This post was updated in November 2019.
I had dreamed of traveling the world for years! While I had taken many great trips within Europe, exotic faraway locations kept calling to me. I wanted to learn about other cultures and religions. Eat exciting new foods and meet people from all over the world.
Organized as I am (*cough* understatement of the year *cough*) I recorded all travel costs and expenses during our round the world trip. And put together this extensive budget breakdown to answer the burning question: how much does it cost to travel the world?
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How much does it cost to travel the world?
Be warned, this is a long post and I will be honest with you straightaway: traveling the world for 5 months isn’t free! Nevertheless, our amazing trip was everything I hoped for and more…
Travel taught me to relax, to enjoy the moment, to be fully content with and grateful for being alive and being able to have such amazing experiences every single day.
Travel taught me about other cultures, different religions, new and exciting food and nature I had never seen before.
Travel taught me to be patient, to let go, not to get upset about things that actually don’t even matter. Travel makes me feel alive and free…
But I digress, back to the point of this post:
How much money do you need to travel the world?
How much money do you need to travel the world for 5 months as a couple?
I spent a lot of time researching that question online, red a lot of posts and made lots of spreadsheets (my brain is wired that way) trying to figure out exactly how much to save for our trip.
How much money would we need to travel for 3-6 months? How expensive is New Zealand? How much money to budget for a weekend in Hong Kong? How much would we spend on an average travel day in Southeast Asia? How much money would we spend on plane tickets? Or on accommodation? How about the cost of food?
I didn’t have a clue… In the end, I just figured a ballpark number would have to do and the worst-case scenario was that we would have to cut our trip short. Luckily that didn’t happen! I saved about €20.000, rationale behind this number was:
5 months (143 days) * €100 a day for us as a couple = €14.300
I tracked our expenses every single day, so putting together a detailed budget breakdown was not difficult, but it was a bit (okay, a lot) of work. Luckily I already made budget breakdown posts for each country we visited.
Which made writing this post a case of adding everything together and adding expenses that I didn’t allocate to a particular country, but that are part of our total world trip budget breakdown.
How much does it cost to go traveling for 5 months?
Average daily costs per country
First of all the country statistics, in the table below you can see the countries in visited order stating:
- The number of days in a country.
- The average amount we spent per day in a country.
- The total amount spent in a country.
I list the expenses in € and $, there may be slight differences between this total budget breakdown and the budget breakdowns for the separate countries due to the exchange rate.
I put the countries from most expensive to least expensive. You can see New Zealand was the most expensive country (and the country that stole my heart, as you may have read in other posts on the blog) we visited. It’s a tie between the Philippines and Laos as the cheapest countries of the trip.
Dividing our total amount spent by the total number of days this brings me to an average of €73/$82 per day for us as a couple! Not bad for 5 months:-). You can find the budget posts for each separate country on the blog:
- Cambodia travel budget
- Laos travel budget
- Hong Kong travel budget
- Malaysia travel budget
- New Zealand travel budget
- Philippines travel budget
- Singapore travel budget
- Thailand travel budget
- Vietnam travel budget
Additional travel costs for a round-the-world-trip
It would be great if this €10.397/$11.666 would be it, but unfortunately no. There are a couple of things that are not included in these numbers.
1. Our RTW ticket and other flights
We bought an RTW ticket, flying us from the Netherlands to Christchurch, Auckland to Hong Kong and from Bangkok back home. Cost per ticket: €1400 (sum for the two of us = €2800).
There are a couple of flights between countries I didn’t include in the country budget breakdowns because it would not give a proper estimation of how much you can expect to spend in that country.
Also, I found allocating the cost for flights between countries to just one of those countries unfair inflation of the daily costs, so I choose not to include them in the country breakdowns.
In conclusion, flights within a country are included in all the country budget breakdowns, flights between countries are not included in the country budget breakdown, but of course, they are part of this overall budget breakdown.
I’ll get to the specification for transport costs later, but the total for additional flights between countries is €470/$518.
2. The cost of scuba diving
Diving was something Frank, my husband, really wanted to do. I am so happy I got over my fear and tried it because I completely fell for it… We went diving 3 times:
- PADI Open Water Course in El Nido, the Philippines.
- Diving on Tioman, Malaysia.
- PADI Open Water Advanced Course Koh Tao, Thailand.
I also bought a mask and snorkel for €80/$88 on Tioman, which I already put to good use several times since purchasing it.
In conclusions, diving is awesome and totally worth the total costs of €1.611/$1.784.
