Archive for May, 2012

Around the world in charts

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

With tango not really doing it for me in Buenos Aires I had to decide where to go and what to do next. I narrowed it down to two choices:

Continue travelling in South America (most of Argentina, Paraguay, Colombia, more Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Panama for starters)

Go back to SE Asia via the UK since I already had a ticket for Buenos Aires to London

Eventually after a lot of deliberation I decided on the second option. Back in the UK many friends were interested in the logistics and practicalities of a round the world trip. The answers to some of their questions would have been useful to me when I was planning this trip and could be useful to anyone considering a similar trip now. Working on the old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” here are six charts to summarise my round the world trip. They show how long I travelled for, how far I travelled and and how many journeys using various modes of transport, how much I spent in each country, how much the “big ticket” items were and the daily cost in each country excluding the big ticket items.

Chart 1 – RTW miles by mode of transport

I travelled at least 57340 miles in 358 days. The four main modes of transport were aeroplane, bus, train and boat. I didn’t bother to try to work out how far I cycled or walked.

Chart 2 – RTW journeys by mode of transport

This is similar to the first chart but shows the number of journeys made using each mode of transport. Before I started this trip the idea of two hours on a bus horrified me. These days 12, 16 or even 24 hours on a bus seem fine. Admittedly these are mostly semi-cama A/C coaches rather than bone-jarring, overcrowded, 30-year old “local” buses stuffed with people, live chickens, bags of rice and goodness knows what else.


Chart 3 – RTW nights per country

I travelled for 358 days on my round the world ticket. A bit of bad planning in Argentina meant I either needed to do a visa run for a new 90-day visa and only use six of them, or lose a few days off the end of my trip. Date changes on my ticket were free so I flew home a few days early. This chart shows how long I spent in each country in total (I visited some more than once). The countries are listed alphabetically, not in the order I visited them.

Chart 4 – RTW country costs

This chart shows the total amount I spent in each country after leaving home. It does not include the money I spent before the trip started. Pre-trip expenses included my OneWorld Explorer RTW ticket, backpacker insurance, vaccinations, visas, backpack and travel items. This chart includes the “big ticket” items; any single activity which cost over £300. If you’re wondering why Australia cost so little it’s because I did nothing there. I had to have an overnight stopover there to get from Shanghai to Queenstown. I thought I’d visit a tanguera friend in Melbourne so stopped for three nights in total. I couldn’t get hold of the tanguera and barely left the hostel for the entire time in Melbourne. My on-the-road expenses totalled £14,486. My pre-trip expenses totalled £4,906.

Chart 5 – big ticket items

I counted any single activity costing over £300 as a “big-ticket” item. I had planned for and made allowances for some (trekking in Nepal, Easter Island, Antarctic cruise or visit to Galapagos Islands) before starting the trip. Others just cropped up as I was travelling.

Chart 6 – Daily country costs excluding big ticket items

If you’re considering a Round the World trip, or backpacking in some of the countries I visited you might appreciate a rough cost per day for planning purposes. This chart shows the average cost per day in each country excluding any big ticket items. It includes food, accommodation, in-country transport costs and miscellaneous expenses (eg: toiletries, clothes, camera repair and anything I forgot to categorise at the time of spending). It does NOT include any alcohol. In Nepal my accommodation was teahouses, in Southeast Asia it was mostly private room with fan or A/C, elsewhere it was dorms. Food was mostly cheap, basic local fare (eg: streetmeat just about everywhere) but I did eat a lot of McNuggets in Buenos Aires. I made seven additional flights to my RTW ticket which are included here. I expected to spend more in Argentina but I danced a lot less tango than I anticipated so saved some money there.



PS. Yes, I know the charts aren’t rendering as circles. When/if I figure which bit of CSS is turning them into ovals I’ll bludgeon it into submission so my carefully constructed circles are once again circular.