Round the World Trip

Archived From: Finance
  • Text Only
Voting History
rated:
Greetings All,

I have been constantly thinking about a radical change to my life for at least the last three years. I have recently encountered some health issues and massive health anxiety that have forced me to confront my mortality. So I am currently leaning towards a RTW trip for at least a year maybe two and would like some input as to the financial feasibility of this idea.

Age: Late Twenties 
Career: Software Engineer
~ $150,000 in liquid funds
~ Passive income from side business that conservatively brings in about $1,000 a month.
~ Conservatively $75,000 in equity in current home.
~ No debt except for mortgage (My plan will be to rent out my home which can easily cover twice the mortgage payment.)

Annual Travel Budget: $30,000 (I have amassed enough miles that should hopefully cover almost every flight throughout the trip).

Thoughts?

Thank you all!





 

Member Summary
Most Recent Posts
This "feature" of Fatwallet being "a basic characteristic of capitalism"? 
Not really.
Many Fatwallet participants have co... (more)

oppidum (Sep. 07, 2016 @ 11:37a) |

I got to this post a lil too late. I was on VERY similar boat as you, OP, 2 yrs ago. My networth was a bit less, I had e... (more)

b1st (Sep. 12, 2016 @ 12:08a) |

Even if the OP doesn't see this, perhaps someone else will find this useful. There was a question of losing medical insu... (more)

b1st (Sep. 13, 2016 @ 12:48a) |

Staff Summary
Thanks for visiting FatWallet.com. Join for free to remove this ad.

No dependents?

If you're doing "slow travel" and living like a local rather than a tourist, you can probably do it on less than $30k/year.


Financially, it's a question of how quickly you can get back on track when you eventually return to the USA, assuming your plan is to be out of the work force for a year, or two.


But with no dependents, "you can afford it" to take a couple of years off and travel, sure.

I'd expect the biggest hassle for long-term travel like that is coming back to the USA periodically, and making sure you have all of the visas you need.

Based on what I see from blogs of people bumming their way around the world, you would be traveling like a king.

Whats the question exactly?

You've got $150k in liquid funds and passive $12k/yr income. You're thinking of spending ~$30k a year for 1-2 years.

Yes you can afford to do that if you want to.

Currently no dependents. My plan would be to spend a month or two in a major city in the region (Buenos Aires, Medellin, Bangkok, Prague) and use Airbnb or the local equivalent to find housing which should hopefully minimize costs. Thanks!

jerosen said:   Whats the question exactly?

You've got $150k in liquid funds and passive $12k/yr income. You're thinking of spending ~$30k a year for 1-2 years.

Yes you can afford to do that if you want to.

  The bigger cost is probably a possible hit to future earnings and/or finding a new job (Plus the obvious opportunity cost of the 2yrs' lost wages and future returns on that), unless OP's employer is OK with granting a 2 year leave of absence and with footing the bill for OP getting caught up to date after the 2 year leave.

This is the primary question I want to address, the opportunity cost of this trip. I would be resigning from my current employer. 

DesperateChange said:   This is the primary question I want to address, the opportunity cost of this trip. I would be resigning from my current employer. 
  

Impossible to know. SItuation specific. If you have trouble finding a job and can live on the cheap in the USA, then you have a few more years of expenses saved up. Or you can travel longer. Go for it.

DesperateChange said:   This is the primary question I want to address, the opportunity cost of this trip. I would be resigning from my current employer. 
That's something that is hard to get an exact answer for, but I can't imagine it being considered a positive for nearly any employer. Your skills are going to erode by 2 years (which can be an eternity in software), every employer is going to ask about the gap and when you explain it they are going to have to wonder what the odds of you up and taking off again are.

All that aside, I'm betting nearly everyone on this board is envious of the idea, and you only live once. Have you considered looking into a job that allows travel?

DesperateChange said:   This is the primary question I want to address, the opportunity cost of this trip. I would be resigning from my current employer. 
  
The only clear-cut opportunity cost is 2 years of savings on your relatively high salary.

But the question you'll need to answer for yourself is in your industry, with your work history, how hard will it be for you to find a comparable paying position when you come back?

If you think you won't be able to find a comparable position, then snowball that pay deficit into the future to see what it "costs you".
If you think your employment at current pay and position isn't particularly permanent anyway, then give that "cost" a discount based on that.



