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A literal dream trip...

If you had 365 days to travel and a budget of...let's say $48,000, where would you go? Parameters are these: Outside the US the entire time, no less than 30/no more than 90 days per location, and of course no breaking rules regarding long term stays in the Schengen zone. What types of lodging would you want, what activities would you look for? Transportation?

Clearly I've been stuck at home for too long...some days the political climate, Covid situation, violence in our streets sets me dreaming. What would your 365 day dream trip include?

Posted by
1974 posts

$4000/month? That doesn't seem like much. Since I'm not retired yet, I'm used to spending more than that for a 2 week trip to go where I want and do what I want.

As I get closer to retirement I'm finding it challenging to figure out what I'll do
when I'm travelling for longer periods of time. Maybe $4000 will be enough once I develop a routine of travelling at a more leisurely pace. I do know I want to spend a month at a time in some of the world's great cities like London and New York.

I'm looking forward to the answers you get. I'm going to have to think further before I can answer more specifically. This is the kind of question I love on this forum as I need to start considering what my retirement is going to look like.

Posted by
1863 posts

I agree with Allan that this is not a lot of money for full time travel. My bucket list retirement trip is a World Cruise on Viking for 4 months. Starting price is $54,999pp.

Posted by
6366 posts

I think the $48,000 budget for a whole year of travel would be tight but I think I could do it. Figure about $5,000 for airfare and other transportation (economy air/2nd class all the way on trains/very few rental car days) that would give you about $110-120/day while in a location. I stayed within that budget for both my 9 week and 5 week trips to Europe but that was before recent inflationary price increases so I would have to tighten my belt. But consider the per/day gets a bit less when staying put for up to 90 days in one place - staying in apartments, making a lot of my meals, seeing mostly free or low cost sights, etc.. My biggest issue would be the Schengen limit and wanting to go to farther flung non-European locations. They are cheaper per/day but transportation costs could eat up any savings.

I would start with 3 months in Schengen countries - a month in France in a small town/city with good rail transportation to Paris and other points in France; a month in an apartment in Budapest; a month in a smaller city in Italy with good rail connections to Rome in one direction and Florence and other areas of Tuscany in the other. Then I would spend 6 months in Great Britain, including time in Scotland, Wales, and England. Where I spend the last 3 months would depend on how much money I had left - it could be back to Schengen Europe, somewhere in SE Asia or maybe South Korea and Japan, or possibly a repositioning cruise to South America, could be cheaper than flying, more fun, and more relaxing.

It sure would be fun to plan something like this.

Posted by
5197 posts

Skiing throughout the world. Having a whole year would let me be in Southern Hemisphere destinations during their winter, in New Zealand, Australia, Chile, Argentina, and elsewhere - heck, even Antarctica, although getting there and back might require a lot of travel arrangements - and money.

Back in the northern hemisphere, although some time in Colorado would still be worthwhile, there’s the rest of North America, and Scandinavia, France, Spain, Italy, Austria, and more of Europe. Africa and Asia could round out the world-wide ski odyssey.

We’d have to be able to bring our cats, though. Being away from them for 3 weeks is a long time - a year would be impossible.

Posted by
66 posts

Yes, I guess $48,000 would make for some tight budgeting, but not impossible I don't think. Granted, it wouldn't be a year of Viking cruises or luxe apartments in Paris or London. Poland, Portugal, Spain perhaps? I suppose beyond Europe would be much more affordable.
OK, let's say $60,000, same parameters. Any dreamers think they could make this budget happen?

Posted by
233 posts

I would spend up to 2 months in the UK, was born and brought up there, but there is a lot I would still like to see, especially in north of England and much of Scotland. Then a cruise around Scandinavia, followed by a journey through Europe to Italy and Greece, specifically Crete. Then Egypt visiting the oasis sites in particular. After that off to Australia and New Zealand and back home to the west coast of Canada with stops in Tahiti or Fiji if time and money permit.

Nothing too exotic, no strict timetable, except for the cruise. Just a final grand tour visiting places I have enjoyed over the years and the chance to enjoy them at leisure.

