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Created on 07.05.2024

Planning and working out the cost of a round-the-world trip

Do you fancy visiting several countries on a longer trip? We’ve got some great advice on making your world trip dream actually happen. We’ve summed up the key points – from planning and equipment to insurance and finance.

At a glance

  • Ideally, you need to start planning your world trip 12 months before the big adventure.
  • The monthly costs of a round-the-world trip vary greatly. As a ballpark figure, it will cost around 1,200 to 1,500 francs per person each month for basic travel and lifestyle options.
  • A breakdown helps to prevent the cost of your trip from spiralling out of control.

Do you have other dreams? You’ll find more useful advice on money in our newsletter: 

Are you dreaming of escaping the daily grind of life for two or three months, or perhaps even longer? A round-the-world trip gives you the chance to visit lots of different countries on different continents and to experience other cultures, meet new people, see new landscapes and visit attractions. This can be done in very different ways. As people are all different, their world trips are, too. Some prefer to go backpacking around the world, others treat themselves to lavish round-the-world travel on a cruise ship or with a high-end tour operator, including a personal tour guide. On a world trip, you see much more than the hotel complex at a beach resort. 

Travel ideas: what would you like to discover on your world trip?

Whether you set off around the world before or while studying, as a family with young children, on a sabbatical in your early 50s or when you’re retired, you need to organize your dream trip carefully. It might help to give your trip a name. Depending on whether you’d like to explore historical treasures, the best spots for diving, culinary highlights or the most far-flung places on the planet, you might decide to call your trip “Journey through the ages”, “Deep dive”, “Our culinary expedition” or “Adventure into the unknown”. You’ll find inspiration for your world trip from the countless videos, podcasts, blogs and books that can be found online by entering the search term “round-the-world trip”. Professional tour operators will also have some great ideas.

Useful tip: if you enter a search term, the travel guide publisher Lonely Planet will also provide lots of ideas and information on planning a world trip – for example, if sustainable travel really matters to you.

Destinations for your world trip: which countries would you like to visit?

You’re spoilt for choice – from Zurich to China, Egypt to South Africa or Mexico to Greenland. Ruling out options is a good way of deciding which countries you’d really like to visit. Simply cross off the list all the countries you’re not interested in visiting right now. You can then use the following questions to eliminate more travel destinations and put together a route for your personal world trip based on the remaining places – or at least some of them:

  • Time period: when will you travel?
  • Travel budget: how much money do you have available to spend?
  • Climate and natural phenomena: which countries/attractions are not worth visiting during your chosen time period – for example, because tropical storms or large amounts of rainfall are expected?
  • Route: which countries can be combined well on a travel route?
  • High and low season: find out whether it’s high or low season in your destination at the time of your visit. It’s often much cheaper to travel during low season, but the weather conditions may not be ideal, or hotels and museums might be closed.
  • Political situation and security: is the country safe enough to visit? Check with the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) about potential risks and get country-specific advice on preparing for your trip. The link will open in a new window Visit the FDFA’s website at (German) 
  • Language: can you get by in the country with your language skills?

Travel planning: optimal planning for your world trip

Booking off-the-cuff beach holidays or a city break is straightforward enough. But a round-the-world trip takes a lot of planning. It can take a few months to prepare everything. This to-do list will help you. Bear in mind, however, that it’s not exhaustive and needs to be adjusted to your personal trip.

12 months before your world trip

  • Talk to your employer about the options available for taking some time off
  • Decide whether you’d prefer to travel around the world alone, with a companion, as a family or as part of a group
  • Decide on the places you want to visit, the approximate route and the duration of your world trip
  • Work out how you’ll travel on the various legs of the journey (aeroplane, camper van, car, bike, etc.)
  • Calculate the rough travel costs and check your finances
  • If you’re going on a long trip, check any long-term subscriptions you may have (e.g. gym, public transport, etc.) and cancel them if necessary

Useful information: do I have to de-register with the OASI and residents’ register office?

Provided you retain your place of residence in Switzerland under civil law while travelling the world, mandatory OASI contributions continue to apply. However, it’s always advisable to discuss the situation with your OASI office – regardless of the length of your trip. It’s best to check with your municipality whether you need to de-register with the residents’ register office for your temporary stay abroad. 

9 months before your world trip

  • Check which vaccinations you need, and arrange appointments in good time. Key information on the vaccinations required can be found on the website The link will open in a new window However, you should always consult a medical professional, too (GP, vaccination center or travel medicine specialist).
  • Apply for a credit card for day-to-day spending if you don’t already have one. Credit cards are a really good option when travelling abroad, as they allow you to make cashless payments in a large number of places.

6 months before your world trip

  • Sublet your apartment while you’re travelling abroad. You’ll need permission from your property management team.
  • Check your passport is valid until your return (and for a few months beyond), and order a new one if it is due to expire.
  • Think about what you’ll do with your car while you’re away, if you have one. Perhaps you could lend it to a friend?
  • Book your first flight and transport at your destination.
  • Apply for a visa if that’s required.
  • Start putting your packing list together.
  • Check notification requirements with your residents’ register office if you’re heading off on a long world trip.

