This is a common question I hear; how much does travelling cost, how do you afford it? Well, it all depends on the type of traveller you are. Do you want to live it up in posh hotels, or mingle with other travellers in much more wallet friendly hostels? Perhaps a mix of the two. Alternatively, some people, while not usually first time travellers, opt for couch surfing, whereby you stay at people’s houses, for free. Then you’ve got the option to volunteer, to WWOOF; working on organic farms for room and food. There are many, many ways you can alter the cost of travelling.
But, if you are a first time traveller, that’s probably not all that helpful. Let’s break it down. Say you are taking the traditional route: London – Thailand – Australia – New Zealand – USA – Home. You are talking near on £1000 for the flights, of course this all depends on deals, seasons and who you book with. It pays to look around. Flights, along with visas and vaccinations, are the biggest expenses you will incur whilst you’re still on home turf. Once you actually get out into the world things may become a little more wallet friendly. HOWEVER, this depends on your destinations. So, going back to the example that you are heading out to Thailand first, you will find your money will go ALOT further compared to when you get to Australia. 2 weeks in Asia, travelling overland, could cost as little as £300, and this includes a fair amount for activities. 2 weeks in Australia and you want to at least double that. If you want to do a spot of skydiving here, scuba diving there, then the cost escalates even more.
I have a general rule of thumb when planning my expenditure for travel; travel overland and always allow money for ‘fun’. Do a little bit of research about the average hostel costs in a country, and allow the same amount for food. Add in some money for travel, and of course fun, then you have a fairly realistic budget for each country. Of course, when travelling, things don’t always go to plan. You might meet people who alter your decisions, you might need to take a flight, or you might even get scammed like we did!
To give you a better idea, I will write some rough figures down for how much my first RTW trip cost me, back in 2009.The route was as follows: UK – Hong Kong – Auckland, NZ overland to Christchurch – Sydney – Singapore overland to Bangkok – Abu Dhabi – UK. Due to not going perhaps the ‘normal’ route, with the added stop in Abu Dhabi to visit family for a few days, the cost of the flights were quite a significant portion of the money. Coming in at £1300, they were the sole biggest expense of the trip. Hong Kong was only a 3 day stint, so about £100 saw me right. Over to New Zealand, this was the longest leg of the trip; 2 months. With a Kiwi Experience bus pass ticket from the top to the bottom of the country booked during an unbeatable sale I noticed prior to departure, travel around the country cost around £300. Staying at a couple of friend’s houses whilst away also bought the cost down. Buying food from the local supermarkets and cooking in hostels, rather than eating out, is a sure way to ensure you stay within your food budget. A few excursions here and there took a slight chunk out of the country budget, however they were absolutely necessary and you can’t go all that way across the world to not do something you really want to for the sake of £50. Sydney next, a See Sydney Pass was purchased, allowing for multiple trips and activities to be had for a one-off, and significantly reduced, payment. Only being in Australia for a week, about £100 sorted out the accommodation, and a little less for food. Asia next, working from Singapore up to Bangkok via Malaysia and the southern beaches of Thailand, money went alot further. With accommodation coming in at as little as under £5 a night (minus Singapore) for a private, air-con room, and a similar amount for food (of the eating out variety), Asia was a cheap comparison to its western counterparts. Abu Dhabi involved staying and eating with family, so the costs here were pretty non existent. All in, nearly 4 months of travel round the world cost around £4000. This includes flights, visas, vaccinations, transfers, accommodation, food, travel, having fun, everything. Whilst it is possible to get by on alot less, this should hopefully give you some kind of idea of what to expect when you are away.