While I have, in the past, visited all Provinces in Canada, except Nunavut and PEI I would maybe take the chance to include a meander across the country visiting scattered friends and visiting some of the remoter parts of the country, en route to Europe.

Posted by
914 posts

Let's look at the math.

$60,000/365= $165.00 per day. (Excludes airfare)

Lodging-minimum= $100.00 per average day, could be less, but that would be tough for a year straight .

Food-Minimum= $30.00 average per day. This is really scant for food, water, drinks and snacks.

Now you are left with $35.00 per day for transportation, personal items, medicines, laundry, clothing, sight seeing, misc., etc.

IMO, anything less than $225 average per day for a year of consecutive travel, would really just be survival versus an enjoyable travel vacation. You certainly can spend less on 3-4 week vacations, but a straight year would really be more expensive per day.

I have gone on several 80 day trips. I enjoyed every minute of them, but honestly, 365 straight days of travel would be very trying. There would be weeks I would probably just be vegging out somewhere doing nothing.

Although as a dream, a year sounds like fun. In actuality, a year is a long time to be on the road.

Posted by
2341 posts

With these parameters, I would do something else with my $48,000. I don't want to be away from home for an entire year - especially not with a monthly budget of $4K.

Posted by
66 posts

Yes, I do agree that a year long vacation would get old. Maybe 6 months would be more doable. I guess my initial thought was a year LIVING someplace else, not tripping around visiting sites on a daily basis. For me, I'd probably stay in one place 2 months or so, trying to "live like a local". I don't think it's terribly difficult to find a month long rental under $100 per night, less for longer rentals. I'd want to be near train and/or bus stations and markets. Sigh, it will remain a dream for some time anyway...but it's still fun to think about.

Thanks for the replies; to be honest I thought I'd find more like minded folks! Meanwhile, Happy Travels to those of you fortunate and brave enough to roam!

Posted by
1984 posts

I still work and am hoping to take 2 RS tours back to back next year. When I checked the timeline, I would be gone from home and my 2 cats for a month!

So to consider a whole year of traveling even if I were retired, blows my mind. It’s a fun question and I would say I like the idea of more than one trip a year to keep things interesting and to have something to look forward to. I could easily spend a month in Paris, London or Berlin. Or attending a jazz festival at Montreux or the Tattoo and Fringe Festival in Edinburgh. There are many special events in Europe to choose from.

Even though I love traveling and planning trips, I love being home.

Posted by
2341 posts

JKL - But I would love to have $48K to spend on a vacation. I would use part of the money to buy a time machine, and take my late mother on the European vacation she would have loved and so richly deserved.

Posted by
453 posts

While I cant say the budget would work at 48 or 60K…. I would do the following.
Start in NY and take the QM2 to England.
Then a train to southern Italy 80 days in Europe maxing out my time In the Zone. (Mostly in Italy) Starting in the south of Italy in the spring chasing the weather north. (So we are about 12 weeks in)
Then a month or so in England. (So we are at 16 weeks)
Now the real trip begins…A the train to Paris,
then onwards to Moscow. Spend a week or so In Moscow. Then a trip on the Trans Siberian. (We are at 18 weeks).
Then about 10 weeks in China and South Korea (total) then a ship to Japan. So we are at about Half a year. Spend month or so in Japan. (32 weeks)
The. Spend 3 Months taking ships to various islands working my way south and east into the South Pacific. (42 weeks)
Then 8 weeks working my way (by ship) to Canada. (50 weeks down)
And finally take two weeks to travel across Canada via train. And ultimately Arrive back in NYC 366 days after leaving.

An Around the world trip. completely on the surface. High lights being the Atlantic Crossing. Italy, Great Britain, The Trans Siberian RR, China, South Korea. The (south)Pacific Islands, And a trans Canadian Train.
But I think I have massively blown the budget.

My dad was just missing trains Siberian and the trip from Moscow to Poland for his around the world on the surface. He was planing the trip when he got sick…

If I have to stay in Budget. 90 days in a small rental or two in Italy. Then 90 days in GB, then 90 days in the South of France. Then 90 days In Ireland and or Scotland. Not necessarily in that order.

