Real cost of RTW travel


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Explore 40 traveller budgets and learn the real cost of round the world travel.

Shorter trips can cost 3 times more

The number of people taking sabbaticals or career breaks is growing year on year. They are travelling for shorter periods, on more luxurious budgets. The average “career gapper” is aged between 25–35 years old and travels for 13-14 weeks.

As you would expect, a shorter trip will cost more with the flight being one of the biggest costs. Trip data from 40 travellers shows that the average total spend per day for shorter trips is up to 3 times greater.

Daily total averages of 40 Gap travellers by duration for help with budget planning visit http://rtwme.com/

  • 1-2 month trips –average spend $106 compared to $31 for 16+ month trip goers.
  • 3-6 month trips –average daily spend $61 double that of 16+ month trip goers.

Over 3-4 months they spend on average $8,915 on their trip. However, data shows this can vary from $4,600 to $24,000. This is because their total equivalent daily spend varies from $41 per day to $189 per day, depending on how flash they are, how many places they visit and where they go.

If they knew how long others go travelling for for the same amount of money, would they re-consider where to go & how flash to be?

One country could cost you $7,900 more than another

Awareness of the varying living costs between countries is not clear to new travellers. Even for the experienced budget traveller, costs vary from as little as $7 per day in Nepal to $86 per day in Switzerland. They know 100 days would cost you $700 in Nepal compared to $8,600 in Switzerland- a difference of $7,900- so they budget accordingly.

The real price of some luxuries

The type of traveller you are also has a dramatic effect on the budget. Some “Flashpackers” have spent up to $70 per day in Laos, 1000% more than an experienced budget backpacker.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting some luxuries or paying for more tours.  A “career gapper” has generally worked hard to be able to afford the extras. Those with more “Flashpacker” budgets aren’t stupid. They like to know they’re paying the going rate for the luxury they want, but those new to travel may not realise the real cost of being flash in the wrong country!

If you were flash and spending just 100% more than a budget traveller in Switzerland, an extra $86 per day over 100 days could mount up to spending and extra $8,600.

The budget backpacker secret

One thing to learn from experienced budget backpackers is that they track what they spend on a daily basis. They know that some days or months will peak and some will be below budget, but they’re always looking at whether they will finish their trip on-budget. This is even more important for a mid- to flash-type traveller as the extra costs mount up at a faster rate.

Knowing the cost of short trips and flash budgets

There is a lot of published information for budget backpackers, but little for the traveller not prepared to scrimp. Hundreds of budget travellers publish their low budget spend per country, but few for the mid to flash range.

With budget tools and information, a flash 4 month traveller with a $23,000 budget planning to visit 5 South American countries may reconsider where they go and how long they go for if they knew they could make that budget stretch over 10 months and visit 13 countries by going to Asia first.

RTWme is a gap travel specialist with over 1,200 daily budgets across 160 countries from over 30 data sources. RTWme is dedicated to saving travellers time and money by creating information and tools to help the different types of travellers plan their budget to take into account the country variance, the increased cost in shorter trips and the level of luxury they’re looking for.

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Summary of 40 travellers’ spend

N. mths
N. Days
N. Countries
Aver. days/ country
Total spent in USD
Equiv $ Total /day/ pers
of total was Flights in USD
Most expensive Country
Cheapest Country
375238$4,600$61n/aJPNSE Asia
103122115$25,488$82$4,978AUS & NZIND
11330n/an/a$19,569$59n/aAUS & BAn/a
133761231$14,584$39$2,705 NZ, COK LAO, LKA
154532122$35,039$77$2,000 NZ, EGY,BWA COL
185343117$28,885$54$3,259 ITA, CHE IND

Have you been travelling? Could you contribute to these stats?

If so, please email me at sarah@rtwme.com or comment below with the following details:

  • Number of days away:
  • Number of countries visited:
  • Total spend (including flights & pre-trip costs):
  • Total spent on flights (RTW ticket & other):
  • Name of MOST expensive country visited:
  • Daily budget spend there ($) (Acc. Food, ents):
  • Name of LEAST expensive country visited:
  • Daily budget spend there ($) (Acc. Food, ents):
  • Type of traveller – Were you mainly Budget / mid-range / Flashpacker? (all travellers switch a bit, but which were you mainly):
  • Budget – Did you have one? Did you go over? If so, by how much? Did you track your budget?


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