Why just go to one or two countries when you could visit them all? Cost uncertainty is a significant deterring factor for those who hope to travel around the world. Indeed, there are many costs associated with such a big trek, but knowing exactly what you can expect financially makes your travel goals that much more attainable.
How much money would it cost to visit every country in the world?
It costs roughly $500 minimum to visit one country. Visit all 197 countries at that rate, and the trip’s overall cost is about $98,500. This isn’t an exact figure because the cost of travel can fluctuate, depending on:
- Miscellaneous expenses
I’ve done the research and will tell you how much money it takes to visit every single country. If you want to know more about the costs of traveling around the world, and how you can keep costs down while visiting each country, keep on reading!
The Cost of Visiting One Country
The cost of visiting one country can vary widely from the cost of visiting another country. So, when determining the cost of visiting a country at random, one must consider the cost of visiting all of the countries and then come up with an average. As briefly mentioned above, a rough estimate of the cost of visiting one country is $500.
That $500 covers the cost of the following:
- Affordable transportation
- Food and drink costs for one person
- Lodging costs for one person
If you are traveling alone, you can use the $500 as a guideline for how much money you need to put away for each country you plan to visit.
Keep in mind these few things about the $500 estimate:
- $500 will not afford you a top-notch experience in an expensive country. But you can offset the increased cost of visiting an expensive country with the low cost of visiting other countries where the cost to visit is minuscule.
- $500 per country will not buy you long stays in each country. The visits must be kept short (say a couple of days), as every day that you spend in a country increases your overall travel cost. Of course, you can spend more to lengthen each of your stays, but make sure that you adjust your budget accordingly.
Important note: The final cost of $98,500 (for a trip to all 197 countries) seems high. However, you will not be spending the money all at once. It will be spent over a long period. So, don’t allow the high overall cost to deter you from taking this global trip.
Visiting Every Country With Efficient and Affordable Travel
Let’s look at the cost of transportation, as this is arguably the most substantial cost associated with traveling.
Air travel can cost a lot of money, depending on how long and where you are planning on visiting. For instance, if you are living in Illinois and you want to start your trip in Paris, your flight would cost approximately $500. This price is arguably steep and would only cover a flight for one person.
This seems to throw the $500 budget per country off. What to do?
Book Your Travel Itinerary Efficiently
Saving dollars on transportation costs is all in the planning. When you make smart travel plans, the high initial cost of an international flight can be offset later on.
For instance, after you enjoy France for a spell, you can then visit a nearby country, like Germany. A flight from France to Germany is only about $90. You can even take the bus or the train for less!
Plan your most expensive flights outside of the high-cost travel season. Hit the “low season” as often as possible if you’re planning an international flight, research to find the best times to buy that ticket.
This study, by CheapAir, gives some insight. You are taking the time to plan that pricey ticket off-season that can save you hundreds.
In most cases, once you have arrived on a continent, flights between countries will generally be relatively cheap. It should be clear now how you can save money by traveling efficiently.
Look for Affordable Travel Options
Also, there are modes of transportation that are sometimes more affordable than airplanes, like buses or trains. For this reason, if you are looking to keep your costs low, it would be wise to do your research and make the best choice for yourself and your wallet.
There are plenty of ways to keep trips cheap while still enjoying the experience of visiting a new country.
Shop Around for the Best Price on Airfare
To keep the price of travel down, the best thing to do is to research-shop around for the best price for airfare.
There are a lot of sites out there that claim to find the best price for your travel plans, and some of them are pretty good.
These sites allow you to enter your travel locations, the number of passengers, and other information, and they show you available flights from many different carriers (along with detailed information about the flights).
For your convenience, below are some of the highest-rated travel sites in existence.
Beware and Compare
While there are some great travel sites, there are also some that leave much to be desired. This is not to say that you should never experiment with the lesser-known travel booking sites, but it’s advisable not to take one travel booking site’s recommendations as gospel.
Once you have a potential flight or bus ticket, take a few minutes and compare that flight to others and see if you can find a better deal. You can do this either on your own or with the help of another travel site.
