Summary of costs for our 2011-12 RTW trip
Replies: 26 - Last Post: Nov 27, 2012 7:27 AM Last Post By: Andreas_at_LP
Nov 24, 2012 5:13 PM
Summary of costs for our 2011-12 RTW tripI've gotten a lot of great info here and always found it helpful when people posted what their actual costs were, so I thought I would post mine as well. My husband and I are Americans in our early 30s who just came back from a RTW trip through Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific. We visited 25 countries in 348 days (split about half the time in developed vs. developing countries) and averaged $43 per person per day without international flights. In developing countries, we always stayed in private rooms with ensuite bathrooms (except for some of the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal when some of the guesthouses had shared bath) and always ate out, often with beer and other drinks. In developed countries, we usually rented private apartments and cooked/shopped at the market maybe 2/3 of the time (although more cooking for some of the more expensive countries), and we had plenty of wine and beer, but usually not in a restaurant or bar setting. We spent money on the usual tourist attractions (Louvre, Colosseum, Pyramids of Giza, Uffizi Gallery, etc.) but didn't go crazy if we felt like something was overpriced and not worth it. We did use some hotel points that my husband had for some free hotel stays, which I've indicated below. We had a fantastic time and spent only half of our conservative budget estimates - Europe was actually a lot cheaper than we expected! I'm sure others could do it for a lot cheaper, but we felt like we got good value out of our trip.
Costs below include everything we spent while in a country except for any international transportation costs to get between countries. Number of days are based on how many nights we spent in a country. Sorry I couldn't figure out how to format this well!
Country - Cost per person per day - # of days
Nepal - $30.12 - 21 (Annapurna Circuit and Pokhara)
India - $26.10 - 38 (includes several internal flights)
NZ - $68.75 - 29 (North and South Island in a Spaceship, half the time in Holiday Parks, half in basic campground or freedom camping)
Australia $107.55 - 19 (4 internal flights, went to places like Tasmania and Kangaroo Island, rented a car in Kangaroo Island and Adelaide...yeah...totally worth it, though)
Thailand $32.23 - 16 (3 free hotel nights plus 2 nights with relatives, includes RT flight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai)
Myanmar $46.6 - 10 (food and hotels were surprisingly expensive!)
Cambodia $30.85 - 13 (big chunk was costs from 3 days of Angkor Wat)
Vietnam $25.71 - 22
Japan $41.47 - 36 (includes 3 free hotel nights and renting an apartment for a month in Kyoto, mostly cooking but also some nice restaurants)
South Korea $25.6 - 8 (stayed with relatives for 6 nights)
Indonesia $25.31 - 30 (4 free hotel nights)
Malaysia $22.27 - 4 (1 free hotel night)
Hong Kong $45.95 - 3
Greece $39.84 - 5 (Athens)
Bulgaria $32.57 - 1
Hungary $34.02 - 6 (Budapest)
Austria $59.34 - 2 (Vienna)
Czech $36.71 - 4 (Prague)
Belgium $64.79 - 4 (includes rental car and an extra 30 euro charge)
France - $52.51 - 25 (includes one week of rental car)
Italy $52.59 - 34 (includes one week of rental car)
Spain $45.42 - 5 (Barcelona)
Turkey $35.40 - 9 (Istanbul)
Egypt $27.61 - 4 (Cairo, includes 1 free hotel night)
UK $61.25 - 1 (London)
Total cost for two people (without international transport): $30146.19
Total days: 348
Average cost per person per day: $43.31
I also kept a travel blog during the trip (planning to write a few more posts still) here. I hope you found this helpful - feel free to ask any questions!
Edited by: purplmarsh
Nov 24, 2012 5:54 PM
Nov 24, 2012 10:15 PM
Nov 25, 2012 12:51 AM
3Nice to have it broken down like that...even if people planning their own trips and basing it on those figures need to look carefully at the small print ;-)
eg your Japan costs show that you can live cheaply there...but anyone planning on a typical trip (10 days between Tokyo,Kyoto and Hiroshima,with lots of sightseeing) would spend a LOT more than you did.
Nov 25, 2012 12:53 AM
Nov 25, 2012 3:58 AM
5really interesting - actual figures are worth dozens of estimates.
can I ask how you did 5 nights in Athens for $80 a day for two? Would love to know where you stayed as it means I'll be able to go too!
the NZ figures are also interesting. Given that a spaceship is just a van with a bed and a stove, where were you able to freedom camp?
