Riding RTW and back - on as much dirt as possible!

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by rtwpaul, Dec 12, 2015.

  1. Yannick

    Yannick Asterix the Gaul

    Sep 12, 2011
    Brittany (BZH)
    Seriously Paul, in my latest post I said you were an artist ... but, please stop adding pictures to your next updatings because now I'm out of vocabulary to describe them ......

    lubelhu, rtwpaul and mikegc like this.
  2. Geezerguy

    Geezerguy In the shadows

    Jan 24, 2008
    Base of Mt Princeton
    Thanks for the warm looking pics Paul. I am willing to risk running out of vocabulary to be able to continue seeing your great shots. Even my wife likes looking at them! The costs associated with your style of travel will be interesting to see. I know everybody has a different style and different needs, so costs can vary wildly. Enjoy.
    lubelhu, Yannick and rtwpaul like this.
  3. J.Luis Vázquez

    J.Luis Vázquez Been here awhile

    Oct 13, 2015
    Jeráhuaro de Juárez/ Los Azufres Michoacán
    Yes Please! Very interested also on the yearly cost, as for the pics, when I thought I watched the best and it could not be better... well the one of the small church in the hill is outstanding...And the beach!
    Gracias amigo !

    Enviado desde mi iPhone utilizando Tapatalk
    rtwpaul likes this.
  4. skibum69

    skibum69 slave to gravity Super Supporter

    May 14, 2006
    New Melbourne, Newfoundland
    Brilliant! I'm just stumbling on this thread again, I guess I'll have to find time to read it all from the beginning.
    rtwpaul likes this.
  5. ricochetrider

    ricochetrider MotoMojo

    Sep 5, 2011
    Out There Somewhere
    Just spent a couple weeks blowing thru this RR looking at the pix, and doing some reading in your photo posts. As others have noted- very enjoyable photos. Of course taking amazing pix, it helps considerably to be in amazing places- and y'all have certainly ticked that box!

    Question tho- are you using lightroom/photoshop or doing any post stuff at all, or are your pix straight on, as processed in camera?

    Anyway, speaking of photos and cameras... in case you're still looking, I got a great Olympus micro four thirds camera a couple months ago. Lots of nice lenses available for it, it's the OMD-EM1. I like it because it's not overly bulky like a DSLR, for one thing and it takes pretty great photos for another. Mine was the close-out of this generation and came with an Olympus 12-40 mm pro grade lens that will set you back quite a few $$$ if bought alone. LUMIX/Leica lenses also fit, and they make some sweet glass, as you may know. One other thing about the EM1 is that it's reasonably weather resistant, good for extreme temps, can stand a little rain, etc. The 12-40 lens is also weather sealed.

    Anyway, thanks for posting! All the best to you & El in the new year.
    Ciao 4 now.

  6. rtwpaul

    rtwpaul out riding... Supporter

    Feb 7, 2011

    I have decided on the Pentax K70, compares very highly and mostly better than a lot of cameras costing 2-3 times as much, like the Olympus, Fuji and Sony comparables and the K70 is weather proof as well
    Merfman, LM15 and MrKiwi like this.
  7. OldTriumphRider

    OldTriumphRider Livin the Dream

    Mar 14, 2009
    Smoky Mts
    Once is never enough , so I'm going over your report again seeing new things. All the great photo's and what do I keep going back and looking at ????? this ... what is this anyway?
    Super Report , thanks again for your time to share things I'll never see with my own eyes !!

    then this!!!

    highnoonhunter and johnnybgood8 like this.
  8. rtwpaul

    rtwpaul out riding... Supporter

    Feb 7, 2011
    Ok, so I am sure you have heard about the world's largest ball of string, the world's largest lava lamp, the world's largest (_______) ad nauseam?

    They and this have something in common, they are roadside attractions in the middle of nowhere...the photo above is in the middle of nowhere in Finland and to the left out of shot is a little cafe/ coffee shop/ restaurant/ souvenir store.

    On this road, we hadn't seen more than a handful of cars in a whole day riding, then in the middle of nowhere THIS!!!