This may feel tedious, but you’ll be thanking yourself for the financial savings later on. And since you will be traveling to all 197 countries, savings can add up quickly, especially when you are making sure that you have a good deal every time.
Book Your Flight Directly With an Airline
If you have a favorite airline, or you prefer to book your flight directly, that can be done. Call the airline and see if they have any available flights.
It’s important not to be picky with your flight to keep costs down. In the grand scheme of things, the most critical part of the trip is the destination, not the flight. So, give up that window seat or that first-class upgrade in favor of savings.
Consider Flying a Budget Airline
You can find budget airlines through travel search engines and also through direct contact. It’s good to be aware of all of the options available to you, as you may be able to score on some low-cost flights from airlines that most people have never heard of.
These airlines exist in every country. Some of them even offer credit cards and rewards programs for flyers.
Some of the most popular budget airlines around the world are:
|Middle East||Nas Air |
|North America||Air Transat |
Should I Get an Airline Credit Card?
If you plan to purchase your airline tickets directly through the airlines, you may benefit from applying for a card with airline perks.
Airlines often have points for how many miles you have flown with them, and the more you fly, the more money you save. If you have enough points, then you may be able even to get a free or heavily discounted flight.
When you are first signing up for a credit card, you will usually get a sign-up bonus. You can immediately apply these points to your upcoming flight or let them accumulate until you need them later on.
Getting a credit card is also the better option overall for purchasing tickets. If you already have the money for the tickets, then you can pay down your card afterward to help improve your credit score.
Transportation Within Each Country to Stay on Budget
Once you are in a country, you will need to find the best method of travel. This can mean the best method between countries or just within your current location. Each country has its ins and outs when it comes to traveling within that country.
For instance, utilizing the bus system in Germany may not be the best financial choice for you – the subway might be a better option. This will depend on how much in-country traveling you will be doing as well. Make sure to do your research, so you know what to expect.
Taking the Bus in Another Country
Every country will have some form of public transportation, and the most common option is the bus. Depending on the country you arrived in, you will see different kinds of busses available.
For example, in Europe, the majority of locals and tourists prefer taking the bus either to get around the country or to visit a separate one. It’s one of the biggest pros to specific areas; traveling can become a lot cheaper depending on your location. Some of the most popular bus options are:
These are just a few of the bus companies in Europe. No matter what country you are in, you will be able to find a website that will help you find the best deals.
Find Your Bus Tickets Online
Resources like Busbud.com (for those visiting Chicago) or Omio.com (for those visiting Germany) are valuable in helping you find the best bus ticket rates.
All you do is enter your current location and your desired destination. Then you’ll be able to view available bus tickets and their prices. You may also find some vital information about bus riding practices in that country.
Taking the Train or Subway in Another Country
Another form of travel available in most countries is the subway. Train tickets are usually the cheapest and quickest options outside of taking the bus. Within a larger city, you will be able to get almost anywhere by subway or travel across the country via train.
Getting around by train in other countries is highly popular due to the long distances you can travel in a short time. You can take a train from one end of South Korea to the other within three or four hours.
For instance, in South Korea, the subway system is a significant part of everyday life for both tourists and locals. The cost to travel on the subway is around 2,400 won (or less than $2 per person).
This is why taking the train or subway is highly recommended when visiting any country.
Should I Get a Transportation Card?
If you are taking any form of public transportation, it is advantageous to purchase a transportation card.
- The cost of a transportation card is almost always cheaper than buying individual trips.
- They also make your trips a bit more carefree because you won’t have to take out cash every time you need to go somewhere.
Each country may have a different kind of transportation card, so make sure to see which cards are valid in which areas. For example, Tmoney cards are only of use in South Korea, while a Eurail Pass can be used across all of Europe.
Are There Carpool Options in Foreign Countries?
Not all countries have a carpooling option, but some do have apps or websites for this purpose. One of the most popular choices for carpooling is BlaBlaCar.
