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-   -   is $30,000 US enough????? (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/route-planning/is-30-000-us-enough-2289)

funklab 22 Feb 2006 08:04

is $30,000 US enough?????
I am planning a RTW trip beginning in August 2007.

I am 23 now, which would make me 24 when i head out on the trip. I am planning on working and saving up enough money so that in August 2007 I will have $30,000 and enough money to be okay when i return home. I feel like i have a fairly decent knowledge of motorcycles, i have owned a 85 nighthawk a 2000 r6, and a 2003 r6, all of which i have maintained to some degree by myself, and i am in the process of rebuilding the transmission on my r6 (damn 2nd gear). So i think i have a decent idea of how a bike works, and how to fix it if i need to.

My route
I live in Charlotte, nc and from here i plan on heading (in rough approximation) to Alaska, and then through canada for a couple weeks while it is still warm, then down through central and south america, with no particular route planned. After that, I will head on to Australia, or Southeast Asia, wherever i can get cheaper plane tickets, and not necessarily with my bike.

After a few months in asia, and when it starts to warm up, i will hit eastern europe and then west europe for the summer, returing home towards the end of the summer 2008.

My bike,
I have not settled on a bike yet, but i am going to look for a cheap honda, or maybe a bmw if i find a good deal, but in all likelyhood i will be riding a ~10 year old honda nighthawk or similar between 400 and 1000cc with a good bit of mileage on it, but in good working order, under $2000US.

So my question is this

is $30,000 enough money to get around the world the way i want to????

what can i expect for daily expenses in the various parts of the world which i intend to travel to (North America, South America, Asia, Europe)??

Can anyone tell me how much they spent on a RTW and how far they went?????

any other advice you have for me would be greatly appreciated..



ignatieff 22 Feb 2006 11:08


Originally posted by funklab:

So my question is this

is $30,000 enough money to get around the world the way i want to????

what can i expect for daily expenses in the various parts of the world which i intend to travel to (North America, South America, Asia, Europe)??

Can anyone tell me how much they spent on a RTW and how far they went?????

any other advice you have for me would be greatly appreciated..




I will leave it to others to say how much they spent and so forth, but IMHO $30k is a heap of money and should be enough to keep you on the road until you are well and truly homesick!

I'm planning on heading out in early 2007 and I won't have nearly as much. Living in third world and developing countries is a lot cheaper than living in the west. As long as you don't expect 5 stars, you should be fine.

Have fun!


ramanatwal 22 Feb 2006 19:58

send me the money and i will definately let u know when and wher and how long it took to finish. just a thought.

BMBaxter 23 Feb 2006 06:18

You could skip the segment thru The U.S., and spent the travel time elsewhere.
You'll need to set aside money for the Carnet, air freight for the bike, medical insurance, medical emergency flight home insurance, extra costs for down time when things go wrong, added costs for shipping parts from home, ect.
If I had this budget, I would ride to the southern end of South America, and then ship my bike to South Africa, and head North along the West Coast of Africa. From Spain I would head north to Rotterdam, and travel to Iceland by boat.Although this is not a trip around the world, it would still be a trip of a lifetime.

funklab 23 Feb 2006 10:32

refering to what baxter said,

i am not planning on having the bike with me when i go out of this hemisphere. and i dont plan on shipping the bike anywhere, i dont even want to fly anywhere myself if i can avoid it. I was under the impression that in most of south america you could get away without a carnet.

refering to the guy 1st person who posted a reply, i do not expect 5 stars, and i am not afraid to camp (even most of the time), but i do want to see a lot of the US and canada, so some money will be spent there, also i do plan on going to europe for the summer (you know classic backpacker college student style). So theres another big chunk of money, but besides europe and america (and maybe a short holiday in japan seeing as how i speak the language) i dont plan on lingering in any expensive countries.

Grant Johnson 23 Feb 2006 16:40

You DO NOT NEED a Carnet for North or South America, or Europe.

You DO NEED a carnet for Africa and Asia.

You CAN USE a carnet for Australia and NZ.

You CAN USE a carnet for South America. BUT you do NOT NEED IT!