Yes, the trip will be way more expensive, in lost retirement/long-term savings, than the face value.

 

What do you mean by travel? Stay in one place for a month and hikes or stay in hotels/hostels? While 30K may sound like a lot, if you do the math with 365 days, it is about $80 per-day. This is for everything - your nightly stay, your daily meals, local transportation and any sight seeing. Includes H&B .  So it really depends upon what you define as travel since you are clearly not staying at Hilton's for most of the trip - not with a $80 budget per-day. Also depends on the countries that you travel to - Europe is relatively more expensive for food. Are you planning to have health insurance during this period? If yes, factor that cost in.

It's definitely achievable. My wife & I lived in Bangkok for 6 months and were living off ~$1,000 a month. That got us a 2 bed apartment on the outskirts of the city, eating out most days (as you can get meals for $1-2).

If you can stick to low cost of living countries, you'd be able to live off the $1k side income without needing to dip into savings. Is your side income something you could develop further while overseas? If you enjoyed that lifestyle and you made enough money, you'd have the flexibility to not have to return.

edit: I've not read it myself, but it might be worth reading How To Travel The World On $50 A Day by Matt Kepnes. The Four Hour Work Week could also be worth a read - it has some BS in it, but there's also some good principles you could glean from it.

peps2004 said:   It's definitely achievable. My wife & I lived in Bangkok for 6 months and were living off ~$1,000 a month. That got us a 2 bed apartment on the outskirts of the city, eating out most days (as you can get meals for $1-2).

 

  what do you do for six months in bangkok with your wife
 I have recently encountered some health issues and massive health anxiety that have forced me to confront my mortality. 
make sure you get a 2nd opinion before jumping in the volcano

DesperateChange Aug/04/2016 3:46 PM said: ....I have recently encountered some health issues and massive health anxiety that have forced me to confront my mortality....

As long as you're healthy enough to travel & not ignoring current Doctors recommendations. I say go for it. If not repair yourself first.

Go for it. I'm assuming you can easily get a similar job upon your return.

Health insurance? You say you have health issues and if you quit your job I assume you will be losing your insurance. I'd look into world/travel plans just to be safe as you can afford it.

Do it. (Although it might be a good idea to make sure the health issues are gone/not going to get worse before leaving employment/insurance/home.)

I traveled for over 6 months. I don't see your actual salary, but I assume it was more than mine at the time. I also had less savings and equity, and continued paying my mortgage. Best decision of my life.

Your idea to stay in places for a while is the right one. Asia will be much cheaper than Europe. I think my cheapest hostel was in Cambodia at about USD 2 per night. Start slowly decreasing your shower temperatures now to get ready for it. Cold showers are actually pretty nice in all but very cold climates. Meals for .5-1 USD. You can easily live off of your side business income in many places. Don't stay in Bangkok for a month or two. Go to Chiang Mai. Visit some of the islands. Also, while points are good, many budget flights throughout Europe and Asia can be had for ~$40-50 and it might be better to save the points for better value. Points are good for your inter-continent flights for sure. Get a good backpack. 40 liter or so is enough and should be able to be carried on. Pack light. Think about the things you'll bring. Cut it in half. You don't need that. Or that. Live among or explore the local areas. Try to learn the language. Get outside your comfort zone and do new things. Volunteer. Make new lifelong friends.

Feel free to PM me.

Cheers.

Oh yeah, since this is FWF. If you don't already have one, open a Schwab checking account. No transaction/exchange fee or ATM fees, and they reimburse any ATM fees charged by the ATM's bank. (Although I was surprised by how few ATMs I used actually charged a fee.) And of course, good travel credit cards.

I did it for a year right after my retirement.Came out to be about $90 a day excluding my airfare to from USA. Lots of places you will not be able to use frequent flyer miles. All the places I stayed in had a private bathroom and air conditioning .. It can be done cheaper if you are satisfied in dorm like hostels. Unexpected expenses always crop up. Easier getting country to country in Europe than Asia,etc. You can eat cheaper if you use street vendors but use caution as a few days in the Hospial at the"foreigners rate " can take a chunk out of your budget. Good luck.

This is why I love the internet! I would like to sincerely thank each and every one of you for taking the time to respond and providing me with the resolve to take this step. I would like to address a couple of points that have been brought up.

