A Family RTW Travel Adventure (2008-2009)
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By The Numbers


We have lived with the idea of our around the world trip for 815 days – approximately 530 of talking, thinking and planning followed by 285 days of travel.

That’s a “planning-to-doing” ratio of almost 2-1.

Okay, so maybe I’m a little compulsive about planning.

Once we started “doing,” we traveled to 17 countries, crossed 38 borders (entering and exiting Thailand twice), took 26 flights, five long-haul buses, three rental cars, one overnight train and rode in who knows how many tuk-tuks, trucks, cabs and whatnots.

We slept nine nights on a boat.

We took approximately 10,000 pictures and posted 2,553 of them to Flickr. Approximately 8,500 visitors to our Flickr page have viewed our pictures 75,000+ times.

We made 23 videos and posted 21 to YouTube.  They were watched approximately 6,000 times in total. BTW, my personal favorite video, Rotorua Adventures, is now hosted on Vimeo (a long story).

This is the 209th post we’ve written (with just four more to go).

Readers have made 900+ comments.

To date, there have been 50,000+ visits to this site and 19,000+ unique visitors from all 50 U.S. states and 132 countries or territories around the world.

The nearly 400 subscribers to the site have viewed 65,000+ items via email or RSS feed and clicked on 11,500+ links.

Now, there’s one number I’m sure many are curious about – what did it cost?

On this subject, I learned my lesson back in Ecuador.

When I posted information about what we spent there, I was shocked by comments from a few other travelers who shall remain nameless. (The comments have long since been removed.)

It seems the topic of travel spending is a matter of religious orthodoxy.

Rather than subject myself to online judgments again, I’ll make this offer:  For those trying to put together a budget for extended travel, I’ll share a spreadsheet that breaks down our costs.

Just send me an email at thewidewideworld (at) gmail (dot) com requesting it and I’ll send it to you.

But I warn you — your mileage may vary.  Every trip is unique; anyone else’s budget is only a guide, and a vague one at that.

Here’s the bottom line:  No matter how you look at the numbers in this post, they all add up to one singular adventure.


1 Sebastian (a lady) { 07.06.09 at 5:08 am }

We’re still living the life of Riley, with the government paying to relocate us around the world every few years in return for military service. I have to confess that your posts on Japan were an inspiration to get out and enjoy our current home country more.
Looking back at your adventures, I’d be curious which books and other resources were the most helpful. Which encouraged you to take the plunge? Which were the most helpful in the midst of the adventure? Are there any that in retrospect were misleading?

2 Craig { 07.06.09 at 6:48 am }

Sebastian – We’ve got a list of good resources we relied on in the Travel Resources section of the site (See: http://tinyurl.com/on998l). Once on the road, we relied on the Internet as opposed to any books. We used Trip Advisor and HostelWorld to pick places to stay. WikiTravel was very helpful. And we read tons of location-specific web sites that we found through simple Google searches.



3 Sebastian (a lady) { 07.06.09 at 6:29 pm }

Great, thanks for the link. I knew that I’d seen a photo with a big stack of books, but I couldn’t find it again when I went looking.

4 Christian Haugen { 07.06.09 at 8:59 pm }

Did you really get that much bad feedback after publishing how much you spent? I was planning on posting a detailed travel budget for my 6 months on the road when I returned back home, but might reconsider that if it’s as back as you are saying.

5 Craig { 07.07.09 at 12:38 am }

@ Christian,
Let’s just say that some people have strong opinions about what you should spend when you travel. And they are convinced that their way is the right way – and they quick to let you know if you are doing it “wrong.” Now, if your budget (and travel experience) happens to be “right” you won’t get any grief. If it’s not, then look out!

Good luck and travel safe,


6 Doug Spiro { 07.07.09 at 11:41 am }


You and Dani are truly “King and Queen of the Producers! My head is still spinning from everything that went into your trip. As with any production you can do it cheaper or you can spend more but I agree that no matter what the cost it was one amazing adventure!

Well done!

7 ScubaKay { 07.07.09 at 12:07 pm }

Christian – we posted our $$’s on our blog. There were a couple naysayers, but most feedback we got was positive — curious cats and future travelers appreciative of the information for their planning purposes. To keep the naysayers at bay, I suggest just including a description of your travel “style”, goals, and experience to set expectations…

Craig – I’m curious about the other side of the budget equation — the planning and estimation. How did you determine how much you needed for this trip? Did you use other travelers blogs/insight? Your own travel experience? Rough guestimation?

Welcome back to the statues – looking forward to your blogs on the transition back and next steps!

8 Craig { 07.07.09 at 2:48 pm }

@ScubaKay – first, let me say that I agree that most feedback re: budgets is positive – and people are very grateful to have others share specific information. I guess I get my back up when the very small minority think there’s one right way to do this… I’ve talked to enough families now to know that there are many, many ways to do a RTW… they key is figuring out for yourself what will work for your family.

And, by the way, the families I’ve contacted before, during and after our trip have been extraordinarily generous with their time, information and recommendations.

As for the other side of the budget equation: When I planned our “road budget” (as opposed to the budget necessary to keep the lights turned on at home), I got a lot of valuable information from the Andrus Family web site (www.sixintheworld.com) and John Higham’s web site (www.360degreeslongitude.com). John, in particular, has a very specific accounting of what he spent. I had an overall/all-in target number, a daily “not to exceed” number (which worked most places), and a daily spend guesstimate for each country we were in… (Told you I overplanned!)

I’m amazed to tell you that on a average daily spend basis (including everything: airfares, tours, accommodations, food, etc), our final average daily spend was within a dollar of what we had estimated.

Our overall cost was quite a bit less than the gross amount budgeted because we traveled 285 days instead of 365.

How’s that for more than you’d ever want to know!! 🙂

9 Neil { 07.08.09 at 1:43 am }

Spreadsheets are great for relative pricing. It’s not too hard to figure out where past travels have intersected, and therefore what factor to multiply all the other numbers by to arrive at a decently personalized estimate.

It does bother me when you get the rude people who insist that spending a different amount from them is somehow sacrilege.

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