See the Carnet page, link on left.

Grant Johnson

Seek, and ye shall find.


One world, Two wheels.

Riq 24 Feb 2006 01:19

You might be able to cut down on your North American expenses by contacting HU communities on your route and camp/stay for little to no cost.

Also I spent several months in Central America with a family of 4 and came nowhere near your figure. Always in hotels c/w insurance, fuel, repairs, meals the whole 9 yards so I am going to be more interested to see how much you have left as opposed to how much you spend.

Just a thought.

Have fun


mpescatori 24 Feb 2006 02:13

Funklab, if you think you can ride 'round the world on 30 grand, you're in for dissappointment. It ain't about money, it's about attitude. What's in your mind, your heart and your guts.

Please allow me to explain.

I could provide you the names of people who toured the world on the ultimate bike of the day, got bogged down in a little mud, and left it there to fly home. Spoilt brats.

Then I could mention those sportsmen who toured the world with a van and a movie camera filming every second of their ride, so they could flog it on TV when they got home. Rich spoilt brats.

But I'd rather give you the names of those who did go around the world, on a budget, and budgeted their expenses by working a few days or maybe a week here and there, small jobs to earn enough to get by for another month or two. One of these guys rode a Vespa from Italy to Japan for the Tokyo Olympics in 1960, another decided he was bored with life and rode from Italy to India and got back two years later, sober as a Quaker and with more money than what he left with. Then there was that journalist who left London under pouring rain, and wanting to RTW ended up in Egypt the very day the 1972 Yom Kippur war broke out... he survived that, ejoyed the Sudan, explored Ethiopia... his name was Ted Simon, and he wrote a wonderful book, "Jupiter's Travels", I highly recommend it. Read "Investment Biker" by Jim Rogers, a highly entertaining read (he and his girlfriend rode two BMWs RTW twice!)

One good piece of advice, stay well away from spaceship technology, R6, 12000rpm japanese bikes in general. You want something that you would be comfortable with changing a tire at the roadside, or asking the local mechanic (in Chile? Guatemala?) to change piston rings or a distribution chain. So my advice is a good 1-2 cylinder dual sports .
Another piece of advice is, don't ride something that, fully loaded, you could not pick up just because it fell off the sidestand.
Last, nothing that looks too expensive. Never mind what's cool and what's not, you want something that won't attract too much attention as you enjoy a well deserved beer, or that won't draw bribes at border checks.
From a "foreigner's" point of view (I'm Italian), one major setback you have is your Passport, you're American, you come from the richest Nation in the world, be proud but don't flaunt it.
Bikes go by personal preference, I've always ridden mid-sized Moto Guzzis or BMWs, they're tough as tractors and will pound the highway 24/7 if they have to, and never overheat. Ever. If that sounds too expensive, remember, a good quality air cooled engine is better than a mediocre water cooled engine, and shaft drive (or belt) is 1000 times better than chain.

OK, 'nuff now, else I'll be hogging the thread. Feel free to PM me if you want to visit Europe, and remember, the juiciest bits are always off the beaen track!


Maurizio from Rome, Italy

BMBaxter 25 Feb 2006 02:17

sorry, I must have misunderstood your question. I thought that you were looking at a multi-continent motorcycle trip , using the same bike for the entire journey.If this were the case you would have to factor in shipping, repairs, possibly a Carnet,ect. anyway the point was that their are many extra costs, besides just food, fuel, and lodging.

Lipton 25 Feb 2006 07:12


I am brand new to this site and I have never done a RTW. I am interested in your journey because I plan on doing something similar around Aug 2007. As you get closer to your trip let me know. (Around Oct 06 I will have a better idea on my money situation.)

Who knows, maybe we could hook up on the road? I have also read about people who travel with the same type of bikes. That way in case one breaks down they have swappable parts. I currently do not own a motorcycle but hopefully soon.

