2022 Around the World Trip: Summary and Expenses

Wow, 2022 was an extremely busy year for us. We started off the year with a couple week road trip to Florida. Soon after returning, we spent 10 weeks traveling all over Latin America. After that was a quick turn around to our 4 month summer adventure driving to/from and living in Alaska. A couple of days after getting home, we flew to Las Vegas for a conference. Two weeks later, we flew to Mexico for a week in the sun at a resort. Then, less than a week after returning home, we left on our next big adventure, 9 weeks traveling around the world! I would say that we met our goal of traveling to as many places as possible in 2022!

We first took a long international trip traveling around the world in 2018 — which was awesome — but our 2022 “around the world” trip was shorter, way more exciting, and a lot more expensive. Back in 2018 when we first started spending multiple months each year traveling internationally, one of the main goals was to keep costs low so that we could take those types of trips every year. We needed our trips to be really affordable so that we didn’t eat into our savings too much while out of the country. A lot has changed between then and now. While we still want to keep our expenses reasonable while traveling, it’s no longer a main priority. We’re older, have much higher net worths, and our business has grown significantly as a result of our travels. Because of this, we care much more about visiting bucket list locations and having the best and most comfortable trips possible, even if it means spending a little more.

If you’ve been following this website for a while, then you’ve probably noticed that more relaxed spending has become a common theme. This around the world trip was a perfect example of this. I actually spent significantly more on this 9 week trip around the world than I did on our 5 month around the world trip in 2018! Let’s get into breaking down the trip and all of these expenses.

Trip Breakdown

This trip went much more smoothly in terms of delays/cancellations/etc than our long trip to Latin America earlier in the year, although we did book much of it last minute. We spent several days during the trip planning flights and accommodations for later on in the trip. While not ideal from an enjoyment or cost perspective, it did give us more flexibility, and to be honest, we just didn’t have any time to plan this trip out in advance with all of the other traveling we did this year. When we left for the trip, this was our rough outline, but we had nothing actually booked past Greece and our flight to Egypt:

  • Greece: ~2 weeks
  • Egypt: ~5 days
  • Dubai: ~5 days
  • Singapore: ~5 days
  • Australia: ~2 weeks
  • New Zealand: ~2-3 weeks
  • American Samoa: ~3-5 days

Overall we were able to stick to this plan pretty well, but we did have to change a couple of things. Getting to American Samoa and finding a place to stay there turned out to be much more difficult than we anticipated. We considered giving up on it all together a few times, but ultimately decided that it would be foolish to skip and not go to the National Park there, since we aren’t on the other side of the world very often and we want to finish visiting all of the US National Parks this year if possible. We eventually figured it all out, but not without a lot of money and headache. This is what our actual itinerary ended up looking like:

  • Greece:
    • Naxos: 3 days
    • Santorini: 3 days
    • Athens: 1 week
  • Egypt: 4 days
  • Dubai: 5 days
  • Singapore: 5 days
  • Australia:
    • Sydney: 4 days
    • Cairns: 3 days
    • Brisbane: 3 days
  • Samoa: 1.5 days
  • American Samoa: 4 days
  • New Zealand: 2.5 weeks (road trip all over the country)

We ended up having to go from Australia to American Samoa via the separate island nation of Samoa, then from there to New Zealand via a connecting flight in Samoa again. We originally hoped to make American Samoa our last stop on the trip, which geographically made the most sense to get us headed closer to the mainland US. But the biggest reason this didn’t work out as planned was that the best flight we could find back home (after many, many hours of searching) left out of Auckland, NZ, meaning we had to end our trip there. Trying to get a flight from American Samoa to Virginia to end the trip was going to be unreasonably expensive. And on top of that, we found out that you can only fly directly into or out of American Samoa via Samoa, Fiji, and Hawaii. So our plans to go directly to/from Australia or New Zealand became much more complicated.

Whitney will be writing a post giving an overview of the whole trip, as well as a separate post just about going to the National Park of American Samoa, so stay tuned for those!

Queenstown, New Zealand

Expense Breakdown

As far as expenses go, I didn’t really have a budget or goal for this trip. I just wanted to spend enough that our travels were comfortable and so that we got to do and see everything we wanted.

Below are my expenses for the ~9 weeks on this trip. Stay tuned for Whitney’s more in depth post about all the fun things we did on this trip, but for now I’ll focus on the expenses incurred while traveling. Keep in mind that all of the expenses that I’ll talk about below are my expenses only, since Whitney and I have quite different spending habits at times. We split all shared expenses evenly, so I calculate the numbers below with my half of the shared expenses, and then my individual expenses. I was much more lenient on expenses this trip, which has been a consistent trend lately as my net worth has grown and our business continues to do well. I still try to be frugal on big expenses but am much more likely to splurge on things now or spend extra to avoid hassle than on our first couple of long international trips.

Accommodation: Most of our stays on this trip were at Airbnbs, but we were able to use a lot of credit card/hotel points for free hotel stays on the first half of the trip. In total we got 18 free hotel nights between Santorini, Dubai, Singapore, Sydney, and Samoa. We used a lot of Hyatt points (20,000/night) to stay at an amazing boutique hotel in Santorini, overlooking the caldera in a perfect spot on the island. There were cheaper point redemption options, but this was a splurge and we loved it! Finding affordable accommodations in Dubai and Singapore proved to be difficult, so it made sense to use points or free nights there. We stayed at a great category one Hyatt Place in Dubai for 5,000 points per night– free breakfast included! In Singapore, the redemption options were limited, but I had 5 free night certificates at Marriott from a signup bonus. We used those at a really fancy boutique hotel in the middle of the city. The cash price would have been well over $300/night, so it felt good to get a great value from those certificates. In Sydney, we redeemed some Marriott points (20,000/night) for 4 nights at a Courtyard Marriott in a convenient location. For our one night stay in Samoa on the way to American Samoa, we redeemed a free IHG award night at a really quiet beach resort close to the airport. This was actually the most reasonable and closest option for a quick turnaround at the airport between flights, even compared with Airbnbs! In New Zealand, we stayed at a combination of Airbnbs and roadside motels/cabins (think: motor courts/motor lodges in the US from the 1940s-1970s) depending on where we were stopping for the night along our road trip.