BlaBlaCar has over twenty different countries available with various locations you can travel to and from. Similar to this option is ridesharing with Uber. Neither of these options is free – so you’ll have to use part of your budget to carpool, just as you would if you were taking the train or the bus.
Do your research to find out whether there are carpooling options in the country you plan to visit. Another factor to consider is whether it would be safe to utilize carpooling services. Different countries have varying levels of safety, and you may want to look that over before you decide to ride in the same car with others.
Compare prices across travel methods to find out which is most affordable for you.
The Ins and Outs of Renting a Car in a Foreign Country
Renting a car in a foreign country may turn out to be the most expensive option for traveling within a country. At the same time, it will also be the most straightforward option for anyone, provided you enjoy driving yourself around.
While this is a viable transportation option, there are some things you may want to think about before choosing it. Here are several things to be aware of when renting a car in a foreign country:
- Permit requirements. In most cases, you will need to have an International Driver’s Permit. This isn’t necessary for every country but is still a requirement in many of them. This will require you to fill out an application, gather two original passport pictures and your driver’s license, and mail or bring it physically to a AAA office. The permit will cost you about $20.
- Rental limitations. When traveling across countries, you may arrive in a country that doesn’t honor your rental company’s allowance. Your only option then is to rent a new car or locate a different mode of transportation.
- Relative cost. The cost of renting a car often works out to be higher than using public transportation. This will depend on the country you are traveling in.
Should I Hitchhike in a Foreign Country?
The question of whether it’s a good idea to hitchhike in a foreign country does not have a clear answer, because every country is different. Some countries have lower overall crime rates than others, but it’s hard to rely on rates alone. There is no guarantee. Some may say that based only upon safety concerns; no one should hitchhike in a foreign country.
Still, hitchhiking is the cheapest of all the options. This kind of travel isn’t exactly for everyone, but some do enjoy it. If you are considering this option, check to make sure it’s legal in the country you’re visiting, as well as the road you’re traveling – and above all, make sure you are careful.
Another thing to keep in mind when hitchhiking is that it requires you to be extremely limited as to what you carry with you. If you’ve packed your entire home with you, you may not find someone with enough available car storage to carry all of your belongings.
Planning Where to Stay to Keep Within Budget
Yet another potentially expensive part of your travel budget is lodging. Where will you stay? Can you find a nice place to stay without paying a fortune? The answer is a resounding yes.
Hotels Are Too Expensive in Most Cases
Hotels are often the most expensive lodging options in any country. While they do offer the most pleasant atmosphere and amenities, if you are trying to cut down on unnecessary costs, you may want to forego hotels entirely.
Other options will give you all of the living space you need without any unnecessary extras (in-room pool, room service, suite overlooking the sea). Of course, if you want these extras, a hotel is the option for you, but if you want to stretch your money, other options are better.
Motels Are a More Affordable Lodging Option
Motels can provide you with a place to lay your head without all of the extras that run up your lodging costs. Some motels are as well-kept and as clean as hotels, but the only way to know what to expect is to do your research before booking a room.
In most countries, you will be able to book a room online and see the rooms and amenities before you purchase your room, but in some cases, you will not be able to do that.
You Can Rent an Airbnb
Airbnb became very popular among travelers worldwide due to its convenient methods of finding a stay. You can find a place to stay in almost any country in the world using their website or app. You can tailor your search, so it is not only within your price range but has any necessities you might need.
Location and budget are both critical factors in the type of home you’ll be able to find in your budget. Some listings offer an entire home, all to yourself, while others are for a private room within a home. You can even find places where you would be sharing the room with others.
The cost of an Airbnb can vary widely. You may be able to snag a room for less than the cost of a meal in some countries. On the other hand, the cost of an Airbnb may be prohibitive in more developed, expensive countries.
To keep costs down, closely evaluate whether you need to rent out an entire home vs. a room, or if you need to be close to a specific shopping center. These choices will ultimately shape your budget.
