How Much Money Do You Need to Travel the World for a Year?

When Nate and I started dreaming about this trip, one of my first questions was, “Okay, but how much would it even cost?”  Travel is expensive.  I didn’t want to get too attached to a dream that was ridiculously unrealistic.


So I started researching.  I googled around and read about 30 other blogs written by couples who had done it- couples who weren’t millionaires, who worked regular jobs like us, who hadn’t inherited fortunes.  Happily, I thought, “Wow, not that much!”  


While some couples spend more and others less, I found that the average cost for an itinerary like ours would be about $20,000 per person.  Not too bad, huh?


This budget includes some important caveats:


  • It excludes more developed countries like Europe and Australia where shit’s expensive.

  • It covers a long-term travel experience, not a vacation.  That means no resorts, eco lodges, fancy travel packages.

  • It means roughin’ it.  It means staying in hostels and cheap airbnbs.  It may also mean couch surfing or trading work for a place to sleep for some stints.

  • It means a lot of eating like locals, with fewer extravagant dinners out and a whole lot of grocery shopping and cooking our own meals.

  • It does not include money for the re-entry, which is essential.


So, we’d have to make some concessions.  It wouldn’t be Eat, Pray, Love, but it could mean an entire year of seeing amazing things and living in moderation, like the locals.


But, still.  $20,000 per person for two people is $40,000, and that’s a lot of money.  


Not to mention the re-entry cushion, which I insisted would need to last us at least 4 or 5 months just in case we don’t immediately get good jobs when we get back.  So I figured we could rent a tiny studio apartment wherever we move and get by if we had a cushion of about $25,000 in the bank.


So $40,000 plus $25,000 is $65,000.  Then I decided I wanted even more peace of mind, because after all Nate and I like nice meals out and good wine and some expensive stuff, so why not add another $10,000 just to be safe?


So $75,000 is our number.  It may end up lasting us much longer, or we may return penniless after 6 months.  You’ll just have to stay tuned…