How to Budget for an Affordable Luxury Solo Trip Around the World

Belém Tower in Lisbon

Belém Tower in Lisbon

One of the first things I do before deciding whether to take a trip is to develop a pre-trip budget. My love for luxury travel can be expensive but I’m still unwilling to rough it. I would rather stay home than sacrifice this standard, which is why I focus my solo travels on affordable luxury.

To prevent over-spending, I do plenty of comparative research well in advance of any trip. On January 31st, 2016 I took off on a once and a lifetime adventure, a 50-day trip to seven cities around the world.

Around the World Luxury Tours

I priced these lengthier around the world luxury tours and cruises for the last 10 years and found that the costs have steadily gone up. Currently, a 24-day private jet group tour trip with National Geographic costs $76,950 plus the dreaded single supplement for solo travelers of $8,950 for a total base cost of $85,900 or roughly $3,579 per day. This is the price before you add on your shopping and miscellaneous costs. Another company, Abercrombie and Kent, offers 26-day trip for a total base cost for the solo traveler of $151,500 or approximately, $5,825 per day. While both of these trips are no doubt ultra-luxurious, they are out of budget for myself among many others.

Around the World Solo

Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi

Through all of my extensive research I never found a tour that suited my specific travel goals at the right price. As a result I decided to create my own tailor-made, non-tour, ATW trip which included these seven stops; Lisbon, Marrakesh, Cairo, Abu Dhabi, Mumbai, Bangkok, and Hanoi. While in Cairo, I added on a structured Rivercruise with Uniworld down the Nile River because I couldn’t figure out how to see the wonders of Egypt safely and affordably. The logistics cost of this leg of the trip would have been prohibitive. Adding the Nile Cruise raised the trip’s budget but not enough to pass up this travel bucket list destination area, so I booked it.

Flight Class Options

For any trip I’m planning, I try always to fly business class when available, especially on longer flights. My ATW trip included two domestic economy flights within the US which were on the first and last legs of the 50 day adventure on JetBlue outbound and Southwest inbound. Internationally, I flew business class with high comfort rated carriers including Emirates, Qatar Air, Asiana, Air Maroc, Iberia, and Thai Air.

5 Star Hotels Preferred

Apricot Hotel in Hanoi

Beyond flying in comfort, I’ll also slept well because all of my hotel selections for the trip were five star rated. When I travel I like; to be pampered, visually pleased with hotel interiors, sleep in comfortable beds with plenty of fluffy pillows, have access to a top-notch concierge desk, offered free WiFi throughout the hotel, and, most importantly, feel safe in my accommodations. Some of the hotel brands I trust and stayed in on my trip are the Four Seasons, Le Meridien, Sofitel and Westin, in addition to the three top-rated luxury boutique hotels that I picked for the trip.

ATW Target Budget

With my affordable luxury goals in mind, my base target budget for my Around the World trip was $25,000 or $500 per day. This included everything but shopping and miscellaneous and/or unforeseen expenses that I expected to be around $3,000, bringing my grand total to $28,000 or $560 per day.

Around the World Trip Budget

Astrid Solo Travel Advisor Trip Budget Guide

PRE-TRIP                                         Estimated            Actual

Travel Insurance $980

Passports, Visas & Travel Documents $100

Immunizations / Medications $0

Pre-trip Clothes / Gear Expenses $400

SUBTOTAL - $1,480


Airfare / Baggage Fees $7,280

Airport Parking $0

Car Rental & Gas $0

Train Tickets / Passes $0

Tolls and Other Fees $0

Bus / Taxi / Subway / Shuttle $650

Miscellaneous $0

SUBTOTAL - $7,930


Hotel / Bed and Breakfast / Other $7,500


Miscellaneous/Tips $300

SUBTOTAL - $7,830


Restaurant Meals $4,050

Coffee/ Snacks/Water $120

Tips $470

SUBTOTAL - $4,640


Tours / Sightseeing / Excursions $2,200

Health& Wellness/ Beauty $450

Museums/ Concert Tickets/ ETC $300

Theater/Shows $100

Souvenirs/Gifts $2,200

SUBTOTAL - $5,250


Pet /Childcare $0

Cell Phone Expenses $300

Currency Exchange / Bank Fees $170

General Miscellaneous $400



The Floral Culture Museum in Bangkok

ATW Solo Trip Max Cost - $30,000

The seven countries I traveled to solo had extremely good currency exchange rates with the US Dollar. My goal was to spend under $30,000 or $600 per day as a my maximum budget goal. I like to have fun, shop and be spontaneous when I travel and sometimes these things put immense pressures on my budget, but I’m a big believer in budgeting and watching my spending while traveling alone. A trip can be ruined by overspending and credit card balance shock when you return home.

Do You Think I Stayed Within My Budget? Refer to my blog showing the post-trip cost breakdown after I returned home. Would love to hear from you in the Comments Section below on my Pre-Trip ATW budget, it’s validity and whether you would use this guide to build your solo adventure Around the World.

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Author: Astrid Clements

Astrid Solo Travel Advisor CEO and founder, Astrid, has spent over 40 years traveling around the world. She is passionate about embracing the world’s diverse cultures and sharing with others the global need and personal benefit of cultural literacy. Her focus is on affordable luxury travel that is both substantive and fun! To read more about her and each one of our Solo Travel Advisors, head over to theAbout page!