    Outside the cafe was about 50-75 cars...they found a way to make money in the middle of nowhere...that's all it is, no children of the corn here just someone trying to make a living and succeeding.
    gfh, dgeezer, MrKiwi and 2 others like this.
  9. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

    Jan 26, 2012
    GTA, ON, CDA
    Hola Paul et El.

    You typed "Rythimno" meaning Rethymno? Looks like 5? different spellings and all beautiful but confusing.:eyes

    From Wiki...Rethymno (Greek: Ρέθυμνο, [ˈreθimno], also Rethimno, Rethymnon, Réthymnon, and Rhíthymnos)

    Rethymno combines rarely united features: the old town's charm and history, with proximity to a long sandy beach.

    Although it is the third largest town in Crete, Rethimnon never feels like a city as Chania and Heraklion do. Instead, it has a provincial air; it's a place that moves slowly, a very romantic plade and the most important preserves much of its Venetian and Turkish appearance.
  10. rtwpaul

    rtwpaul out riding... Supporter

    Feb 7, 2011
    Depending on which road we use to arrive or leave the town we find different spellings so a little confusing, same with the last village we stayed in Anogia, that had 3 different spelling variations. Anogia, Anogeia (Ανώγεια) and Anoia

    Creatans are a very individual bunch, yes they are a Greek island but they are from Crete first, Greece second...kind of like Alaskans are about the US or Russians in far Eastern Siberia when they talk about Moscow, attached but separated at the same time.

    Maybe the locals have a way they want to spell the name of a place but the government has an alternative variation, but somehow all of them are used in one way or another which is kind of confusing until you realise it.
    roadcapDen likes this.
  11. rtwpaul

    rtwpaul out riding... Supporter

    Feb 7, 2011
    This is taken directly from my website and will publish later today, Jan 6th, but you guys get it first...It always seems that people want more detail than the average answer most riders offer, hopefully this will cover all your questions...if not ask a question and I'll get you an answer - there are no stupid questions wheen it comes to finances and fulfilling your dreams



    There a few regular questions that you get asked as a RTW rider.

    What’s your favorite place or country?

    Where haven’t you been yet?

    How fast does your bike go?

    How do you do it?

    How do you afford it?

    How much does it really cost?

    Let’s deal with that last one - how much does it REALLY cost?

    Firstly I want to preface this post by saying: traveling finances are as individual as you are, no two people will ever spend identical amounts of money as no two people will ever do identical trips. Even on what is supposed to be a set track to follow like the TAT, I have never read two reports the same so it is unlikely they spent the same either…as a RTW is hugely different and potentially a lot longer so the variables increase thusly the costs will vary a great deal too. Therefore, this article is to give you a ‘feel’ for the expenses, take these thoughts with a pinch of salt and adjust according to your tastes.

    Since early 2011, I have spent around 1000 days on the road, ridden through 44 countries, 4 continents, and crossed 86 borders, so I think I have a good feel for costs. I will say that travel expense is a unique thing, though. One man’s comfort is another’s hardship. I don’t travel at a luxurious level but I also don’t travel scrimping and saving every single penny I can. I like to camp, I don’t love to camp or get upset if I’m not in my tent every night.

    I think if I looked at myself comparing with other riders as a line depicting money spent on a graph I would be somewhere in the lower half expense wise for travelers I have met.

    People have ridden RTW on less than $5,000 and I have heard and met others that have done it on more than $100,000. You need to decide where your comfort level is, what you feel like you can reasonably spend.

    Using an analogy to gambling, don’t spend more than you can afford to loose, save a little cash for your eventual return because at some point it will happen. Don’t go ALL IN…THERE WILL BE AN END TO YOUR TRAVELS, whether you like it or not.

    The one plan no one likes to think about is the return, have a little hidden away in a separate account for your eventual return because at some point it will happen. In my situation, I opened an investment account and bought (reasonably) secure investments for when I get back and if I’m lucky in the time I’m on the road they might make a little as well, as a long-term investment.

