The Budget for Our Around the World Trip

SPG Points & Cash to Stay at the Sheraton in Kuala Lumpur
SPG Points & Cash to Stay at the Sheraton in Kuala Lumpur

Having a budget for an around the world trip is one of the hardest parts in planning the trip. It’s fun to dream of the places you want to go but when it comes to how much money you will need, it stumps a lot of people. I hope this breakdown of our trip may help you plan yours.

Bob and I were both late 40s when we took our around-the-world trip in 2010, so we didn’t feel like roughing it too much. Granted, we did compromise a few times and ended up staying in a couple of dumps but the vast majority of our hotels and guest houses (also pensions and hostels) were private rooms, clean and comfortable with A/C and often times flat screen TVs. I think the cost of our trip two years ago would be pretty accurate if we took the trip today.

Cost Per Day in Each Country

Here’s what we expected vs. actual costs (daily average costs for TWO people):

Country (#of days)               Budgeted     /       Actual

Fiji (8)                                  $157          /         $135 (3 nights free using SPG points)
New Zealand (21)                $100         /          $100 (not including the rental car–3 weeks $600)
Australia (15)                        $133         /         $125 (not incl. 7 day car rental $175. 3 nights SPG cash & points)
Malaysia (15)                        $65           /         $72 (7 nights SPG cash & points)
Vietnam (14)                         $65           /         $66
Thailand (3, Bangkok)           $65          /         $75
Bahrain (1, layover)               $100        /         $100
Jordan (10)                            $70          /         $107 (does not include 3-day Petra pass. 6 nights SPG cash & points)
Israel (5)                                $100        /         $98 (slept 1 night in the airport because of Sabbath)
Greece (10)                           $75          /         $77
Spain (29)                             $75           /         $72 (includes one week of free hotel & food at Pueblo Ingles)
Portugal (5)                           $75          /          $100
NYC (4)                                $100         /          $125 (free hotel w/SPG)

Lake Tekapo in New Zealand
Lake Tekapo in New Zealand

The above costs did not include airfare–only land transport of buses, trains and ferries. It also doesn’t include a few souvenirs costing about $100.Our total airfare–we had no free flights using frequent flier miles–was 18 flights in 5 continents for US$2,240/pp. We took this trip before I got into the points game but with all the points we have now our airfare costs would be greatly reduced.


$17,300 for 2 of us

We could have spent less money if we would have stayed in Asia longer, as we planned to do, but it was too hot and humid for us so we headed west to drier climates that happened to be more expensive. Also, we would have spent less money if we would have eliminated destinations. We moved around a lot, which costs money for transportation. Now that we literally went around the world, which was my dream, we will stick to one or two regions and spend more time in fewer places.

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2 thoughts

  1. Excellent breakdown. I’d love to do this someday but I doubt I’d have a job when I returned.

  2. We did a big 3-month trip before this last one and we did it between jobs. Also, you might be able to negotiate some time off without pay with your boss. There are a couple of great books that give you tips on how to approach it and still have a job when you get back. The 4-Hour Work Week and Six Months Off: How To Plan, Negotiate, & Take The Break You Need Without Burning Bridges Or Going Broke . I read the first book twice and really loved it. I have not read the second book yet.

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