How Much Does it Cost to Travel Around the World? (July 2012 Update)

Each month we provide a monthly summary of our expenses during our trip 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. For more stories into how we saved for this adventure and actionable steps you can take to save for your own dream, click here to get our book Dream Save Do.

July marked the half-way point on our over-land journey from Thailand to Portugal (click here to follow along on the map). This month was absolutely amazing as we both fulfilled life-long travel dreams. We rode camels in the Gobi Desert, shared meals in gers with Mongols, walked the shores of Lake Baikal, traveled across Siberia, and sat in the middle of Red Square. Our month ended in St. Petersburg, the furthest north we have ever been, and it was an experience for which we are deeply grateful.

July was also expensive. Russia is not cheap, as our expense report clearly shows. Our biggest expense for the month were the train tickets on the Trans-Mongolian railway – $1,500 (together) for 2nd class berths. When we started on this new life we planned to splurge once per year on a bigger adventure and the experience of going across Russia was an easy choice.

In addition, we had the most expensive accommodations of our trip so far. This was in part due to the fact that we only stayed for 2-3 nights in each place, but also that Russia is quite pricey. We spent 2 nights in a dorm room in Moscow which ended up costing us more than a week in Thailand.  It certainly increased our overall costs for the month, but well worth it in the end.

Let’s Get to the Numbers

  • Total spending to date (for entire trip) through July 2012: $45,885
  • Total spending for July 2012: $4,556
  • Daily average for July 2012: $147
  • Overall daily average (22 months on the road): $68.59

Expense Breakdown:

 Frequently Asked Questions:

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 all travel separately at times?

In the last 2 years we have never felt the desire to split up and travel separately. We love to explore and share places together. Sometimes this means that one of us may do something or go somewhere we may not have considered, but that is part of the fun. This also means that if one of us really wants to see something we go and this approach has worked well for our entire trip.


  1. At the beginning of your article, you mention a map of your travels. The link does not work properly ~ it just says: Not Found, Error 404. Any suggestions of how I could find it since I adore maps and would love to visually see where you’ve been?

  2. I’m wondering how you keep track of your expenses while on the road. Before buying an iPod Touch, I used to keep track with paper and pen. Have you come across a decent app to keep track?

    • Hi Ric,
      Nice to hear from you. Over the last 2 years I believe we’ve tried every option available. The challenge has been finding something that works as well as a spreadsheet. For the first 12 months I used an online solution that gave me 70% of what I wanted, but then it could not handle heading into the 13th month. At the end of the day I went back to using Google Docs spreadsheet. I have it set up now to make the process very easy and smooth and spend 1-2 minutes at the end of each day just capturing the information. Here is a quick insight in a few key areas:

      • When we arrive in a new country I set the exchange rate based on our first cash withdrawal. Then I use a formula to calculate the USD exchange.
      • I have a standard set of categories (no more than 8-10) and do not add. This allows consistency over time and forces me to choose instead of making up something new each month for expenses that don’t quite fit
      • Most important of all is the daily check-in. If I wait I start to forget expenses and then the tool is moot.

      Good luck in the process and hope this helps.

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