    Most importantly, spend and budget what YOU can afford, there is a RTW for every budget and you can still come home with the feeling that you had a great time full of lifelong memories and stories to tell.

    Its funny the people I meet who spend more, and I mean a lot more than me don’t always seem to have seen as much, or been as many places…do they spend the difference on beer or alcohol or cigarettes?

    …and just so you know that ONE beer at the end of each day you congratulate yourself with, it will average about $3 a day, which is $1095 a year or around a month or so less travel a year.

    This is my story, my version of a RTW currently in motion. I left on this RTW 365 days ago, one full year and no plans on stopping anytime soon. It included two major motorcycle shipments, no major breakdown expenses or motorcycle expenses besides tires and oil changes, 27 countries and actual distance that I rode was – 35,458 miles or 57,064 km.

    Honestly, that figure surprises me, the distance covered: it doesn’t feel like I’ve ridden even a quarter of that distance which works out to average 97 miles or 156 km per day.

    To put 35,458 miles into perspective, if I could ride non-stop in a straight line RTW, using an imaginary road with bridges crossing oceans, that line from Las Vegas heading eastbound would go RTW one and a half-times almost and land me in central Mongolia on the second lap.

    The following is based on two people traveling on one motorcycle and doesn’t include the cost of the motorcycle or any of the gear related to travel. The bike was completely set up with all new consumables in place before mile 1 was ridden.

    I estimate that the passenger adds $10-25 per day depending on the countries traveled if you are looking to calculate numbers for a solo traveler. The reason for this increased number is obviously food, but also a slight increase in fuel costs, tire wear and some hotels/ motels/ hostels/ campgrounds charge more for two people rather than one.

    How do I figure a budget? Experience. I like to keep track of where the money goes and as a reminder of certain countries or certain instances, what they cost individually.

    From previous experience, for this RTW I budgeted/ guesstimated costs for the Americas at $75 and Europe to be $82 a day for how I like to travel. Spoiler alert: I came in below that number.

    Those costs are broken down into four major categories: FUEL – FOOD – LODGING – MISCELLANEOUS.

    FUEL – Just fuel for the bike, NOTHING else.

    FOOD – This is obviously is self-explanatory. Good food, some eaten in restaurants, some roadside and some I cooked myself.

    LODGING – Hotels/ motels/ hostels/ Airbnb/ Couchsurfing/ staying with friends or family/ campground/ wild camping/tent space

    MISCELLANEOUS – Catch-all for expenses not covered by the other three: museums, entry fees, ferries, tolls, shipping, tires, oil changes, parts, tires, flights, replacement of broken/ lost/ stolen/ worn out items, haircuts, dentist appointments, Euro green card insurance, medical insurance, country entry fees, visas, TVIP, etc.


    One year total fuel costs – $3629.36 or 10 cents a mile/ 6 cents a km

    Accurate fuel prices for the whole world can be found here and are updated daily and weekly depending on location – http://www.globalpetrolprices.com/Iran/gasoline_prices/

    Highest price for fuel I paid was in Norway – $6.70 a (US) gallon!


    One year total food costs – $7769.13 or $21.28 per day or $10.64 per person.

    Most expensive country for food was Norway (surprised) averaging at least three times more than any other country.


    One year total lodging costs – $4890.76 or $22.54 per night**

    **148 days of that were $0 because of Couchsurfing/ staying with friends or family/ campground/ wild camping/ tent space

    Most expensive night in a hotel was in North Carolina…WTF!


    One year total miscellaneous – $7745.49

    Shipping to Cuba and back – $2613

    Shipping to Europe – $1365.68

    Oil changes – $298.24

    I have a reusable stainless steel oil filter, so $0 cost

    Ferries, abnormal amount mainly because of Norway! $609.69

    GRAND TOTAL ONE YEAR ON THE ROAD = $24,034.74 or $65.67 day avg.

    The problem is that it’s not a real average for most riders because of the unique expenditures. It would be very rare that a RTW would have these large expenditures in the first 12 months – 2x shipping, and the ferry total. If we remove those it will become more realistic for most travelers.

