How Much Does it Really Cost to Travel the World? | Budget RTW Trip Guide


So, how much does it actually cost to travel around the world? Great question. In this video we’re going to answer it and show you how traveling the world for a year can actually turn out cheaper than staying at home. I’m Alex. I’m Marko, and you are watching Vagabrothers, your go-to guide for travel tips, inspiration, and vlogs here on YouTube. This video is part of our series on how to travel around the world for cheap, and this video addresses one of the most common questions we get about travel: how much does it cost? If you’re new here, make sure you hit that subscribe button, enabled notifications, and get ready to take some notes and crunch some numbers. This is how much it actually costs to travel around the world. The short answer is: it depends a lot on you, and there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Instead, we’re going to give you a couple of tools you can use to estimate the cost of your trip, no matter what size. Let’s tackle this one step at a time. First, you’re going to have to determine your level of luxury and choose your destinations accordingly. Next, understand your major expenses and calculate your costs per day. And finally, add all this up to estimate your total cost for your trip. And as a bonus, we’re going to crunch numbers on a full year around the world, what’s known as a Gap Year. So if you ready, let’s get started. First and foremost, you’re going to have to look at yourself long and hard in the mirror and ask yourself one question: What type of traveler are you? Are you a high-class jet setter that demands only the best or are you a bare-bones backpacker who will happily dumpster dive for dinner in order to travel forever? Truth is most of us are somewhat in the middle. We got champagne taste, but only beer income. Wherever you are on the scale, don’t worry. There’s no right or wrong answer. But, be brutally honest with yourself about how much you can rough it. News flash: some places in the world are more expensive to visit than others. Figuring out the cost of your destination is crucial to budgeting. Traveling in the developing world like India, Southeast Asia, and Central America is around 2 to 3 times cheaper than traveling in Europe, North America, or Australia. We just published a video on the 31 cheapest destinations in the world. So if you’ve not seen that video yet, make sure you click up here to watch it for some inspiration. Generally speaking you’re going to have to budget around 25 to 50 dollars per day in the developing world and around 50 to 150 dollars a day in Europe or North America. It’s not that simple. India might be cheap, but how much it cost to fly there? The good news is that the internet allows you to get exact estimates on your major cost of travel. Let’s start with those. Plane tickets are by far your largest cost. But luckily search engines like Momondo, Skyscanner, and Google Flights search the internet to find you the cheapest fare. Just keep an eye out for hidden costs like check bags and onboard meals because nothing is free these days. And if you haven’t already watched it, click our video here to see how to get the cheapest flights possible. After flights your next biggest expense is going to be accommodation. Do you need a hotel every night? That can get expensive fast. Can you share a dorm room with seven strangers? Cheaper, but you might wake up with someone snoring, puking, or fornicating,,, maybe all at once. How about couch surfing? Totally free, but potentially sketchy. Mix and match these options to maximize your budget and maintain your sanity. Use websites like, Hostel World and Airbnb to check out prices before you go. Next up: activities…. something most people severely under budget for. How much would it suck to fly all the way to Australia, to the Great Barrier Reef only to realize you don’t have enough money to go scuba diving. Be conservative when budgeting. When you’re researching museums, tours, and activities, take a good look at the price. It’s also important to identify major bucket list activities that you know you’re going to do, like bungee jumping in New Zealand or a yoga course in Costa Rica. Search online to find the exact price before you go. Add it all up, toss in a little bit extra for the unexpectedly awesome things you might find. And if you don’t spend it all, you still have a little bit of cash when you get home. But boss, what about money for food and stuff? I get “hangry.” Everyone needs to eat, but where you eat makes a big difference. Do you need to eat every meal in the restaurant or can you cook at the hostel? And can you brave $1 street meat? Each meal adds up, not to mention alcohol. Okay, Bros. I get it. Fights are expensive. What about ground transportation? This can be a major cost if you’re traveling a lot overland, like taking trains through Europe or doing a road trip across the States. You can search online to find the exact prices of Eurail passes ( in info box) or rental cars. Lastly, don’t forget the hidden costs. Do you have a backpack or a suitcase? Mmm. That’s a 100-300 bucks. Is your passport valid for at least six months? Mmm. That’s at least a hundred, extra if you need it rushed. Do you need a visa? Vaccinations? Travel insurance? All extra. Now as promised, we’re going to finish this video by answering a very frequent question: how much does it cost to travel around the world for a full year? Let’s start with a major travel hack known as an around the world ticket, which literally lets you travel all the way around the world for up to a year on