  • Total for my expenses: $1,422

Food and drink: We cooked very rarely on this trip, even when we had access to a kitchen at various Airbnbs. Since this trip was more action packed than some in the past, we often didn’t have time to go to a grocery store and/or cook with all of the moving and day trips planned. We did our best to not to go to restaurants that were too expensive. but sometimes it was difficult to avoid in more touristy areas or in expensive cities. We also tried to buy sandwiches or snacks when we could make it to a grocery store to avoid eating as many meals at restaurants.

  • Total for my expenses: $2,046

Transportation: Transportation was where our expenses got out of hand on this trip! Flights to and from American Samoa were not only limited but also really expensive. There are no direct flights to/from American Samoa from Australia or New Zealand, so we had to pay separately for flights between Samoa and American Samoa. These flights were on a tiny plane which seated only 8-10 passengers (much like the flights we took in Alaska to some of the more remote areas) and they were very expensive.

Also, while we were able to use American Airlines points for our international flight from Virginia to Greece, we couldn’t find any reasonable airline point redemptions for the rest of the trip, so all of our other international flights were paid for with cash. The flight from New Zealand back to Virginia cost us a lot more than we have spent on international flights in the past because it was a fairly last minute booking close to the holidays, which is always going to be more expensive. Compared to what a lot of people pay for international flights, we actually got a pretty decent deal at around $900/each for the one way ticket from NZ to Virginia. But it still hurt for us to pay that much because in the past we’ve always been able to find a way to get our international flights to/from the US with points. But in the end, it was worth it because it did allow us to get back home just in time for Christmas which was nice!

Lastly, the car rental in New Zealand cost a lot more than we thought. We did consider a camper van rental, but those were even more outrageously priced. In addition, gas prices there are crazy too, so we spent a lot in our last two weeks of the trip on transportation and gas costs.

  • Total for my expenses: $4,691

Activities: Although the lowest cost category, our activities are what made this trip special. We got to see and go inside the Egyptian Pyramids, which was a huge bucket list item for me. We got to dive and snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef. We went to the top of the tallest building in the world. We spent the day riding an ATV around a beautiful Greek island. We visited the Parthenon and historic Greek ruins in Athens. We stayed in an iconic cave-like room overlooking the ocean in Santorini. We saw kangaroos and koalas in the wild. We visited the Hobbiton Village where much of the Lord of the Rings was filmed. We visited several amazing natural hot springs on the north island of New Zealand. We took a once in a lifetime boat ride through the Milford Sound on the south island of New Zealand. We also got to see some of the most amazing views of our lives driving and hiking all over New Zealand. This was a bucket list trip for sure!

I also included our souvenirs, gifts for family/friends, and travel insurance in this section of expenses.

  • Total for my expenses: $1,264
National Park of American Samoa

My total expenses for about 9 weeks on this trip, including accommodations, transportation, activities, and food/drink were approximately $9,423! This comes out to an average of $143/day!*

*Keep in mind this is only my half of the expenses, and does not include Whitney’s expenses.

Summary of My Expenses

Even though spending a little over $1,000/week on this trip seems like a crazy high amount in the context of prior trips ($4,700 total for 4 months in Europe in 2019 and $5,600 total for 5 months in Europe & Asia in 2018), I always have to remind myself that it’s a very reasonable price for all that we did. We could have saved significantly by planning this trip further in advance and by utilizing airline miles and points for more of the flights. We also would have spent much less if we’d skipped American Samoa and not done the road trip around New Zealand, but both were once in a lifetime adventures that were well worth the money. This was my favorite trip of any that we’ve gone on so far, and much of that is due to the bucket list places we visited and the extra money spent on more comfortable accommodations.

Since my fixed costs at home while traveling are very low now due to paying cash for our house, and we were able to work online on the business throughout the trip, earning much more than the cost of the trip, I’m really happy with how everything went. Since our long trips in 2018 and 2019, our business has grown exponentially, so I was worried that we wouldn’t be able to keep up with day to day demands while traveling, but we actually handled it very well. We weren’t able to get as much content out since the day to day demands take more time now, but overall we stayed on top of the important things and still managed very high earnings while traveling.

Being able to spend months at a time traveling all over the world while still earning income and growing my net worth was something I would have thought was completely impossible just a few years ago, but now it’s a reality. Whitney and I couldn’t be more excited about the life we’ve built over the years, and we love teaching and mentoring others on pursuing a similar path.

North Stradbroke Island, Australia

What’s Next?

We’re taking some time off from long international trips for the first half of 2023. Even though this trip was amazing, we could use some more time at home this year after spending all but 8 weeks of 2022 traveling around the country and the world. Whitney and I are getting married in June, so we have a lot of planning to do for that, as well as some health and fitness goals we want to achieve, which are much easier to make progress toward when not on the road. By the second half of 2023, I’m sure we’ll have the itch to travel again, but so far no set plans for the next big international trip. If you have any suggestions let me know in the comments or by email!

Stay tuned to see how things go with our future trips. We’ve been very active on Instagram and on our Facebook page lately so be sure to follow there for all of our best travel pictures!

Also stay tuned for Whitney’s full trip recap with more details of the activities we did on our Around the World trip, and more photos!

Naxos, Greece

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