How Much Does it Cost to Travel Around the World? (January 2013)

Each month we provide a monthly summary of our expenses as we travel around the world. We’ve documented every dollar, yuan, and bhat spent on our journey to help you see how affordable RTW travel by showing you how we break down our expenses.

Colorado train ride

January was filled with travel as we began the month in the United States and ended in on the beach in Mexico. We left Austin and headed to Colorado where we enjoyed a few days in Boulder and had a great meet-up with ~50 readers. Then we rode the rails west to Grand Junction to spend a couple weeks with Warren’s family. Then it was off to California to enjoy time with friends and readers before flying down to the Pacific Coast of Mexico.

We wrapped up 3+ months back in the US visiting friends and family, and now we’re back out exploring more of the world. We loved catching up with all our connections and hearing about all that has been going on in our absence the last few year. However, our feet were getting itchy and ready for new experiences and more challenges out in the world.

January in Review

In just one month we took as many flights (3) as we have in our entire previous 27 months on the road, as our expense summary below reflects. January was also an opportunity to stock up on some items which are easier to find in the US. We replaced a few pieces of clothing, loaded up on some personal care products that would be harder to get in Mexico, and sadly had to replace my iPod. After 6+ years it finally died so we had to dip in a bit to ensure I was able to continue listening to my Coffee Break Spanish & This American Life podcasts. Some things we’re just not ready to give up.

Overall, given that we took 3 flights and 2 train trips the expenses for the month were quite reasonable. We once again saved significantly by staying with friends and family for the majority of the month. In addition, we were able to cut expenses by:

  •  Taking advantage of a kind offer from a friend to use her “buddy passes” to fly to Mexico for a fraction of full fare
  • Cooked meals for friends and family in lieu of eating out
  • Leveraged credit card points (which we’ve been accumulating during our first 2+ years of travel) to pay for one of our flights in the US

Let’s Get to The Numbers:

  • Total spending for January 2013: $2,268
  • Daily average for January 2013: $73.17
  • Total spending to date (for entire trip) through January 2013: $57,693
  • Overall daily average (853 days on the road): $67.64

Expense Breakdown:

January expenses by category

Jan 2013 - expense table


Over the course of providing these monthly spending reports, we’ve received a lot of questions and requests for clarification on our spending and finances. In order to spread the answers to more of you we’ll start including one here each month.

Do you take language classes in each region you go? How much do you spend to learn languages?

This is a great question we have received dozens of times over the last few years. We have gone deeper in some languages (Spanish, Thai, Mandarin) when we are able to stay longer in the area. However, for most locations/countries we focus on learning 10 phrases which we’ve found helps us bridge the gap a bit in most situations. People love knowing you are trying.

For Spanish, we just started our first ever language class. When we initially left we knew that we both wanted to become conversational in the language. We have used a number of resources to learn the basics, but now we feel a few weeks of classes will expand our knowledge significantly. The courses will cost $190/week for 2 hours per day. In addition, we will continue to practice every day (cada dia) with the locals, watch films in Spanish, and continue to listen to Spanish lessons to ensure our investment pays off.

Hope you see the cost to travel around the world may not be as much as you thought.  For step-by-step advice to save for your own adventure (whatever that may entail), pick up a copy of our book Dream Save Do. It is an Action Plan for Dreamers, just like you. Click here to learn more.


  1. Your expense updates are one of my favorite things about you two! It’s so nice to actually see everything put into a cost point of view and it makes it easier for someone like me to get their head around what I need to be saving :)

    • Jessie, thank you for the kind note and encouragement. It makes us happy to know the information we provide here is helping you to create your own savings plan. Thank you for taking time and reaching out.

  2. I think these reports are probably one of the most encouraging things you could give to people to get them to travel. Thank you! They rock!

    • Hey Linda,
      Thank you for the note. We love being able to share and knowing it is valuable makes us both happy. Muchas gracias por su respuesta.

  3. i plan to tour the US teaching dog training. I was wondering. how do you claim your taxes? the legalities of travel? I will be working from my own towable home office. a house on wheels (tiny house). I plan to do one on one consults in this towable office but most of my work will take place outside of it. I teach in peles home, outdoors at park and a t local animal shelters. Do I’d say I use it for 30% of my physical business. most of the work done inside is consult based or secretarial/executive function. also a place for meetings. it is my home and office .
    any tips on insurance? licensing?


    • Hi Julie,
      What an exciting idea you have planned. I’m looking forward to watching it progress.

      For taxes, we file as if we still lived in the US. Our corporation is based in WA state so both our corporate and personal taxes are filed from there. The deduction of office space is a good question and not one we’ve ever received a clear guidance on. However, since we have no property and travel full-time it is not an issue for us. Though I believe that 30% is a perfect balance I suggest consulting an accountant to be sure.

      I don’t have tips on the insurance side since your needs (US based) will be very different than ours since we live outside the US. As for corporate structure I am a fan of the S-Corp since it provides the liability protections and tax benefits of a corporation while enabling you to pass through profits as personal income.

      Good luck and have fun on the road.

  4. A personal finance blogger from Canada was wondering why travel bloggers never seem to post about their finances ( I’ve told her to come over her and check this website out. :) I know when I first found Married with Luggage (a couple of months before you got on the big boat) I was really glad to read the monthly expense updates as it gave me a feel for what I needed to start thinking about for my own plans. A very serious bout of depression got in the way there for a couple of years but I’m much better now and in thinking about what/when/where I want to make a part of my life in the future I’ve decided that I want to get my plans in place by December 2014. Nearly two years away and it’ll be my 40th birthday. Well, something like that worked for you guys so why now for me? :)

    • Thank you for your support and spreading the word about RTW Expenses. It is great to know you continue to follow your dream despite setbacks. This is such a key lesson to everyone on the importance of getting back on track after a big change to your plans. Good for you for continuing to move closer to your dream and to having a deadline for making it happen. I have no doubt you will succeed.

  5. I was curious about traveling the world with my spouse. When I read about a couple earlier died while riding their bicycle in Thailand. Such tragic story for them, and after I read what they were doing I decided to search about the Prices it Cost to travel the World. It never cross my mind until today, so I hope one day me and my wife are able to take our first step to travel the World. Keep up the updates as I have bookmark it so I can get a few ideas to where to start and how much to saved. Thank You again and have a great day. a Guy with no Goal in Life until NOW =)

    • Sum, while that was a tragic story I was inspired by this quote from the man’s father “They were leading the life they wanted to. It was the happiest, the most fruitful of lives.” This is certainly what I would want anyone to say about me when I die. Life is full of tragedies, but none more sad than a lifetime of dreams unfulfilled.

      Define your dreams and take action to make them happen.

  6. Hi guys,
    I’m from Australia,
    Just brought your book “dream save do” yesterday nearly finished it, I went travelling the world a couple of years back for 6 months with my mates and spent an awful lot haha!
    And the Mrs has done the same with her friends but we’ve always said we’ll do a RTW trip together. Researching your website and reading your book has brought back that travel bug enormously and we are currently in the saving period, planning on going for 12 months this time! And hopefully be a bit more wiser with money this time as we sure would be partying alot less haha,
    Thanks guys


    • Trent,
      Thank you for reaching out. It sounds like you and your wife have already had some great adventures and it makes us glad to know we could stir the pot a bit to take on the next adventure. We hope you will keep us updating on the progress. Also, would love to get your thoughts on the book via a review on Amazon or iTunes.

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