Health - I have begun a rigorous plant-based diet and hardcore exercise regimen that will hopefully reverse or at least control my health issues (Type 2 Diabetes - GERD). I have also looked into International health insurance (Thanks realjones) and have found GeoBlue for $116 a month. If anybody has any recommendations they would be greatly appreciated.

Employment - I am fairly certain that I could find a better position once I return due to the fact that I have been employed by the same company for a long time and am being paid below market rate (complacency!). I would ideally like to transition into a machine learning - A.I. role once I return taking time throughout the trip to hone my skills.

 

Why are you planning on this? What will you do be doing on a day to day basis? What do you hope to achieve? (I'm not saying don't do it, but I think you need to be able to answer these questions).

No real advice since I haven't done it, but best of luck to you OP, both medically and on your trip. I am envious of your adventure!

Could you find a part time job that can be done remotely? This would help keep your skills sharp, and should help a ton with getting future full time employment.

Also get a med-jet membership (there are several companies that offer it) -- not important for Europe but may be nice in some other countries to have to option to get medevaced.

One thing, even Europe is fairly cheap if you are not doing the "capital city" tour. Find a furnished (sometimes called self-catered) flat in a nicer town and take weekend trips into the capital cities. This is for EVERY EU country, pretty much. The capital is 3X (or more) expensive than the rural areas. The larger towns and "secondary" cities are in between. (the non-capitals have a lot of business travel pushing up their rates)

For third world countries as a tourist its the reverse -- DO NOT LEAVE THE TOURIST AREAS. Those areas are protected, the rest are not. No matter the cost, don't explore. (noticed you had a lot of South America on your list) This includes Puerto Rico, too.

Obviously SA is going to be cheap while places like Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong are going to be expensive. Europe is all over the place, some places its cheaper than the US as a tourist.

The real expense is local travel, it can cost more than your lodging. If you are off the beaten path you almost HAVE to get a rental car. (or hire car in poorer countries) When I was touring Wales the car rental was easily half my budget. I like staying in Hostels though, even as an "old fart" because you meet people and I am "socially challenged." I keep promising myself a motorcycle tour, but the rental on THOSE is even worse.

As a software developer, you just need to show that your skills haven't decayed or become irrelevant during the time you're travelling. What story are you going to tell with your resume when you get back? I'm betting your passive side-income is a website of some kind, so you could list your time as "President of <Website>" and explain the travel in your cover letter or in person if you get an interview. Maybe you could do some contract work when you have stable internet. Regardless, there are plenty of laid-back software companies who wouldn't frown on taking a few years off to travel, especially if you can show that you continued to write code during that time.

Best of luck in your travels! When I was in college I took my life savings and went on a 9000 mile coast-to-coast road trip. It was one of the best decisions I've ever made.

Without experience, here is what I would note:

1) See if you can get some kind of programming project, something that you can spend a few hours a day on. This will keep your resume going.
2) Be mindful if you plan to strictly diet. Trying local foods is an important part of travel, but those options, are typically not the healthiest.
3) Get a nice camera. Learn how to properly use it.
4) Plan your trip around the weather changes. Pack very very very little. Think a few high quality upper layers and very good sneakers. Buy tshirts and undergarments, locally, wear them, then toss them when they get bad.
5) Anything you bring with you will have to be carried all over. Give away or sell things you have at home. Avoid storage at all costs. The things you treasure now may be useless to you when you return in a year, because you have a different outlook.
6) Get a student ID and google "student travel groups". How you do that is up to you to you. Many of those don't have any age restrictions. Show it EVERY time you have to pay for something. You'll be surprised when you randomly get discounts from it.
7) Be frugal in expensive places, splurge more in cheap places. Once a week or so, stay in a nicer place - not relevant if long term lodging.

Student IDs are great for discounts.  I'm one of those people that never graduates at my local community college.

RedWolfe01 said:   Also get a med-jet membership (there are several companies that offer it) -- not important for Europe but may be nice in some other countries to have to option to get medevaced.

