Okay, how about I answer some big, sort of awkward questions about our one-year trip around the world...
Many people have asked these questions and I’m sure there are a few more who’ve been wondering but feel weird about asking.
First, no, we didn't get major diarrhea.
Second, yes, we did get head lice.
Third, let's talk money.
So, how much did this trip cost?
We tracked EVERY SINGLE EXPENDITURE and I mean every meal, hotel, plane ticket, visa, chocolate bar, glass of wine, postcard stamp, new pair of flip flops, water jug, school and soccer fee, mango lassi, sim card, etc. If it cost money, any amount at all, we put it in the Wallet app. This helped ensure we were staying on budget and meeting daily, weekly and monthly spending targets.
So, before I get to the numbers, here are a couple things to note:
Total cost for our one-year trip around the world...
$55,600 (less than $20,000/person)
Our planned budget was about $10,000 for long distance travel (planes, trains, coach busses), $35,500 ($100/day) for everything else, about $5,000 extra for our Tanzania safari and about $3,500 for insurance and pre-trip purchases. As you can see from the breakdown below, we pretty much made it work.
Cost breakdown for a one-year trip around the world for a family of 3
Long distance transport: This includes 15 flights (some with multiple legs), 16 bus trips, seven train trips and three boat trips times three people. We didn't use any points or a pre-purchased around-the-world plane ticket.
Car shipping: We had our Honda Fit moved more than 4,000 km from Ottawa to Vancouver.
Food and drinks: In Europe we mostly ate in, in Africa and Asia we mostly ate out, and in North America we did a combination of both.
Housing: We used hotels, hostels, guesthouses and Airbnb. We did have a free house in Belgium for six weeks and we stayed with friends/family for a few days in England, Spain and parts of Canada. We also had a free one-night hotel stay in Qatar and used Airmiles for one-night hotel stays in London and Brussels.
Activities and entertainment: This includes tickets/entrance fees to sites, museums and attractions; full-day tours; a three-day trip to the Legoland Resort in Malaysia; classes and workshops; and fees for six soccer programs/camps, etc. It also includes tuition for six weeks of school in India, two weeks of private Spanish classes, and two weeks of private school in Mexico.
Purchases/shopping: We bought some clothing, shoes, souvenirs, gifts, toiletries, etc.
Local transportation: This includes car rentals, gas, public transit and taxis.
Communications: This includes sim cards, stamps, Skype phone, etc.
Visas: We needed visas for entry in Tanzania, India, Vietnam and Laos.
African safari: This is for a three-day safari in Tanzania. It includes a driver, a guide, entrance to three parks, meals, a two-night stay at Isoitok Camp Manyara and gratuities.
Travel and health insurance: This covered us in all countries outside of Canada. We used World Nomads.
And you know what?
We could have done it for even cheaper! Tanzania was just three weeks but accounts for 14% of our spending, so if we had skipped it, we could have saved a lot. Don't get me wrong, it was absolutely worth it! Our time there was incredible and special for so many reasons. One could also save a lot by visiting fewer countries, staying at least a month in each place, and seeking out housesitting or Workaway opportunities. For other money saving tips...I wrote a blog post about a while back about how we save money while travelling.
Now the next question…
So, how did you pay for this epic trip?
That really came down to five key things:
We’re pretty pleased with this result, especially when you consider what some folks spend on a two-week vacation.
It has also made continuing to travel very doable because we learned so much about how to do it more cheaply and still have an awesome time!