AndyT 3 Mar 2006 09:19

I have found that I spend about $400 US/week in Mexico and Central America average. Less in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and more in Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama. USA has cheapest fuel, most other countries 2x as much, but Mexico only 30% more than US. That is staying in cheap to moderate hotels, eating most meals in restaruants. Camping is seldom practical, except in beach areas. I think you could spend 20-30% less if you watched it, and stayed out of bars, but what's the fun in that? http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/ubb/smile.gif You will have other expenses on top of that, such as shipping across the Darien Gap, border crossings, and insurance. Alaska and Canada are more expensive, but free camping is much easier, so that helps. No experience in your other destinations. (Yet!)

Ekke 4 Mar 2006 01:32

We spent a year travelling and spent $60,000 CDN for two people on two bikes in Europe. We have the same budget for our 2007/08 trip through South America and up Africa to Europe but don't expect to spend as much. You're $30,000 U.S. should be plenty. We too are leaving in August 2007 but are heading straight south, having done the Alaska portion this summer in '06.

PanEuropean 4 Mar 2006 10:20

I spend about 2 months touring Europe every summer, and average about USD $100 a day, exclusive of fuel. I don't camp and I don't drink, I usually stay in simple but good quality hotels.

My guess is that your expenses will be lower than this on most every continent except North America, where they will probably be about the same. So, $30K should be enough.

Oddly enough, I have found that I don't spend all that much money when I am actually riding (e.g spending 6 to 8 hours a day on the moto), but when I get tired of riding and decide to stay in one spot for a few days, expenses tend to rise.


y_kiwi 4 Mar 2006 19:48

The US, Canada and EU are really expensive, manage that your budget is just fine. The best way is to minimise your time there, espeically at the beginning. If, for example, you head south first, then by the time you reach Alaska/NA at the end of your trip you will have the frugal travelling thing sorted.

Camp in the US and Canada, preferably at the beautiful (yet expensive) national parks. Get the $50 1 year national park pass - which gives you free entry, but not free camping.
Camp in the EU, and consider free camping (i.e. not in camp grounds) every second night. Cook your own food.

Overall try to stay in small towns and commute into and out of the big cities in day trips - you'll save heaps this way.

Once you are through the expensive Western world then you can afford to reduce the amount of camping you do, albeit at a cost. You will also be able to cook less for yourself and enjoy the local cusine.

I budget $10-15 per day on accomodation, and stay in whatever that gets me in that location. In South America this often means a hotel with bano privado. In Alaska this means a tent.

Moving more slowly gives you more time for your money - e.g. if you find a great place and you have cheap accomodation, then consider staying for a few days. You get to chill for cheap, recharge your travel batteries, perhaps tinker with the bike in a location of your choice (as opposed to in a road somewhere), and read the latest on horizons....

Overall however, the best way to make the $30,000 last is simply to monitor your spending, and adjust your lifestyle and location accordingly. $30k is more than enough.
good luck

funklab 28 Jul 2007 20:08

Wow... Grant made a link to one of my posts. I feel honored.

Just thought I would give you all an update. I was origionally planning on leaving august 2007. Then I thought that I wouldn't have enough money for a "real" trip until may 2008, so I was planning on that. Until about three weeks ago I decided that I have put off this trip long enough.

I don't have the $30,000 that I was planning on, but I came close enough. Well it'll have to be close enough. And I will be leaving august 20th (or as close as I can get) 2007.

Thanks to everyone who posted here, If this thread didn't teach me anything for sure, it sure taught me that you can spend very little money or a whole lot, and there is no telling how much YOU will spend until you hit the road.

I ended up buying a good condition 1996 xr650l and strapping some cheap bags to it. I will be sure to let you all know how it goes.

**an aside to the guy who was talking about spoilt brats**
I am one of those spoilt brats I guess. When I was born, my father had a great job selling shoes at a local department store, and my mother stayed home to raise me. I attended fancy public schools and even managed to get a job when I was 14. I have rarely if ever been hungry with no idea where my next meal is coming from. I have been lucky enough to start a business which has allowed me to save up money for this trip while limiting my monthly expenses to around $1100 US. I have been very spoilt as you might say.

But then again I imagine you have also. You were probably born in a 1st world country with access to an economy that can support you and your dreams. We are all spoilt brats, so deal with it** (rant off)

Hope to see many of you on the road.



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