One thing, even Europe is fairly cheap if you are not doing the "capital city" tour. Find a furnished (sometimes called self-catered) flat in a nicer town and take weekend trips into the capital cities. This is for EVERY EU country, pretty much. The capital is 3X (or more) expensive than the rural areas. The larger towns and "secondary" cities are in between. (the non-capitals have a lot of business travel pushing up their rates)

For third world countries as a tourist its the reverse -- DO NOT LEAVE THE TOURIST AREAS. Those areas are protected, the rest are not. No matter the cost, don't explore. (noticed you had a lot of South America on your list) This includes Puerto Rico, too.

Obviously SA is going to be cheap while places like Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong are going to be expensive. Europe is all over the place, some places its cheaper than the US as a tourist.

The real expense is local travel, it can cost more than your lodging. If you are off the beaten path you almost HAVE to get a rental car. (or hire car in poorer countries) When I was touring Wales the car rental was easily half my budget. I like staying in Hostels though, even as an "old fart" because you meet people and I am "socially challenged." I keep promising myself a motorcycle tour, but the rental on THOSE is even worse.

  Most of the world is much safer than this poster thinks.  Don't let his terrible advice to not explore off the beaten path ruin your trip.

I also forgot to mention this - flights.google.com

My wife and I spent 8 months travelling around the world 3.5 years ago. We didn't do a good job of blogging and in the end it ended up just tracking the costs, but check out circumnavigatetheglobe.com to get an idea of what things cost in different places. We had 31 flights to 25 countries in 8 months and spent $18,000 each and somewhere in the neighborhood of 300,000 points and miles each We took 2 re positioning cruises and two other ones just to get a break and see new stuff included in that. Last minute cruises can be super cheap, especially ones that also cover an ocean for you.

If I were to do it all over again I'd travel slower. Airbnb is great to book the few first days in a place if you want to find an apartment.

Check out Lauren Juliff's Book How not to Travel the World and her blog neverendingfootsteps.com

Neil Doherty's Disrupting the Rabblement is also a great resource. The guy went around the world without flying for 44 months... http://www.ndoherty.com/

I'd highly recommend the Galapagos (Hotels on the beach for $25-$50 for a place with A/C on the islands. Just show up and walk the beach till you find a place.) and Ecuador as a first hop. It's the vacation you'll need before travel starts!

Meet up with local couchsurfers even if you don't want to sleep on their couch. If your doing it as a single, Meetup.com is an amazing resource to quickly make friends all over the world.

Most importantly, Do it. When I came back the fact that I'd traveled the world was something that differentiated myself from the pack when job hunting. It makes it easy as everyone wishes they had done it and you did. It's instant rapport with anyone that brings up travel too.

You'll become a walking world resource because you've actually been there and you realize that most places in the world aren't as dangerous if your not an idiot and not looking for drugs.

DesperateChange said:   I have recently encountered some health issues and massive health anxiety that have forced me to confront my mortality. So I am currently leaning towards a RTW trip for at least a year maybe two and would like some input as to the financial feasibility of this idea.
  Running away from your problems won't solve them, just make them that much harder when you return. Better to spend that money on psychiatric help first, and take the trip when your mind is sound. Couldn't imagine any trip would be enjoyable if I'm constantly stressed out, and travel adds to the stress level considerably. 

superdrew said:   My wife and I spent 8 months travelling around the world 3.5 years ago. We didn't do a good job of blogging and in the end it ended up just tracking the costs, but check out circumnavigatetheglobe.com to get an idea of what things cost in different places. We had 31 flights to 25 countries in 8 months and spent $18,000 each and somewhere in the neighborhood of 300,000 points and miles each We took 2 re positioning cruises and two other ones just to get a break and see new stuff included in that. Last minute cruises can be super cheap, especially ones that also cover an ocean for you.

If I were to do it all over again I'd travel slower. Airbnb is great to book the few first days in a place if you want to find an apartment.

Check out Lauren Juliff's Book How not to Travel the World and her blog neverendingfootsteps.com

Neil Doherty's Disrupting the Rabblement is also a great resource. The guy went around the world without flying for 44 months... http://www.ndoherty.com/ 

I'd highly recommend the Galapagos (Hotels on the beach for $25-$50 for a place with A/C on the islands. Just show up and walk the beach till you find a place.) and Ecuador as a first hop. It's the vacation you'll need before travel starts!

Meet up with local couchsurfers even if you don't want to sleep on their couch. If your doing it as a single, Meetup.com is an amazing resource to quickly make friends all over the world.

