Our Revised RTW Budget for 9 Months in Africa, Europe and Asia

In my blog post “Our $66,019 RTW Budget”, we disclosed our budget for this trip and how we got to the numbers. Today, we’re coming back to you with our new budget. Our first budget got us to a point where we could figure out how much money we needed for this trip to do most of what we wanted. But we also had bunch of small oversights that added up to a lack of funds to see gorillas and do more safaris (we love animals!). So we drilled down on our assumptions, applied lessons learned, and created a new budget for the remainder of the trip.

Here’s what we learned and applied to our new budget:

  • We underestimated the costs for activities and transportation. We assumed our daily budget could cover the costs to get between cities in the same country and activities (outside of tours), but the reality was our daily budget was too tight to cover any of the transportation costs between destinations, visiting museums/local sites with entrance fees, or adrenaline activities. This translated into us overspending by $1,000 in South America and doing more budget eating/cheap accommodations than we prefer. While it was worth overspending, we didn’t want to a tight budget going forward because we didn’t want to waste our energy thinking about how ice cream or coffee would impact our budget.
  • We know more of what we like. What’s this mean? After South America, we both really understood what types of budget meals, accommodation, travel method, gear, and activities worked for the both of us while doing long-term travel. This led us to improve the quality of our research (i.e., cost estimating).
  • We can research quicker with better accuracy. What took a few days of research to assemble a general itinerary for a country can now be done in about five hours. In the beginning, research took forever as we were unsure what to look for, what we both wanted, what our questions were, and what to think about when selecting itinerary, accommodations, transportation, activities, and ultimately cost.
  • We’re more creative in planning. At this point, we’re starting to get good at maximizing tours or other activities to save on costs, like having a tour drop us off at a different location than the start location, at no extra cost (i.e., saving on transportation cost and travel time).

So what do all these lessons learned mean? It means we can drill down faster on cost by better understanding our travel styles and doing better research, which means maximizing the value out of every dollar.

So with that said, here is the breakdown of the remaining time of our RTW trip (Africa, Europe, Asia), which excludes health insurance, renter’s insurance, pre-trip costs and my upcoming scuba class:

NewBudget

Please note we kept the remaining time for our travel consistent in the budget, but swapped a few countries. We dropped India, Egypt, Tanzania, Portugal and Croatia from our itinerary. We added France, Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Cambodia and New Zealand.

Lastly, you may be wondering how we will pay for this increased cost since we are keeping to our original plan of return cash of $40K. This is coming from increased value of our stock investments, reduced cost of our health insurance, some extra cash lying around, plus some part-time consulting that Laura is doing on the road. There’s still a gap of about $1,300 in our budget, but we have plenty of time to narrow it down.

5 comments

  1. Wow! You two are amazing!

  2. This is fantastic information! Thank you for being so transparent. Did you do anything special to maximize your savings while planning this trip?

  3. Hi Erica! Thank you for following my wife’s blog and reading my post. I wish there was a silver bullet to our story, but it was a bunch of little decisions that worked out and got us to where we are. I think it could be best described by trying to be thoughtful financial planners to ourselves and each other. The biggest areas that helped us were having a written budget, becoming debt free and staying that way, being open and transparent about our finances to each other including my fast food runs, focusing on cutting our largest monthly expenses (I.e. a smaller apartment and goodbye to our two cars), and having a separate joint savings account that we put our savings into and never tapped (this helped us always know if we hit our monthly savings goal). We also were coincidentally working to pay off our student loans on a fast track when we started dating, so we were already making financial decisions that benefited this trip before we made the decision to leave! We started this process five years ago, so I guess my advice is start early, be honest about all your expenses, and be willing to give up certain comforts in the short term and promise yourself you will get them back when you return from your amazing trip!

  4. I am thoroughly enjoyed your adventures … and like Peter says above (what a smart DH) … planning ahead helps alot. I know I’ve only ever done a 2 month stint … on my own around Europe … but never the world. That was in the days of not really giving a care about my T1D (I’ve had it since ’67). Now as my DH and I plan to abandon ship (terra firma) for living onboard our sailboat … you have to do alot of planning in order to make the most of your $$$’s. I’m working on a project for a medical company right now and am hoping they publish your blog site for others to discover you. So hopefully you get alot more followers!!!!

    1. Thank you Anna! I’m glad you found us. So you’re approaching 50 years with T1D, if I’m doing my math right? That’s INCREDIBLE. Mind if I ask how old you were at diagnosis?

      I’ve heard of people doing trips on sailboats and it sounds so cool. Where are you planning on filling your supplies at?

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