himani Khatreja
Lviv, Ukraine. Credit: Mykhailo Liapin

The traveller who has been on the road for 2 years, said, “Lviv, Ukraine was my favorite. Rustic alive and friendly. The people just approach you and take you in it's (sic) a beautiful city,” adding, “I also really liked Chiang Mai just as a place to settle down, we stayed 2 months and it felt like home. Perfect weather, very very cheap super nice culture and tons to do.”

Some travellers realised that while some cities/ countries had everything you could wish for, they just weren't as fun as others, which quickly became their favourite places.

Photo of For Those Who Dream Of Round-The-World-Trips, Here’s How Much They Actually Cost 5/5 by Himani Khatreja
Tokyo, Japan. Credit: Moyan Brenn

Like this traveller, who fell in love with Tokyo. “Favourite city was probably Tokyo. Favourite country, I don't know. But Patagonia was my favourite destination without a doubt. I was in Tokyo for a week. Part of the reason I had such a good time was because I stayed with a friend living there for a few days, and spent some time hanging out with her friends. It's also just a really fun place. I loved walking around Akihabara at night as my senses got assaulted by sounds, lights and advertisements. Karaoke drunk was so much fun and could do that shit for hours.”

Do you dream of going on a round-the-world trip? What would be your route? What are the questions that run through your mind? Tell me in the comments section below.

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8 Comment(s)
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You can purchase tickets with maximum 16 flights on 1 ticket which will cost you around 3-4 lakhs ..... I work for an airline and if anyone of you need any help with RTW.. You may contact me.
Sat 10 29 16, 21:57 · Reply (4) · Report
Hi Ravi, Can you help me here?? How do I contact you to get more details.
Fri 07 07 17, 09:51 · Report
Sat 07 01 17, 19:34 · Report
Fri 06 30 17, 15:47 · Report
will need your help
Sun 04 09 17, 14:30 · Report
RTW tripping tips I wish to show the world to my parents The worry is that they are ageing too fast How I wish I had started travelling earlier. My Dream destinations 1. egypt 2 Norway 3. Greenland 4. South america 5.Newziland 6. Iceland
Thu 10 27 16, 16:31 · Reply (3) · Report
Please add Paris and Switzerland to the list. Even if you do not go to Egypt it is OK because other than pyramids, ruins and a cruise on the nile there is nothing much there whereas Paris has a lot to offer from the Louvre and the Palace of Versailles to amazing entertainment and street stuff. It is a very beautiful city and there is something for every age group.... And Switzerland... there is no place like it in the world.... You can club the European destinations together in one trip - on a single visa you can visit Norway, Paris, Switzerland (and even Rome is amazing). Since your parents are ageing they will get tired if you go across continents in one go so plan the next trip combining Iceland and Greenland and perhaps Canada if you want since it is near. New Zealand is another long flight in the opposite direction so I suggest you make it a third trip. I took my mother to Europe recently and she's a senior citizen so one continent was enough although very memorable.
Sun 07 02 17, 15:06 · Report
Actually , same here.... This side..- I haven't started even earning yet...
Fri 06 30 17, 18:40 · Report
how old are you
Fri 06 30 17, 15:48 · Report
Even thinking about a RTW Trip is a Taboo but still its a Dream !!!
Thu 10 27 16, 14:34 · Reply · Report
Hi Milan, I am planning on a similar trip to South East Asia. Could you please brief about your trip and how you managed under Rs. 30,000, which airline(s), etc.? Thank you.
Thu 10 27 16, 00:19 · Reply · Report
Hi Everyone.. It is hard for us to travel round the world. You can divide areas geographically and travel. For Eg. Middle east, NA, CA, SA, Europe, SE Asia, Australia... Like that. To book cheap flight tickets.. Better go to the airline websites than the Goibibo or MMT..It will be sometimes around 1000 rs cheap and you can get points too. Air Asia is one of the cheapest airlines.. Check it out. For the Entire world like every country and major tourists. it will cost you around 20 lakhs - 50 lakhs. And some depend on the activities you select. I already started travelling and my aim is to cover entire planet before I die... I am a employee So this is the best way..
Tue 10 25 16, 16:12 · Reply · Report
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