Nov 25, 2012 8:10 AM
6Good to see real and recent figures quoted. I would note that anyone looking at them and planning to travel as a single, would need to take that into account, not just use the figures per person for a single traveller. Two sharing costs is always going to be cheaper per person. One good reason to travel with someone else.
Nov 25, 2012 10:21 AM
Nov 25, 2012 11:44 AM
8I'm glad that some of you found my post helpful!
@Murray: I have the exact costs for getting between countries, but didn't include them in my original post because I don't know how helpful it would be for other people - we used airline miles for a good chunk of our trip, and also spent $1500 on next-day tickets to the U.S. from India because of a family emergency. We also had some weird routing for various reasons that had us flying to India twice (interrupted by a trip to the U.S.), Japan twice, and France on three separate trips. Our total international transport costs for two people including flights, bus, trains, and ferry was $6,618. Let me know if you'd like to see the full breakdown on that - we were able to get some good deals on budget flights in Europe.
@lucapal: Hehe yup, that's why I tried to include our small print :). We'd previously spent a whirlwind week in Japan on a 7 day bullet train pass (which I would definitely recommend) which we loved but obviously spent more on. But if you stay in one place and cook a lot, you can definitely stay on a budget in Japan if you have limited funds. We spent a month in Kyoto, which we realized later had a lot higher food prices than other cities in the area or in Fukuoka, where we visited for a few days. Myanmar was surprisingly expensive - we did have one one-way flight from Yangon to Bagan and two nights in nicer more expensive hotels, but otherwise we took public buses everywhere and tried to stay in cheap but decent lodging. But we did find that hotel prices were really high compared to the rest of southeast Asia - we went in April 2012 and found hotel prices 20% higher than prices we had seen advertised even just the month or two before. We stayed in a horrible non-airconditioned room with shared bath for $22 in Yangon and did a lot of hotel shopping in Bagan before settling on a $25 a night place that would have gone for more like $10 or $15 in almost anywhere else in Southeast Asia. We ate street food and were shocked to be charged 2500 kyat for a bowl of vegetable soup. I don't know if we just had a weird experience, but I think anyone planning a trip to Myanmar should be prepared to bring plenty of cash (and they really do mean it with the new bills - we had perfectly good bills with slight creases or tiny markings that got rejected) just in case (unless they're finally starting to have ATMs there)!
@neverwinter: We were very pleasantly surprised by the prices in Athens. We ate out more there than in France and Italy and it was still way cheaper. We did Acropolis and the famous museums too (they also had good student discounts if that applies to you). Metro was pretty cheap, especially with the passes. Supermarket prices were fantastic. We stayed here: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/138333. We spent $25 a night in August 2012 but noticed that she was charging $20 a night for the next month. We loved the location and spaciousness with two terraces and fast free wifi, but the cleanliness did leave something to be desired. When we looked, there were also hotel rooms going for low $20s a night that looked decent. We loved Athens and you should definitely go for it! We want to go back and see some Greek islands this time, too!
In NZ, we didn't do a ton of freedom camping, but did find some out of the way spots where no one seemed to mind. Sorry I don't remember exactly. The regulations seemed to vary a lot with different cities and certain areas (the more touristed ones, generally) had blanket "no freedom camping" areas. It does help to check in the tourist offices to get more info on their specific regulations. In Queenstown, we got a ticket while we were sleeping, but fought it later saying that we were self-contained since we did have a portable toilet on board (free with Spaceships rentals but you have to ask for it), and they agreed to rescind the ticket. It was kind of a pain, though, and in retrospect I think we might have upgraded to a real self-contained camper since we were spending a month in the thing (we loved having a real campervan in Tasmania).
@travelinstyle46: I would argue that a single traveler could do it cheaper than we did by staying in hostel dorm rooms or rooms with shared bath. We almost always had private rooms with private bathrooms. But yes, I agree that if a single traveler wanted the same kind of accommodation that we had that it would definitely cost more for just one person.