3 months before your world trip

1 month to several days before your world trip

  • Attend your last medical appointments if you need to
  • Set up standing orders for regular payments
  • Arrange for your mail to be redirected or ask someone to empty your letter box
  • Do a trial run of packing your luggage for the trip
  • Check all the documents you need for your world trip
  • Plan the final details for arrival in the first country you visit: how will you get to your accommodation? How can you make payments when you’re there, etc.?

Equipment for your world trip: what you’ll need

The type of equipment you’ll need to take on your world trip depends on your travel route, the activities you intend to do and your personal needs. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of things that may be useful on any trip around the world:

  • Travel documents: passport, visa, vaccination card, international driving licence, insurance documents and copies of important documents.
  • Money and payment method: The link will open in a new window cash in various currencies, credit and debit cards and perhaps a money belt.
  • Technology: smartphone, laptop/tablet, camera, adapter and power bank. Useful tip: find out from your provider about the least expensive way of using your mobile phone on your travels.
  • Healthcare provision: first-aid kit with medicines required, bandages, mosquito repellent, sun protection and personal hygiene items. Pharmacies have handy checklists available.
  • Clothing: this depends on the climate and activities you’ll be doing – light clothing, rain jacket, swimming costume, hiking shoes and perhaps more formal attire for special events.
  • Travel equipment: rucksack or suitcase, sleeping bag (if you’re staying at hostels), travel bag for day trips and maybe a tent for camping.
  • Navigation: maps, travel guides, GPS system or navigation apps on your smartphone.
  • Security: padlock for luggage, money belt or bag, copy of your travel documents in a safe place and maybe a first-aid kit.
  • Hygiene items: toothbrush, toothpaste, toiletries, hand sanitizer and a travel hand towel.
  • Other items: travel detergent, snacks for the journey, a drinking bottle, notebook and pen.

How expensive is a world trip?

The cost of a world trip depends on the route, duration and how you travel: will you stay in inexpensive accommodation as a low-budget backpacker, opt for the most affordable mode of transport and mainly live off street food? Or do you have higher expectations and plan to stay in starred hotels, take taxis rather than public buses and dine in fine restaurants? There’s a huge range of options between these two extremes. That means the cost of a round-the-world trip can fluctuate by several thousand francs.

As a ballpark figure, it’ll cost around 1,200 to 1,500 francs per person each month for basic travel and lifestyle options. It’s advisable to set a few thousand extra francs aside to cover any unforeseen costs during your trip and living costs after you return. It’s important to include in your budget all fixed costs that have to be paid at home while you’re away (e.g. tax, rent, OASI, insurance, etc.).

To make certain you can afford the cost of your trip, it’s best to include everything in your budget. Here’s a general list of the costs involved in a world trip:

  • Transport costs: flight tickets, train or bus journeys, hire cars, taxis and other modes of transport.
  • Accommodation: hotels, hostels, Airbnb rentals or other places to stay during your trip.
  • Meals: food and drink.
  • Travel equipment and accessories: spending on special equipment such as rucksacks, travel clothing, camera equipment, mobile phones and other technical devices.
  • Activities and entertainment: admission costs for attractions, tours, leisure activities, nightlife and other forms of entertainment.
  • Insurance and vaccinations: cost of health, travel, cancellation and luggage insurance policies, and vaccinations.
  • Visas and travel documents: a passport is generally required for a world trip, and this cost should be included. Some countries also require visas, which may be subject to a charge.
  • Other expenses: souvenirs, healthcare, tips and other unforeseen costs.

What options are there to pay for round-the-world travel?

The more you spend on a world trip, the better it’ll be. Find out how to save money in day-to-day life for your dream round-the-world trip in our blog “Saving money: a comprehensive guide”.

Questions and answers

  • By card or cash? Our blog article “Holiday money in a foreign currency: key things to bear in mind” provides useful advice on payment when travelling. This post explains why it’s best to take both a debit and credit card on your world trip. 

  • Keeping a few notes in the local currency in your wallet or purse can never hurt. Where and when should you order and buy currency? If you have enough time, keep an eye on the daily exchange rates before setting off on your world trip. When the exchange rate is relatively low, it is worth buying the foreign currency you want. Euros are available from most ATMs in Switzerland. It’s best to exchange other currencies, such as the Australian dollar, Hong Kong dollar, Thai baht or Danish krone (major currencies), at your financial institution in Switzerland. But exchanging money locally can be less expensive for more exotic (minor) currencies, such as Chilean pesos or South African rand. For peace of mind, however, it may be worth taking a small amount of money with you from home to your destination. At PostFinance, you can order cash in around 70 currencies in e-finance or by phone and have it delivered to your home address.

    Go to the currency calculator

    Go to the latest rates for major and minor currencies

    Go to cash for travelling

  • To find out which payment method is most suitable for your round-the-world trip, you firstly need to gain an understanding of credit and debit cards. We compare the options in our blog article “The pros and cons of different electronic payment methods”.

More on the subject

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