Posted by
3789 posts

I live on Canadian $ and as a solo, could keep within your dream budgets, but not so sure I could keep to the 'no less than 30 days per location' for every place of interest. It it was 'per country', it would be a different list. One month apartment rentals can save up to 48% over per day costs, so it drops accommodation costs significantly. If you can get a toe into the housesitting sphere of travel, even cheaper. I have just retired so already looking at options for 1-3 months away in winter. Though I would prefer to consider a country per month, some cities I would consider would be:
Casablanca, Luxor, Vienna, Budapest, Bucharest, Varna (Bulgaria), York, Samarkand (Uzbekistan), Bray (Ireland), a place in Scotland, Blois, Bologna. Not in any particular order, but would be weather dependent and rely on cheapo airline links. Also, only 4 Schengen countries.
Having a year changes your approach tremendously. You would be more likely to become a temporary resident. Full on tourist days would be exhausting so you mix up the days, or weeks, of active days with less active ones. More day trips or overnights. If significant apartment savings, then you can even invest in organized tours. For me, that would be a group tour into the Moroccan desert (logistics). I would learn to sketch. I would do on site, so it takes time and you start to see your surroundings differently. Add the usual tourist sites, but I would do as many as I could on any optional 'free days' knowing I can go back the next week, and the week after that. I also birdwatch which is free and time consuming. Some cities are what I call second tier cities as they may be more affordable, but are still good hubs for day trips, have significant history or architecture of their own to offer, and may be more 'real' than prime cosmopolitan cities with global population. I am also an 'eat in' and local transit type of gal, so that takes a bit more time, saves money and lets me mix with the locals.
This wouldn't be my 'dream trip' but it would be one I could certainly be comfortable with.

Posted by
66 posts

MariaF, congratulations on your retirement and happy trip planning; I hope traveling becomes easier sooner rather than later so you can begin to enjoy your free time! Douglas and Estimated Prophet; I wish that time machine was available so your parent could have the trip of their dreams. That trip around the world would be quite an adventure!

Posted by
1974 posts

JKL's post has been distracting me from work more than I thought (I'm not sure if I should blame you or thank you ;). I'm like everyone else and dream of being a world traveller, but I'm starting to realize that my dream trip would not take me away from home for an entire year. I don't think I'd enjoy it. I really like my life and what I've set up at home. Do I want more travelling time? Yes. Would I like to stay away more than 2 weeks at a time? Yes. But I also have my daily routines that I'd miss. I still play hockey twice a week and would miss not only the actual game, but the locker room with the guys. I have season's tickets to our local football team and also catch 5-10 hockey games a year. I like watching TV, which is something I don't do when I'm in a foreign language country.

I have a chronic case of ants in my pants when I'm at home and every 20 minutes or so I'm looking for something new to do-if I rented an apartment for 3 months, the owners may discover that I've torn down some walls and renovated.

The food is probably my least favourite thing about my European adventures. I'd never considered myself a picky eater until I went to Europe for the first time and discovered I like what I like and not much else. Food isn't something I'm interested in discovering in new cultures. I much prefer restaurants over fast food, but when in France and Italy I often wish I had a bottle of hot sauce with me.

But in fairness to the question, IF I was to be away for a year, I would set up for about a month at a time in large urban centres such London, Paris, Rome, Mexico City, Brisbane (I have family there), New York, Los Angeles/San Diego (I'm not American so I've decided the rule of outside the US doesn't apply to me). For lodging, I would seek out apartments instead of hotels because as Maria said; for longer terms it is cheaper. My preference is in the heart of the city, but with budget constraints I'm not against being further out and using public transportation. I'd also have to look at finding some volunteering to keep me busy because there is no way I could sightsee every day and those ants in my pants would be scratching like heck after awhile.

Posted by
66 posts

Allan, I'll say I'm sorry/you're welcome and get that out of the way :)

Have to say, I feel sympatico with where your thoughts are regarding this dream. I would seek out apartments as close to city center as I could afford, near transportation...and markets...I get tired of the food pretty quickly, too. I admit that probably after 3 months or so, I'd want to be headed home. But, then I'd be home for a month and be ready to leave again. So, staying on the road would ease the stress on the transportation budget. And, since this is a "dream" trip, I'm ignoring all the issues that being gone for an entire year would create...taking care of the yard, missing family, yada yada.