Most importantly, Do it. When I came back the fact that I'd traveled the world was something that differentiated myself from the pack when job hunting. It makes it easy as everyone wishes they had done it and you did. It's instant rapport with anyone that brings up travel too.

You'll become a walking world resource because you've actually been there and you realize that most places in the world aren't as dangerous if your not an idiot and not looking for drugs.
  

Thanks for posting the link to your blog! That is an excellent resource.

atikovi said:   
DesperateChange said:   I have recently encountered some health issues and massive health anxiety that have forced me to confront my mortality. So I am currently leaning towards a RTW trip for at least a year maybe two and would like some input as to the financial feasibility of this idea.
  Running away from your problems won't solve them, just make them that much harder when you return. Better to spend that money on psychiatric help first, and take the trip when your mind is sound. Couldn't imagine any trip would be enjoyable if I'm constantly stressed out, and travel adds to the stress level considerably. 

  You're nuts and obviously haven't done what the OP is proposing!  The world shows you how insignificant your problems actually are.  When you compare yourself to the living standards of most of the world instead of the Jones your mind makes a monumental shift onto the things that are far more important.

tjguitar85 said:   
superdrew said:   My wife and I spent 8 months travelling around the world 3.5 years ago. We didn't do a good job of blogging and in the end it ended up just tracking the costs, but check out circumnavigatetheglobe.com to get an idea of what things cost in different places. We had 31 flights to 25 countries in 8 months and spent $18,000 each and somewhere in the neighborhood of 300,000 points and miles each We took 2 re positioning cruises and two other ones just to get a break and see new stuff included in that. Last minute cruises can be super cheap, especially ones that also cover an ocean for you.

If I were to do it all over again I'd travel slower. Airbnb is great to book the few first days in a place if you want to find an apartment.

Check out Lauren Juliff's Book How not to Travel the World and her blog neverendingfootsteps.com

Neil Doherty's Disrupting the Rabblement is also a great resource. The guy went around the world without flying for 44 months... http://www.ndoherty.com/ 

I'd highly recommend the Galapagos (Hotels on the beach for $25-$50 for a place with A/C on the islands. Just show up and walk the beach till you find a place.) and Ecuador as a first hop. It's the vacation you'll need before travel starts!

Meet up with local couchsurfers even if you don't want to sleep on their couch. If your doing it as a single, Meetup.com is an amazing resource to quickly make friends all over the world.

Most importantly, Do it. When I came back the fact that I'd traveled the world was something that differentiated myself from the pack when job hunting. It makes it easy as everyone wishes they had done it and you did. It's instant rapport with anyone that brings up travel too.

You'll become a walking world resource because you've actually been there and you realize that most places in the world aren't as dangerous if your not an idiot and not looking for drugs.

  

Thanks for posting the link to your blog! That is an excellent resource.

  Blogging certainly is one of those things I'm not good at, but I hope it helps.

superdrew said:   
tjguitar85 said:   
superdrew said:   My wife and I spent 8 months travelling around the world 3.5 years ago. We didn't do a good job of blogging and in the end it ended up just tracking the costs, but check out circumnavigatetheglobe.com to get an idea of what things cost in different places. We had 31 flights to 25 countries in 8 months and spent $18,000 each and somewhere in the neighborhood of 300,000 points and miles each We took 2 re positioning cruises and two other ones just to get a break and see new stuff included in that. Last minute cruises can be super cheap, especially ones that also cover an ocean for you.

If I were to do it all over again I'd travel slower. Airbnb is great to book the few first days in a place if you want to find an apartment.

Check out Lauren Juliff's Book How not to Travel the World and her blog neverendingfootsteps.com

Neil Doherty's Disrupting the Rabblement is also a great resource. The guy went around the world without flying for 44 months... http://www.ndoherty.com/ 

I'd highly recommend the Galapagos (Hotels on the beach for $25-$50 for a place with A/C on the islands. Just show up and walk the beach till you find a place.) and Ecuador as a first hop. It's the vacation you'll need before travel starts!

Meet up with local couchsurfers even if you don't want to sleep on their couch. If your doing it as a single, Meetup.com is an amazing resource to quickly make friends all over the world.

Most importantly, Do it. When I came back the fact that I'd traveled the world was something that differentiated myself from the pack when job hunting. It makes it easy as everyone wishes they had done it and you did. It's instant rapport with anyone that brings up travel too.