multiple flights for around two to three thousand dollars. But there are some rules. First: the whole trip must be made in one direction. One direction? No, east or west…no zigzagging, either. Second: you have to complete the entire journey within a year, not a day longer. And last: you have to begin and end the trip from the same airport. So it’s a round-trip ticket? All the way around the world, baby. Find out more at the website, which has a really useful trip planning tool that lets you mix and match destinations so you can get different estimates depending where you want to go. There’s a link in the info box. So once you’ve got your ticket, you obviously can’t estimate for every expense in every place you go for an entire year. You need to start thinking in terms of your daily cost of travel in your target destinations. This number is basically everything you spend money on, apart from your major expenses like airplane tickets and bucket list items: food, accommodations, activities. It’s super important because small differences between countries can add up over a year. And it helps you decide where to go to maximize your savings. Websites like Budget Your are great for comparing the cost of travel in different places. But remember, always cross-check your estimates with different sources. Guidebooks are great; so is Lonely Planet’s Travel Forum called the Thorn Tree Forum. But the best is of course word of mouth, speaking to people who’ve recently been there. Also reading the comments section. All of you awesome Vagabonds out there are doing a great job in sharing your tips and your travel information in the comment section. So if you have any of your own, be sure to drop a comment and help our fellow travelers out. Lastly, traveling for a full year gives you the flexibility to travel slowly, which is cheaper. You can spend more time in places during the shoulder season, travel on the cheapest day of the month, and most importantly work seasonal jobs along the way. This is what we call the Kiwi method because Kiwis and Aussies seem to work all the way around the world making the dream go on for years at a time. We’re going to make a dedicated video to what’s known as a working travel visa. But the point is that working along the way means you have to save less before you go. Okay, now let’s crunch some numbers. We’ll assume one full year of traveling to every continent on earth, except Antarctica, starting and ending in LAX. So how much do you think it’s going to cost? Pause this video, write down a number, and compare it at the end. A shoestring budget means that you’re in spend most your time in Southeast Asia, Latin America, and India, restricting your time in Europe to the south and eastern parts, and stopping in Australia to work for a season along the way. Your biggest single expense is going to be the around the world ticket, which for this route comes out to around 3,500 Bucks for around half a dozen stops. For accommodations you’ll be staying in dorm rooms in Southeast Asia and India and couch surfing for free in Europe. You’ll be eating street food in Southeast Asia and shopping at supermarkets in Europe, avoiding restaurants whenever possible. You’re not partying too much. You’re buying most your booze in supermarkets and avoiding bars and clubs whenever possible. You take the cheapest transportation to get around and chances are you’re probably going to be walking a lot. You avoid almost all activities that cost money..$5 massages in Thailand is a treat, but nothing too crazy. That means that the bare minimum for a full year traveling all the way around the world is 10,000 US dollars, but more realistically It’s probably going to be around 15 grand. If you want a bit more comfort, some better accommodation, more meals and restaurants etc, bump that estimate up 20 or 30 percent, which is about 18 to 20 thousand dollars. For comparison the average cost of living in Los Angeles is around $23,000 a year, so traveling the world for a year can actually be much less expensive than staying at home. But you should remember that you’re not going to be earning money while you’re traveling unless you’re some sort of digital nomad. So you’re going to have to save this money up, and that is the major challenge for traveling around the world for a year. But if you travel slowly and work along the way, that can bring the price down by a lot. We’re going to address that in a future video. So what do you think? How does it compare to your guess? Higher? Lower? Let us know in the comments section. In the meantime let us know if you have done around the world trip. Give us some of the most recent info on how much this is currently costing you. Put all the details you can in the comment section. We’re sure other travelers would really appreciate that. Now obviously for most of us, taking a full year off if you have debt or loans or whatever, it’s not realistic. So don’t be put off by the price tag. Tools we’ve given you should allow you to calculate a budget for whatever trip of whatever size. Just start where you can for now. But if you’re in the mood for a life-changing experience, hopefully this video has helped encourage you to take that first step for your big trip around the world. If you enjoyed this video, you know what to do: drop a comment, give it a thumbs- up, share it with your friends, and subscribe and turn on notifications if you have not already. Remember this video is just one part of a full series on how to travel around the world. Check out those other videos. In the meantime, stay curious, keep exploring, and we’ll see you guys on the road. Peace.


