Many parents with kids dream of taking a beautiful trip around the world with the family for an extended period of time, but most parents also think this is hugely expensive. This is not entirely justified. For example, we previously showed in a blog that we earned a six-month world trip for our family to Asia in one day.
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Of course, it is difficult to give an exact indication of the cost of a world trip with kids, as each family’s preferences are different. Still, you can give an indication of the cost and we will do so in this blog. We will list the main costs of traveling around the world with kids for you.
#1: Purchasing gear for the trip
For a long world trip with kids, you will need to buy a few things before you go. Of course, it all depends on what you’ve bought before.
We ourselves bought a number of things for our world trip such as a hugely compact baby carriage, an airplane bed, hamam towels, packing cubes, Gopro and an ereader, which came in tremendous handy during our trip. For a detailed description of these goodies click here.
You will understand that the more stuff you need, the more money it will cost. Still, you can of course get creative with this by seeing if friends and family have certain items lying around that you can use during the trip.
Of course, there is also a lot to be had second-hand on the well-known websites. And also don’t be tempted to make all sorts of nonsense purchases such as buying a ready-made first aid bag for a huge amount of money, when half of what’s in it you’ll never need.
We bought some medical things like band-aids and pills separately and put them in a packing cube and we were less than half the money they were asking for a ready-made first aid bag.
In certain countries, you will need to buy a visa. For example, for a country like Vietnam, you pay about 35 euros per person for your visa. If you are a family of 4, the costs quickly add up.
So check online in advance to see which countries you all need visas for.
In fact, for many countries you do not need a visa or the visa is free upon arrival in the country.
For our world trip we only had visas for Sri Lanka (35 euros/dollars on arrival and kids free), United States (ESTA via website, 14 dollars and valid for 2 years), Canada (20 euros, Visa arranged online in 1.5 hours and valid for 5 years) and Cuba (22.50 euros, arranged in advance for the family).
For vaccinations, you can check online for each country to see what they prescribe and then make an appointment with the GGD for the necessary shots. Please note that vaccinations are not cheap!
The advantage is that certain vaccinations you need in most countries are often valid for a very long period of time.
For example, we needed the shots for DTP and Hepatitus A in most countries, and the DTP shot is valid for 10 years and the Hepatitus A shot for 30 years (if you get it for the 2nd time).
As a result, we mainly had to get these shots for our daughter and the typhoid fever shot for the whole family (it is valid for three years). The cost for the typhoid fever shot was 38.95 euros, for the DTP shot 28.95 and the Hypatitus A shot 58.95, making a total of 204.75 euros we spent on shots. So keep this in mind in your budget for your trip!
#4: What countries do you want to visit
What the final cost of your world family trip will be also partly depends on which countries you will visit. So you have countries where you can travel cheaper than in other countries. Here is an overview of which popular travel countries are cheap and which countries are a lot more expensive.
Cheapest countries to travel: India, Sri Lanka, Laos, Nepal, Vietnam, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Bolivia and Cambodia. This is also one of the reasons, why traveling through Southeast Asia is so popular.
In Asia: Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, HongKong, China, Jordan,
In South and Central America: Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, Honduras and Ecuador.
In Africa: Morocco, Zimbabwe, Egypt, Madagascar and Ethiopia
In Europe: the former Eastern Bloc countries.
Relatively expensive countries compared to neighboring countries are:
- In Asia: Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Israel.
- In South America: Argentina, Brazil and Chile
- In Africa: South Africa, Mali and Botswana.
- In Europe: Scandinavia and Great Britain.
Most islands like Hawaii, Maldives and Fiji are also expensive, and Western countries like the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are not cheap either.
Especially if you do not have an overly high travel budget then you can look at which countries are generally inexpensive, which means you need less daily budget.
For example, in India you will be able to stay with your family for as little as a few euros a night, while in Singapore you will find few accommodations under 50 euros.
So you can imagine that when you travel to countries like Singapore, you will need a much higher budget. Still, it is possible to travel fairly low budget in most countries.
For example, we spent a week in the Maldives and it really wasn’t as expensive as people think. We ourselves were mainly in expensive destinations (Dubai, Singapore, New Zealand, Fiji, Hawaii, Canada, Florida, Bahamas) and spent around 200 / 250 euros per day with three people approximately for sleeping and our daily budget.
#5: Airline tickets
Airline tickets also largely determine how much you will spend on a world trip with kids. It also just depends on how much you are going to fly. Going to South America or Southeast Asia for 6 months, you basically only need a plane ticket from the Netherlands to the continent and the cost for a family will be around 3000 euros.
A good website to compare airline tickets is this website of Skyscanner.co.uk. Here you can see exactly which airlines all fly, at what times and at what price.
Read our travel blog tips for cheaper airfare to fly cheaply with your kids.
