What To Know About Traveling For A Year Around The World

Garrett Gardner

Traveling for a year is a big commitment and one that’s worth it but requires some planning in advance.

Tourist At sunset on Bagan, Myanmar Asia

Life is short. So pack one’s bags and travel for a year (or more). While most people follow the standard sequence of graduating high school, enrolling in university, graduating, getting a career job, and starting out to climb the corporate ladder. It is popular to take a year out at any one of these stages and travel for a year. The rewards and sense of freedom can be great for many people.

Many travelers experience culture shocks traveling around the world – but sometimes the biggest shock after the long-term traveler returns home to find time seemingly having stood still (the traveler has had the massive experience, no one else has).


Budgeting For Traveling Around The World

If one is going to travel for a year around the world, then it is important to plan in advance – particularly the budget. It can be surprisingly easy to travel for a year – but it all depends on what one wants to do and where the money is coming from.

  • Average Cost Of Traveling For A Year: $25,000 – $35,000
  • Backpacker Budget: $15,000 (Averaging $40 Per Day Without Flights)

To travel for a year, one needs to have money (or get money along the way). The options here are to have savings, supplement one’s savings by volunteering around the world, or by being a digital nomad.

If one is happy to backpack around the world, then as a baseline, one can expect to spend around $40 a day on a low budget (staying in hostel dormitory accommodation and cooking dinners at the hostel). On the upper end, the sky’s the limit. So to travel around the world and to figure out how much money one needs in the piggy bank, work up from that (add flights, nights out drinking, and activities like guided hikes to Machu Picchu).

  • Daily Budget: $40 (Baseline Backpacker Budget)

It is popular for youth travelers to volunteer on Workaway.info or the more farm-based WWOOF.net. It is often easy to get volunteer jobs in hospitality (like hostels). Another option is to teach English for a year somewhere in the world.

Another way is to become a digital nomad and then any cafe or beach resort can be one’s office.

Related: These European Destinations Are Great To Visit All Year Round

How Much Of The World Can Be Seen In A Year?

A year seems like a long time, but is it a lot? How much of the world can one see in a year? It may come as a surprise to many, but in the real world, not a lot.

There are 193/195 countries in the world that are members of the United Nations – plus many other countries like Greenland, the Cook Islands, and Aruba. To see all the countries in the world in a year, one would have to spend the entire time just moving and crossing borders.

It is better to reckon on visiting a country every 2-3 weeks. That would mean one could see 26-35ish countries in a year. But even this requires a lot of energy and constant moving (and it will be exhausting a few months in). To not exhaust oneself and to actually be able to enjoy and explore the countries on visits, try planning to visit 12-15 countries (these can be spread out over the continents).

Related: Start Your 2023 Travel From These Most Visited Countries Of 2022

Is It Worth Traveling For A Year?

This is a very subjective and personal question everyone needs to answer for themselves. Many people feel the loss of routine and become homesick. It can be difficult for many people to leave their family and friends for this length of time.

How does one know if it’s a good idea to travel for a year? You don’t. Just do it and find out.

That being said, it is rare to find someone who traveled for a year and then regretted it. It is much more common to find someone who didn’t travel when they had the chance and then regretted that they spent that year of their life couped up in an office paying off the mortgage.

Another reason why one should travel for a year is that one is free to cancel at any time (just don’t book non-refundable tickets far in advance). If one gets tired of traveling, runs low on money, or gets bored with it, It’s normally only a $300-1,000 flight and 10-36 hours of transit time to get home from wherever one is in the world.

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