100 Responses

  1. ceroes

    October 31, 2018 5:46 pm

    I used sometimes Blablacar in Europe. It's like an airBnb for cars. so you can share one with people traveling the same route. Cheaper than a long distance bus

  2. bihbhkjbnlk

    November 2, 2018 12:07 pm

    I want to travel so bad, and I make about 3000/ a month and once I pay off my debt my bills/rent are going to be around 750/month. I’m about to work saturdays too for that overtime and save every dollar I make.

  3. Lohit BackPacker

    December 3, 2018 5:32 pm

    Nice video love your content you inspired me, I created my new Travel related Channel please subscribe my channel and support me 🙂🙂🙂🙂🙏🙏🙏🙏

  4. Kids' Perspective Family Travel

    December 7, 2018 9:45 pm

    FYI – For a family of 4 (housing, food, transportation) we spent about $70 per day in SE Asia, $100 in China, $220 in Singapore, $160 in Japan, $200 in Australia, $200 in New Zealand. You could do it more cheaply but we were staying at Airbnb's not hostels which accounted for the majority of the daily cost. To stay on budget we spent more time in SE Asia and less time in other, more expensive, countries. The cost of food in Australia and New Zealand was expensive. *Not including airfare between countries.

  5. Imad Shaw

    December 10, 2018 2:27 pm

    If your are searching for the best and real vibes for your next travel, show me some love and follow me on Instagram:
    Instagram username: hotels_vibes
    Instagram Link:

  6. Rishabh Dev

    December 30, 2018 12:36 pm

    Spot on. I'm spending around $25/day in Asia and $45/day in Europe. Have visited 20 countries so far but none outside these two continents. Not using the round-trip ticket since I'm an Indian citizen and need to go back to India for each visa application (weak passport holder expense)

  7. LuDimezofKush

    January 4, 2019 2:10 am

    The fact the bare minimum backpacker budget is 20k makes it demotivating. Especially since 20k can take a lifetime to save. Has anyone traveled with that amount of comfortably?

  8. Kuba Michalski

    January 5, 2019 9:27 pm

    Does anyone here know what are some cheap (and relatively healthy) ways to eat in USA? I got cheap flight, accommodation and transport idea. It's just food that I still can't figure out. And is eating from bins really safe or is that a myth? Thanks for your attention. Cheers.

  9. Helena Cora Moran

    January 19, 2019 5:37 pm

    Loved the video! I am ready to do this again – 25 years later (25 year hiatus raising a family) . So here are my long ago experiences that may be worth looking into. I hopped aboard a tall ship as a deck hand and sailed from England to Australia. We stopped in the Madeira Islands, the Canaries, Cape Verde Islands, Brazil, (almost Tristan da Cuna – but the weather was too rough), So. Africa, Mauritius, and finally reaching Australia stopping in Freemantle and then ending up in Sydney. There are still quite a few ships out there (especially out of Australia but some in the US) ) where you can either get paid a stipend or negotiate to work for travel. There are many stops along the way and you may have the opportunity to work for different ships from one place to another. Its a small community of sailors and they all pretty much know each other.
    My other thought was was considering container ships – sometimes they have space for travelers or at least they used to. Also, Vagabrothers, you totally skipped Africa! There are quite a few non-conflict areas to explore.

  10. Helena Cora Moran

    January 19, 2019 5:38 pm

    Oh, and I forgot to answer your other questions. Yes I totally thought that your findings were a lot cheaper than I thought.

  11. Stylish Loser

    January 20, 2019 12:17 pm

    QUESTIONNNN , is the one year travel ticket only for Americans ? or is it an international thing? ..never heard of it .. awesome idea but I am not American , thanks in advance

  12. Gary Alan

    February 3, 2019 12:43 am

    great stuff. i appreciate the estimates, particularly 18-22,000/yr for around the world, but avoiding the most expensive locations in western europe, etc. i'm trying to come up with a travel and living overseas budget now and comparing it to my current cost of living per year in NE TN near the world famous Appalachian trail. i can generate income via the laptop, so anything cheaper than my current budget is gravy, investments, or party money.

  13. Stormy Coinlife

    February 23, 2019 1:53 pm

    you can do some crypto-trading while on travel also, but you have to learn it first, so you know its profitable, but 2019 is THE best year to buy in and 3years from now, you will be able to travel wherever you want. Be sure to thank me later if you notice the potential of this info!

  14. جليس الخير

    February 26, 2019 9:53 am

    f some one want to visit Morocco a 100000 Welcome i will be your guide in any city for free. just to change experiences.And welcome to my home. this is my whatsapp +212657808004.

  15. Phantom Warrior

    March 1, 2019 3:45 pm

    to me working while travelling defeats the purpose of travel and vacationing. I work 9-5 6 days a week. So when i take a couple weeks off to go somewhere, i want to comfortable, eating, living and riding in the finest i can afford without breaking the bank.

  16. Supergreenangel

    March 5, 2019 2:06 am

    Working towards traveling for 2 years around the world starting January of next year!!! I would agree $20k is enough to be comfortable and not miss out on activities avoiding the most expensive areas.

  17. Inna Young

    March 6, 2019 5:36 pm – how this young couple quit their lucrative jobs in NYC and went to travel the world

  18. Itz.tren__

    March 18, 2019 5:49 am

    Hey I am a senior in HS. I will graduate in June and I still haven’t figure out what to do with my life. I am an A/B honor roll student, but I do not want to go to college (I don’t want to be in student debt lol). I was thinking about military (Army). My goals in life is to travel and explore the world. I am from North Carolina, and stay in Virginia. I want to see more of the world than what I am used too. Watching this video makes me want to become a world traveler too. I wonder if the military would be a good place to start?