3. The costs of travel gear
We had ahem… never really backpacked before… Traveled yes! Camping, city tripping, even hitchhiking. But backpacking no. So neither of us actually owned a backpack. Or packing cubes. Or a microfiber towel. You can find my entire packing list in this post, but long story short, we had to buy some stuff. Total costs: €528/$582.
4. Vaccines and medication
One thing about the Netherlands which I started to appreciate in preparing for our trip is the health care system. We have a pretty kick-ass healthcare system and if you choose your health insurance wisely a lot of vaccines will be paid for by the insurance company.
I took great care in selecting the company with the most generous vaccine policies (for the least amount of money obviously;-) which resulted in a total cost for all our vaccines and preventive medicine of €123. The actual cost for all the vaccines and pills was almost €550 so we definitely saved some money there:-).
5. International driver’s license
Because we planned on renting a campervan in New Zealand, which we did and it was awesome, we got an international driver’s license. Once in New Zealand nobody ever asked for it, but better safe than sorry… Total costs: €36.
6. Letter of approval Vietnam
Because we were flying into Vietnam we could make use of the letter of approval system and didn’t have to get our visa beforehand. We paid $16 for the 2 of us together to Vietnam Visa company and got our letter 3 days later.
7. Miscellaneous costs while traveling
Things like laundry and detergent, our little espresso maker, conditioner for my hair, souvenirs, etc. Just little things of which I don’t exactly remember where I bought what but OCD as I am I did write down the costs. Total amount: €284/$315.
All the additional costs together came to €5.786/$6.387. Adding the €10.397/$11.666 we spent in the 9 different countries we visited this brings me to our total expenses.
Total of 5 months of traveling as a couple: €16.183/$18.053
This includes all the money we spent preparing for, and during our 5-month trip. Divided by 145 days (we spent the first 2 days in a plane from the Netherlands to New Zealand) this comes down to a daily average of €112/$125.
What do you think about this amount? I wasn’t too shocked. I know it’s A LOT OF money, but for me, our trip was worth every penny.
A future long-term trip would probably be somewhat cheaper because we wouldn’t have to buy gear, we probably wouldn’t do more dive courses (though we would do more diving) but most of all: I think we would travel more slowly, which would reduce our daily expenses.
If you want to know exactly where we spent all this money on, keep reading for more details about:
- Food, drinks, and groceries
How much does it cost to travel the world – breakdown per category
In total, we spent €3.869/$4.336 on accommodation. The most expensive hotel we stayed at was the Tarna Align resort in Thailand, the cheapest hotel was Monesavanh Guesthouse in Laos. In New Zealand, we stayed many nights at free campsites, but we obviously had to pay for our camper van.
We mostly stayed at budget hotels, though I always try to make sure the accommodations have good reviews. There are not many places I didn’t like and only a handful I wouldn’t return to.
Below you can find a list with basic information about the hotels I stayed at during our 5-month trip. I provided links as well if you would like to check out the hotels, but only for the accommodation I would return to myself (and which are listed online;-).
You can find more information about the accommodation we stayed in these posts: the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Malaysia and campsites in New Zealand for more details about the hotels (short review and score on Agoda).
Budget hotels in The Philippines
Batad ⇒ Hillside Inn Batad, included in our hiking tour, Agoda
Puerto Princesa, Palawan ⇒ Tia Mers Guesthouse, €11,5/$12,65, Agoda | Booking
Puerto Princesa, Palawan ⇒ Palawan Village Hotel, €14/$15,40, Agoda
Cebu city ⇒ Skypark Pensionne, €16,5/$18,15, Agoda
Loboc, Bohol ⇒ Fox & Firefly Cottages, €28/$31, Agoda | Booking
Panglao, Bohol ⇒ Royal Paradise Guesthouse, €25/$27,5, Agoda | Booking
