For every trip I embark upon I prepare a pre-trip budget that I use to compare with my actual costs in my post-trip recap. I always get a little nervous when I start going through my credit card statements and receipts wondering if I’ve overspent. Though I did go over the $30,000, or $600 per day, trip budget goal, it was not by much. Peruse this blog post and get an idea of what a solo Around the World 50-day trip to seven destinations staying at five star hotels and flying business class internationally should cost.
Before I go into the actual cost breakdown a little background info is warranted. For over twenty years I have wanted to take a trip around the world. I tried numerous times to get my husband to take this one-of-a-kind of trip with me but I could never convince him it would be worth the money. Growing more and frustrated as time passed, consequently, I made up my mind to experience a solo journey like this two years ago and started to do some serious destinations and cost research.
To Take or Not To Take an Around the World Tour
There were several wonderful Around the World luxury excursions offered by leading tour operators such as National Geographic and Abercrombie and Kent that were three weeks in length with of a cost range between $85,900-$151,500 for the solo traveler. While I knew these would be fabulous trips where you would be flying on a private chartered aircraft, staying at luxurious 5 star hotels and having extremely knowledgeable guides throughout, I couldn’t justify the cost. These trips were 25 days in length putting the per day cost range between $3,435-$6,060, an enormous daily cost in my book.
Around the World Low Cost Destinations List
My next problem solving step was to put together a list of destinations that I wanted to travel to. Beginning with doing my own cost research and creating a pre-trip budget I could determine if an Around the World solo trip that was luxurious but was affordable was feasible. I targeted places that I had never traveled to before which had very favorable currency conversion rates to the US dollar. The seven destinations I chose were Lisbon, Marrakesh, and Cairo with a river cruise down the Nile, Abu Dhabi, Mumbai, Bangkok and Hanoi.
Save Money by Traveling Off Season
To further save money, my 50-day ATW, solo journey was planned to be taken during the off season when airline and hotel rates are discounted and you don’t have to experience the peak season high tourist traffic that can make traveling and sightseeing less pleasurable.
Actual Cost of My Around the World Trip
The total trip cost came in at $32,868 or $657 per day, which was not too shabby considering two unforseen issues that drove the cost up which I will explain later in this blog post. The base cost of the trip without shopping, my biggest overspending challenge, was roughly $25,000 or $500 per day. I added and extra $3,000 for shopping to the original budget, which drove up the total trip cost, estimated to be $28,000 or $560 per day.
As you can see, the only category that came in under budget was food and drink. Likewise, the pre-trip expenses were virtually the same. My shopping budget was thrown out of whack by two large shopping purchases, a $750 Moroccan rug for my daughter and a beautiful gold, diamond framed Egyptian cartouche necklace costing $1,800.
I couldn’t resist either of these two purchases. They were both one of a kind items that will be treasured and enjoyed. These two items added $2,550 to the total trip cost. No regrets here! I spent $2,385 on clothes purchases and roughly $430 on souvenirs and small gift items totaling $2,815 without the added rug and cartouche expense of $2,550.Grand total shopping costs were roughly $5,375. Once again, it could have been a lot worse if I hadn’t watched my spending throughout the trip.
An Unforeseen Trip Disaster Unexpectedly Drove Up the Cost
An totally unexpected event occurred on this personal epic trip which I consider to be the first real trip disaster that I had ever experienced in my 45 years of solo travel. Here’s what happened! As I went to check in at the plush, VIP Emirates Air Business Class lounge for my flight to Mumbai, the attendant said there was a problem with my Indian visa that I had processed online. She tried to solve the issue quickly by making a few phone calls but that was not to be. The very helpful Emirates Air representative shared it would take five days to fix the error. Consequently, I made a quick and hard decision to forego my Mumbai stop because I would only be there now for two days, not nearly enough time to adequately explore this exotic city. As the result of this trip disaster, I headed to Singapore instead, a destination which turned out to be one of my favorites on the ATW trip.
This travel faux pas set me back $712 for the loss of only one night’s hotel room charge and the flight ticket cost to Mumbai from Abu Dhabi and $1,927 for the one way, business class ticket I had to purchase with Sri Lanke Airlines to Singapore. Ouch! All total my unfortunate trip incident drove the ATW cost up by $2,639. I hated to have to face this reality but I could either stay in Abu Dhabi for another week or fly directly to Bangkok and stay there for 2 weeks. Neither of these options were appealing to me. I had set a personal trip goal of traveling to seven different destinations that I had never been to before and I decided to roll with the punches and head to Singapore, which was still on my travel bucket list.
Not Bad - Not Far Off Budget!
Ultimately, $5,375 for my shopping expenditures and the unexpected $2,639 cost of the trip disaster which totaled roughly $8,000 drove the ATW trip cost over the base budget of $25,000. As I shared I had originally added another $3,000 for my shopping habit and felt if the trip came in at around $28,000 I would be elated but knowing me I upped it to $30,000 as tops and, lo and behold, this is what occurred less the Mumbai debacle costs!
Have a Trip Budget - Will Travel
I am a firm believer in crafting a written pre-trip budget. For whatever reason, when I write things on paper whether it’s my daily to do list or a trip budget, I tend to make it happen as written! Likewise, I strongly believe diligent trip budgeting as a fiscal practice which educates the solo traveler to what a proposed trip is likely to cost and thus, helps the traveler decide whether to take the trip, to save money in order to experience the excursion or it indicates how much he/she needs to set aside from their savings to make it happen. If you know before you leave on a trip roughly how much your daily expenditures should amount to, then when you are actually traveling you will keep closer tabs on how much you are spending each day. Ultimately this budgeting practice will help you avoid racking up large credit card debt that you will have to face when you get home.
Post-Trip Cost Evaluation Review
Last, I always do a post trip cost evaluation for several important reasons:
to document what the trip actually cost
to determine if I spent my money wisely
to determine whether the trip was worth the expenditure
to find areas for future trips where I could cut costs and not sacrifice the quality of the trip
Focusing on the money aspect of travel is never fun but it is essential. Most solo travelers want to spend their money prudently when traveling. By developing the practice of trip budgeting you will be well on your way to acquiring travel financial wisdom which will make your solo adventures less stressful and more affordable. Download my trip planning Budget Guide here.
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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 the About page!