I like where your dream trip is taking you, and good on you to include the US since that isn't home for you. We have some truly wonderful, picturesque cities you would probably love!

Posted by
2010 posts

I found a nice little apartment in Warsaw for $50 / night, so I'll start there for a month and already know I'll have plenty to do. I'd look for similar setups in Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, Hungary, Croatia and the Baltics. At least a month in Sicily to wrap up the year.

I guess I'll have to cook, if I'm to stay within the $48,000. But since that's not my dream vacation, I'll opt for the $60,000 and eat out on $1000 / month.

ETA: I better get my Italian citizenship before this dream trip so that I can stay however long I like. Good incentive to get it done!

Posted by
31 posts

With $4K monthly to spend (on ave.) you could live nicely at each of these destinations with funds remaining for airfare. Each destination has ~$1K - $2K per mo. living costs or $30-$50/day tourist costs, with natural beauty/ cultural/ adventure activities: Bali, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador, Columbia, Argentina, Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Nepal, Georgia, Kyrgystan. Understandable that some would find the trip too long, but anyone willing to forward $48K to me would find a grateful recipient! :)

Posted by
355 posts

I can't quite put together a full year taking into account Schengen rules and weather, but these are the places I would consider, assuming 1 month rentals but some overnights to nearby sites.

France (Paris, Dordogne or Alsace)
Italy (Sicily and Tuscany or Umbria)
Lucerne, Switzerland
Greece (Athens, Napflio, or Crete)
Spain (perhaps Sevilla)
Vienna or Budapest
New Zealand
Japan, Thailand (Chiang Mai?), or Vietnam (Hanoi?)
San MIguel de Allende, Mexico
Quito, Ecuador or Lima, Peru

Edited to add: But then there's northern England (York?) or Oslo or Bergen, or . . .

Posted by
10251 posts

You've described my life for the last 7.5 years. I've traveled full time, lived in hotels and never looked back.

I do admit that part of my travels are in the USA , I don't spend a minimum of 30 days in each location, and except for the pandemic, dont' spend more than 90 days per location. My budget is over 48K.

48K is about $130/day. You would have to find budget locations and accomodations. If the world was open to you, this could be done. Western Europe is expensive but places in Southeast Asia, Africa and South America are cheaper. Renting an apartment for a month is cheaper than a hotel. And remember, that amount is not just for room and food but also part for transportation, admissions, insurance, etc.

One trick that worked for me is staying in chains that offer frequent stay points. By living in hotels, and staying in many of these type hotels rather than RS type hotels, I get points. I prefer to convert most of my points to airline miles. I have had about 75% of my international flights paid for with points and all have been in business class. I figure I still have enough points for about 8-10 more free international flights in business class. And some hotel rooms as well. Or, I could stay about 90 days free in a mixure of hotels. I also have credit cards that give me points.

Every little bit helps.

Posted by
153 posts

I would be looking at home/pet sitting options, apartment exchanges, and places with kitchens. There are tons of cheap options, especially outside cities, and having a kitchen immediately makes it much more doable. I would look at something like TrustedHousesitters, for example. I love animals and have pets, so walking a dog twice a day and making sure food and water bowls are clean and full is no big deal, especially if I can stay somewhere for free or super cheap. That generally also means access to a kitchen so I can save on food. I might also consider some of the "stay with me" options, which might be for free because people want to meet new folks or might be for a small fee or even help with a project (see staydu). That option allows me to stay with a local or maybe an expat who might be willing and able to teach me more about local customs or point me to some interesting local spots.

Someone I know did this for large portions of a three month Europe trip with their kids. They also rented a house for a month in one city. One of their pet sitting gigs was a rural farm in France, where they helped take care of some alpacas and sheep. Talk about a cool experience, and it saved them tons of money. When you are in a house for a month, you explore the local market, parks, etc., and you don't spend much on food or even transportation--maybe a day ticket for the metro. At least that's what they did. That money saved can carry over to the next days/weeks, and you end up stretching your budget so you can spend a bit more on the sightseeing portions.

