heredago's blog

July 9, 2011

Started planning a year-long RTW trip with my girlfriend. Would love tips on how to research for budgeting! (

Filed under: Uncategorized — heredago @ 23:56

submitted 6 hours ago by whosdamike (_)

First, sorry: this is going to be a bit lengthy. If anyone is willing to provide some advice or insight, I’d greatly appreciate it.

I’ve started saving and planning for an epic, year-long trip with my girlfriend. We want to leave once she finishes school, so it’ll be a while. We’re in our mid-20s. We have both traveled in small bursts, but usually with other people. I traveled by myself through Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto for two weeks.

I’ve been collecting airline miles and hope to have enough by then to get two coach round-the-world tickets from oneworld. So the cost of the flights should be paid for, excepting taxes/fees. I only started planning this week, so nothing’s set in stone, but the preliminary trip looks like this .

I’ve mentally broken the trip down into two parts:

“Pacific” portion: 36 weeks

Los Angeles -> Auckland -> Sydney -> Manila -> Tokyo -> Beijing -> Saigon -> Mumbai ->

From Saigon, we want to travel by land around Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand.

“Europe/USA” portion: 16 weeks

Moscow -> Helsinki -> Athens -> Budapest -> Zurich -> London -> Dublin -> Toronto -> New York -> Los Angeles

From Finland, we’ll probably hop across and check out Estonia.

From Zurich, we want to travel to Frankfurt, Amsterdam, and Paris on the way to London.

From New York, we want to spend a couple weeks visiting Boston and Washington D.C.

We’re planning on mostly staying at hostels.

We have family/friends we can potentially stay with in: New Zealand, Australia, Philippines, Vietnam, Netherlands, Switzerland, New York.

I’d rather budget assuming that our family/friends are unable to host us, just in case.

I’ve been using Budget Your Trip to estimate the cost of different cities, taking the cost of 1 budget traveler and adding an extra 80% (to account for two of us).

Including visas, insurance, and the cost of travel (taxes on the flights, plus land travel), I’m estimating the trip willcost us $40,000, total. About half of that is spent in the Pacific and the other half in Europe/US.

Not including visas or insurance, this works out to a little over $100/day for the two of us.

The Pacific arm of the trip averages to $70/day and the Europe/US portion averages to $150/day (lousy dollar!).

So the part where I need (lots and LOTS) of advice:

1) Does my budget sound about right? Way too low, way too high? Are we going to be eating rice and beans every day for the year, or burning money the whole trip?

2) Are we trying to fit in too much stuff into one year?

3) Are there cities or countries that would be better to check out than the ones we’re hitting? Any city we should drop in favor of spending more time in other places on the list?

4) What’s the best way for us to go around Europe, on our meandering loop from Zurich to London?


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[–]reph (_) 3 points 5 hours ago*  (3|0)

10 countries in 16 weeks is pretty fast. Personally, I would recommend spending more time (maybe 3-4 wks) in fewer countries. And it could be significantly cheaper b/c then you can get longer term housing, and spend less on travel. The hard part is deciding which countries to visit and which to skip..

[–]psypiral (_) 1 point 4 hours ago (2|1)

yea, i agree. itinerary is too much. i’ve traveled quite a bit and it’s always better to spend more time in one place. try not to put yourself on a schedule. narrow down the countries you really want to explore and make those happen at it’s on pace. you’ll know when it’s time to move on. doing this will make your journey much more enjoyable. traveling on a schedule doesn’t allow your adventure to evolve by it’s own design, which is where the magic is! hang out, meet locals and travelers and see where the good stuff is at. go with it and you’ll feel as if you’re being led to stuff you were meant to see and experience. works every fucking time for some reason.

i’ve just returned from 11 months in se asia and india, here are my thoughts (hope this helps!) india was chaotic, surreal and magnificent. do not stay in mumbai! get the hell outta there as fast as possible! i bought a motorcycle and rode it to northern india where the temp was great (in summer) and visited: manali(sweet northern india small town), dharmasala (dali lamas’ small town), shrinigar(kashmir) sweet lake where you can stay on houseboat for a few bucks a night, leh (small town way the fuck up in the himalaya. also made it down to goa but that sucked ass, too many westerners.

nepal was magical, kathmandu for a few weeks then pokhara for a month and finally down to southen nepal for a elephant jungle camping trip in chitwa national park looking for tigers.

thailand was overrun with westerners and i only stayed a few weeks. even chaing mai, which is in the north wasn’t very good and the whole of thailand was expensive compared to everywhere else i visited.

cambodia and vietnam were my fav’s. cambodia in particular was mind blowing. temples at angkor wat in siem reap were unreal and phenom phen was off the hook debauchery and fun.

hope this helps you!
have fun!

