The Lost Girls RTW Budget: Part 1

Finances & Savings, Leaving & Coming Home, Lost Girls RTW Adventure, Passports & Visas — By on July 1, 2007 at 2:21 am

When it comes to The Lost Girls’ RTW trip, there are definitely certain questions that tend to pop up time and time again from family, friends, fellow travel enthusiasts and, well, pretty much everyone. Are the countries we’re visiting safe? (Statistically most of our destinations are much safer than my hometown city of Washington D.C. Sad, but true!). How did we pack everything for an entire year in one backpack? (Simple! We ditched most of our girlie gear, like high heels and cute clothes, and resigned ourselves to wearing the same 4-5 outfits for 365 days straight!). Do we ever fight? (Only when we’re very hungry!).

But what tends to stoke people’s curiosity, above anything else, is:
“How the heck did we afford to hit the road for so long and how much did we spend?”

As you may have gathered from our previous entries, there’s not much that The Lost Girls aren’t willing to share with our blog readers (Umm, remember that time we described getting ‘samples’ taken at a Kenyan hospital to make sure we didn’t have a parasite? Or admitted to sliding face first in the mud during a trek in Sapa, Vietnam?). So, in keeping with the spirit of honesty, we’re going to let you in on our biggest ‘secret’ of all…(drum roll, please)…”Our trip was probably not as expensive as you’d think!”

Blog Readers: “We’re not convinced”
The Lost Girls: “Seriously! We’re telling the truth”
Blog Readers: “Umm, still not sure we believe you”
The Lost Girls: “Really, we swear on our dirty backpacks that we’re being honest”
Blog Readers: “OK, proof it”
The Lost Girls: “Our pleasure…”

A while back, we actually did post a “How We Paid For Everything” blog (currently on our sidebar), which offered a glimpse into our personal finances and how we secured enough ‘Benjamins’ to take a spin around the entire globe for a year. However, as we near the end of our trip (sniff, sniff!), we feel like it’d be a greater service to you, the readers, if we took this seemingly popular topic a step further and gave you exactly what you probably wanted in the first place – a detailed breakdown of our RTW budget.

As the designated Lost Girls’ math geek (Holly and Amanda make fun of all my Excel spreadsheets, but I know there really just jealous! :)), I actually got a bit of an adrenaline rush from crunching our travel data and compiling the below statistics (thanks LG fans for giving me an excuse to do all this!). So grab a comfy seat and a bowl of popcorn and get ready to be dazzled as we reveal our down and dirty figures for everything from visas, flights, vaccines and gear to food, entertainment, intra-country transport and accommodations. For your reading pleasure, I’ve also included a few behind-the-scenes secrets as well as bonus features (can you tell that I’m a film geek too?) like: Savvy Savings Tips and A Week at Disney World vs. A Week in the Life of a Lost Girl

Now, sit back, relax and enjoy the show!!


“The Lost Girls’ RTW Budget”

Presented by:

Made possible in part by: Jen, Holly and Amanda’s credit card receipts, bank statements and uncanny ability to blow through cash

Production Notes: Since the below budget is unique to our RTW adventure – one that covered four continents/a dozen + countries and spanned an entire year – we understand that certain sections aren’t relevant to all travelers. However, it is our sincere hope that spilling our (bank accounts’) guts and divulging all of our spending habits (the good, the bad and the ugly!) will inspire other travelers to crack open their piggy banks, pack their bags and finally take that one special trip they’d only ever dreamed about – – until now!

Act 1: Showin’ You The Money!

Although we try to keep track of every dollar that floats out of our money belts, the girls and I do occasionally misplace a bill or forget a few figures. I mean, if we claim to be lost ourselves, we certainly can’t be expected to find all of our receipts! So that said, the following figures are average, estimated costs per person for our entire RTW trip:

Flights: $5000
Travel Gear: $500
Visas: $375
Vaccines: $450
Accommodations: $2786
Meals and Snacks: $3803
Intra-Country Transportation: $1490
Entertainment & Extras: $2872
Miscellaneous: $715

And the moment you’ve all been waiting for…

The Grand Total:
per person

Whether this amount seems shockingly low, pretty reasonable or absolutely exorbitant, really depends on who you ask. Hey, on any given day, even our answers could change a thousand times. But even though we occasionally freak out about how much we’ve spent or the fact that we’re now broke and unemployed, there’s one thing that Holly, Amanda and I know for sure…
We managed to take a year-long trip around the world with our best girlfriends for about the same price as our rent in NYC!

Blog Readers: “But still, you’re not suffering at all from buyer’s remorse??”
The Lost Girls: “Oh God, no. Nothing like that!” – Sorry, can’t help it. When a Clueless line calls, an LG answers.
Blog Readers: “Umm. OK. So I guess you wouldn’t take the trip back, huh?”
The Lost Girls: “Not for all the money in the world!”



Just Kidding! There’s still more exciting stuff to come. Much, much more! I’ve painstakingly analyzed our spending categories and broken each one down in great detail – covering everything from the price of pumping vaccines into our bodies and stuffing our backpacks full of supplies, to the cost of food, clothing and shelter by country and the unexpected extras that infiltrated our bank accounts and threatened to deplete them.

So, if you’re just dying to know exactly what we spent our money on, are planning a trip of your own or love facts and figures as much as I do (hell, even if you’re just bored at work), stay tuned for Act 2 of my budget blog which will be delivered over the next week in separate installments.

Coming Soon!
Act 2: A Categorical Breakdown
Scene 1: Flights, Travel Gear, Visas, Vaccines and Accommodations

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  • Anonymous says:

    thanks so much for this post. Beside, I would like to know whether you bring your cash or carry a card with you just for safety issue. If you bring cash, is it safe to carry around that much in cash and how did you hide it?


  • dave925 says:

    This post is the money shot! 🙂 Great data. I look forward to using it to refine my own rough budget for a 2007-2009 trip!

    Your annual cost is a bit less than I expected. Does it take into account any earned income while on the road, or is it strictly your expenses?

  • Dr. Pepper Chica says:

    Greetings from DC! I stumbled upon your blog a few days ago and I’m already planning my 2009 trip – thanks for all the great advice. My first step is to create a budget and I’m sure this will get me started. Look forward to reading more of your adventures.

  • nicole says:

    thanks for so much inspiration! did this budget include your volunteer program in africa? and all your trips back to the usa to visit family? safe travels. buon viaggio.

  • Matt says:

    Will you ever come back to Thailand?

    Matt (The Lost Boy (in Bangkok))

  • Sara says:

    Haha! You can tell you girls have gotten out there judging by the some of the advertising comments! Too funny. Jen, you should consider a career change and try to hop into writing! That was a great post. You have really gotten a great voice over the last year. Congrats to you girls! I cant wait to see you back in NYC and see all the pictures and hear the stories! Lovin you all. Safe travels!

  • loni_v says:

    This has gave me such great inspirations knowing that you can travel to all these great adventure destination without spending an arm and a leg! Loves it! 🙂