Tagbilaran, Bohol ⇒ Casa Rey Francis Pension House*, €15/$16,50
Budget hotels in Vietnam
Hanoi Airport Nội Bài ⇒ Bong Sen Airport guesthouse*, €10,37/$11,40
Hanoi ⇒ Hanoi Serenity Hotel, €10/$11, Agoda | Booking
Hanoi ⇒ Golden Orchid hotel*, €12,9/$14,20
Tam Coc ⇒ Tuan Ngoc Hotel , €16,77/$18,45, Agoda | Booking
Hue ⇒ Hue Charming Hotel €10,1/$11,10, Agoda | Booking
Hoi An ⇒ Jolie Villa Homestay, €10,72/$11,80, Agoda | Booking
Hoi An ⇒ Sac Xanh homestay , €11,19/$12,30, Agoda | Booking
Dalat ⇒ Cam Ly homestay, €8,58/$9,45, Agoda | Booking
Ho Chi Minh ⇒ Thao Nhi, €12,5/$13,75, Agoda | Booking
Phu Quoc island ⇒ Kinh Bac Hotel, €14,67/$16,14, Agoda | Booking
Budget hotels in Cambodia
Kampot ⇒ Bohemiaz resort, €12,30/$13,50, Agoda | Booking
Phnom Penh ⇒ Diamond Palace II , €14,50/$16, Agoda | Booking
Siem Riep ⇒ Overflow Guesthouse, €13,20/$14,50, Agoda | Booking
Budget hotels in Laos
Huay Xai ⇒ Sabaidee Guesthouse, €10/$11, Agoda | Booking
Pak Beng ⇒ Monesavanh Guesthouse, €5,50/$6,50, Agoda
Luang Prabang ⇒ Sengphet Guesthouse, €9/$10, Agoda
Vang Vieng ⇒ Vang Vieng Orchid Guest House, €6,50/$7,50, Agoda
Vang Vieng ⇒ Vang Vien Boutique Hotel, €17,50/$20, Agoda | Booking
Vientiane ⇒ Mixok Guesthouse, €11/$12, Agoda
Budget hotels in Malaysia
Mersing ⇒ Mersing Hotel*, €10,50/$12
Tioman ⇒ Ella’s Place**, €18,75/$21
Tioman ⇒ Bamboo Hill, €25/$28,50, Website
Kuala Lumpur ⇒ Lantern Hotel, €25/$28,50, Agoda | Booking
Langkawi ⇒ Rasa Senang Chalet*, €25/$28,50
Langkawi ⇒ NR Langkawi Motel, €25/$28,50, Agoda | Booking
Budget hotels in Thailand (and luxury resort which was worth every bath!)
Bangkok ⇒ Au Bon hostel, €16/$18, Agoda | Booking
Don Muang airport ⇒ DMK Donmuang Airport Hostel*, €16/$18
Surat Thani train station ⇒ Queen Hotel*, €7/$7,50
Koh Tao ⇒ Jomthong Guesthouse, included in PADI course, Agoda | Booking
Koh Tao ⇒ Tarna Align resort, €88/$98, Agoda | Booking
*Not recommended (thus no link provided;-)
**Recommended but not online (thus no link provided either;-)
In 5 months on the road, we spent €2.142/$2.412 on transportation in total, including petrol for our campervan in New Zealand, flights, buses, trains, minivans and whatever other transport available.
You can find more details about the costs and other useful details about getting around in my itinerary posts for New Zealand, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Singapore and Malaysia.
A note about flights: I use Skyscanner or Momondo to find flights and try to be as flexible as possible regarding the flight dates to get the best deals.
3. Food, drinks and groceries
All our food, drinks and groceries together cost us €3.000/$3.363. In New Zealand, we cooked our own breakfast, lunch and dinner which greatly reduced the costs.
In Southeast Asia we did no such thing, cooking your own meals there would be crazy because there are so many delicious and highly affordable options available;-).
We did a lot of fun things, like a cruise around the Milford Sound, a 3-day hike through the rice terraces of Batad, mountain biking in Laos and sightseeing in Singapore. The total cost of all these activities was €1.173/$1.316.
For more details about the activities we did, check posts in the category travel experiences.
Finally, we spent some money on visas, €210/$230 in total:
- Vietnam ⇒ 1-month single entry visa: €41/$45 per person
- Cambodia ⇒ 1-month single entry visa cost €32/$35 per person
- Laos ⇒ 1-month single entry visa cost €32/$35 per person
Lucky us, being from the Netherlands we didn’t need a paid visa for:
- New Zealand ⇒ free 3-month visa on arrival
- Hong Kong ⇒ free 3-month visa on arrival
- Philippines ⇒ free 30-day visa on arrival (you need to show an exit ticket for a flight departing within this period)
- Thailand ⇒ free 2-week visa on arrival
- Singapore ⇒ free 3-month visa on arrival
- Malaysia ⇒ free 3-month visa on arrival
Cost for a Round The World Trip: in conclusion
So that it, every euro, dollar, peso, dong, baht, kip and ringgit we spent. I hope you found the breakdown helpful! Please let me know if you have any questions. If you would like to download budget breakdown infographics, you can do so by clicking the button below.
What do you think about the total amount we spent on 5 months of travel?