Hostels Are Affordable on Almost Any Budget
This is a prevalent option for anyone who is looking for a cheaper stay while also getting to meet new people. It isn’t uncommon for people staying in a hostel to travel together temporarily, or even meeting up in a different country later on.
While some don’t enjoy hostels due to the dorm-style rooms that often have at least four people in them, they do offer many perks. You can even locate hostels using the method mentioned above, Airbnb.
Get to Work With WWOOFing
WWOOF stands for Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms. This website helps you find a host who is willing to let you stay in their home for free, meals usually included, as long as you commit to working the farm for a portion of the day.
I highly recommend doing this, as it comes at a free cost, but most of all, because it’s an outstanding experience. You will get to be a part of a community, making friends, and you might learn a thing or two. I’ve done it several times around the Hawaii islands. So go for it, with an open mind.
Couchsurfing Is a Free Lodging Option
Couchsurfing is a global community explicitly made for travelers who are looking for a free stay and are interested in meeting new people. Locals will host travelers on their ‘couch’ for free and will often introduce you to other people in the area who may be interested in hosting you as well.
The community is built around trust and growing your repertoire over time. Getting a feel for it can be difficult at first, but many backpackers love this method of finding new friends and accommodations all over the world.
Chowing Down in Different Countries on a Budget
A massive chunk of your global traveling budget will be spent on food. When it comes to food, the cost range varies widely depending on what, where, and how you choose to eat.
Eatwith is similar to Airbnb or other similar apps and websites that have hosts. You put in your city, the date, and how many guests will be attending. The site will then search for available hosts who are willing to have you for a meal.
This option isn’t completely free and can be pricey, depending on your locations or the available hosts. However, this is an excellent opportunity to try local food, and you will be able to enjoy a meal while meeting new people.
Eat-in Local Areas
If you want to sample the authentic food in an area without spending a pretty penny, you will want to eat in local areas. Avoiding tourist areas is optimal because finding food in a tourist area will usually result in an overpriced meal that isn’t truly representative of the country you are visiting.
The best places to eat are almost always smaller, local restaurants. If you’ve ever watched the travel channel, you will notice that food enthusiasts always search for those hole-in-the-wall restaurants because of the tasty, real food that is served. A plus, in this case, is also that the food sold in these small mom-and-pop restaurants is usually cheap and satisfying.
You may need to take some initiative and walk outside of the tourist area of town, but your stomach and your budget will thank you.
Cooking Your Own Meals
You can save a ton of money by cooking your meals while traveling. If you were in a specific country for a while, it would be financially smart to visit a grocery store and pick up some items that you can cook wherever you are staying.
This will not be possible if you are staying somewhere that doesn’t have a microwave or stove. However, if you do have this luxury, you can certainly save money by not buying fast food for every single meal. And every penny you save can be used for other parts of your trip.
Use Accommodations to Get a Hot or Cold Meal
When you are choosing where to stay in a country, keep an eye on any available accommodations. Many times, there are food options available, like free continental breakfast or a dry bar. Use those accommodations to save money on your trips. You can either pocket that money or use it at a different stop during your trip around the globe.
Other Costs to Factor in While Visiting Every Country
When traveling around the globe, you’ll want to factor in the costs of sightseeing in foreign countries. To keep costs down, you’ll need to be methodical in your actions.
Sightseeing in a Foreign City
This is arguably the most exciting part of international travel, and you don’t want to avoid seeing the sights by any means. However, you can sightsee without spending a ton of money.
A simple internet search can give you helpful information about tourist adventures that you can purchase. These are great for a slim budget because they often include photo ops and discounted tours.
Saving Money at Tourist Traps
Many tourist locations will be overpriced and overcrowded. While some places are a must-see, and some can be avoided and possibly even enjoyed from a distance.
However, if you do want to visit a popular tourist area, then look for discounts. There are often a student or military discounts available. Another discount many people don’t realize is a discount for foreigners.
A foreigner discount isn’t necessarily available in all areas, but I have gotten many discounts by merely providing my passport. So be sure to research the location before visiting.