    New Total = $19,446.37 or $53.28 per day for two people

    If I was solo, I could realistically deduct $10 per day (maybe more) to make the year total = $15,796.37 or $43.28 a day.

    **As a side note, to show how the numbers really average out against different times for me on the road and lots of different countries, to show it's not a fluke number –

    When I traveled solo RTW in 2014 my total expenses including shipping from Canada to South Korea came in at $44 per day avg.

    When I traveled solo from Ushuaia to Prudhoe Bay to Newfoundland to Key West, back thru Central America, to Colombia and Venezuela and back to the US I averaged $41 per day, that’s was in 2011/ 2012

    Try not to see RTW travel as a daily expense, be aware of it, but try to see how it will average out over the months or years. Learn your own spending habits, become aware of the fluctuations that can happen – a rear tire might cost a weeks expenses but it’s inevitable and a requirement to the trip. That tire you need to average out over the total amount of days since the last tire was bought, so really it’s not a one-time $300 expense it’s $3 a day over 100 days. This way you will roughly know when the next rear tire is due and plan for it accordingly and maybe if you stay in that cheaper country for an extra week/ month you can also buy that tire there cheaper as well because you got to know a shop or some local riders who will help you out?

    If you can, spend more time in the cheaper countries and less time in the more expensive ones. Also, if you can head to cheaper areas first, “learn the ropes” of traveling if you’ve never really traveled for long periods of time before.

    To elaborate a little…

    Where do I sleep? Hotels are decent, decent enough that my mother would stay in them! Campgrounds are clean and generally have showers, washers, and dryers, hostels I get my own room, only twice in 5 years have I been in a dorm. If possible I look for a place with cooking facilities. Secure parking is always a priority so I probably pay a little more because of that.

    Where do I eat? Restaurants, street vendors for fruit and vegetables, roadside, fast food, supermarket food takes the majority so I can cook my own food, I enjoy cooking and then I also know the food is cooked how I like, its fresh and cleaned properly and it saves me a lot of money, usually 50-85%.

    Motorcycle knowledge and maintenance? I owned three motorcycle shops (not metric, this is all new to me) for 17 years so I work on my bike myself and if for any reason I need to take it to a shop it never leaves my sight. The only reason it would ever go to a shop is if I need a specific tool that I don’t carry due to rare use.

    In Romania, I went to a shop to have a tire changed because it was included in the price. I was the one that removed and replaced my wheel, I was watching the guy change the tire to make sure it was done right and I also did a little extra maintenance while I was there too because it was a convenient time to check brake pads, cush drive rubbers, final drive wear and tear etc. So, another way to save money for sure is to know your bike and how to fix as much as you can and do the service yourself, the only area you might fail in, is having a catastrophic failure.

    Before I left the shop the owner came over and offered me a job! I thought about it but declined as winter wasn’t far away and it was time to head south – but if I (you) look at it another way, I could have stayed and worked and earned some cash, doing something I enjoy to further my travels. If you have a useable skill and can get work in another country it could help extend your travels as well. It would also open you up to new experiences that may not happen otherwise…be open to change.

    I was interviewed last week and asked about slow travel and why is it cheaper? I have elaborated below what I said to clarify the point a little more and show why certain people go RTW and are back in 1-3 years and others are on the road for 5, 10, 15 years with what seems like the same amount of money and are still going…its the following principal – SLOW TRAVEL!

    What I said was….’the slower you travel, the further you will go, you will see more and you will have more control over your money.’

    I was asked to define my statement in more detail – “how traveling slower is cheaper?”

    Well, I will give you an example, right now I’m in Greece, accommodation runs around $20 -$35 per night in a hotel, mostly closer to the $30 mark. The day to day price can vary a lot depending on location, of course, if you can stay in each location longer you can get a better deal. If we were here in our current location for 1 night the price would have been $35, 3 nights it came down to $30 a night, a week it was $20 a night…we are staying a month and negotiated $11.50 a night. So based on our current location we are saving over $500 a month and probably close to that in food costs as well, because of being abe to cook every day…basically, an extra $1000 we still have in the bank.