An RV or camper van might also be an option if you can get a deal and are willing to do something like that. Or heck, get a job abroad--no Schengen issues if you are a resident, you are making rather than losing money (or at least breaking even), can explore every weekend and vacation, etc.

Posted by
506 posts

JKL: I would recommend that you take a look at Debbie and Michael Campbell's blog at They have provided very good insight on how they do it including budgeting etc. In fact I believe they have returned to Europe within the last month or so.

Posted by
5003 posts

I would never be away from home for a year. For one thing, we have to file our income tax every year, usually do that in February.

Hypothetically, for someone that hasn't traveled a lot (I have visited 78 foreign countries and been to every continent except Antartica), I would break it down this way.

North America
For an American, I would save the USA for future domestic travel. Also, Canada and Mexico.

Limited to 90 days in Schengen zone, but there is lots to see outside that zone.
Start with the British Isles. I would spend a month in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

Also, we love Norway (take a cruise up the coast to the North Cape) and Denmark, spend a couple of weeks in those countries.

For the EU area, Germany, France, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Italy you can easily spend a month in each country, but can't do that, so don't miss Paris, Normandy and Provence in France, a week in Belgium and Holland, three weeks in Germany with one week in the Rhineland, 10 days in Bavaria and 5-6 days in Berlin. Switzerland is expensive, but a week, start in Interlaken then Lucerne.
Spain, three weeks don't miss Madrid, Segovia, Toledo, Seville, Granada and Barcelona. Portugal, Porto and Lisbon with lots in-between. Italy, do a month, with Rome, Florence, Venice, Naples Area, Ravenna, Sienna, Lucca, Perugia and if possible Milan and Verona. Croatia, go with Split and Dubrovnik. Greece, Athens and surrounding area, plus several Greek Islands, especially Santorini.
Istanbul in Turkey. I love Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary, so plan on a couple of weeks there.

Don't miss Egypt and a Nile Cruise as well as Israel and Jerusalem. Russia and Ukraine are great to visit, but save them for the future.

India, China and Southeast Asia all merit visits, but would recommend tours, not doing it on your own. Australia and NZ, if they are open to visitors. Plan on a month for both. Japan, which you can do on your own, don't miss it. The people are wonderful and it is the cleanest country in the World. Lots of history in Kyoto and Nara.

South America, our favorite countries there are Peru, Chile and Argentina. SA is cheaper and each country is different. Tours are best done in Peru, don't miss Lima area and especially Cusco and Machu Picchu. Chile and Argentina are best done with a cruise around the Horn. Spend 5 days in Buenos Aires and 3 in Santiago.

Posted by
14449 posts

The big problem I see is that with a limited budget, you'd need to do a huge amount of planning. I suspect you'd end up spending a lot of your travel time planning your next destination as well as what to see and do in your present one, every time.

I guess the practicalities of such a trip suck all the fun out of the dream for me. Honestly, after 4-6 weeks, I'm eager to sleep in my own bed, shower in my own bathroom and eat in my own kitchen. . . . and wear different clothes :-)

Posted by
1974 posts

Even though I have 5 weeks of vacation time a year, I've never been away more than 16 days at a time. That'll change once it's my turn to retire but we do dream about month-long trips. A bit stressed though since I need to be busy all the time and how I'll fill the gaps when I'm not in my own home.

Posted by
66 posts

Thanks to everyone who has replied. I guess this dream trip isn't for everyone, and for me it's really just that, a dream. I doubt I'd want to be out of the country for an entire year even if the opportunity presented itself. Frank, I can only imagine you have some incredible stories!!
I still think the budget would be doable as I don't see this as 365 days of "touristy" things in large cities, expensive hotels and restaurants. Rose colored glasses perhaps, but it's a dream after all...

Posted by
741 posts

Holland America offers "Round the World Cruises." I'd have to seriously look at one of those, even if I'm not a big fan of Cruise Ships. 365 days, would wear me out if it wasn't all set up before hand with visas and I would approach this as a good way for first contact with all the different counties and customs visited, knowing full well, there would be little authentic cultural immersion. But that's okay, cause I could go back to any specific area later. Now if i could just find one with a covered bar tab in the base price. :)