You’ve Got Questions, I’ve Got Answers

by brian on November 7, 2008

I’ve been on the road over two weeks and I’ve seen a repeated pattern of questions people ask me. I thought I would answer the vast majority of them in what I call’s Frequently Asked Questions or FAQ.

Q: Let’s get down to it Brian. How much is this costing you?

money bag with dollar sign Youve Got Questions, Ive Got AnswersNot as much as you think. These are some recent examples of round the world itineraries. Note the prices for these tickets are sometimes less than a 10 day vacation at a resort.

  • Miami – Rio de Janeiro – Buenos Aires – Santiago – Lima – Cusco – Quito – San Jose – Guatemala City – Miami from US$1749 (plus taxes)

  • Chicago – Tokyo – Bangkok – surface – Kuala Lumpur – Delhi – Vienna – surface – Paris – Chicago from US$1999 (plus taxes)

  • Los Angeles – London – Paris – Cape Town – surface – Johannesburg – Hong Kong – Beijing – Los Angeles from US$2499 (plus taxes)

The hostel in Hawaii cost me $25 a night and here in Tokyo is costs about $30. That is with me sharing a room. When I got to Thailand private rooms go for less than $20, sometimes less than $10. And I haven’t even touched on homestays or couchsurfing….

The most money I’ve spend has been on tours in Hawaii, which were about $100 a pop. I limit those and I save the cash.

Q: So what is staying at a hostel like?

hostel Youve Got Questions, Ive Got AnswersFirst, get the Hollywood horror flick imagery out of your head. It’s like living in a dorm in college. That is the best, shortest answer. You’re sharing a room with 5 to 7 other people in bunk beds. I laugh when I think about it because it seems so funny. But it works. The rooms generally are single sex, but you can have males and females in the same room. I’ve done that for a couple of nights here in Tokyo. No problem there.

In fact the only problem we’ve had in a room was a loud, chainsaw snorer – and it was a woman!

There are lockers in the rooms for valuables, passports and anything you would not want to have lost or stolen. Bring your own lock and you’re ready.

There are shared kitchens and bathrooms, again just like in a college dorm. The best way to save money is to cook in the kitchens and save the food.

It takes a certain personality to do this and I’ve seen it in the people I’ve met and in myself. If you’re a type A control freak, round the world may not be for you. If you’re the type who needs to travel in luxury, this is definitely not for you. If you’re the type who can’t stand to be around people, this is REALLY not for you.

Q: I know you didn’t bring a big suitcase. What did you pack and what are you carrying?

Bora 50 Mercury Youve Got Questions, Ive Got AnswersMy life is literally on my back in an Arcteryx 50 backpack (at left). Before I left I documented everything I put in.

(1) pair of jeans
(1) pair travel pants
(2) pair shorts
(1) travel towel
(2) base layer tops
(1) base layer
(1) Nike Dri Fit Long Sleeve
(1) Nike shorts
(1) belt
(3) travel underwear
3oz or less of toothpaste, bar of soap

Everything you forget or decided to leave behind you can get on the road.

Here’s the list of thing I’ve purchased since I’ve been out.

(1) flashlight
(1) long sleeve shirt
(1) pair of flipflops
(1) lock and key

I also have a shoulder bag with my laptop and cameras. Both bags fit on the plane with me and save me money because I don’t need to check any luggage. That is at least $25 right there.

Q: Why are you doing this again?

Because the opportunity arose that I could not pass up. The world is a big place and we get so locked in our routines that we don’t realize that there is MUCH more beyond what we can see, touch, taste, smell and hear on a daily basis.

Q: Why are you going to these places and not others?

Click here to see my previous post on the locations and reasons.
You’ve got make choices and the locations I’m going to have some significance to me. All the other spots, maybe next time.

Q: When is your trip over?

Sometime next year. I am not specific because I honestly don’t know. You never know what might come up.

468x60 Youve Got Questions, Ive Got Answers

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Thais November 7, 2008 at 10:14 AM

Yo! in your list of things in your backpack, you did not list any underwear?! Are you going Commando? lol…


brian November 7, 2008 at 5:48 PM

Nope I got underwear. Special travel underwear made of synthetics that designed especially for long term travel. No time for cotton Fruit of the Looms when you’re doing something like this.


Ms. Hill November 12, 2008 at 12:12 PM

I don’t know you but you are my new hero. I want to do something similar, but the money (or lack thereof) really scares me. What did you do with your assets back at home?


brian November 12, 2008 at 7:50 PM

@RahDigga – Saved up over the years, sold my house and had a fortunate situation at my last employer to make this happen. But it does not take alot of money. The biggest commodity needed is TIME! If you can make that, everything else will come around.


Fly Brother April 8, 2009 at 8:45 AM

Brother…why have I not seen this site before? Where are you based/located? Definitely shouting you out on my blog, player.


Black Travel April 18, 2009 at 7:16 PM

love it, Love It, LOVE IT!

Wow! Nothing to it but to do it! And all on a reasonable budget. How cool is that??


Leah Kaiz February 16, 2010 at 5:35 PM

Great answers to some great questions. I remember people often asking me how I traveled around the world, they thought I must be a trust fund baby or something. I found it to be much less expensive to travel then it does to live a day to day existence in the United States.


Anonymous March 23, 2010 at 6:05 AM

u still on the road mate? im 3 1/2 years and still counting!! (check it out at where r u now?


brian March 23, 2010 at 8:36 PM

Nope not on the road right. Left a comment on your blog.


Andrew Tan October 18, 2010 at 2:06 AM

Can I be prevented from flying to Singapore from Sweden if I buy a one way ticket to Singapore?
If yes who can stopped me?


brian October 19, 2010 at 10:33 PM

The airline can stop you. They will be fined by the government of the country you’re entering if you are not found with a departure ticket. I don’t know if Singapore has particular rules on this, but they definitely exist for other countries.


Wandering Kenyan April 25, 2012 at 6:38 PM

god bless you my friend, you’ve opened my eyes to so many possibilities with this post alone!


brian May 28, 2012 at 10:53 AM

Good to know. Always the case when a person sees someone else do it, it automatically becomes a little easier…


Shari-CheapTrickstoTravel October 4, 2012 at 12:35 PM

I took a big trip around the world with my husband using cheap airlines in 2011 (cost about $2200 each for 18 flights) but since then we have been building frequent flyer miles–mainly from awesome credit card sign-up bonuses– so our next big trip to multiple countries will enable us to fly almost free. As long as you have more income than US$25k per year, you should be able to take advantage of this way to travel free or extremely cheap.

Also, as a married couple, we often stay in hostels but in a private room. It’s usually a little more than double the cost but if you are traveling with a friend, it’s MUCH better than a dorm room.


brian April 21, 2013 at 8:34 PM

Frequent flyer miles definitely help with a big trip, especially when you get them all with one airline alliance – SkyTeam, OneWorld or StarAlliance. Hostels are great for singles or couples. Way better for saving money that hotels. I would also recommend services like Airbnb for renting apartments and homes. That can be for short term or long.


Anibal October 7, 2012 at 7:43 AM

This is great, good site,.& saw your presentation on learning annex thanks!


brian April 21, 2013 at 8:27 PM

Glad you saw me on the Learning Annex. Hope the info was useful.


Adventurous Andrea January 30, 2013 at 5:14 PM

Awesome sauce! I look forward to keeping up with your adventures.


brian April 21, 2013 at 7:57 PM

Thanks. Hope this information is useful.


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