How to Budget for an Affordable Luxury Solo Trip Around the World

Photo by flickr user tajai.

Photo by flickr user tajai.

One of the first things I do before deciding whether to take a trip is to develop a pre-trip budget. My love for luxury travel can be expensive but I’m still unwilling to rough it. I would rather stay home than sacrifice this standard, which is why I focus my solo travels on affordable luxury.

To prevent over-spending, I do plenty of comparative research well in advance of any trip. On January 31st, I take off on my next adventure, a 50-day trip to seven cities around the world.

I have been pricing these lengthier “around the world” luxury tours and cruises for the last 10 years and found that the costs have steadily gone up. Currently, a 24-day private jet group tour trip with National Geographic costs $76,950 plus the dreaded single supplement for solo travelers of $8,950 for a total base cost of $85,900 or roughly $3,579 per day. This is the price before you add on your shopping and miscellaneous costs. Another company, Abercrombie and Kent, offers 26-day trip for a total base cost for the solo traveler of $151,500 or approximately, $5,825 per day. While both of these trips are no doubt ultra-luxurious, they are out of budget for myself among many others.

Through my research and never finding a tour that suited my specific travel goals at the right price, I found myself planning my own tailor-made, non-tour trip to Lisbon, Marrakesh, Cairo, Abu Dhabi, Mumbai, Bangkok, and Hanoi. While in Cairo, I’ll be taking a structured tour with Uniworld down the Nile River, which raised my budget but not enough to pass up the solo travel opportunity so I booked it.

For any trip I’m planning, I try always to fly business class when available, especially on longer flights. My upcoming trip includes two economy flights, both the first and last leg of my travels domestically in the US, on JetBlue and Southwest. Internationally, I’ll be flying business class with high comfort rated carriers including Emirates, Qatar Air, Asiana, Air Maroc, Iberia, and Thai Air.

Beyond flying in comfort, I’ll also be sleeping well because all of my hotel selections for the trip are five star rated. When I travel I like to be waited on, visually pleased with hotel interiors, sleep in comfortable beds with plenty of fluffy pillows, have access to a top-notch concierge desk, have access to free WiFi, and, most importantly, feel safe in my accommodations. Some of the hotel brands I trust and will be staying at on my trip are the Four Seasons, Le Meridien, Sofitel and Taj, in addition to the three top-rated luxury boutique hotels that I picked for the trip.

With my affordable luxury goals in mind, my base target budget for my Around the World trip is $25,000 or $500 per day. This includes everything but shopping and miscellaneous and unforeseen expenses that I expect to be around $3,000, bringing my grand total to $28,000 or $560 per day.

Click here to read my budget breakdown for the entire trip.

The seven countries I’m traveling to have extremely good currency exchange rates with the US Dollar. My goal is to spend under $30,000 or $600 per day, my maximum budget goal. I like to have fun, shop and be spontaneous when I travel and sometimes these things put immense pressure on my budget, but I’m a big believer in budgeting and watching my spending while traveling. A trip can be ruined by “overspending” and credit card balance shock when you return home.

I’ll be sharing a post-trip actual cost breakdown when I return home. Do you think I can stay under budget? Comment below and let me know!

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