Nov 25, 2012 1:01 PM
9Quite often 2 people sharing a room in a 2 star hotel can pay as little or less than 2 singles in a hostel purplmarsh. For this reason it is not unusual to see suggestions that a couple check that out rather than simply assuming a hostel will be cheaper for them. So where a hostel might be $20 per person a budget hotel might be $35 for a double room for example, making it cheaper per person in the hotel. What is true though is that the single traveller looking for the cheapest bed has no choice but the hostels.
Renting a car or van obviously would cost the same whether a couple or a single. Food often is packaged in quantities better suited to a couple than a single. Less waste from spoilage. Two can also travel lighter since some items can be shared use. The list goes on. The old saying, 'two can live as cheaply as one' has a firm basis in reality. Not absolute but generally true to a degree.
Looking at your fine print again, I'm not sure if you have made any allowance in your figures for when you had free hotel nights or with relatives. If not, that will obviously skew your numbers in those countries.
Nov 25, 2012 1:38 PM
Nov 25, 2012 3:27 PM
11@travelinstyle: I hear what you're saying. I would also argue, though, that there are some increased costs to traveling as a couple as well: if one person is especially tired or sick and wants to upgrade to a nicer hotel or better restaurant or take a cab, generally the more tired/sick person gets his/her way. Also, if one person is really interested in X attraction or Y museum or Z day trip that the other person might not have gone to otherwise, generally both people will go. But I agree that as a couple you can definitely save on accommodation (we stayed in a wonderful apartment in the Latin Quarter in Paris that was cheaper than two hostel dorm beds) and the other things you mention are true as well. We only had one carry-on backpack each, which meant we never paid any luggage fees (although I would argue that even single travelers should try to only do a carryon backpack as well). But all I'm saying is that it's not always the case that solo travel is necessarily more expensive than couples travel; I think more depends on the spending habits and interests of the travelers than the number of people. And you make decisions based on the particular situation - I'm much more willing to rent a car if shared between two people, and I never took a taxi in Europe but I would take a tuktuk in Asia.
Oh, and I didn't account for the free hotel nights and mentioned those specifically in my post because it will skew the numbers. However, aside from 3 nights in Japan, I did not have any free nights in more expensive countries so I don't think they had a huge impact on the overall numbers.
@kkenka: In developing countries, we generally left our plans pretty open. We often wouldn't book anything ahead and just wander around looking for a place or book just a day or two ahead on Agoda (later I realized that their search interface is terrible and moved more to Booking.com). We used hostelbookers.com a few times too. In New Zealand we left things wide open too. However, in many other developed countries, we planned ahead a lot more in order to save money. We did most of our Europe planning during our summer month in Kyoto, a couple months ahead of our fall in Europe.This way we saved a lot of money on booking transportation ahead (cheap flights on budget airlines, 9 euro high-speed trains between Rome and Naples as well as Florence and Rome) and finding great deals on apartments. Cheaper but it does also limit your flexibility. Our favorite site for apartments became Airbnb for ease of use and the convenience of using a credit card, although we also found some real gems on sabbaticalhomes.com and homeaway.com (both of those sites took a lot more work, though). I'm planning on writing a blog post later about looking for apartments and links to some of our favorite apartments this year, so you can also read that once I've posted it.
Nov 26, 2012 3:29 AM
12Sorry for repeating what previous posters have said - just wanted to say that I found this really useful - my wife and I are planning and saving for our trip starting 2014 and have found it hard finding figures for a couple rather than an individual and this has shed some considerable light on the subject - well done!
Nov 26, 2012 4:32 AM
Nov 26, 2012 5:26 AM
14@bmovieneil: Glad you found it helpful. I will say that we left thinking a rough estimate of $30 pp a day for developing countries and $100 pp a day for developed countries (i.e. $25,000 pp for a year if you split the time 50/50), plus a little extra just in case, and didn't bother with trying to calculate a budget for specific countries. I think that the developing countries estimate was about right, but we were really off on the developed countries - I think $75 pp a day in developed countries would still have been a generous estimate that we went under. But it never hurts to take more money along and have extra for splurges or reentry back home - we're glad to have plenty of extra money in our accounts as we look for jobs right now!
@hp2010: No, we don't have kids :). We went on this trip soon after we got married as a sort of prolonged honeymoon before we have more obligations that tie us down to the U.S. And no, we didn't have travel insurance, but I think most plans wouldn't have covered our trip home since it didn't involve a death.
(3 star Hotel)
From US$320.13 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$193.08 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$214.90 per night