  19. Luis Enrique Caraballo

    March 24, 2019 11:18 pm

    Hi there,

    Thanks for the video and tips on how to travel the world.

    Could you please share the link to the Ericom website you mentioned? as I couldn't find it in the information box below the video.


  20. Neravar memesandareumadbro

    March 25, 2019 7:53 pm

    Does anyone know of a site or some kind of consensus for how much it costs per country to travel? As a solo traveler who is going the cheapest way possible

  21. Cynthia Ang

    April 4, 2019 2:47 pm

    Visit ANAMBAS, a uncovered paradise islands in Indonesia. come check us!

  22. Felix Bruyns

    April 17, 2019 11:15 pm

    Certain locations should be treated with extreme caution because, though some good people live in these places, they are major centers of devil worship and satanic rituals. Specifically, these include Paris (France), West Los Angeles (California, USA), Boca Raton (Florida, USA), Palm Beach (Florida, USA), Washington DC (USA) and Brazil.

  23. Tonjanae Watson

    April 23, 2019 12:56 am

    How long does it take to plan an around the world trip? I want to leave in September, au pair until December and then travel the rest of my time. Will I be prepared to head out by September?

  24. David Turner

    April 26, 2019 10:35 am

    I'm saving now in the UK to do a round the world trip starting in November and am starting planning as of today. Iv already started saving so that's good. Iv subscribed and will be following this channel and many others over the next couple if months for as many tips as possible

  25. Ditch The Map

    May 3, 2019 7:27 pm

    My wife and I spent $33k for 12 months and kept a very detailed budget. We traveled in 4 continents and through 30+ countries. We have a detailed budget overview here:

    I also built an excel tool that lets you track your own budget. It graphs and lets you compare average costs from various countries. Hope you enjoy. You can download here on it here:

  26. Marco Paulo Travel

    May 14, 2019 8:55 pm

    I just spent 3 months in Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala and spent about $1k USD per month to give ppl an idea about Central America

  27. Kringle Villaluz

    May 27, 2019 6:32 pm

    I’m traveling 2 years from now. And I want to take advantage of traveling. 😍thank you.

  28. SagittariusBoomBamPOW SheDidThat

    June 17, 2019 11:47 am

    You guys are such a treasure trove of information for aspiring wander Lusters/ cultural anthropologist! Thank you so much! 💝💝💝💝💝

  29. Travel Endless

    June 17, 2019 4:06 pm

    I can't afford to travel one year without working. So I travel for one or two months every 2 months..someday I will figure out how to travel and earn while traveling. To old to get Holiday Working Visa. So I do WorkAway instead…travel for room and board and save some money and try to stay longer..

  30. Cathe Travel Adventures

    July 2, 2019 1:50 am

    I'm watching this and I don't even have a vacation lol

    Oh Gawdddd the butchers knife 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

  31. H-Word Vlogs

    July 8, 2019 7:23 am

    I'm travelling to California in just over a month. Flying to LA but what places would anyone recommend to stay and see as a backpacker?

  32. Tino Bentleigh

    July 15, 2019 3:24 am

    No way! So helpful!!! This might help – ​


    July 17, 2019 7:52 am

    Don't travel the world for cheap, get Outta your comfort zone earn some money, then travel wherever you want!!!!!

  34. Analiese Tate

    July 18, 2019 2:18 am

    Check out WOOFing. It’s a great way to travel around the world while spending the bare minimum. Especially great for younger people.

  35. Klejdi Filaj

    July 19, 2019 10:58 pm

    Awesome video really impressed! Sorry for the share nonetheless I feel more and more people really should try this site here EasyLaptopLife .Com since it provides easy work at home work for just about every age group and no prior experience is necessary. Have fun with it

  36. Joseph Forest

    July 21, 2019 4:26 am

    High Class , with a used tea bag income.Keep in mind traveling the world is for the young ,due to the cost of travel insurance.

  37. ka ching

    July 30, 2019 2:53 pm

    3 months travel from amsterdam to: thailand, singapore, java, bali, West Australia. With all the tickets and paying some for my girlfriend i spended €5000,- and have to say it was more Glampacking then backpacking

  38. Joseph A

    July 31, 2019 2:00 am

    For those curious, it costs $5000-$10,000 to travel Southeast Asia for half a year, depending on your expenses. I made a video of Southeast Asia 🙂

  39. Stacy Swift

    August 14, 2019 6:50 pm

    Yessssssss thanks you so much cause that’s my budget for the years $20,000 of I make $10,000 I still can go thank you a lot…. Alone the way I use work away to volunteer for free house and food.

  40. Shan D

    September 8, 2019 12:31 pm


Leave a Reply