Dinars, Pesos and Dollars: The Totals

Dinars, Pesos and Dollars: The Totals


$86,481.19.  That’s the answer to the question that you’ve wanted to ask.  That was how much we spent to visit over 300 cities in 917 days around the world.  This includes everything: airfare, ground transport, lodging, site admission, beer and a custom-made swimsuit…for two people.


.People often assume, incorrectly, that we made money or used frequent flier miles along the way.  We didn’t work, make money blogging (we do this out of love for you), or have “free” travel benefits.  The only thing we got for being bloggers on the entire trip were passes to Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi.  In fact, we didn’t ask for anything more as our blog’s commitment was to sharing how you can do it, not how we can make money off you.

So where did that $86k go? As you can see, it got spread fairly evenly throughout the trip, except for a few big tours skewing 2011 and 2013.  Taking out North Korea, Tibet, Antarctica and the Galapagoswe averaged from $73.28-85.36 per day.  Not too bad.  To put our spending into perspective, we spent $2,835 per month traveling, at home we spent about $2,800 per month on rent, food, transport and beer.

Here it is by country.  There are a few surprises (Bolivia!?! the visa plus tours added up), but overall it was as expected.  I believe they are good numbers for budget travelers to go by as we were generally mid-tier spenders.  We spent more than gap-year backpackers but substantially less than “I’m on vacation” travelers.

If you had told me in 2010 that we’d be able to spend less than $90,000 and do half the things we did, I’d sign up then and there. From dancing the night away at Carnival in Rio de Janeiro to eating sushi in Tokyo to seeing orangutans in Borneo to hiking for 40 days through the Himalayas to the Pyramids, we exceeded every expectation except budget.

I’d pay $10,000 for this photo alone…further putting the trip’s price into perspective.

It simply didn’t cost as much to travel the world as I would have thought.  In addition, the more we traveled, the more ways to travel for less we learned.  If someone asked me today if they should get an around-the-world ticket I’d say, “certainly not”. If someone asked if they should book hostels, I’d say, “only in certain places, otherwise walking around to find a place will save you 50-70%.”  If someone asked if it’s safe to eat street food I’d irrevocably respond, “it’s not only cheaper, but it’s better to be able to see what’s happening with your food than wonder what is happening behind closed doors.”  The reality is that all of these things not only save money, but enhance the travel experience.



Here are the details for what 2011, a year in Asia, cost us.

Here are the details for what 2012, a year traveling from Australia to India to the Middle East to Turkey cost us.

-More travel budgeting and how to save the money articles coming soon.  Be sure to “like” us on facebook to learn more about how you can do it.


YOUR TURN: What do you think?  Would you do this?  How have your travel costs compared?

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» Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) :
Aug 27, 2013

Guys, this is incredible and so very inspiring! You were one of the first travel blogs we discovered when we started to dream up our own RTW trip and it’s been so amazing to follow along on your journey (while launching our own adventure). Part of what always made your trip so inspiring yet achievable was how transparent you were with your numbers so it’s great to read about how much it all cost you in the very end.
Read Steph (@ 20 Years Hence)’s awesome post What We Ate: Hualien

thinkCHUA Reply:

Thanks. It’s been amazing to follow your trip as well. Glad you’ve found information that helps you here. The point of LivingIF is not to show off our trip, rather to provide the information that inspires others to say, “hey, I could do this!” and information to help them on their way.

» Lina :
Sep 6, 2013

Absolutely AWESOME post!!! Thank you so much for sharing. Did you mostly spend your time in private rooms at hostels? Although we don’t mind the occasionaly/necessary dorm room, we like to have our privacy when we travel!! Really interesting to see your spending habits, I would imagine we will be much the same and your budget looks almost identical to what we currently have planned for our upcoming RTW. Thanks for sharing!!
Read Lina’s awesome post Kayaking Adventure at Meyers Beach Sea Caves

thinkCHUA Reply:

We stayed in whatever we felt fit our budget best. This meant some dorms in countries where private rooms were costly (Brazil, Australia, New Zealand), and private rooms where the difference was inconsequential or cheap (SE Asia, India, Turkey). Hopefully this helps you, email us if you think our per country lodging costs would help you plan your budget.

» Tara :
Sep 6, 2013

Wow! You guys rock. These are very good stats for two people! Always interesting to compare what long-term travel costs to what your daily expenditures are at home. This post is inspiring for others who think it is outrageously more expensive to travel than stay home. Great post!
Read Tara’s awesome post 5 Challenging Exercises for Travelers

thinkCHUA Reply:

Thanks! Happy to help, even when we decided to start off we had no idea what it would actually cost. We kept track of it to help future travelers plan their budget and their trip, but also hoped it would inspire some to take the trip of a lifetime themselves.

» Bethany ~ twoOregonians :
Sep 6, 2013

Fantastic, you two! It’s so exciting to see how these adventures all pencil out… It shows how doable it is, and how much life you can live for the same amount as some couples might spend on a new car and a bunch of flat screen TVs and few yearly cruises.

Love it! Bravo xx
Read Bethany ~ twoOregonians’s awesome post Seven Years and Six(ish) Continents Later

thinkCHUA Reply:

So many people say, “I’d love to travel the world” then make up excuses. The number one of these is the money, we wanted to know if it would be doable for the average person, we found out that yes, most couples could travel for a year to a year and a half if they so chose.

» Lindsay :
Sep 7, 2013

Wow!!! This is amazing and inspiring. I liked seeing how you decreased your costs each year. Your 2011 total is the same as our current one-year RTW budget., so it’s nice to see it can be done for even less. Have recommendations for traveling cheaper? We’re traveling slowly, staying in apartments, tracking daily expenses.

I have just discovered your blog so I’ll definitely read through. Thanks and happy travels.

thinkCHUA Reply:

I think 2011’s cost was about right for one year of budget travel. 2012 was an aberration, due to spending six months total in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Overall I don’t think we could have traveled cheaper. We really cut costs where we could, taking almost all public transportation, staying in budget lodging, and eating street food. I’m interested to see your spending on lodging compared to ours, I have no idea how much staying in apartments would change the cost structure.

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About the Author

thinkCHUA: Photographing and documenting the world on a 3 year round-the-world trip to help future travelers discover new places, travel longer and enjoy the world's great experiences.

About the Author
thinkCHUA: Photographing and documenting the world on a 3 year round-the-world trip to help future travelers discover new places, travel longer and enjoy the world's great experiences.


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