How much this whole shindig has cost is one of the most common questions we get (or people want to ask)… so here are the gory details (for all four of us, remember!):
Upfront costs: £20,600
- £18,400 on flights:
- Mostly on round the world flights from the Star Alliance (£13,500) (tried to book directly but in the end used Round the World Experts, who were great, but I did use the Star Alliance website to plan our itinerary).
- Plus additional international flights for extra segments that the Star Alliance network didn’t cover (Singapore to California via Australia/NZ).
- £700 on visas
- £400 on jabs
- £1,100 on travel insurance
- I was horrified at the cost of this but because we were away for such a long time we had to get out specialist ‘backpackers insurance’. It might turn out to have been worth it if they decide to compensate me for my lost spectacles which are probably still deep in the bowels of an aircraft somewhere.
Ongoing costs: £40,500 (roughly £200/day)
- £10,900 on daily expenses: on average £54/day
- Ethiopia, India, Thailand and Peru were the best places to be on a budget. Anywhere else we could easily spend £60 just on a meal out for 4 (hence lots of McDonalds and/or home-cooked pasta & parmesan 4 days running).
- £8,500 on transport costs: on average £43/day
- This was the one area I had underestimated when budgeting. We ended up taking several internal flights (particularly in South America), but it also includes car hire in various places, fuel and the campervan costs.
- £13,800 on accommodation: on average £68/night
- This takes into account nights spent on aircraft and staying with some very generous friends (particularly in some superexpensive areas like Singapore or Sydney). The average amount spent on paid accommodation was about £89/night. Although we tried to freedom camp in NZ as much as possible we still ended up paying quite a lot in Department of Conservation charges at various sites.
- The cheapest place was £30/night at the banana plantation in Tanzania. The most expensive was the onenightonlynevertoberepeated £360/night at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. Both were special (in very different ways).
- £7,300 on ad hoc expensive stuff: on average £36/day
- This includes the stuff that actually everyone remembers such as…
- Danakil Depression (£780)
- Hiking in the Simien Mountains (£870)
- 3-day safari in Tanzania (£2,200)
- Zipwiring around Angkor Wat (£230)
- Lake visit and caving in Thailand (£220)
- Swimming with manta rays in Australia (£300)
- Alcatraz (£100)
- Disneyland (£500)
- Machu Picchu (£475) – mostly on train tickets to get there
- A day’s skiing in Chile (£350)
- Plus various sundry items like replacing a suitcase, getting new trekking poles/coats/Jam’s emergency shoes, posting stuff home (£76!)
I will confess that we could have done it more cheaply: this family (recently featured in The Times: touringfamilytales.wordpress.com, who have done a very similar journey to us but in reverse order a year or so ago) managed to spend just £65k, over 12 months (including Europe but not Africa). They stayed most often in campsites and hostels (whereas we did lots of Airbnbs), and our flight itinerary was more complex, not least because of the order in which we did things to ensure we were in Chile for the solar eclipse.