Financial Update After 1-Year of Travel

by Jason -- October 19, 2010

Our return to San Francisco last week marked the end of our 352-day journey through Asia. And now that the trip is officially over, it’s time for another financial update. Overall Summary

We made it! We traveled for a year and didn’t blow our budget! In fact, we did great. We planned a budget of $50,000 and when we returned to the Bay Area last week we had spent just over $31,000. This averages out to about $86.00 a day.

As a quick reminder, all numbers are combined for both Sharon and I.

Our total spend for the year was $35,000. However, not all of this was on travel-related items. Sharon has student loans that we made monthly payments on, as well as expenses on UnAnchor and a few other things.

Breakdown by Country

On travel-related items, we spent just above $31,000.

Since our last financial update we traveled to 4 destinations.

Singapore - As expected, Singapore was a little more on the expensive side. Transportation and food were both inexpensive, but lodging, tourist activities, and alcohol were all very expensive.

Indonesia - Ended higher than expected due to scuba diving. Without scuba diving, we would have averaged $77 per day, instead of $88. Indonesia could have been done cheaper, but we chose to spend our time in a higher-end, much more comfortable hotel than normal. I believe Indonesia could have been done for closer to $60 per day, bringing it more towards the Southeast Asia averages we had in Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.

Guam - Also as expected, Guam was on the more expensive side. We rented a car and a vacation rental home which were both on the high side. We did, however, save some money by mostly cooking for ourselves (a welcomed change of pace).

Seattle - Not having to pay for a hotel in Seattle made our stay significantly less expensive. A visit from my parents also helped the budget. Without that help, Seattle would most likely have come in around double what it did.

Final Thoughts

It still amazes me that we were able to travel for a year for just over $30,000 for 2 people. It’s a lot of money, but not nearly as much as I thought it was going to be. When I think about what I could have done with that money instead — buy a new car, finished my MBA, saved for retirement, a down-payment on a home (maybe) — I know we made the right decision. These are memories and stories we’ll have for the rest of our lives.

The unfortunate part is the fact that the budget continues to run despite being “finished” with the trip. The good news, however, is that we won’t be staying in hostels or hotels  and instead will be taking advantage of friends and family and crashing with them the next few months.

If you’re interested in seeing all of our financial detail, the spreadsheet can be downloaded here.

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12 Responses to “Financial Update After 1-Year of Travel”

  1. $35,000 for TWO people to travel RTW for a whole year? Man… we blow that on combined rent, car payment and groceries every year. And we don’t even like groceries we buy.

    Sure, we probably suffer from less food poisoning than you did on your travels, but we’d make that trade off.

  2. wow!!! Good job! you guys did great!!! I think its amazing that you guys were able to stick to your budget yet still expeirance so many great things!

  3. I’m very impressed with the revenue. Is that all from ads on the blog or sales on UnAnchor?

  4. The Jetpacker — Haha! Good point. We definitely spent less money this past year traveling than we would have in the Bay Area. The only downside was no income.

    Holly — Thanks!

    Vivian — I wish the revenue was coming from UnAnchor. Unfortunately nearly all of our income came from Sharon and my tax refund, advertisements from this blog and a nice return gift from my parents :-).

  5. Insightful write up guys! Welcome back to SF!

    May I ask what you guys plan to do now that you’re back?

  6. Thanks! We’re going to be mostly hanging out in the Bay Area until February and then probably moving back to Korea. Sharon will teach English and I’ll continue to work on UnAnchor.

  7. Ahh I love reading budgets! This is very interesting and amazing. It is really cheap to travel, I wish more people would realize this.

  8. Welcome back and go Giants! Thanks for providing such detail on what it takes to do a RTW. Such and ambitious plan seems daunting.

    So where next?


  9. [...] Dollars Spent – $34,989 [...]

  10. Hi there, someone who knows that I’m collecting data about RTW cost pointed me to your post…

    Thanks for the very detailed budget breakdown.

  11. Hi Jill,

    Glad we could help. Looks like you have a pretty awesome trip coming up. Good luck planning, research, and saving!


  12. [...] $1250 pm/pp 11 countries in 12 months = $15000* Jason and Sharon, again Bay Area [...]

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