We ourselves flew as many as 15 times during our world trip and spent a total of 10,552 euros on tickets. Here is a summary of the cost for three people we incurred on our flights including suitcases, seat reservations, etc:
- Amsterdam – Dubai 594 euros Transavia
- Dubai – Colombo (Sri Lanka) 350 euros Flydubai
- Colombo – Maldives 413 euros Southern China Airlines
- Maldives – Singapore 542 euros Flyscoot Singapore
- Singapore – Auckland 1964 euros Singapore Airlines
- Auckland – Tonga 554 euro Air New Zealand
- Tonga – Fiji 446 euros Fiji Airways
- Fiji – Samoa 549 euros Fiji Airways
- Samoa- Hawaii 878 euros Fiji Airways
- Hawaii – Vancouver 925 euro Westjet
- Vancouver- Toronto 659 euros Air Transat
- Toronto- Orlando 530 euros Air Transat
- Fort Laderdale – Bahamas 210 euros Bahamas Air
- Bahamas – Cuba 684 euros Bahamas Air
- Cuba – Dusseldorf 1254 euros Eurowings
Of course, it makes sense that the more you fly to different destinations, the higher the cost will be. So if you want to reduce the cost of world travel, choose to fly to one continent (South America or Southeast Asia) and the amount you spend on airfare will be a lot lower.
Accommodation prices vary greatly from country to country. For different destinations, check websites like booking.com to see what prices the accommodations start at.
We did a search on booking.com for a number of tourist destinations and looked for the lowest price for accommodation for a family with two kids (ages 5 and 8):
Kandy (Sri Lanka) 14 euros per night
Tokyo (Japan) 60 euros per night
Bagan (Myanmar) 24 euros per night
Sucre (Bolivia) 19 euros per night
Singapore 55 euros per night
Hoi’an (Vietnam) 6 euros per night
Honolulu (Hawaii) 136 euros per night
Vancouver (Canada) 73 euros per night
Bucharest (Romania) 25 euros per night
Delhi (India) 8 euros per night
Buenos Aires (Argentina) 19 euros per night
Cape Town (South Africa) 20 euros per night
Leon (Nicaragua) 27 euros per night
Bangkok (Thailand) 13 euros per night
Lima (Peru) 14 euros per night
It is even possible to sleep with your family under ten euros a night. Then check out this travel blog of ours.
Searching the various destinations this way will give you a pretty good idea of how much money you will spend on accommodation. What all to look out for when booking a room online we have written a separate blog.
Transportation in different countries is also regulated differently, but in general public transportation is the cheapest, especially buses. For each country, take a good look at what the modes of transportation are and what you feel comfortable with as a family. We ourselves on our trip did not want to take the local bus from one destination to another because it often takes a very long time, the buses are very full and you cannot stop along the way if your kid would need to go to the toilet.
We have used different modes of transportation in different countries:
Dubai (metro, always a few euros per ride)
Sri Lanka(car with driver, about 50 euros for a full day)
Singapore (subway, always a few euros per ride)
New Zealand (rental car)
Fiji, Samoa, Tonga (local bus, since it was only small distances. Sometimes the cab)
Hawaii (rental car)
Canada (rental car and in Vancouver and Toronto the subway)
Florida (rental car)
Bahamas (cab, small distances)
Cuba (cab, these are also generally 50 euros per day)
In Sri Lanka we could have used the trains and then we would have lost only a few euros each time. Remember that if comfort does not matter too much to you or if you are traveling with big kids that you can really travel by bus or train in many countries for very little money and the cost of transportation does not have to be high.
For a rental car, we always look first at the Sunny Cars website, as they simply have the best package. Sometimes maybe a little more expensive, but in terms of insurance, service and help, this company is hard to beat!
For food, it matters a lot less than for accommodations in which country you are traveling. In many more expensive countries such as New Zealand and the United States, we looked for accommodations with a kitchen attached and cooked our own meals. This obviously makes a huge difference in cost.
We didn’t eat out much really because our 4-year-old daughter usually doesn’t have the patience for that.
Also at noon, we often chose to buy something at the supermarket in the more expensive countries and then have lunch in the park or at the beach.
That way, food in more expensive countries is also very much affordable. In developing countries like Sri Lanka and Tonga, we did eat in a diner every night, since the stores here are not as good and the prices for eating out are so low that it is not worth cooking for ourselves.
It is very nice to do things with your family. And in most destinations, you have quite a few activities you can do for free. Make a list in advance for yourself of activities you would really like to do with your family and see in advance what the prices are.
You can find the prices of most activities on the Internet and so you can include this in your budget. We really wanted to go to Disney world in Florida with our daughter, so we separately budgeted for the tickets in advance.
#10: Fixed charges at home
One expense that many people do not take into account is that a number of fixed expenses at home continue as well.
Of course, you can firmly reduce these fixed expenses by, for example, subletting your house during the time you are abroad (do contact the mortgage lender beforehand, as this is not always allowed) or even selling it.
List all your fixed expenses and take a critical look at which fixed expenses you can cut during your trip. For example, you can temporarily freeze the subscription to the gym or your TV, so you don’t have any monthly fees on these.
Some fixed expenses such as your travel insurance, home insurance, health insurance and the subscription for your phone will continue. Our fixed expenses during our world trip were about 1250 euros, so in our budget we had to set aside 1250 euros x 6 months = 7,500 euros for our fixed expenses at home.
So you can see that there is a lot of money to be saved in the different cost items and therefore you can also see different amounts of what you would spend on different destinations.
Still, it’s hard to say anything about this, because every family will have a different interpretation of this. One family will sleep in an accommodation of less than 10 euros and the other family will sleep in an accommodation of 50 euros.
Because of this, the amounts what you would then spend per month are already vastly different (300 euros or 1,500 euros). So see what your budget is approximately for a certain number of months and then start looking at how much money you want to spend on each expense item yourself.
So all in all, you really can go on a world trip with kids for very little money if you cover these costs by renting out your home.