You'll become a walking world resource because you've actually been there and you realize that most places in the world aren't as dangerous if your not an idiot and not looking for drugs.

  

Thanks for posting the link to your blog! That is an excellent resource.

  Blogging certainly is one of those things I'm not good at, but I hope it helps.
 

  
I meant in regards to seeing the costs...

Czechmeout said:   
DesperateChange said:   This is the primary question I want to address, the opportunity cost of this trip. I would be resigning from my current employer. 
Your skills are going to erode by 2 years (which can be an eternity in software), every employer is going to ask about the gap and when you explain it they are going to have to wonder what the odds of you up and taking off again are.
 

  
OP can tell future employer he had attempted to get a PhD, but decided it wasn't worth the time after 2 years. I know people who spent 8 years getting a PhD in CS, and they don't make nearly as much as a programmer with 8 years of experience.

beyond827 said:   
Czechmeout said:   
DesperateChange said:   This is the primary question I want to address, the opportunity cost of this trip. I would be resigning from my current employer. 
Your skills are going to erode by 2 years (which can be an eternity in software), every employer is going to ask about the gap and when you explain it they are going to have to wonder what the odds of you up and taking off again are.

  
OP can tell future employer he had attempted to get a PhD, but decided it wasn't worth the time after 2 years. I know people who spent 8 years getting a PhD in CS, and they don't make nearly as much as a programmer with 8 years of experience.

I like hiring engineers who have interesting life experiences. If you're smart and good, you can be productive in a new environment/company.

It would be helpful to have a side project/web site/blog while you travel. For employers who aren't as open-minded as me, you can point to that as how you kept your skills fresh

I second the medjet policy if you might have ongoing health issues. The benefit is they pay to transport you back to be treated at home vs. a local hospital.

Theres been a lot already written about long-term or perpetual travel, so I won't go into it here.

OP - do it. When I was in my mid-30s, I quit a cushy job at a Fortune 10 company and went to live among the Tuareg nomads of the Sahara desert for 2 years. Best thing I've ever done. And strangely enough, it opened up many professional opportunities for me later.

Skipping 66 Messages...
Even if the OP doesn't see this, perhaps someone else will find this useful. There was a question of losing medical insurance when quitting a job. Two ways to circumvent that:

1. When I told my employer that I'm quitting to travel, they countered it with an unpaid sabbatical and would let me keep the company medical insurance if I paid their cost.
2. COBRA lasts up to 18 months.

I ended up just getting international travel medical plan, which OP has already researched. I paid extra $200 for 8 months for the air evacuation option, tho. Just gave me a peace of mind for not much money. Such plan however does not qualify for the obamacare and you will have to pay penalties, which is like 2% of the annual income.

In fatwallet fashion, I'd like to give an advice of dramatically reducing your tax liability if you are able to time it correctly: if you take one year off, it's much more advantageous for you to go from something like August to July rather than Jan to Dec. This is because you will be in much lower tax brackets for 2 yrs as opposed to being in full bracket one year and 0 income the next. You can even take advantage of tax savings that you probably haven't been able to in a long time like Roth IRA because your income will be lower. Yes you will be paying more in FICA but you'll still come out ahead. Obviously the more unbalanced between the two year window you do, the lower the tax savings.

Finally, someone mentioned Medellin is dangerous. That is false. I spent 2 weeks there and I never felt uncomfortable, even in the Centro. The only place I felt unsafe during my trip was in South Africa and some parts of Rio (the favelas). I took uber in South Africa rather than taxi and that helped a ton. (I also drove in South Africa... driving a manual on the wrong side of road can be fun) Rather than relying on stale Internet knowledge, seek out people who's actually been to the cities recently at where travelers meet: hostels, backpacker bars, couchsurfing events, etc. They will have the most accurate and up-to-date information.



Disclaimer: By providing links to other sites, FatWallet.com does not guarantee, approve or endorse the information or products available at these sites, nor does a link indicate any association with or endorsement by the linked site to FatWallet.com.

Thanks for visiting FatWallet.com. Join for free to remove this ad.

While FatWallet makes every effort to post correct information, offers are subject to change without notice.
Some exclusions may apply based upon merchant policies.
© 1999-2017