The Actual Cost of our RTW Tour

By Emily

Before Peter and I embarked on our world tour, I published our travel budget for our RTW trip, which included our estimated daily expenses as well as my best guess for the cost of overland and inter-country travel. Although at times we feared we would run out of money before we completed the trip, a simple afternoon of calculations and cracking down on our spending reassured us that we would be just fine. We actually came home over $1,000 under budget! Below I list our original estimated budget next to the actual daily costs for each country. I include the rest of our expenses like transportation separately underneath. We kept track of every penny we spent using a combination of the app Trail Wallet and Google spreadsheets.

*All of our budgeting is for two people per day and accounts for our food, accommodation, general tourist activities, shopping, and inner-city commute. 

*Our flying, bus, and train budget as well as our pre-trip expenses, visas, and major tourist attraction entry fees are separated below the daily budget. 

Nothing compares to the Plaza de España in Seville, Spain.

Our Daily Budget By Country


Estimated Daily Budget for Two

Actual Daily Costs for Two


United States
$60.00 $60.43 Camped, ate canned soup and PB&Js, stayed with family. Gas Estimate:$276 /Gas Actual: $241.07. Doesn’t include $180.25 to fix car thermostat and fan in California
$70.00 $66.61 Stayed in hostels
$85.00 $79.65 Did not include my hospital bills or Machu Picchu entry. Stayed in hostels mostly, but a few nights in a hotel
$120.00 $112.41 Splurged here: hostels and private Airbnb, bought several expensive steak dinners and lots of chocolate. Does not include Peter’s hospital bill. Cooked several meals as well.
$100.00 $89.18 Shared Airbnb where we stayed in someone’s extra room some of the time, rest of the time in hostels. Cooked several meals
$120.00 $108.36 Shared Airbnbs, hostels, and stayed with a friend a few days
$90.00 $88.32 Stayed with a friend most of the time, hotel for a few days, both cooked in and ate out
$120.00 $122.86 Stayed with friends half the time and in shared Airbnb other days
$120.00 $112.37 Stayed with a friend
The Netherlands
$120.00 $119.01 Tight budget: shared Airbnb and no eating out
$100.00 $67.20 Stayed with friends. This budget is unique to Berlin, which may be cheaper than the rest of Germany
Czech Republic
$80.00 $85.33 Hostel, more expensive than we expected here
$80.00 $93.85 Includes tour of Auschwitz, private room in hostel
$120.00 $120.25 Private Airbnb, cooked most of our own meals
$90.00 $78.70 Hostels and private Airbnb
$90.00 $92.14 Private Airbnb, cooked our own meals part-time
$70.00 $87.78 Included two taxi fiascos racing to catch near-missed flights. One cost $85 and the other cost us $45. Should have been cheaper
$80.00 $54.15 Stayed with a friend in Cairo and a hotel in Luxor
$50.00 $38.14 Accommodation and food was covered half the time while we presented in schools through USIEF. (Thanks Gaurav!) The rest of the time in hotels and hostels
$50.00 $63.49 Hostels and budget hotel. Does not include scuba diving. We splurged a bit here, but also more expensive than we expected
$80.00 $62.63 Does not include Angkor Wat entry. Stayed in hostels and hotels
$50.00 $63.09 Hotels. Does not include Peter’s hospital visit
Hong Kong
$100.00 $112.71 Hostel. Food was more expensive than we expected

Where We Saved and Splurged

As I mentioned in my original post, something to keep in mind when looking at these budgets is the time of year we visited certain places. We spent the off-season of October through December in Europe for instance, and the high-season of January to March in Southeast Asia. One thing we learned in Southeast Asia is that it’s entirely possible to visit that region on $50 per day for two people IF you are willing to eat street food. After two hospital visits from food poisoning (see Peru and Argentina) and witnessing many people not washing their hands with soap in developing countries, we decided the risk wasn’t worth what little money we saved. The further we got into the trip, the more picky we got with accommodation as well. We could have found cheaper places to stay in many of these areas, but we would rather spend a few extra dollars and stay in a top-rated hostel than lose sleep in a dingy, party hostel. 

If you don’t have friends to stay with in Europe, check out my article on how to see Europe for under $60 per day for ways to stay on a budget. We found the rest of the countries relatively easy to stay within our budget, even with the cost of accommodation.

The cost to fly to Santorini was expensive for Europe, but definitely worth it!

Other Expenses


Estimated Budget for Two People

Actual Cost for Two People


$12,000.00 $5,622.79 That’s less than half our estimate! See my blog post on “Using Travel Credit Cards to Save Thousands” and the transportation section of my “Seeing Europe Under $60 Per Day” post to see how we did it.
$2,000.00 $2,115.70 This includes a rental car in Croatia, which was my worst mistake on the trip. We could have saved hundreds without that
$600.00 $343.00
Pre-Trip Gear
$2,500.00 $3,000.00 Estimates. Includes a laptop, a camera, two backpacks, clothes, etc
$534.00 $534.00
Traveler’s Insurance
$1,800.00 $1,976.00  We used World Nomads


Walking around Pamukkale. The entry cost was negligible, but the view was stunning!

Cost of Major Tourist Attractions

Finally, if you’re interested in visiting some major tourist attractions we saw around the world, I’ve included the entry fees and tour costs below. Unless otherwise noted, all of these expenses are included in our daily budgets above.

Tourist Attraction

Total Cost for Two People


1. Zion National Park, USA
$30.00 Entry fee
2. Grand Canyon, USA
$30.00 Entry fee
3. Chichen Itza, Mexico
$42.45 Entry fee and guide
4. Machu Picchu, Peru
$132.84 Entry fee and guide (*not included in daily budget above). Does not include the high cost of getting to the ancient city
5. Christ the Redeemer, Brazil
$145.45 Full day tour of Rio with guide and transportation
6. Alhambra, Spain
$34.61 Entry into palace
7. Montserrat, Spain
$67.42 Transportation up to and around the mountain
8. The Louvre, France
$32.97 Entry to museum
9. D-Day Tour, France
$208.79 Full day tour of all the U.S. beaches and cemetery with guide
10. Auschwitz, Poland
$78.00 Entry fee, transportation, and guide
11. Acropolis of Athens, Greece
$21.05 Entry fee
12. The Great Pyramids of Giza, Egypt
$60.07 Transportation, guide, entry fee, and entry into one of the pyramids
13. Luxor Day Tour, Egypt
$147.38 Full day tour, transportation, guide, entry into The Valley of the Kings, three pharoah’s tombs, King Tut’s tomb, and several temples
14. Taj Mahal, India
$29.37 Entry fee
15. Scuba Diving, Thailand
$515.00 Three day open water course and certification, four dives (*not included in daily budget above). This is about half the price of anywhere else in the world.
16. Angkor Wat, Cambodia
$134.00 Three day pass (*not included in daily budget above)

So there you have it! We came in under budget, but it still looks like a lot when you see it all at once. However, it’ really no more than the cost of a new family car. If we could save for this in ten months with two middle-class incomes, others can too! See my article on “How We Can Afford to Travel for 9 Months” for more details.

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