    The last place we stayed was $75 a night we negotiated it down to $17 a night with a month stay!

    Now add to that if you are on the move every day you tend to eat out more than making your own food, if you are a little more stationary then its the other way around, saving you money as well.

    The other thing traveling like this you will see more, a lot more – a great many travelers never figure this out for a long time or sometimes not at all, so I’ll explain why.

    Take any point on any map, of any country, put a dot on it, now draw a circle with a 200-mile radius. You are staying at the ‘dot’, travel within that circle return to your cheaper lodgings each evening when you have seen everything now move 200 miles from your dot and repeat.

    Think about it, really let that sink in…this is where and how you reduce your expenses!

    As I say you will see more and it will cost you less by saving on accommodation and food costs and you will have the chance to meet the locals, possibly find out about places not in guide books, or on the internet, meet and ride with local riders, live like a local at their prices and see a lot more things (maybe even score some discounts) than if you simply rode thru with a final destination in mind.

    “The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see” – Gilbert K. Chesterton

    RTW travel looks more and more affordable, doesn’t it?

    If you have read my whole ride report on ADVrider and understand what I have seen in the last year, would you think $43 a day would be worth you taking off? I think so!

    If you haven’t read my Ride Report then maybe you should…my ride report is here – LINK

  12. Yinzer Moto

    Yinzer Moto Long timer Supporter

    Jun 13, 2008
    Pittsburgh PA
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  13. steveloomis

    steveloomis Been here awhile

    Sep 18, 2012
    Oklahoma USA
    Good information, thanks for taking the time to share this.
    rtwpaul likes this.
  14. AdvNuma

    AdvNuma Long Rider Supporter

    May 31, 2008
    The Monroe Republic, NC
    That is the best information on RTW expenses I have seen. Thank you for taking to time to compose it in such detail.

    Keep riding and posting. I really enjoy reading about your adventures and seeing the great photography!

    adventurebound9517 and rtwpaul like this.
  15. joenuclear

    joenuclear Still here....

    Mar 16, 2007
    Fort Smith, Arkansas
    Very well done. I won't be RTW'ing but the Travel Slow philosophy will be adopted. Thanks!
    rtwpaul likes this.
  16. HandCanonShootr

    HandCanonShootr Been here awhile Supporter

    May 17, 2013
    So. California
    Great info Thx Paul

    Either your photos are getting even better, or (PP) adjusting pic to "How my mind remembered" is working, stunning.
    Thanks again on both counts

    Mike B
    rtwpaul likes this.
  17. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town... Supporter

    Jul 27, 2016
    Here and there... but more there than here
    Thanks for the insight. What you wrote gives credence to what I've thinking. I will be able to retire in a couple of years, and I think I can travel the world for less than what it would cost me to stay where I live now. Damned sight more interesting and enriching too!
  18. SavannahCapt

    SavannahCapt Long timer

    Oct 24, 2009
    SE Georgia
    This is very enlightening. I never would have guessed from looking at this report that you were experiencing your rtw for the costs you list. It certainly opens up the possibilities for countless riders to live their dreams. There is enough detail here for someone to make adjustments to his own preferences to come up with a reasonable budget. Just what many are looking for. Thank you.
    rtwpaul likes this.
  19. poolman

    poolman Gnarly Poolside Adv. Supporter

    Feb 11, 2010
    Darnestown, MD
    Great stats, very helpful for those contemplating extended travel. This report has it all.

    35,458 miles = 187,218,240 feet = 2,246,618,888 inches. You are almost half way to your goal!

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  20. benjamin1031

    benjamin1031 Been here awhile

    Apr 30, 2013
    Grand Junction, CO
    Speaking of money... I would spend an absurd amount of money to buy the book that chronicles your travels (must have pictures). And that is coming from someone who has already read your RR's. Where you go, what you see and your backstory on why you're "out riding" are supremely interesting. I'm starting to feel like an ADV stalker... haha