[–]sa_neasy (_) 3 points 2 hours ago (3|0)

It’s always better to spend more time in one place. As for budgeting….You could travel around the world for like 2 years with that money, maybe MORE. Eat street food, stay at cheap places. When you go to Mumbai you can find a place to sleep for $1-$3. It may not be the nicest, but hey it’s cheaper. Same goes for all of SE Asia, you can stay in touristy places that are expensive and have no character and pay upwards of $10 a night, or you can stay in a hole in the wall kinda place for one or two bucks.


Think about that for a second man…When you plan things, they don’t go according to schedule….Did you account for the week you will get sick in India or SE Asia, maybe both places at different times? Will you feel like riding a bus for 9 hours when you are vomiting and shitting everywhere? I guarantee you it will happen yes sir it always does, no matter what medications you have. And this is it man, this is the world, this is travel.

Now, you can get by in Europe, on a budget, I would say for about $70-$80 a day. And if you want, the lavish meal or hotel place can be reasonable. Couchsurfing in Europe is really the way to go. You meet locals, go to the best local places, get the best deals and bang for your buck. When you’re in India or SE Asia, and you are spending MORE than $10/day, you are doing it wrong. Eat on the street, and local. It is often the best food, just make sure it’s cooked well. Stay out of the tourist places too, they are a rip off.

You can get to know other travelers better, and you might meet some veterans who know the best places, and since they are long term travelers, the cheapest places.

I would also like to add, to your “list of destinations” Nepal. It is a beautiful country that offers peace and happiness like few others…I have [1] pictures 

I took on my trip. And if you have any questions about this place, I can tell you the spots to check out, cheapest food, and best guest houses. 

Good luck to you, I hope you realize the opportunity and TRUE freedom that you are capable of in this coming future, and that you take FULL advantage of it.

[–]ydnar (_) 1 point 1 hour ago (1|0)

I’m with this guy. The kind of freedom this type of travel allows you is golden. Go at your own pace and enjoy the ride.

[–]whosdamike (_) [S] 1 point 54 minutes ago (1|0)

Is it weird couchsurfing as a couple? And can we really do Europe with two people for $70-80/day? When I open up a Lonely Planet and look at hostel prices, it’s near $50/night after converting from Euros. I’m also not clear if that’s per person or what.

[–]ChangNoi (_) 1 point 9 minutes ago (1|0)

Most of the hostels I stayed at in Europe were about $20-$30 a night, per person.

If you eat simply and stay away from tourist traps, you could get away with $70 a day. I spent quite a lot when I started out, but by the end when I was almost broke I wasn’t spending much at all.

[–]yourslice (_) 1 point 1 hour ago*  (1|0)

That budget is crazy high if it doesn’t include airfare.

How are you collecting miles for airfare? Around the world for two people sure does require a lot of points.

Sometimes for fun I like to plan around-the-world trips like the one you have listed above. I go to the sites that allow you to buy the airfare to many different cities. Then I try to book the flights city by city on my own and compare the cost. There are a LOT of low budget airlines in both Asia and Europe. Your biggest cost will be getting to Australia and then from Australia to Japan. After that you can use low budget airlines in Asia to hop around. Thailand to Moscow could cost a pretty penny too, but once in europe you have Ryan air and trains to get you around (Ryan Air is usually cheaper and if you plan in advance it could cost you just a few euros per person). Your last stop is in Dublin…you could fly from Dublin to NYC on Aer Lingus for 300 dollars a person if you book ahead and get a good time of the year.

[–]whosdamike (_) [S] 1 point 57 minutes ago*  (1|0)

I’ve looked at different plans and I’m pretty sure the RTW ticket is the best bang I can get per mile. I get 16 flights for 150,000 miles (per person).

What do you think is a reasonable budget for 8 months in Asia and 4 months in Europe, for two people? If I’m aiming too high, that’s great to hear, and I can shoot for a lower budget!

[–]tommyrockum (_) 1 point 45 minutes ago (1|0)

Careful about those rtw fares: 16 flights may mean 16 LEGS and may not get you as far as you think. Be sure to read the fine print and try planning a sample itinerary on the airline’s website and see what happens…

[–]whosdamike (_) [S] 1 point 25 minutes ago (1|0)

Yeah, the itinerary image I posted is from the airline’s website! 🙂

[–]Spinnet (_) 1 point 1 hour ago (1|0)

For hostels use this website: I recently studied in Europe and took advantage of traveling and I absolutely loved this website. The site lists them in price, along with overall rating. I stayed at some of the best hostels for not much money at all.

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