If you have numerous locations you want to visit, then most cities will offer a tourism card. These tend to be cheaper than purchasing a ticket at various locations. Most countries have a card, so you will need to do your research on which ones you may interest in while traveling.
Avoiding Popular Areas
Tourist areas are favored for a good reason, but if you are willing to skip them, then you will save yourself a lot of money. Some of the best things to do in a foreign city are to walk around and get a feel for it.
Some of the best places you will ever find are going to be from you accidentally stumbling across them. Finding a local café, a hidden shop, or even finding a view that is much more unique than a famous monument.
Being able to be flexible when visiting foreign countries is very important, and this includes possibly avoiding overly touristy attractions. If you are prepared to do this, then you will save money that you can later put towards an attraction you want to see.
Ask the Locals
If you can, ask your host or a local about their favorite or most recommended area to visit. It will often result in much better results than going to overly popular places or even just wandering on your own.
Locals will be able to share information about places that may not even be on your maps. It could be a small restaurant to eat at, or just somewhere with a beautiful view.
Some of the best places I have eaten at were shown to me by the locals in the area. The restaurants weren’t on any tourism sites, but they were much better than any mainstream location I ate at.
Shopping in a Foreign Country
When you shop in a foreign country, frugality is the name of the game. You don’t want to visit every shop you see or purchase substantial items, as this can quickly turn into a money-draining, suitcase-overflowing problem.
Instead, take a minimal approach to shop and ship things home if at all possible. If you do ship things home, make sure that you’ve got someone home to receive the packages.
Shipping It Home
If you are in a country and see something you are going to want when you get home, then you could always purchase it and mail it back. But it can get expensive due to international travel, and you will need to make sure someone can receive the package.
This is an excellent solution for a few times, but it shouldn’t be your go-to in every country. As tempting as souvenirs maybe, you need to consider cost and bulk. Sacrifices are sometimes necessary to fully enjoy a trip without overspending.
It’s the right solution for those who want a souvenir from every country. Buy small trinkets or even just stickers from every single state. If each item is small enough, then you should be able to carry them on you longer.
If you are buying something like key chains from every country, then they may eventually start to take up too much space. Since they are smaller, you can bulk mail them to yourself like I previously mentioned.
It can be true with stickers as well, especially since you can fit them in thinner envelopes, meaning the shipping will be much cheaper.
Postcards to Yourself
This is similar to the previous method, but consider emailing yourself postcards from each country. Once you get home, you will have it to remind you of each country you visited. The best part of this option is that postcards are relatively cheap, while still having beautiful “memories” of the country.
Can I Make Money While Traveling?
Making money while traveling is possible for any who may want to work while they are on the road. Typically, the easiest way to work is with a laptop, but other options may offer a short-term job.
There are several platforms available online that allow you to work from your laptop. These tend to be freelance positions or a remote position with a company. If you are creative or have a specific skillset, then you may need to consider ways you could sell it.
Freelancing is a popular method for working on the road due to the flexibility included in it. Most jobs you can find are temporary or contract work. Depending on the area of work you are interested in, you will most likely be able to find it on one of these websites.
Some of the most popular freelance websites are:
There are many more that you can find, and each of them has different pros and cons. Most of these websites will charge a service fee for each job, so you will need to research before choosing a freelance site.
Finding a Remote Position
Finding a remote position is similar to a freelancer as they tend to be working from home positions. However, these tend to be long-term positions with set hours for work. You can often find these jobs on any job searching website out there.
Working Where You Are
If you aren’t interested in working online, then you may be able to find temporary work in the area. The original search may require a computer, but it is possible to find hands-on work.
This option is slightly more difficult if you aren’t using a company like WWOOF. Most options available like this tend to pay in accommodations and meals instead of actual money.
Enjoy Your Global Trip of a Lifetime!
You are now well-equipped to embark upon the biggest trip of your life! You know approximately how much your global trek will cost you, and you know tons of helpful tips to keep your budget intact. I hope this helps to make your all-country dream a reality!